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Just over a week ago I woke to learn that massive fires were burning just 20 miles north of my California home.
(I was so grateful that the fires HADN’T been here 2 weeks earlier, when 24 beautiful women were in town for our Divine Feminine Yoga Retreat! Here’s a photo of these sweet souls whose radiance warms my heart to its core.)
It took a few days for the full import of the nearby fires to sink in…
… that a dear friend had lost her home and all her belongings on the first night of the fire… that a retreat center where I had led Yoga retreats had burned to the ground… that the fire was still 0 percent contained 3 days later… that so many friends, animals, firefighters and relief workers were suffering with exhaustion, displacement, smoke inhalation, and loss.
As the air filled with smoke and as schools and libraries closed and athletic events were cancelled, we could not escape the proximity of these fires.
But really, we are always living in the midst of fire. Whether internal or external, near or far, something is always burning, being destroyed, or transformed. And it is the internal shakti of each of us, that divine flame within, that makes being around our beloveds so powerful!
Take a moment to consider: What fire are you experiencing in this moment? What in your life is being burned, destroyed, or transformed?
In the Vedic tradition, fire is represented by the god Agni, and is a central part of rituals such as marriage or cremation, where we literally leave our old self behind and transition to a new form. There is also the dhuni, a feminine cleft in the ground that holds a sacred flame, where prayers for healing, protection, and renewal are offered. Continue reading
Today marks the beginning of Navaratri, the traditional 9-night celebration of the Divine Feminine in India.
This is a wonderful time to take a new action
or make an inspired commitment to yourself!
(Read below for the inspired action I’m taking…)
Navaratri takes place once during the fall and once during the spring, always when the Moon is waxing. Celebrating Navaratri aligns your energies with the growing light of the Moon during this seasonally-balanced time (not too hot or too cold). In so doing you are connecting with women all over the world who also celebrate feminine power.
Most importantly, by celebrating Navaratri you will be reminded of your own innate Divine Feminine being. This is who you are! A Goddess, brilliant and shining, sometimes waning, sometimes waxing, always whole.
Here are four simple steps to celebrate Navaratri:
*** Find a place to observe the light of the Moon close to your home ~ a nearby field, your bedroom window, or maybe a porch. Make a vow to look at Her (or in Her direction if the night is cloudy) with love at least once per night for the next 9 nights. Allow yourself to be surprised and delighted as she grows and changes (just like you do!). Inwardly cheer her on, receive her growing blessings, and take them into your heart.
*** Bring extra beauty into your life at this time. You might create an altar of fruits and flowers, set up a picture of the Goddess where you can easily see it, or dress a little extra special yourself. The Goddess loves beauty and color, so allow yourself to feel the subtlety, joy and radiance you embody AND see in others. Continue reading
In my late 20s I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. I was constantly getting sick or getting better, unable to go out on the weekends, and barely surviving the work week.
Despite how debilitating this experience was, it turned out to be a great gift in disguise. Chronic fatigue brought me to yoga, and without it, I would likely not be practicing or teaching today!
Similarly, every healing crisis, every flu, cold or extended illness is an opportunity to consider where we have gotten out of balance, lovingly release what isn’t working, and open to entirely new levels of wellness and joy.
Here are 10 steps to survive a healing crisis ~ and to emerge happier and more whole on the other side!
1. Forgive yourself. Everyone gets out of balance sometimes, even the most accomplished of yoginis. No matter how much we aim for good self-care, no one does it perfectly. When we let ourselves off the hook for being human, the healing process can begin.
2. Take a pause. Do you need to take time off from work? Ask someone to watch the kids? Take a mental health day? For many women, the tendency is to put others first ~ our clients, our kids, our work. Reverse this tendency now, and you will become a great model to those around you. And you’ll be able to show up at your best when you DO get back to work!
3. Get expert support for your immediate symptoms. Do you need to see a doctor, an acupuncturist, get a massage, or call the advice nurse? Sometimes a day off is the only way to be seen. Get help to begin to heal. Continue reading
Happy New Moon, and Happy New Year!
It’s raining here in California, and I’m enjoying a quiet day at home.
But so many women I know feel pressure to set New Year’s goals rapidly, to get back to work quickly, to be high performers for themselves, their kids, or their clients.
So I shot a quick video for you about the trouble I see with New Year’s.
Watch video now: Click here.
Nature isn’t pressuring herself to get back into full bloom, and we as women shouldn’t either! Here’s to happy resting, and a long, slow January.
After the election of Donald Trump
We are still free.
We are free to feel our anger, our rage, our tears.
We are free to love our men,
And love our women.
We are free to speak out for the vulnerable,
To protect those we love,
Comfort those in pain,
or living with fear.
Free to be angry at our own
So sure our candidate would win.
Free to question ourselves:
What part of me led to this?
What part of me ignored the pain
Of factory workers losing jobs
To Mexico, or China,
What part of me has not understood
How it feels to be a wounded man
In today’s increasingly feminist world,
Or a white person overwhelmed
By the pace of change?
What part of me thought of Trump supporters
Or those uncomfortable with immigrants,
What part of me has been unable to connect
With young people,
To truly listen to their perspective,
And reach out through their disillusionment?
What part of me went along
With the comedians’ glee
At Donald Trump’s entry into the race
Happy for someone they could mock so easily,
Until another part of me realized
“This isn’t funny any more;
I don’t want to hear any more jokes about this,”
Only it was too late,
Because everyone else had done the same thing,
And the genie was out of the bottle.
Now more than ever, I feel passion to grow,
To be even more disciplined in my practice, my meditation.
To be a light to my sisters, to the world.
My neighbor, whose parents survived the holocaust,
But whose aunts and uncles didn’t,
Tells me she is moving to Canada.
Another told me last week
Of abuses suffered at work
Because she is undocumented.
How is she feeling today, I wonder,
With threats of deportation hanging in the air,
And further abuses looming?
And what of my niece,
My beautiful, 9-year-old, biracial sweetheart?
What do we say to her,
As she watches the first African American president
(her true idol)
Replaced by someone embraced and celebrated
by the leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
I am you and you are me.
I am the immigrant, the Muslim, the child.
I am the one who was mocked,
And the woman who was assaulted.
I am the factory worker who lost his job,
And the woman afraid she may be deported.
I am the disillusioned youth,
And the disaffected citizen,
Who declines to vote.
And so I recommit to my practice,
I recommit to love.
I will become a brighter light,
I look to others who have been that light in the darkness,
Who have suffered hatred, and abuse,
For so much longer than any of us could imagine,
All with equanimity,
Without hating in return.
The Dalai Lama.
And so many, many more.
These will be our heroes this year,
These will be our true leaders.
I want to read their stories,
To live 1/100th of their light.
Let us be that candle, be that light.
Let us shine more brightly than ever before.
Because today, I am still free,
Free to be light, be love, be courage.
Free to have the best year of my life.
~ Yogeshwari Laura Cornell
Please pass it along! Namaste. <3
Happy New Moon! I wanted to send a quick note and two resources before I head into a spiritual retreat week.
This Sunday, October 30, is Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, and it also marks just 9 days before the U.S. elections.
We have had such a difficult election season, fraught with revelations of injustices and unkindness from leaders that have been deeply troubling on all levels. I believe that now, more than ever, as Yoga practitioners and as women committed to the Divine Feminine, we are needed as beings of light. We are needed in our love, our truth telling, and our kindness.
Whatever happens in this election, we will need to continue to be vigilant, watching over difficult world transitions with a degree of emotional detachment that comes from a wise spiritual practice, but also engaging with and participating in our world powerfully as it goes through birthing pains towards greater consciousness. Growth is never easy, and our planet is definitely in an evolutionary process. Continue reading
Expertitis is the self-doubt that comes from being exposed to too many experts, and not enough time connecting with and affirming one’s own voice. I find that many yoga teachers end up comparing themselves to the experts, and then judging themselves as not good enough. Especially as women, we are so prone to doubting ourselves. This is an area worth examining again and again.
Here’s how expertitis can show up… (And believe me, what comes next isn’t an exhaustive list. There are so many more forms!)
In newer teachers it can look like anxious nail-biting ~ you wonder if you even really know enough to help your students. When you don’t trust your own experience and how yoga has helped you in your own body, it can feel like there’s nothing to teach.
In experienced teachers, it can show up as playing it safe ~ only teaching exactly the way you were taught, or staying too tightly within your comfort zone. This means you’re afraid to claim your own space as an expert on your life, your body, your yoga!
It can show up as confusion about next steps and future programs to offer, because when you subtly devalue yourself, it’s hard to get clear on the potential power you have within.
It can show up as fear of taking a leap, or fear of letting go of a class or program that’s been working for a while, but has grown stale and outdated.
Yes, there IS a lot to know about Yoga. And yes, there ARE experts who have spent their whole lives studying it. How wonderful that we have them as resources — through the books they write, the speeches they give, texts they translate, YouTube, teleseminars, and in-person training and workshops. It’s truly revolutionary that this information is available to so many today.
But ultimately, Yoga isn’t in somebody else’s head. It’s in YOUR body. It’s in YOUR connection with the cosmic source, universal intelligence and creative presence that is love and bliss itself. This is who YOU are!
Yoga is about becoming a rishi, a wise woman who can hear the thoughts of the cosmos. It’s about joy and vibratory power.
And ultimately, nobody else is the expert on you. Nobody else has lived the life you’ve lived, gone through the trials and challenges you have, or seen what you’ve seen. Nobody else has lived through your messes and learned to clean them up.
If you’re a teacher, all that you have to teach is your own lived experience, what you know to be true in your body-mind-heart. Yes, you can deepen that experience through training and study, but ultimately, if that training doesn’t increase your confidence in your own authentic voice, you will have no more to give your students than you had before you started!
To find your voice ~ whether a practitioner or a teacher, start by asking these questions:
- What are my passions?
- What healing have I experienced through Yoga?
- What do I know to be true?
- What authenticity of my body and life comes to me in meditation?
- How does my body feel when I practice?
- What words and inspirations arise for me when I speak about Yoga?
This is the scripture of your life, the texts you embody, the truth you know. This is the path to recovery from “expertitis!”
Let yourself rest in the truth that flows in and through you. Rest in a state of ease, knowing you have the support of the cosmos in every moment. This is a gift of deep repose and relaxation you give yourself, and a gift you give to all beings.
Connect with me on Facebook and let me know what this article did for you….
Do you know the story of Rakhi Day, an ancient Yogic celebration? Would you like to spread greater peace, harmony and unity in your community?
I shot a quick video to share how you can reach across divides of gender, religion, and color to build bridges instead of walls between people.
Watch now, then share this story with your friends, your yoga classes, or on FB. We could all use a little more love! Click here.
Happy Rakhi Day, and let’s spread unity!
I had the immense pleasure of spending last week at the beach with a group of amazing clients ~ yoga teachers, studio owners, and other healing professionals ~ all doing great work in the world. I love these women!
On the final day, one of our clients spoke of “GoddessMind,” suggesting I rename the powerful circle of women gathered a “GoddessMind Day” instead of a “MasterMind Day.” I agreed!
This got me thinking, and I shot a video in response:
What does it mean to YOU to hear the voice of the Goddess? How do you know when you’ve heard Her? And how do you draw her wisdom into your heart?
I’d love to hear your responses. Watch this video here, then let me know what you think on Facebook.
Happy New Moon everybody! Enjoy. 🙂
We’re in the middle of Vasant Navaratri ~ the nine-night spring festival dedicated to the Divine Mother.
I love this celebration, reminding me to slow down and literally smell the flowers, savoring the beauty of nature and the sacred in my life.
I shot a quick video to explain the meaning of Vasant Navaratri and to show how you can celebrate it through your yoga practice ~ or in the classes you teach.
This celebration reminds me of the power of life, beauty, gratitude, and honoring even those “ugly” or strange looking parts of myself. There’s a story about this in the video you don’t want to miss.
(Want to see the roses in my backyard? Watch to the end of the video for a peek 🙂
Remembering the power of the Goddess is a truly divine practice. Watch this video to the end ~ then click on the link below to learn more about the Sacred Business Woman Retreat.
Learn more about the Sacred Business Woman Retreat: Click here.