Charlotte Today: Benefits of Journaling

Charlotte Today: Benefits of Journaling

It was such fun to be on Charlotte Today and talk about the benefits of journaling and Gratitude Practices with Colleen and Eugene! Click here to view the video! Writing has always been my favorite tool for self expression.  I find that it helps me process my emotions, worries, stresses, hopes, and dreams. I turn to it daily. My entry could take the form of a poem, be pages and pages of scribbles or even a “to do” list (I write those in my journal to keep me accountable). Journaling at its most basic level is record keeping – it documents your life from the most banal to the most sublime, it creates order, it shows patterns, it keeps you honest with yourself. Journaling is a powerful tool of self-discovery I hope you undertake to do it JOYFULLY! Here are some tips to get you started! 1. Keep a book with you at all times (I have one in my purse, a large format journal by my bed, a daily calendar on my desk). Use digital tools – record yourself or create a private blog. 2. Write from the HEART – no need to be neat or have perfect spelling! Let go of the need for your journaling practice to have a specific format. 3. Remember to Add a date (or buy books that are dated). 4. State something that you are grateful for at the end of your entry. Even one word will do. 5. Journal from the notion of practicing because when we practice we don’t have to be perfect. So let it all OUT and WRITE...
The bitter and the sweet

The bitter and the sweet

I have loved the word bittersweet since I first encountered it. I find that it describes the ebb and flow of life – also known as the flipping roller coaster of life –  perfectly.  So bitter that it bites. So sweet that it is like the first taste of nectar on the tip of your tongue. Life is more often than not a balance of opposites. Laughter through tears is something that I have experienced more times than I can count. So many feelings. Like a friend said to me once: “Brianna, you have feelings about your feelings.” July started with a beautiful bang. A book tour the length of the Maine Coast with workshops, readings and signings. My husband and I having downtime in between. My beautiful dog in her favorite place. My parents. My healing house. All good things. Delicious things really. But then life tilted and my ground shifted. In the very midst of all this beauty, joy and gratitude I had to put my beloved Shanti-dog down.  One minute soaring, the next on my knees. I will write more about my Shanti-girl at a later point. She deserves her very own post but, I know you hear me when I say: its all too close right now. My grief is too heavy on me to really do her powerful being justice. This post is about the choice I had to make about my own behavior. It is always a choice and it is mine alone to make. Two options were clearly in front of me when this drama/trauma started. I could have either gone kicking...
How Yoga has the power to change you

How Yoga has the power to change you

My favorite healing story about Yoga didn’t happen to me or one of my students, it happened to a guard assigned to me at The Baltimore Museum of Art where I ran an in-gallery yoga program.  Over the course of 8 years I taught in every part of the BMA’s beautiful collections.  My yoga rooms there were filled with priceless art – Botticelli, Warhol, Calder, Degas, Matisse – and because of the art a guard was assigned to observe the classes in order to make sure no one damaged an object. I went through three guards at first. They weren’t the right fit. The women (who made up the majority of classes) were uncomfortable with being watched. I mean who can really blame them?  It was the fourth guard, who I am going to call Melinda, that was the right fit and we worked together for the remaining years of the program. Thing was though Melinda wasn’t really having a great time at the BMA.  In fact at the time she was struggling with coworkers and attitudes and the culture in general. But I liked her and she liked me and most importantly my students were comfortable with her watching them in order to protect the art.  I asked that she be assigned to the class permanently and lucky for both of us, she was. Years rolled by. Many, many classes later I noticed that Melinda started to do some of the movements when we were standing – in her guard’s uniform, shoes on, walkie-talkie and all. That she held her belly and breathed deep when we did. That...
Create a Retreat for Yourself

Create a Retreat for Yourself

Going on a retreat can do wonders for your spirit. There is something powerful about all that space and time dedicated to one’s practice that creates a depth to the work. When I think of retreating, I think of turning inwards, time for silence, simple food, flowing through postures, my breath moving in and out, sunlight, salt water, and lavender scented sheets. Retreat isn’t just one thing – it is a layering of many small things to create an environment infused with healing. Sadly, retreats are not cheap and while I understand the reason for it, it makes it awfully cost prohibitive for the typical yogi to experience. Although I have been lucky enough to go on several extended retreats – they are far and few between. About ten years ago I started creating retreat days for myself and now I do them monthly, usually over a weekend. On those days, I retreat from my typical activities of hustle and bustle and choose to immerse myself in my practice. I eat simply, I rest and I create an environment of healing in my own home. These days have become a touchstone and an important anchor to my practice. To prepare: Clear your calendar for the day/weekend/week that you choose to retreat. Clean Your House. Clean sheets. Clean Tub. Dishes done. Groceries (stock-up on simple and nutritious food) Create a schedule of several classes or workshops – building yourself a full day immersion (sometimes all at one studio, sometimes at several studios) Arrange flowers and create a space of healing for your beautiful self – even if it is just...
Farmer’s Market Duck-Egg Drop Soup

Farmer’s Market Duck-Egg Drop Soup

There is a great Farmer’s Market in my little town.  I go every time its open, even through the winter months, because at the very least I like to buy my eggs there. I believe that happy birds produce better tasting eggs.  Don’t believe me? Run a personal taste test for yourself with a small-farm fresh egg vs. one produced in a large-commercial-farm, then make up your own mind. Today is a blustery day here which is abnormal for May in the south.  Having just come back from a 48-hour whirlwind visit to NYC where I walked 22 miles, visited with friends and squeezed in four yoga classes, it was the perfect Saturday to be completely cozy and do some self-care. I wore extra layers and laid around in the hammock, took a nap and made some yummy Duck-egg drop soup with ingredients I bought this morning from local farmers – all of us in the sunshine. Egg Drop Soup has just been put into permanent rotation.  In my younger years I ate it a lot from Chinese Take Away but in my lifestyle – where food is medicine – it had never once occurred to me to make it. Recently I had a craving for it, read a few recipes on the Pinterest and went for it. Not only was it DELICIOUS but it is simple, forgiving (meaning lots of ingredient options) and quick – less than 30 minutes quick. Duck-Egg Drop Soup 4 Duck Eggs whisked (or 6 Chicken Eggs) 4 cups Veggie Stock (homemade is best but store bought is just fine. You can also use...