Friday, 16 November 2018

Vishnu Mudra, why it is used in Anuloma-Viloma or Nadi Shodhana

I facilitated a wonderful group at the Avon Library this week at the Breath Workshop.  One of the questions that came up, which has come up in past Breath Workshops, is why do we use Vishnu Mudra?  I have continued to search for the answer and I am excited to finally have an answer to share!  This comes from Indu Arora in her new, comprehensive book, "Mudra, the sacred secret."  Enjoy!

"In this mudra, the right hand is used, as it is associate with giving, while the left is associated with receiving...The Vishnu Mudra helps in balancing and filtering of the Matuta (air element) to form Prana, as it triggers the Phana marma points on either sides of the nostrils, due to the position of the thumb and fingers on the nostril...The energies of fire (thumb), earth (ring finger), and water (little finger) elements are allowed to flow freely, whereas the energies of air (index finger) and ether (middle finger) current are harnessed in the formation of this Mudra."  - Indu Arora, "Mudra, the sacred secret"

Vishnu Mudra
Art from

Non-Attachment in giving and receiving

The holiday season and end of the year is filled with giving in so many forms.  The Yama, Aparigraha or Non-Attachment, is a reminder to focus on our state of mind as we give.  So much of the holiday season is about the external: gifts, food, parties, and traditions.  These can start to take on the form of obligations, 'have tos,' and expectations, which end up creating a more heavy feeling rather than coming from a place of joy and gratitude.

Aparigraha or non-attachment applied to giving allows us to come back to focus on the intentions of giving, rather than the outcomes.  If you've been upset because you gave to someone and they didn't give back or when you gave there wasn't are attached to the outcome of your giving, which means there is an expectation of "if I give, this person will feel/act by doing _____."  When they don't, our reaction is anger and resentment. 

Instead, come back to why are you giving in the first place?  If it's because of a 'supposed to' or 'it's expected' or 'it's just what is done,' again, this is rooted more in an outcome and not really based out of a loving place.  Giving, when done from a place of love and joy, is more satisfying and meaningful than when done out of obligation. The other piece with coming back to the intention of your giving that is the action of giving can then being done without attachment to the outcome.  Have you ever given to someone who had no idea it was even you?  It can be an amazing feeling because it's more about the intention of bringing joy to another rather than wanting the gratitude of the person in return. Which is ultimately about ourselves, rather then the person we just gave to.

The other side of the coin is receiving.  Ooooooo, can this be a challenge!  Again, so many times when someone gives to us, there can be a feeling obligation or guilt...maybe a of feeling now I have to give to that person.  Again,this is an attachment to a belief that it's not okay to just receive.  This can come from a cultural belief of being independent.  When someone gives to us, there is connection, which we all need.  But, our belief system can get it mixed up with feeling dependent on that person.  The other thing about struggling to fully receive, is that this energy can rob the joy for the other person who is giving and it keeps us from showing full gratitude to the other person, just by enjoying what was given.  So many times we are all searching for ways to help others, especially in a world we feel so separate from each other at times.  The act of receiving, as well as giving, helps to foster connection. Being able to receive gracefully is just as important as giving.

In yoga, the practices of restorative yoga and yoga nidra are wonderful exercises in just taking time receive.  Giving yourself a gift of pampering, time to go inward, time to rest are also wonderful ways to practice giving and receiving to ourselves.

Breathing practices are another a way to practice giving and receiving.  When we inhale we receive, when we exhale we give.  The breath techniques of equal inhale and exhale with abdominal breathing or Coherent Breathing are examples of this.

My encouragement to all this holiday season is to pause, come back to your intentions of giving and be open to receiving with no energetic strings attached to the outcomes.  Just let your abundant joy and love shine through!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Finding peace in a fear based world

As November begins, it is the month in the USA that we celebrate giving thanks, being grateful for all that we have and the people who are in our lives.  It is more important than ever to keep this practice going all year long as our culture has moved more and more into being fear-based. When we focus of fear, we are only getting half the story, and I truly believe that going with fear keeps us from seeing reality for what it is.  Fear covers up the positives and the abundance in our lives.  Here are some specific practices to do throughout this month and through out the following year to cultivate more positivity, gratitude, and peace in each day.

1. The practice of gratitude.  This is such an important practice.  Every time I do it, I feel lighter and more connected to humanity, trust and faith.  There are a number of ways to practice this.  The important part is that finding ways of coming back to gratitude throughout your day which then starts to cultivate more of a gratitude lifestyle. 

First, is keeping a gratitude journal.  There's something about writing down these positive statements.  Maybe doing three a day in the format of "I'm grateful for _______ because ______.  If writing is not your thing, taking a moment at the end of each day to think about three things you're grateful for or even doing this with a family member out loud.

Second, you can connect coming back to what you're grateful anytime you feel sad, angry, or jealous.  Reminding yourself that there may be these emotions and there can still be gratitude. IT may even help you respond to the situation you are in with more intention and kindness.

Third, writing notes to a different person once a week to communicate why you are grateful for them. Spread the love!

Here are a couple of other resources to help with the gratitude practice: "The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life," by Janice Kaplan; "The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a life of happiness and wellbeing by giving thanks," by Robert A. Emmons PhD.

2. Focusing on Abundance!  We tend to focus on lack...what we don't have, why we aren't good enough, comparing ourselves to others and thinking how much better they are than ourselves.  This only brings in self-judgment and criticism, which fosters negativity.  

When you find yourself doing this, STOP!  Then change your awareness to all the abundance in your life, everything you do have and what is going well.  We all have wonderful things in our life, even just as simple of having a roof over our head and food to eat.  Challenge yourself to come up with 10 things.

Another way of doing this is focusing on what is pleasant now.  Look around the room you are in and notice what parts of the room or items in the room that are pleasant.  Focus on why they are pleasant to you. Shift your awareness and find another item.  You can do this at anytime, anywhere.  When we focus on pleasantness, we are activating the reward part of our brain, which can release oxytocin, a relaxing chemical.  Try it and notice what happens.

3. Seek out positive things.  Traditional 24 hour news stations are filled with negativity and what they report on is not the only things happening in our world.  Seek out positive news and stories to connect with the amazing loving kindness that humanity is capable of. is a great place to start.

Seek out inspirational people and quotes.  Put inspirational quotes up around your home so you see them every day as reminders.

Listen to inspiring music or podcasts.  Fill your ears with positive thoughts and ideas.

REMEMBER: You have a choice on what you surround yourself with and where you put your focus and awareness.  Make a conscious choice, rather than letting the external world choose for you.  Yes, there is suffering and tragedy.  There is ALSO loving kindness, joy, and human beings doing wonderful things to lift us up. 

I'll leave you with this Cherokee Indian legend to ponder:

 An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” 

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The practice of Aparigraha or non-attachment

"Anger is like a holding a hot coal, the only one that gets burned is you."

This quote speaks to Aparigraha, one of the Yamas from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, an ethical principle of yoga.  Aparigraha means non-attachment or non-holding.  Our attachment or holding onto physical things, emotions, beliefs and thoughts cause us suffering.  Like this quote says, we can hold on to the anger and resentment from a situation, but once the situation has ended, it is the anger we refuse to let go  that causes us to continue on in misery.

I also like to use the analogy of trying to hold onto a wet bar of soap as well.  When we are fighting against reality and trying to make it what we want, it's like trying to squeeze a wet bar of will keep flying out of out control because we never had control of it in the first place.  When we are focused on clinging to something, whether it be a relationship, wanting an certain outcome, or an idea, the usually desperate clinging creates more stress than if we would find a way to let go and allow things to work out as they need to.

Where I live, there has been a wildfire that has been burning close by.  The smell of smoke and at times the clouds of smoke and raining ash are a reminder of what the fire is burning up in its path.  One of my friends has been close to those who are involved in fighting the fire. She said a couple of things that resonated with me and bring me back to Aparigraha.  

The first was how amazed some of the firefighters were that a small town near where the fire started didn't burn down.  A big part of this was just luck of what the fire ended up doing.  She shared that the fire has had "a mind of its own" and doing many things that aren't always typical of a fire.  I can only imagine that these firefighters really understood that despite their efforts,the outcome was more about nature does what nature does and we don't have much control over it.

The second thing she shared was feeling sad about the loss of some of her favorite mountain biking trails because of the fire's path.  Yes, this is a loss of fun times and memories, at least until the area recovers.  The reality is that we live in the west and fire danger is high...increasingly higher each year.  There will be wildfires.  We won't know where they might start, but they will happen.  There are areas and towns that have been accepting this fact and have done some amazing fire mitigation to clear areas of dead wood that is fueling these massive wildfires.  There was a great example of how this acceptance and hard work help save homes and businesses this spring in Breckenridge, Colorado.  By accepting what is, we can make choices that are going to be more helpful to our well being.  If we don't and fight reality, we are turned away from where we actually do have control with our intentions and actions. 

And the loss of the mountain bike trails is actually very normal.  The two guarantees in life is that things change and our bodies will die at some point.  Loss is a part of life and it opens up to new beginnings.  Remembering this can be helpful in moving through grief, no matter what the loss is.  

Here are a couple of ways to practice Aparigraha:

1. Breathing, especially focusing on a longer exhale. The inhale is always followed by the exhale.  If we cling to the inhale, we will die.  The exhale is a practice of letting go and a longer exhale allows a more full letting go happen.  Notice how you feel after a few of these longer exhale breaths.

2.  Look at the material items in your house.  Are there some things that you are clinging to?  Items you no longer use but can't seem to let them go?  In Marie Kondo's book "The Magic of Tidying Up," she reminds us that by clinging to our stuff, we don't allow those items to fulfill their purpose.  If you have boxes filled with unused items, these items are trapped and unable to fulfill their destiny.  By allowing them to move on to the next person who can use them, they can fulfill their purpose.  Most of us know how fulfilling it is to be in our purpose and what it feels like to feel purposeless.

3. Be with yourself in a difficult situation or take a Time In.  Take time to observe how your are feeling and what thoughts arise.  This allows the process of choice to arise.  Do you choose to hold onto those reactions or let go of them and move to a response that may feel more helpful and come from a more compassionate place.  An example of doing this is on the Samya Yoga Healing YouTube Channel.

And be compassionate with yourself...we all can use practice with Aparigraha!  We are all clinging to something.  If we weren't clinging, we'd be fully in a peaceful state of mind...I know I'm not there yet.

Real detachment is not in letting go of activity but letting go of the attachment. - Prasad Rangekar

Thursday, 21 June 2018

And don't forget to smile!

Man, do we adults take life soooo seriously!  The to do lists, performing well at work, trying to be the "best" at whatever we are doing, making a mistake is the end of the world, worrying about what other think of us.  Argh!  That just makes me heavy and depressed just writing it down.

Yoga is about becoming aware of patterns in the body, mind and spirit that are no longer serving us and moving more towards the truth that we are all love, freedom and bliss.  Yet, when in a yoga class or home practice, the tendency is to take things a little too seriously.  You fall out of a pose, so what?  Will the world stop turning?  No!  Have fun with it!  Laugh, smile, do weird things with your a pose "wrong."  I make sure when I'm teaching and having students go into Utkatasana, chair pose, to remind them to turn the sides of their mouths up and smile because we are having fun! (Usually they are moving from a very serious look on their faces).

If you have a child, work with children, or have a grandchild, then you are blessed with the reminder to play and have fun, that the world is a place for us to explore and learn about, and that being silly and laughing makes the heart and mind lighter.  When we remember to enjoy what we are doing and that we are blessed for what we have, the world is more expansive, endless, and possibilities are limitless.  When we have our blinders on and go through the day to day drudgery, it feels heavy, obligatory, and we are just going through to motions.

Even those of us who are blessed to live in the mountains can forget the beauty of them if the workout becomes more important.  "I have to get  X miles in today.  I have to get X time.  I need to do better, go faster..." 

Things to do this month to connect with playing:

1. If you have a child on hand, just play with them.  Allow them to guide you into their world and let loose.  Let go of the to do lists and just have fun with them.

If you don't have a child on hand, go to your nearest playground and go play!  Swing, climb, jump!

2. Slow down for a moment.  Go to your yard or a park and lay down.  First on your back and gaze up at the sky and let your imagination go.  Then on your stomach and notice the small word living in the grass below.

3. Sign up for a fun run and dress up crazy.  Do anything and dress up crazy!  Like mini-golf, a bike ride, a hike..

4. Do something new.  Something that looks fun, that you've never tried and go for it.

5. Get into your creative juices.  Crafting, being artistic, a new instrument, and get messy with it.  Make up your own song!

Remember, yoga goes beyond getting on a mat for a period of time.  It is about transforming what we think is real or right and allowing ourselves to explore and experience.  Play, fun and enjoyment are essential elements

"Don't take your practice seriously, take it sincerely."  - Prasad Rangnekar

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Moving from Reacting towards Responding to the external world

Moving from a reactive mind state to a responsive mind state has been one of the most powerful shifts in my life.

When living mainly in a reactive mind state, my tendency was to hold things in that bothered me in order to avoid conflict. Holding emotions in would build and eventually I would blow up over something small and a lot of times not at the person I was really struggling with.  Then I'd feel horrible, vow never to do it again, and hold things in again.  This reactive state would then manifest
in feeling depressed, irritable, and wanting someone else to give me what I needed...only I had no clue what that was.  My other behavior from this reactive mind state was constantly moving to find the "right place" where I'd feel at peace and content.  Since leaving college, I moved 17 times, though the last three were about settling in and growing some roots, thanks to my yoga practice.

It wasn't until I moved half way across the world to India, that it finally hit me, "Wait a minute...maybe I'm the problem here!"  As soon as I started to realize this, my teacher, Prasad Rangnekar, asked if I'd like to do a yoga teacher training and self-development course.  It was the later part of the course title that made me confidently state, "Yes!" 

The tradition of yoga is a path of self-realization and body movement is only a small part (and not a part of some yoga lineages) of the lifestyle practices.  The commitment to these practices and the realization that I'm the only one that can create peace and contentment for myself has moved me towards a more RESPONSIVE mind state.

It starts with AWARENESS.  Anyone who's worked with me knows this is something I keep coming back to again and again.  We can not change what we are not aware of...period.  The practice of awareness is vital for being responsive to the external world.  It's a practice of getting curious about your own reactions (behavior, emotions, thoughts/beliefs) in order to understand, learn and consciously choose your response...or maybe to not respond. 

I'll give a recent experience I had with my brother. (If you're reading this, "Hi, Ryan)!"  He recently graduated with a PhD in Nursing after years of hard work and juggling life that deeply respect him for.  I was unable to go to his graduation. I was texting him to be reminded of the date of his graduation and he asked me if I was coming.  I let him know I was not.  Then, he wrote, "I was just thinking you would since I made sure I was at all of yours." 

Guilt ripped through my body (oh, the patterns of siblings).  I sat and breathed.  In the past I would have responded with all my reasons.  Some would have been blaming and sarcastic to protect the guilt.  I kept breathing.  I shared my reaction with my partner. Then sent a reply of a thumbs up sign and put out some humor to him.  Even as I write this I can feel some of the tightness in my throat and chest, so I'm taking some deep breaths and reminding myself I'm still okay.

Responding takes not only awareness, but also pausing to take time and take care of ourselves.  It may take awhile to respond and that's okay.  With practice, it becomes easier, the little things roll off, the big things become more manageable.  What's important is being willing to meet initial reactions with curiosity and self-compassion, to learn and consciously decide 'what will I do next?'  Since it's about taking responsibility for our own stuff, reactions, like taking something personally, saying things you'll regret later, and blaming, start to be things of the past.  Drama fades away.  There's so much more time to just to enjoy life!

A Practice of Awareness: Take some time to sit and notice different sensations in your body.  Start with your feet and feel them connecting with the floor.  Notice the parts of the body connected to the chair.  Notice the tops of your thighs, the palms of your hands, the inside of your elbows, the shoulders, the crown of the head.  No judgment, just curiosity and exploration as there is no right or wrong.  Breathe into the abdomen and notice how that feels in the body. Do this for 5 breaths. Practice this throughout your day and notice what happens to your awareness of yourself.

Check out the Samya Yoga Healing YouTube page that has a number of different breathing videos and guided meditation.  Start with Three Part Breath!

Remember that moving from a reactive mind state to a responsive mind state is a practice and takes time.  The more you practice, the more amazed you will be at the changes in yourself...I know I was and still am!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

3 tips I've been reminded of for taking better care of myself

Taking time for myself - whether to doing something I enjoy, sitting and enjoying a cup of tea and looking out the window, taking time to make a delicious meal, or making time to go to appointments for my physical health - has become more and more of a priority for me.  As I've mentioned in a previous blog post, I've struggled with some significant hearing and balance loss, as well as tinnitus for 8 months now.  I've seen it as my body signaling to me, "Twyla, you've got to stop pushing yourself, taking so much on, and thinking too much!"  It's been my body's way of shouting loud and clear to "STOP!"

One lesson I've been learning and becoming more confident in has been trusting myself.  Listening to my inner knowing of how to take care of myself and stop doing things that are "supposed to help" but really aren't helping me.  I've noticed that fear of disappointing others, even my doctors, has kept me fro
m doing what I feel is right for me at times.  As I'm writing this, I'm getting ready to be compassionately honest with one of my doctors and working on not being responsible for their reaction to what I've discovered I need.  I'm a natural caretaker, as I'm sure many of you can relate, and the "shadow side" of it seems to be one of my biggest limitations at times.  I've found the "shadow side" of care taking overly focuses on others, thus getting further and further at what I need come back to myself and go inward, be still.  It's a balance I've been working on most of my life and slowly, slowly, I've been able to spend more of my time focusing on the "light side" of care taking as I turn it towards myself.

3 tips I've come to accept and practice more and more the past eight months are:

1.  SLOW DOWN, slow down, slow down!  I can not emphasize this enough and remind myself daily of it.  This means not over booking my day, taking time between appointments for myself, doing activities that are slower as well as active exercise - like sitting and enjoying the sun, going for a relaxing stroll, playing my ukulele or other creative outlets, reading a book, a regular breathing and meditation practice, and just noticing details, especially when I'm in nature.  We should be spending 7 minutes in our parasympathetic nervous system (part of our nervous system the helps us feel calm and relaxed) to every minute we spend in our sympathetic nervous system (part of our nervous system that helps our get up and go energy).  From what I've observed, most of us are completely flipped.  Slowing down helps us mentally to be more present and calm to meet daily challenges and it helps our body functioning, allowing our body to restore and heal as it needs to.

2. LISTEN TO YOUR "GUT."  Take time to listen what your body and heart are saying that you need.  It's so easy to put the activities of self-care off 'until tomorrow' so we can push through other things...only tomorrow doesn't seem to come.  If a "professional" or "authority" wants you to do something that doesn't feel right, remind yourself you are truly your best expert, as long as you are taking time to self-understand.  This takes being able to slow down enough to start becoming aware of your mind and body reactions to things, as well as taking responsibility that it's up to you to create the change you want.  Sometimes it's helpful to have someone you trust as a sounding board who can reflect patterns that they might see when we don't or are in denial about.  Meditation and self-inquiry have been to two most helpful tools in this for me.

3. SELF-COMPASSION.  Being kind to myself when I'm having days that are more "rough" emotionally or when my body is feeling depleted.  Again, slowing down to be aware where my mind and body are at...knowing when "pushing through" is going to be detrimental to my well being.  Reminding myself that I'm human, I make mistakes and that the body changing and aging is NORMAL.  Treat myself like I do my good friends.  And as my teacher, Prasad Rangekar says, "If it's stressful, don't do it."  Practice that for a bit and see what happens.

Taking good care of our selves is as necessary as brushing our teeth, showering, cleaning the house, eating and staying hydrated.  Commit to one kind act towards yourself each day for the next week and notice how it impacts your well being. Be your own best friend.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Compationately Responsive Parenting - Taking the "I-ness" out of it

In working with parents over the years, one common theme that arises over and over is parents taking their children's actions personally instead of it being a child's reaction to their experience.  Yes, a parent's own behaviors may be affecting the child and this needs to be looked at, though what I am talking about more is the reaction of "I'm not a good enough mom/dad," "I should ____ as a mom/dad," "what am I doing wrong as a mom/dad because (child) should not be acting like this. 

My first suggestion to all parents is to have a reminder of developmental appropriate behaviors for different stages of your child's life.  Sometimes it's easy to forget that the very behaviors your child is exhibiting are actually quite normal and appropriate and your job is to help guide them into learning more effective ways to make different choices.  I think most parents can identify with a 2-3 year old having a tantrum in the middle of a public place.  If your thought is "I should be able to control my child," then you will be embarrassed and angry. Most likely your behaviors will not be the most helpful ones in teaching your child how to appropriately express their emotions.  If you can meet their behavior (belief is "my role is to help teach them), in a calm and firm manner, offer the child options in connecting by using their voice to talk with you so you can understand, or they have "x" amount of counts to start to calm down or you will all have to leave, or even sit by them and start to take deep breaths to model how to get control again.  Here's a good list of developmental milestones:

From a yoga perspective, in the Yoga Sutras (a "how to guide" for yoga that was written by Patanjali prior to 400 CE and still highly relevant today), Patanjali address "I-ness" in Sutra 2.6 called Asmita.  Asmita "arises from the ignorance, occurs due to the mistake of taking intellect to itself to be pure consciousness" (  I think about this in relation to taking the role of parent as identity instead of a more of a role. When a person gains self-worth from being a parent, this is when taking the child's actions on as a reflection as one's identity or self-worth starts to create conflict.  An example from Aaron Beck in Cognitive Behavior Therapy is that a child does poorly in a class at school, the parent blames themselves for the child doing poorly...what will this parent's action be?  What I've run into is the parent becoming more forceful about the child's studying, getting upset when the child struggles to understand and I've even seen parents doing the work for the child to "get it right."  None of this helps the child and negates the responsibility of the child to work through the challenge and feel good about themselves.  Instead, when a child does poorly, talking with them, getting their input, and working as a support for the child in a more compassionate loving way is going to help them learn.  Maybe even enjoy learning and school again.  This isn't about you as a parent, it's about the child working through a life challenge effectively to feel more strength in themselves.

Changing from an "I-ness" centered belief to more compassion and putting responsibility to where it belongs takes time a practice, but in the end can be highly rewarding for parent and child, and actually strengthen that relationship.

Some Tips for practice:

1. Notice your reaction to your child.  If you notice yourself feeling defensive and reacting from anger, guilt, fear, etc, STOP.  You can almost always take time by saying, "let me think about this," "I don't know the answer right now, give me a few minutes."  Then BREATHE.  Breathing is so important because it can get us out of the reactive place to a place where we can think, feel, and go inward to find the answer that feels best. Take the time you need!

2. Remind yourself that "the way another person treats you is a reflection of them, not you."  Step back and use your powers of empathy.  My mother just shared a story about my brother when he was in middle school.  She found herself struggling to understand why he was acting the way he was.  She asked a male friend and he was able to give her some insight about how insecure and scared he felt when he was that age.  She then found herself talking with him about an incident that had happened and was able to take herself out of it and stated, "I can imagine that was really scary."  She shared that my brother just burst into tears with emotion at that comment, as this was really what was going on with him. Daniel Siegel, author of "Whole Brain Child" and many other wonderful books, explains this as "name it to tame it."

3. Take time to just have enjoyment with your child.  Time that's just about having fun, not about the "to dos" and "have tos."  We all need work in balancing the "have tos" with doing things that bring enjoyment.  We all need play time and time where there's no time constraints or rushing.

4. Self-care.  I can not stress this enough.  You, as a parent, have so much you are juggling in addition to this role of parent.  While this can be harder when children are younger, it can still be done with support of spouse, family, friends.  Allow yourself time to do things that are out of this role and about you connecting to you.  Whether it's a hobby, time with friends, exercise, just being by it!  And do it often.  You can not be your best self when you are run down.  You are a human like everyone else.  This also teaches your children the importance of self-care.

5. Self-compassion.  You are human, you will make mistakes and your intention is what is important.  Be kind to yourself and you will be able to be more kind and compassionate to your children.  More on this in the next blog.

Someone once told me that Deepak Chopra stated, "If we stopped taking other's behaviors and actions personally, 99% of our conflict would go away."

Compassionately Responsive - The Necessity of Self-Compassion

Practicing self-compassion, coming back to it over and over again, has been an integral part of my positive change process. I see it as an essential element in coming from a more loving place. In fact, everything that is opposite of compassion is fuel for living from fear.  I know that all parents have a goal for their children to grow into adults that are happy and at peace.  My first question is are you doing this for yourself?

Dr. Kristen Neff, who has made her lifework out of focusing on self-compassion (and has a wonderful website, defines compassion into three different parts: Kindness, Common Humanity, and Mindfulness.  I love this because I think it makes the practice and understanding of self-compassion much more accessible.


Kindness as a part of self-compassion to me is treating ourselves as we would a best friend.  Think about the words you use towards yourself when you make a mistake.  Some words that have come to my mind are "you're so stupid," "why did you do that, now no one will like you," and "why even bother, you won't get it right anyway."  Even as I write those words I feel sad.  I would NEVER say any of those words to another human, let alone my best friend.  So why would it ever be okay to say them to myself.  The thing with how we treat ourselves is that on some level, it will be the message that we eventually send to others around us through our body language, tone of voice, worrying.  My tip to start, right away, on more kindness towards yourself is AS SOON AS you hear any unkind words towards yourself, STOP.  Then ask yourself "How would I treat a best friend who is going through this situation?"  And go with those words towards yourself. Notice what happens as you keep practicing this.


Yes!  I love this trait of compassion.  I mean, come on, out of 7 billion people on this planet I'm really the ONLY ONE going through this or has ever experienced this.  (I just fell on the floor from laughing so hard at this).  We are ALL humans.  That means we make mistakes, we aren't perfect, our minds are tools that love to take over the driver's seat, we have amazing strengths and sometimes those very strengths can be part of our misery, we are able to feel immensely, and, again, we all make's a big part of how we learn and grow.  This one reminder can help to step back, look at the reality of the challenge we might be facing, and then ask, "Ok, so how am I going to meet this challenge or mistake," instead of berating ourselves into no action and self-pity.

REMEMBER: A mistake is a LEARNING.  That's the new definition.  Use it!  Use it with yourself and use it with your children.


Mindfulness, to me, means awareness and self-responsibility.  To change our ways of thinking, believing and behaving that we are tired of, we have to be aware when we are in those patterns.  We have to be aware in order to learn what triggers those patterns.  We have to be aware in order to try another thought, belief, or action.  It takes practice, practice, practice.  And we will fall back into old patterns, which gives us the opportunity to remember that mistakes are learnings and be our own best friend.

Taking responsibility can create a lot of fear and anxiety AND it is where empowerment comes from.  Owning our mistakes, owning our emotions, thoughts and beliefs that are currently happening, owning the present moment all help towards conscious change.

Start practicing this by noticing your reactions to your children's behaviors.  Question yourself.  Why did that situation bring up that emotion up?  Why did that bring up the urge to ___ in me?  Is there another way to look at that situation?  Where is the learning here?  And notice what opens up to you by doing this.

Make Self-Compassion your number one priority.  Don't go another moment without thinking about it and practicing it.  Your world will change just with this.  And Dr. Kristin Neff's website has even more ways to practice self-compassion,

Love unites!  Fear Divides!  Where is your relationship with your child?

Compassionately Responsive Parenting - What are you modeling?

Being Compassionately Responsive requires us to go more inward in order to notice what is going on with our reactions and to notice what we are modeling.  That old saying of "Do what I say, not what I do," is an example of what not to do.  The best thing anyone can do to teach a child is to practice and model what you'd like to instill.  Any change we want to create begins with what we have control over, ourselves.

Let's start with the cell phone, specifically smart phones.  Studies show that there is a correlation between excessive screen time for kids and depression.  Computers, smart phones, TV are all stimulating to the nervous system.  I hear from parents all the time that they are concerned how much their teens are on social media.  My question to you is how much time are you spending on your smart phone and how much time are you spending with you children without it.  If you want to really check this out, there is a free app called "Forest: Stay focused."  It's an app designed to motivate time periods where we do not pick up our phone to retrain ourselves that the smart phone is not an appendage we can live without.  What message are you sending your children, who are trying to get your attention, but you are busy on your phone?  (My phone is more important or you aren't important)?

Also, notice what is going on with how your body and mind feel after spending an hour, or two on the computer/ smart phone.  I know it increases racing thoughts in my mind, my breath is short and shallow and my energy buzzing.  I feel anxious afterwards and it takes a good amount of time to "come down" from it.  Start with refining your habit with your cell phone.  Set specific boundaries as a family like no phones at dinner or no phones after 7pm.  We all grew up without 24/7 information at our finger tips...  We all need to learn how to's essential for our sanity!

Next, I want to address time management.  I have become amazed at how challenging it is to schedule appointments with children and adolescents because they are going from the moment they get up to the time they go to bed.  There is less and less time for them just to enjoy being a kid, the opportunity to work through boredom and into creativity, and the full schedules are part of what is creating stress and feeling overwhelmed.  Again, reflect back to your personal habits.  What is your time management like?  Do you find yourself looking at your schedule for the day and feeling overwhelmed?  Do you rush from one place to the next, leaving no room for incidences to happen like traffic and then being late constantly?  Do you find yourself getting rid of your self-care activities because "there's no time?"  Again, what are you modeling for your children?  SLOWING DOWN is essential for being able to be more compassionate, to be more responsive than reactive, and for basic self-care we all deserve.  Most of the time we are doing this to ourselves to prove we are a good enough ____ (parent, employee, friend, etc).  This has to stop.  What needs to happen in your life so that you have time to just sit and relax, time to reflect and be aware, time to laugh and just enjoy life?  We are running ourselves ragged and teaching our children to be good enough we have to be busy.

Finally, the good news is that these and many more behaviors are just that, a behavior.  They can change.  We can unlearn to stress inducing behaviors and the mindset that have been taught to us and make a choice to reduce the stress we create.  As you, a parent, do this, you will be teaching your children much more healthy, sustainable, and stress-reducing ways of meeting the world.

Words from my teacher, Prasad Rangnekar: "If it's stressful...don't do it."

Sunday, 8 April 2018

What is Yoga-based Counseling?

My private practice, Samya Yoga Healing, provides yoga-based counseling services.  The number one question I get is, "What is yoga-based counseling?"  I hope to explain it with this blog.  Feel free to email me with any questions at

1.  Yoga does just not mean yoga poses.  Yoga, according to the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (a "how-to" yoga guide from almost 2000 years ago) is eight-fold:
  • Yamas (Ethical Practices)
  • Niyamas (Ethical Practices)
  • Asana (Poses)
  • Pranayama (Breath work)
  • Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses)
  • Dhyana (Practice of Single-minded concentration)
  • Dharana (Meditation)
  • Samadhi (United with Truth)
We in the west have narrowed the focus of yoga to just Asanas (poses) and yoga has so much more to offer.  All of these steps in the eight-fold path contribute to helping the practitioner identify limiting patterns in the body and mind (emotions, thoughts, and beliefs) to move towards a more true understanding of who we really are, which leads to immense peace, joy, and satisfaction.

2. Counseling, to me, is partnering with an outside, trained person to move past emotions, thoughts and behaviors that are creating pain and suffering in a person's life.  The focus is the "client" and the therapeutic relationship is about supporting the "client" in whatever changes they are looking for in their life.  There are very few other relationships in life when we get to be the center of focus, not worrying or thinking about the other person.  Because the focus is on you, the "client," amazing learning and self-understanding can be fostered, supporting positive change.

3. Yoga-based counseling is using a yoga philosophy lens, which can be summed up that all of us already posses all we need to live fully in peace and contentment.  So, the work is about identifying and changing from a limited mindset (thoughts and beliefs that are more of a story of a perceived reality rather than reality itself) that is creating all of our misery and suffering and moving towards a mindset that is based in reality, compassion, and empowerment.  Many tools of the yoga tradition are incorporated: meditation, breath work, mantra, hand-gestures, ethical practices, and self-study.  "These tools can help reduce stress and improve mindfulness, helping us maintain peace and presence while dealing with the challenges of daily life.  Finding and practicing the tools that fit you can help to navigate even the most challenging moments from a place of compassion, presence, and openness….(Michael Lloyd-Billington,"

If you already practice yoga asanas in a class or at home, you most likely already have experienced what yoga has to offer.  You may be a more spiritually-minded person, already experiencing what happens when you come from a more loving and compassionate place.  You may be questioning your beliefs and lifestyle choices, feeling a calling towards doing it differently.  Samya Yoga Healing and yoga-based counseling may be a good fit for you!  Contact me (Twyla) at anytime for a free consultation,


Friday, 6 April 2018

Gratitude for my time with Middle Schoolers

The past two weeks, I have been spending time with middle schoolers in breathing and meditation classes I'm offering and some classes at a local middle school teaching tools for stress management.  As usual, those who I work with, whether adults or children, tend to be my teachers as well. 

My first experience at the middle school was teaching about the breath as a tool for stress reduction in 5 gym classes.  I was asked to do this as upcoming standardized testing was coming up.  I was teaching to 25 and up to almost 40 students in one class. (That larger class was impromptu and not the usual students in that class).  Those of you who have middle schoolers or work with them know the energy and impulsivity that they can have at times.  Having that many together multiplies the energy and impulsivity (many, many thanks to middle school teachers).  Add on that this is a gym class, so the students have an expectation that this is an hour they get to run around.  I went in thinking I'd teach the entire class time, but with seeing the energy and knowing these kids needed time to run around, I ended up teaching for about 20-25 minutes.  I was generally impressed with how most of the students were willing to try and generally were redirected back to the practice by me standing by them or verbal cues when their minds and bodies 'wandered.' 

The next experience was with a smaller class.  My focus was to teach how to cope with stress using the body, breath and mind.  As I started, there were a handful of students who had decided they were not going to participate.  During the class they continued their plan, which took away from those other students who were listening and trying.  I left after the class, sat in my car and reflected.  I felt sad and powerless.  For the next day, I kept leaning into the experience, talking about it with a couple people, trying to make sense of my reactions to it, and doing my work on moving from a fear reaction to a more compassionate one.  After sleeping on it, journaling and then messaging my teacher, the lessons became more clear.

It was the negative energy coming from these students, these 12 year olds, that was most disturbing to me.  So young to be in that state. The thing is, that class was just a mirror of the greater community locally and nationally.  These students, who have such a strong foot hold in fear-based living, had such a profound effect on the rest of the class and I'm sure the rest of the school culture.  Whatever their experiences had been up until then, they have learned that their world is not safe enough to be vulnerable, to connect with others in a kind way, and to enjoy all to opportunities they have been given.  They have been 'schooled' to have an armor of self-defense that ends up creating negativity all around them.  The thing that they most likely are needing (love, support, compassion) is the very thing they are repelling because of their armor. 

These children and their behaviors are a lesson for us all because part of what has created this defense and their reactions are about the adults in their lives: in family, in the community, and in our country.  They are a reflection of parts in all of us that, if we aren't aware, can easily take over.

My question to myself was 'what to do with this information? Where is my responsibility?'  My answer was:
1. Keep doing your sadhana (daily spiritual practices) to transform you from fear-based reactions to a more loving and compassionate being.  Although I've been on this path with commitment for six years, that fear rises up, as per the above example.  My practice has helped me recognize right away when it's happening and allows me to learn and then choose a different response.  I feel more empowered, more at peace with the world, and more connected to my purpose because of my daily practice.
2. Despite my role as a counselor and yoga teacher, I can not "fix" anyone.  I can only provide opportunities for new ways of coping, opportunities to find different perspectives, and opportunities for taking self-responsibility.  I have no control over what another person decides to do with what I say or teach.
3. It's all about planting seeds.  Providing glimpses for young and old to see there are options for other ways of being in this world and they have the choice to make change in thoughts, beliefs and behaviors.
4.  Again, I need to keep doing MY daily practices. 

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed like the world is doomed when we encounter negativity.  These students reminded me that if I don't continue my own practice and focus on what I'm responsible for (my own reactions and behaviors), I can easily put back on my own suit of armor.  Change comes from within, it is about how WE CHOOSE to live our lives. 

A good question to ask is, "Is what I'm doing right now contributing to the fear or moving myself (and thus the world) to a more loving and compassionate state?  If it's the later, we need to STOP, right then, and take time to care for ourselves until we can move into that more loving and compassionate place.  That is how we can collectively move to a more peaceful state.  Begin Within and take other's behaviors as a learning for you.

Looking forward to my next two weeks with these young beings!

PS I was so impressed by one student who had been in one of the gym classes, who was fidgety and struggled with focus, remember some of what I had taught by what he shared in the smaller class.  Don't judge a book by it's cover and again, it's about planting seeds.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Treat Yourself as a Best Friend

Within my own thoughts and listening to what others have shared about their own thoughts, it's apparent that we are our own worst enemy. Negative self-talk keeps us stuck in the mire of worthlessness, "not good enough," and allows fear to be in the driver's seat of our behaviors.  The flip side of this is that we can also be our own best friend that lifts us up, empowers us, and helps to connect with peace in how we talk to ourselves.

Masuro Emoto is a Japanese researcher, who does research on water molecules and has written a number of books on his findings.  One I like is "The Hidden Messages of Water."  In this book, he describes one of his research projects in which he labels one container of water, "Thank You," and the another container of water, "You Fool." Every time he and his research assistants pass these containers, they give the statement to each container respectively.  After some time, he looked at the water molecules under a microscope and saw two very different things despite the water being from the same source. The one labelled, "Thank You," was a beautiful crystal shape, like a snowflake.  The one labelled, "You Fool," had no specific shape, just a shapeless blob.  This made me think of how we are made up of 60-70% water and how self-talk affects the body on a cellular level.

The fact is, whether we are conscious or not about the thoughts and self-talk going on in our mind, it affects our physical and mental wellbeing.  I've been experimenting with this first hand.  I've had some medical issues with my right ear that increased dramatically this past fall and has continued to fluctuate.  With some of the treatment I've been doing with acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, and Ayurveda, I've become aware of how my thoughts can increase and decrease some of the symptoms.  When I start to worry about to do lists, my mind thinking about lots of things at once, the symptoms increase.  When I work on breathing, staying present and calm, the symptoms decrease.  Just from this, I'm even more of a firm believer that rooting out negative thinking towards ourselves, as well as about the world, helps  to come to a more compassionate and loving mindset.  It is imperative to change this in order to feel more lasting peace and contentment.

One practice of compassion that I find helpful is becoming my own best friend.  When there's a challenge or you've made a mistake, stop and think about how you would treat a best friend in that situation and what you would say.  Chances are if someone were telling you, "You, suck.  You can't do anything right.  What's wrong with you. No one likes you," most likely you wouldn't keep them around as a friend.  It's not okay for us treat ourselves like this either.  Listen to what you would say to a best friend - "It's going to be okay.  We all make mistakes.  This can be fixed.  I've had this happen to me too."  Notice what it does for you.  At first it may feel awkward and like you don't deserve it because it's different than how you've been talking to yourself.  Keep at it and notice what happens over a couple of weeks.  I know for me I can physically feel my body relax, I'm filled with love and support, and whatever happened becomes smaller to face and I can let go of it much more easily.


Friday, 16 February 2018

Energy Flows Where Awareness Goes

In light of a recent death of a 12-year-old by suicide in my rural, mountain community and the recent school shootings in Florida, the topic of fear is on the forefront of my mind.  The U.S. has evolved into a fear-based, take-no-responsibility culture and what we are witnessing on a national level is a reflection of this collective mindset.  I think I can safely say that we don’t like it, we want to change and we feel at a loss for how to change it.  I’m going to propose some practices that I believe can help, though it’s not a quick fix solution and frankly, we didn’t get here overnight so a quick-fix solution won’t do anyway.  This is about a creating a cultural shift that begins in with each one of us.
 Energy flows where awareness goes.

Let’s start with Fear.  Fear is just an emotion like all the other emotions. It’s what we allow fear to do that is the problem.  First, we aren’t even aware fear is in the driver’s seat, but it is.  When we react impulsively from the emotion, our energy continues to flow into fear, which creates more fear.  My husband had a wonderful experience with this over the past week.  One of his students was obsessively checking her phone during his class to find out “what’s going on with the shooting.”  He went over to her and said, “Stop. First, there isn’t going to be any new news every few seconds.  Try just checking between classes if you have to, though once a day is just fine.  Second, do what you can by being kind to those around you here.  Go to the person who looks like they are having a bad day and talk to them.”  He reported she paused and said, “Yea.” 

This is such a good example of how focusing on the fear can consume us, create obsessiveness, react, react, react and end up feeling overwhelmed and powerless.  My teacher, Prasad Rangnekar, says, “Fear Divides, Love Unites.”  Think about that statement and reflect on what our society feels like right now…pretty divided.

Then we come to take-no-responsibility.  I had the opportunity to live out of the country for two years in India, a culture much different from the U.S.  When we came back, one of the first things I noticed, in the airport, were all the advertisements for attorneys…everywhere.  There were NONE of these in India.  Now I don’t think having no access for help from wrong doing is good, but I can certainly say we in America have taken it to extremes. It's to the point that we rarely take responsibility for anything.  Just look at our political system today.  It’s a blame game, take no responsibility, admit no wrong and ‘the people’ are frustrated and angry about this.  I ask you this: Are you taking responsibility for yourself, your actions, your judgements…?  Most likely not.  When we blame, we give ourselves the message, “I’m not responsible,” which ends up being disempowering.  It ends up with a sense of powerlessness.  Be honest.  Do you feel this often?  If so, you aren’t taking responsibility. 

REMEMBER: what is happening at a national level is a reflection of when is happening, collectively, with each individual.


Energy flows were awareness goes.

Where do you want your energy to flow?  My guess is to feel more at peace, more content, and more joy.  So, let’s get to it! 


The first step is to start taking responsibility.  YOU have a part in this, YOU are responsible for working towards this new mind state, YOU have to take the action steps.  It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun and it TAKES TIME.  All of us have been born into this cultural mindset and we all have parts of it that come from fear and not-taking-responsibility.  Think about a large tree that has been growing for hundreds of years and you realize it’s no longer healthy, so you decided it's to get rid of it.  When you think about getting rid of this tree, does it instantaneously happen?  No!  That’s the beginning!  You have to start with the branches, cutting those away.  Then slowly work down the trunk and those are the easy parts!  Next is moving into the roots, which are deep and strong.  It takes time to work through those, uprooting and getting as much as you can, continuing to uncover more and more of the root system.  It’s the same process with changing mindset.  We have one mindset that has been occurring for decades and it takes time and effort, but the work creates empowerment, freedom, and movement towards peace, contentment and joy.

2.       AWARENESS

The beginning of the journey is awareness.  We can’t change what we aren’t aware of.  I can’t start cutting down the tree by starting at its roots.  I’m going to start with what I’m aware of and continue to take responsibility to become more aware of the layers (self-understanding) to focus on.  There are many ways to practice awareness in the body, breath and mind.  Start with some of Samya Yoga's YouTube Videos for practice.


I order for awareness to grow, we have to become quieter and still because inner awareness is the key.  When I can feel in my body and breath what fear feels like, I can learn to pause and listen to what thoughts come along with these sensations and emotions.  I am now meeting fear and can take the step to consciously choose how I want to respond versus react.  Most our lives are on the go, rush here and rush there, and we collapse at the end of the day (and for some the mind keeps running).  It is imperative that you start to slow down.  Find moments to pause, breath, notice your body, close your eyes.  Put time in the week that is to do nothing, just pause and relax.  Relax by listening to soothing music, breathe, or listen to a guided meditation.

4.       BREATHE

One of the easiest and most accessible tool to us for slowing down and relaxing is the breath.  It’s always with us.  Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to pause and breathe every hour.  Start your day off or end your day with a breathing practice.  In these modern times, we do not breathe fully.  With the rushing, we are in hyper-arousal mode, which means we breathe through our mouths and just into the upper chest.  In turn, we aren’t getting enough oxygen and our whole body system, especially the nervous system and brain, are over stimulated.  Learning and practicing to breathe fully can instantaneously help everything to slow down and move into a clearer mind state.

5.       The Practice of GRATITUDE

When we are coming from fear, our mind usually is thinking about lack, what we don’t have.  Shift that awareness to gratitude, what you do have and what you are thankful for, and watch the energy flow into a more peaceful and joyful place.  We are living in abundance, it’s just a fear-based mind state distracts us from remembering this. 

These are all places to start to create the change you’d like to see in everyone.  It begins with us and it takes practice, practice, practice.  Move from fear and powerlessness to a more loving, compassionate state of mind and watch the ripple affect start to happen.  Each of us creates the world we live in.  Take action and be a part of the change!



Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A morning reminder

I was reading out of a daily meditation book this morning, "Opening Doors Within," and the last two sentences struck me: "Keep your mind alert and you can never grow old.  The fountain of youth is your consciousness; the joy of living is the elixir of life."  In studying Ahimsa, the practice of rooting out even the most subtle thoughts of 'violence' or negativity towards ourselves and others is the heart of this practice.  I'm reminded of Masuro Emoto's research on water crystals, specifically the one where he taped "Thank you" to one jar of water and "You fool" to another.  What he saw under the microscope highlights the affect of words/thoughts/energy on water. The water crystals for "Thank you" were like a beautiful snowflake.  The water crystals for "You fool" had no shape and were just a formless mass.  We are made up of 60-70% water, so think of the affect we have on a cellular level on our bodies when we 'beat ourselves up' with our words, thoughts, and beliefs.  The daily meditation quote is a reminder to me of the utmost importance of practicing an attitude of love and compassion towards ourselves, others and all beings.  This is a big part of what keeps us young and enjoying the wonders of each day as the unfold.  How lucky we are to be alive and experiencing it all! 

This is also a reminder to me that no matter what the external landscape is (fear, anger, negativity), it is our responsibility to find ways to meet it with love and compassion for our own wellbeing and for the energy we put out into the world.  We all know what it feels like to have someone's negative reaction to fly at us or fill a room.  We don't want to add to it!  Send that person thoughts of love, healing and peace.  Then move on.  Don't get sucked into another person's darkness as we have enough of our own darkness to manage and shift.  Remember, "Begin Within."

What comes to mind when you read this daily meditation quote?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Process of Change

I have been talking about the process of change often as of late.  Usually when I find myself talking about a topic often, it is a sign that it's something I need to remind myself of and there is a collective need for it.

Change is inevitable.  It's one of the guarantees of life.  (FYI, taxes aren't a guarantee. They are a social construct and there are many places on this earth where there aren't taxes collected.  Most of those are places you probably don't want to live...just saying).  Change and the change process is also something we humans try to control.  Either change is happening that we label as "bad" and don't want, or we want something to change and want it to change NOW!  Usually the result is anger, agitation, anxiety, or depression when we try to make reality fit into what we want.  Really, we all aren't too much further off a two year old mentality when this happens. I laugh when I'm able to see my reaction as a visual of myself on the floor, kicking and screaming.

What I've learned about change:

  1. Again, it's going to happen no matter what.  Change starts on the physical level from the day one little sperm connects with the ovum. It doesn't even end when we die because the physical form continues to decay long after we have left the body.  Our emotions constantly change throughout the day, sometimes within a second.  Our beliefs change.  Just think about childhood stories that we believed until one day we discover that story actually isn't true (think tooth fairy). Or what we believe today most likely isn't going to be exactly the same as in five years.  Look outside and just observe nature, which is constantly changing.  The best thing we can do for ourselves is start to work on ACCEPTANCE that change will happen.
  2. Change is a process.  We have conditioned ourselves to expect things to happen now and happen quickly.  From moving website to website, to ordering something, to accomplishing a task, to getting from point "A" to point "B."  In this conditioning, we have moved further and further from our internal world (where we do have control) to the external world (where we don't have control).  I love the example of pregnancy.  Want a child? You have to go through the process of conceiving, gestation for nine months, and then the birth.  Even adopting a child is a long process.  One doesn't get to decide one wants a baby and then you get one.  There's no way to speed up the birth process.  We accept the process and go with it. We need patience, slowing down to take each day as it comes, and enjoying the small steps that move us in the change process.  When I'm able to do these things, I'm more successful in moving towards the change I desire.
  3. Self-compassion is vital in the change process.  We are human beings, like the other 7 billion humans on this planet currently.  We deserve kindness when we make mistakes.  Being able to send POSITIVE energy towards ourselves and out into the world is going to helps up go towards where we want to go, rather than the negative energy that points our ships to the very things we don't want. When riding a bike, if you look at the rock you want to avoid you will hit it. You want to look to where you want to go. If you had a close friend who had made a mistake, what would you say to them?  Would you say, "You are so stupid.  I can't believe you did that?  You can't do anything right!"  If you did, you probably wouldn't have many friends.  So, why is it okay to say these things to ourselves?  It's not, at all, ever.  Are you helping yourself learn and move forward saying these negative, hurtful words?  What needs to be said to learn and move forward?
  4. Enjoy the change!  How dull life would be if it were exactly the same, day in and day out?  I worked in a jail over the past five years and most people who spend time in jail get to experience this "ground hog day."  They would tell you that it's no way to live.  Whatever the change, it is there as an opportunity to learn and grow, whether it feels positive or challenging.  In fact, the challenging changes are the best kind of change because we get to stretch.  Kind of like an animal that sheds its skin.  When we are faced with a challenge, meet it, work through it and learn something new. It's like we are shedding the old so that we can be in this new 'skin.'  It can be incredibly empowering. 
So when you find yourself getting resistant, agitated or the urge to crawl in a whole when change is occurring, try something different.  Stop, breath, and CHANGE your perception on whatever is happening through self-compassion and see how it feels.  The only thing we have control over changing is ourselves. Seasons will change, mistakes will happen, things will wear out and the way we meet it all is what matters most.