provides support and clarification for stressed or stuck capable conscientious types to gain confidence and connection to Self.

Christmas Yoga


Patanjali, author of the classic yoga text, ‘The Yoga Sutras’ says in chapter 2 v.1 that yoga, in the form of action, has 3 parts:

         1. Training and purifying the senses
         2. Study of the scriptures
         3. Devotion to Divine guidance in our lives

   To that end, and in the Spirit of the Season I offer this yoga practice, “Asanas and the Scriptures”.  We begin.


Centering:
Crocodile pose:  Let go of the day
                          Turn your attention inward
                          Focus on breath and body with awareness


Eyes: A new way of seeing
    Roll on the your backside, resting however is comfortable for you.
    You may gently place your palms over your eyes, or not.
    We are going to do eye stretches that release strain in the muscles of  our eyes, stain that may come from being too outwardly focused, or from habitual ways of looking at the world or ourselves. Let us open the flow of energy to the eyes to help us undo the way we have always seen, and see the Christ born this Christmas.
    
             Roll the eyes up, to look over the top of the head
             Roll the eyes down to look below the chin
             Move the eyes to the right, looking behind the right ear.
             Move the eyes to the left, looking behind the left ear.

    We will continue gently stretching the eyes because we see way too much violence, pain and suffering which can cause our focus to become skewed so that all we notice is the problems, the imperfections, the negative. Let us retain our eyes to see the Christ born this Christmas.


              Move eyes up to far right, then down to far left; repeat 3 times
              Move eyes  up to far left, then down right; repeat 3 times
              Move eyes in clock ward direction,  pausing at  12, 3, 6, 9
              Move eyes in counter clock wise direction pausing at 12, 9,6,93.

     Take a few gentle cleansing breaths allowing the breath to nourish the tissues of your eyes.


Dedication of Practice:

Come to cross legged sitting position, left leg in front.
With hands on thighs, drop right ear to right shoulder.
Let right hand rest on the floor, and slide  right the arm out to the side.
Next place the left hand on the outside of the bent right knee and twist, lifting the spine, placing the right hand behind.
Now raise the right arm overhead, turning slightly to look in and up at the  inner arm, palm facing the floor.
Place the right hand on the left shoulder, the left hand on the right shoulder, in a hug of yourself.
Bow your head. Take a moment to dedicate this practice today to Peace.

Change legs, so right leg is in front position.
With hands on thighs, drop left ear to left shoulder.
Let the left hand rest on the floor, and slide the left arm out to the side.
Next place the right hand on the outside of the bent left knee and twist, lifting the spine, placing the left hand behind.
Now raise the left arm overhead, turning slightly to look in and up at the inner arm, palm facing the floor.
Place the left hand on the right shoulder, the right hand on the left shoulder, in a hug of yourself.
Bow your head. Take a moment to choose to whom you would like to dedicate this practice today.


The Christ Child:

   Lying on your back, inhale the arms overhead doing a wake up stretch, waking up to the Christ

   With bent knees, circle out the legs in ‘Rock around the clock‘.
    Hug one knee to chest, then the other.
    Happy baby pose
    Hug a baby pose
    Child’s pose listening to Isaiah 9:6-7a

          For to us a child is born,
            To us a son is given;
         And the government will be upon his shoulder,
            And his name will be called
        ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’
            Of the increase of his government and of peace
              There will be no end.


The Pigeon ( Dove)

Windshield wiper legs to simple twist.
Move into pigeon/ revolved pigeon

                    “I said the pigeon(dove) from the rafters high
                      I cooed him to sleep so he would not cry
                      We cooed him so sleep, my mate and I
                      I said the pigeon, from the rafters high.”

Repeat on other side

                      “Thus every beast, by some good spell
                        In the stable rude was glad to tell
                        Of the gift he gave, Emanuel
                        The gift he gave Emanuel.”




 The Kings

      Camel Pose
       Puppy pose, as kings knelt, offering their gifts and hearts. The formal name of the puppy pose means ‘heart melting’; Let us open our hearts to the Christ.

The Mighty Gates

     Gate Pose

              “ Lift up your heads Ye mighty gates, behold the king of glory waits.
                The King of Kings is drawing near; the Savior of the world is here.

                 Fling wide the portals of your heart, make it a temple set apart
                 From earthly use, for heaven’s employ;
                 Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

                 Redeemer, come! I open wide my heart to thee;
                 Here Lord, abide!
                 Let me in thy inner presence feel;
                 Thy grace and love in me reveal.

                 So come, my Sovereign; enter in!
                 Let new and nobler life begin;
                 Thy Holy Spirit guide us on,
                 Until the glorious crown be won.” Amen

Mountain pose with three deep breaths, using the arms

Christmas Tree

    The tree pose!

Peace Prayer

    Forward bend with the reading of Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

      Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.
      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      Where there is injury, pardon;
      Where there is doubt, faith;
      Where there is despair, hope;
      Where there is darkness, light;
      Where there is sadness, joy.

      O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
      To be consoled, as to console;
      To be understood, as to understand;
      To be loved, as to love.

      For it is in giving, that we receive;
     It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned;
     And it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.


Final Relaxation:

     Even out the breath with count, letting the inhale/exhale be the same number; relax completely, letting the floor hold you up, release any tensions or tightness.

Hear the story from the Gospel of Luke: 2:1-20

 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.

 This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.

 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child;
 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

   Amen!






                
















                










I believe in silence.


I am grateful for quiet, as it often goes hand in hand with what my mother paired it with, when after ‘too much’ of 4 rambunctious children she would declare, “ I need some peace and quiet!”  Outside we were sent, and though I was not seeking quietude I would find it sitting on the limb of a tree I had climbed. Amidst the leaves, feeling nearer to the clouds, not intending or thinking about anything other than the joy of being in the tree, I would feel almost as if I were the tree.
    I knew it in the swing our neighbor, Mr. Mongold carved out of an old tire, hung from a high branch that made for this perfect wide expansive quality of  movement, which made me feel free, light, tranquil with only the backdrop of an almost noiseless small town.
    My childhood invited, encouraged, made space for this. To stop ‘constructive’ living, and do nothing but be present to, listen to ‘silence-filled’ moments.
    Adulthood, on the other hand, seemed to frown upon this. It prided productive, profitable, accomplishing, which frankly I took to just fine as my natural style is more active, a  completed ‘to do’ list , and usually thinking of what else needs to be done. As I strove to make a life, it was fairly easy for me to loose sight of my childhood practice of hearing the inner music of my heartbeat, my breath, my sighs, of listening to  birds, the rustling of the wind, or soundless clouds.
    It became apparent, however,  that a ramped up externally stimulated busy life fueled by stimulants was not serving me well. I felt hollow inside. Now don’t get me wrong, I had many rich opportunities, and significant  achievements. But without nourishment of my soul, I felt internal hunger.
    In our revved up world, where everyday life is invaded by technology, I believe it is imperative that I defend my need for peace and quiet. In a time where I fear we have mistaken outer stimulation for spiritual intensity, I stand firm for silence. When I look around and see so many feeling so spent I, like my mother  think, ‘lets all go outside and get some peace and quiet’.
    For it is in the pause, the deep breath, a moment of letting go, of doing nothing ’productive’ that I shift to a deeper inner reality which I believe is the source of inspiration, solutions, self awareness, fulfillment, and tranquility.
    Thus daily, I stop. Stop everything I am doing, engaged with, and deliberately, consciously assume a quiet, receptive, listening state with no agenda, no music, no cell phone, no external connections. It is a practice, a commitment, a kind of naked vulnerability, which nourishes my soul with the food that feeds it: silence. The nourishment that grows me, and helps me digest the experience of life.
    Ironically, I find a brief hush actually often allows me to work smarter, not harder, for I will find a new idea, an inspiration, a creative twist for how to do something better when I let it go, even for a few moments, or  I take a step back from it all.
    In the quiet, sometimes I encounter my mind sifting through my problems, and struggles. If so, I naturally allow myself to turn them in the direction of God.  In the comfort and presence of Spirit I seek guidance. In this silence, which allows the larger Reality to enter into my awareness, I allow myself to receive instruction.  The silence helps me to bring myself into contact with a world beyond me.
     I believe in silence. Like air, water, and food, I believe it is a basic human need.  For me, I believe the way out of the stresses, strains, and struggles of these times is quiet.



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Good until May 31. 2015




Don't Believe Everything Your Mind Thinks


   It has been a hard year. 
   My coaching perspective and skills have served me well, which made me ponder how beneficial it would be for all of us to know some coaching basics.
   Let me share one with you called, 'spreading of alternatives'
Stress easily creates a feeling of being stuck. It is as if overwhelm freezes us in an attempt to stop the feeling of being overloaded. Compounding this problem, the brain then tends to do what we tell it not to do when in a state of stress overwhelm. You know, you tell yourself, 'don't eat the bowl of ice cream', and then it is the very thing you end up doing because the brain isn't hearing don't.
   Spread the alternatives. Have a conversation with yourself. Lay out the alternatives, ideas, solutions, the things your could/want to do. Have a detailed conversation on paper, or as an active internal dialogue. Argue, make a case for, challenge all the thoughts, justifications, 'what ifs' that are keeping you stuck, worried, or uncertain. Do it with gracious truthfulness that acknowledges feelings, but confront resistant so as to discover/uncover why you can, and what is a better way.
   Do you believe everything someone else says or tells you? I hope not. So why would you believe everything your brain tells you? Everything needs clarification, discernment, a fact check.
   This is what good coaches do all the time. They remind their 'players' of what they want, what they can do, why they are doing it, and how to do it better. They move them beyond feelings of fear, and 'I can't'.
   For each and every obstacle that comes up have a 'spreading the alternatives' conversation, and win it!


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Think Out From

    Filled with colorful ‘to do’ sticky notes, the homemade black board’s silver lettered title read, “Iona’s stress board”. This fun adornment in her homey kitchen caught my attention the minute my eyes glanced at it.

    After a  cup of tea and catch up conversation about each others lives, I complemented Iona on her cute ‘stress board’, but then enthusiastically suggested she change the title.

    “What do you mean,” she inquired.
   
    “Think about it,” I replied. “How many times a day are you telling yourself that you are stressed? Do you really want to drill that perception of yourself so deeply into your mind?”

     I then suggested she call it something like: Iona’s got it board, or Iona’s on top of things board, or Iona’s handling it board.

    A flash of insightful recognition came to her face. She rushed over to a nearby drawer, drew out an eraser and silver marker, and quickly re-named it, “Iona’s got it board”.

    “Thank you,” she said. “I’ve got it!”


    It is so easy to think of ourselves and the stuff of our lives in negative terms because what we are dealing with often feels negative, stressful, difficult, and or frustrating.

    A corrective caution: don’t let problems slip into being the basis or definition of life.

    Life’s foundation is a spiritual reality of goodness. So let us remember to think out from that. Doing so can allow us to frame and re-frame to a positive, can-do perspective.
We can think of ourselves at ‘got it’ gals rather than ‘stressed out moms’.

    Good roots in good soil yield beautiful flowerings.




March Special:one life coach session with Colleen $30.00.  
       Purchase by March 31st; no expiration date on use.

   

   

“Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative”

  
    Whenever I engaged in one of those personal growth activities that entailed recalling early memories, negative experiences often first came to my mind. It always baffled me as I didn’t think of myself as having had a bad childhood.

    Why was it that times of disappointment, getting into trouble, or being frightened were at the front of the line? What is the reason for this easy focus on the negative, of being keenly aware of what we are not, for guilt or shame to be the loudest voice in our heads, for discouragement to take over?

    I don’t know.

    Regardless of the reason, one thing my study of life coaching and years of ministry have taught me is the vital importance of deliberate focus on the positive.

    Be it
        • Expectant prayer that Jesus taught. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark11:24

        •  Afformations. Check out Noah St John’s book, “The Book Of Afformations: Discovering the Missing Piece to Abundant Health, Wealth, Love, and Happiness”

        • Crafting ‘Perfect Life Elements’ as designed by Thomas Leonard, the ‘father’ of life coaching in his perfect life program.

        • Writing down one’s Definite Major Purpose as taught by Napoleon Hill in his classic text, “Think and Grow Rich“.

              the principle is the same: clearly know, articulate, express, and focus on the good you are, and that you want for yourself and others.

    It is a discipline. It is to take control of one’s thoughts, rather than let them run in default mode of all the things wrong with you, your life, or the world.

    It has taken me years of practice with various techniques and strategies to make progress on this internal, often unconscious stuff. I would love to share my favorites with you in a coaching session to help you start the new year off right!



New Year Coaching Special: 
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    Colleen for $30.00 
              Must purchase and use by January 15, 2014 so 
            email or call today!

   

   

Have a Hunch

My mother never taught me about intuition. She made a passing reference to it once when my best friend and I were pressing her and my friend’s mother to answer our burning question of how we were to know the right person to marry. “Oh you just know” was their answer.

    My daughter Claire has been exploring intuition lately. We have had several conversations, she has read many books, and I've  encourage her to practice her inner listening, trusting, and knowing. It is an education I had to come by slowly on my own, not easily.

    A technique I have been sharing with Claire is this: instead of focusing on fear/anxiety, let yourself be intuitive. When and if she feels fear, I encourage her to lean into it by trusting that she will know exactly what to do about the fear. It may mean to leave some place immediately, to study more for an exam, to go here, do this, not say that, etc.

    We tend to be paralyzed by fear, or to dismiss it thinking it is silly, that we shouldn’t be feeling it, often pushing it aside.

    If we learn that the sixth sense is a valuable legitimate way of know, we can utilize it in all situations: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Intuition is often the basis of  creative breakthroughs, discoveries, or transformations. Einstein put it this way, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

    Just like we don’t master math, writing, or tennis skills by wanting them, neither do we master intuitive skills by wanting them. They have to be studied, practiced, honed. There will be mistakes, wrong answers, a learning curve, just like in Algebra class. It is as Claire smilingly quotes her 9th grade horticulture teacher, “Kill a thousand plants and you become a good horticulturist, and I think I am almost there.”

    I invite you to delve into the world of knowing from the inside. Read about it (one of Claire’s favorite books: ‘The Gift of Fear’ by Gavin De Becker) practice it, and celebrate your wins when you follow your hunches, respond to your quick ready insights, inklings, and instincts!

Last Summer Special: 
A one hour coaching session with Colleen: $25.00 
Expires August 31, 2013. Email or call to take advantage of this special.