Beach Therapy 🌊

“All of us have in our veins the same exact percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean.” ~ John F. Kennedy

There is much we can learn from the ocean as we have a similar inner landscape within us as well.

Like us, the sea is ever-changing. And, like us, the earth’s vast oceans appear at a distance to be stable and homogenous. But beneath the mask of solidity that both we and the sea wear, there lies unpredictability, sensitivity, and power. There is much we can learn from the ocean, representative as it is of our inner landscapes. The rough sounds of the sea’s waves are spiritually soothing, and its salt can purify our physical selves. Yet not everyone has the luxury of living by the shore or even visiting the coastlines where water and land meet. The ocean, however, exists in our conscious minds, put there by images we have seen and descriptions we have read. Wherever we are, we can access that mental image and use it as the starting point from which we can help to heal our emotions by meditating on the sea.

To begin, gather together any ocean artifacts you may have on hand. Seashells, a vial of sand, beach glass, stones rubbed smooth by the pounding surf, or a recording of ocean sounds can help you slip more deeply into this meditation, but they are not necessary. Sit quietly and visualize the ocean in your mind’s eye. Allow all of your senses to participate in your mental journey. Feel the tiny grains of sand beneath your feet and the cool spray of mist. Hear the sea’s rhythmic roar as the waves meet the beach and retreat. Smell the tang of salt in the air. Watch the sun’s rays play over the ocean’s surface, creating shifting spots of teal, cerulean, cobalt, and green. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins or whales frolicking in the waves — they are there to assist you. Spend a few minutes drinking in the ocean’s beauty and appreciating its vast splendor.

Once you are fully engaged with the setting before you, visualize yourself sitting on the beach, facing the ocean, and watching the waves advance and retreat. As each new wave of seawater approaches, imagine it carrying healing energy toward you. Just as the ocean’s tides sweep the shores free of detritus [debris], restoring balance, so can the waves in our mind’s eye cleanse our souls of what no longer serves us. ~ Waves of Healing, by Madisyn Taylor

Our intention for this week is to feel more peaceful, centered, light, and carefree — renewed in our body, mind, and spirit — as if we have spent the day at a beautiful beach. In Yoga Nidra we practice the fifth limb of yoga, PRATYAHARA, which means sense withdrawal. It is the ability to turn our attention inward, so we are focusing on our center, internalizing the benefits of our yoga practice. It can also be described as drawing the senses closer internally. Feeling our senses, observing them, and gazing at the mystery of everything inside ourselves — with love and compassion — rather than with lack and judgement. As we touch that open presence, we touch our deepest source of strength, and are renewed.

What helps you feel peaceful, renewed, and balanced? 

Make this a priority, and create a personal intention around this idea. 

Cease striving, and know ALL things are working together for good. Allow yourself to trust, have faith, and fully let go of stress, tension, and anxiety. Everything is happening exactly as it is supposed to, with hidden blessings you will soon understand. 


Imagery Script: The Beach

For a few moments allow yourself to take several nice, long, deep breaths. Notice the cool air coming in, filling your lungs, and the soothing warm air going out. Just let all your thoughts float away as you bring your attention to your breathing… in and out.

You might mentally scan your body and notice if you’re holding any tension in your muscles. If you are, just gently let all that tension melt away with every out breath. Bring your attention to your breathing, in and out… in and out… let yourself feel more and more comfortable right where you are.

In your mind’s eye you see yourself descending down a long, narrow, wooden stairway towards a beautiful, inviting beach. Your bare feet feel the rough weathered steps, and with each step, you feel more and more tension gently melting away from your body.

As you continue down the stairway, you notice how the bright white sand stretches down the shoreline as far as you can see. The ocean is a deep shade of blue with the fine white crests of the waves sweeping towards the shore. You reach the end of the stairway and step down, sinking into the warm soothing sand. As you rub the sand lightly between your toes, a soothing sensation of relaxation gently melts through your entire body. The roaring sounds of the sea’s surf, the waves crashing over each other, calms your mind and allows you to feel even more relaxed.

You begin walking slowly towards the edge of the water and notice the warm sun on your face and shoulders. The salty smell of the sea air invigorates you, and you take in a deep breath… breathe slowly out… and feel more relaxed and refreshed. Finally, you reach the water’s edge and you gladly invite the waves to flow over your toes and ankles. You watch the waves glide smoothly towards you, gently sweeping around your feet, and the trails of sea water that flow slowly back out again. The cool water feels soft and comforting as you enjoy a few moments allowing yourself to gaze out on the far reaching horizon. Overhead, you notice two seagulls gracefully soaring high above the ocean waters, and you can hear their soft cries becoming faint as they glide away. And all of these sights, sounds, and sensations allow you to let go and relax more and more.

After a moment, you begin strolling down the beach at the water’s edge. You feel a cool gentle breeze pressing lightly against your back, and with every step you feel yourself relaxing more and more. As you walk down the beach you notice the details of sights and sounds around you, and soothing sensations of the sun, the breeze, and the sand below your feet.

As you continue your leisurely walk down the beach, you notice a colorful beach chair resting in a nice peaceful spot where the powdery soft sand lies undisturbed. You approach this comfortable looking beach chair, then you sit down, lie back, and settle in. No one to be. Nothing to do.

Your heart, soul, and intuition are illuminated…
The sun (Son) reflects deep truths…
Listen now to the messages within…

Whole-heartedly trust this inner guidance. 
Be encouraged and inspired.

You take in a long deep breath, breathe slowly out, and feel even more relaxed and comfortable resting in your chair. For a few moments more, let yourself enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful day on the beach. And, when you feel ready, you can gently bring your attention back to the room, still letting yourself feel nice and comfortable right where you are. 

(Adapted from American Holistic Nurses Association: Guided Imagery)


Heaven by C. JoyBell C.

The sun has an ocean.
An ocean so deep, vast and blue.
And on these eternal waters I float.
And while I float, I can hear the seagulls nearby.
Heaven has come down to earth for me.


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Walking Meditation

There goes my crazy wife
With her cinnamon eyes
And her simple life

On a sunny day she’d rather
     walk than ride
With her hair pulled up
And her lengthy stride

The clouds of the north
And the clouds of the south
Are separated by her
     seldom ceasing smile

Her heart beats slow and steady
Pumping praises to her
     Prince of Peace

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Intercede Jesus, Jesus
Plant a seed Jesus”

She tears for the searching souls
     that surround her
She walks on her knees


My husband wrote this sweet poem during our early married years. Walking was my moving meditation and prayer time, connecting me to nature and the Divine. Many years later, yoga opened my heart wide open and became my favorite form of moving meditation and connection! ❤️ Urban trekking, desert hiking, and downward dog-ing are all amazing ways to tune into Spirit, discern truth, heed wisdom, and fully integrate body, mind, and soul.

❤︎ What do YOU need today?

❤︎ Are you seeking wisdom, or direction, or an answer to a deep seeded question? 

❤︎ Is there something you would like to release, creating space for the new?

Walking Meditation Instructions by Tara Brach

Meditation is a practice of presence that you can bring alive in all settings and activities. The formal training in walking meditation can be particularly valuable for helping you to cultivate an awareness of your embodied experience in each moment, allowing you to bring your body, heart, and mind together as you move through life.
Begin by choosing a place – an indoor or outside walking path about 10-30 paces long. Start by standing still and sensing the weight of your body at your feet, feeling your muscles supporting and stabilizing you. Your hands can be in whatever position is most comfortable – resting easily at your sides, folded gently in front of you, or at your back. In the stillness, remain relaxed and alert.
As you begin walking, start at a slower pace than usual, paying particular attention to the sensations in your feet and legs: heaviness, lightness, pressure, tingling, energy, even pain if it’s present. For the walking practice, this play of sensations – rather than the breath or another anchor – is often the home base for our attention.
Be mindful of the sensations of lifting your feet and of placing them back down on the floor or earth. Sense each step fully as you walk in a relaxed and natural way to the end of your chosen path. When you arrive, stop and pause for a moment. Feel your whole body standing, allowing all your senses be awake, then slowly and mindfully – with intention – turn to face in the other direction. Before you begin walking, pause again to collect and center yourself. If it helps, you can even close your eyes during these standing pauses, often called “standing meditation.”
As you’re walking, it’s quite natural for your mind to wander. Whenever it does, you might mentally pause, perhaps noting inwardly the fact of thinking, or even where your mind went: planning, worrying, fantasizing, judging. Then, gently return your attention to the sensations of the next step. No matter how long you’ve spent lost in thought, you can always arrive right here, bringing presence and care to the moment-to-moment sensations of walking.
During the walking period you might alter your pace, seeking a speed that allows you to be most mindful of your experience. In this way, you’ll move back and forth on your pathway, discovering that you are not really going anywhere, but are arriving again and again in the aliveness that is right here.

Reflection & Insight:
How did this experience feel in the body? Sensations? Body temperature? What happened in the mind? Did thoughts arise from the past, present, or future? Were you planning, worrying, fantasizing, or judging? How did this meditation feel in your spirit? Write down any insights, any information received.


“The LABYRINTH is receiving an amazing amount of attention, because walking the calming, circuitous path addresses many psycho-spiritual needs. Whoever you are, walking the labyrinth has something to offer. If a project is challenging you, walking can get your creative juices flowing. When struggling with grief or anger, or a physical challenge or illness, walking the labyrinth can point the way to healing and wholeness. If you’re looking for a way to meditate or pray that engages your body as well as your soul, the labyrinth provides such a path. When you just want reflective time away from a busy life, the labyrinth can offer you time out.” ~ Melissa Gayle West, Exploring The Labyrinth

Find a labyrinth near you! 😊 labyrinthlocator.com

Whenever you are at, be all there. ~ Jim Elliot

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OMM FOR ALL 🙏🏻

My beautiful friend and fellow yoga teacher, Melissa McConaghy, recently interviewed me for her new podcast OMM FOR ALL. 🙏🏻 Enjoy learning more about me and other amazing yoga teachers, including my retreat partner, Hanan Palz. In Heather: Love, Serve, inspire I share about who I am, what inspires me most, and when in my journey I experienced rock bottom. May we all continue to love, serve, and inspire through our unique stories! ❤️

Annie- Your Yogi Chef OMM for ALL Podcast

Annie’s interview is perfect for the first day of Fall! She’s been cooking up a beautiful vegan storm, all featured on her Instagram, and I think you’ll find she’s also a sweet and clever Yogi. Follow her gorgeous Instagram. @youryogichef — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. Annie- Your Yogi Chef
  2. Tiffany – The Fat Yogi Show
  3. Mindful Mini 3
  4. Anacani- Phat Mermaids
  5. Rosa- Smart Yogi

Simplify

Today we practice SIMPLIFYING — looking at our daily life, our priorities, possessions, activities, commitments, habits, thoughts and actions — and taking the time to reevaluate, gracefully letting go of what no longer serves us and establishing new intentions. When we simplify, we release unwanted expectations and stress and open up to increased freedom, joy, and inner peace. As Steve Maraboli states, “The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.” What, where and how can you simplify? What would make your life lighter and easier? What can you get rid of? Where can you make adjustments to allow for more breathing room?

Take a minute to personally reflect.

Here are 3 practical tips to help prioritize and simplify: 

Look for soul stops. Even on your busiest days, set aside several 5 minute breaks to pause, tune-in, pray, and meditate. This helps redirect thoughts, feelings, and actions — even in the midst of the craziest schedule. Try bookending your day with longer spirit-filling stops.

Be keenly aware. Ask God to get your attention. Look for Divine appointments — a text from a friend at just the right time, a song that speaks directly to your heart, a random opportunity to help someone, a funny situation that turns your day around for the best.

Set limits. Pick a time your distractions begin, and tell them when they end. During those hours, do the phone thing, and computer thing, and every other thing you pour your soul into, but when that time comes to an end, shut it down. Disconnect to connect personally and spiritually.

How will these changes add to your freedom, joy, and inner peace?

“Our life is frittered away by detail — simplify, simplify.” ~Henry Thoreau


The Weight of Objects, Clearing a Space for Change, by Madisyn Taylor

In life, we tend to have an easier time acquiring possessions than we do getting rid of them. Just as we harbor emotional baggage that is difficult to let go of, our lives can tend to be filled with material objects that we may feel compelled to hold on to. Most people are not conscious of how much they own and how many of their possessions are no longer adding value to their life. They fiercely hold on to material objects because this makes them feel secure or comfortable. While it’s true that the ownership of “stuff” can make you feel good for awhile, it seldom satisfies the deep inner longings that nearly everyone has for fulfillment and satisfaction. It is only when we are ready to let go of our baggage and be vulnerable that it becomes possible to recognize the emotional hold that our possessions can have on us.

It’s not uncommon to hold on to material objects because we are attached to them or fear the empty spaces that will remain if we get rid of them. Giving away the souvenirs from a beloved voyage may feel like we are erasing the memory of that time in our life. We may also worry that our loved ones will feel hurt if we don’t keep the gifts they’ve given us. It’s easy to convince ourselves that unused possessions might come in handy someday or that parting with them will cause you emotional pain. However, when your personal space is filled with objects, there is no room for anything new to enter and stay in your life. Your collection of belongings may “protect” you from the uncertainties of an unknown future while keeping you stuck in the past. Holding on to unnecessary possessions often goes hand in hand with holding on to pain, anger, and resentment, and letting go of your material possessions may help you release emotional baggage.

When you make a conscious decision to fill your personal space with only the objects that you need or bring you joy, your energy level will soar. Clearing your personal space can lead to mental clarity and an improved memory. As you learn to have a more practical and temporary relationship to objects, positive changes will happen, and you’ll have space to create the life that you desire.


“Each of us has favorite items and places that help to calm and quiet us. What stills our mind? A walk in the park, a special place in the city, a quiet room? A rock, a cross, a picture, a lit candle? Use these places and things to find that place of stillness in yourself. Find the power in stillness. It’s a power that comes gently like the morning sunrise or the evening stars. Take time each day to seek out stillness, to find that sacred spot.
Let your mind and soul be at ease. Don’t grasp and grab for the magic and miracles. When you reside in that place of stillness, the joy, miracles, and magic you’re seeking will find you.” ❤︎ ~ Melody Beattie


“Let go of something, somewhere. Use yoga to become aware, to touch what lies beneath the surface of the skin. Is there tension longing for release, a knot of fear so deep and familiar that you believe its part of who you are? Ease into dark corners, locked rooms, unexplored hallways. Gain entry not by force of will, but only by softness. Enter on the wings of breath, and turn the key of self-acceptance to let go of something, somewhere.” ~ Danna Faulds

To simplify life I am___________.

There is freedom in letting go. ❤︎mockup-wall-art-2