Hey beautiful yogis! I’m so ridiculously excited to announce that my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations: 30 hand Gestures for Healing is finally available for presale on Amazon. It still feels surreal to have a book available for sale on Amazon. It’s still sinking in.
This book was written for you. The writing is honest and real, without too much “woo”. It’s meant for anyone seeking more wellness in their life, not just yoga teachers and yogis. That being said, yoga teachers will love having the mudras and meditations already paired… it makes prep time for class, so much faster!
Nowadays I always practice meditation with a hand mudra, I just can’t imagine it any other way. The mudra meditations in this book are actual meditation practices that I practice and teach.
I would love to share an excerpt from the book and one of my favorite mudras with you. Sukham Mudra is so good for stress relief. If you’re like me and juggling multiple projects and trying to maintain a healthy, easeful, joyful life… give this mudra a try!
“In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali says, “Sthira-sukham asanam,” or “Our seat should be both steady and easeful.” This sutra, however, applies not only to our meditation practice, but also life as a whole. For many of us, we’re overscheduled, overtasked, overstimulated, exhausted, burned out, stressed out, and no longer connected to the cycles and rhythms of nature.
Sukham is all about creating ease, happiness, harmony, flow, and joy. It’s about creating time to slow down and get present with our essence, with our truth.”
Take this mudra outdoors, sit and breathe and be still. With each cycle of breath allow your body to soften and release the tension, stress, and worry of the day.
If you would like to learn more about mudras, you can snag your copy on Amazon now. It’s available for presale! If you bring it on retreat or to a teacher training, I’ll even sign it for you! 😉
Hey beautiful soul. I’m guessing that since you’re here, you have been playing with the idea of signing up for an online yoga teacher training and you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it. I mean, can you actually learn how to teach yoga online? Is it just going to be a colossal waste of time and money?
Deciding to do any yoga teacher training, whether it’s in person or online is not only life-changing, it’s a huge time commitment. These days, most yoga trainings are a minimum of 200 hours, either packed into a couple of weeks or spread out over multiple weekends. I’ve taught both intensive and weekend format teacher trainings and now I’m branching into the online world. (Read about why I’m so passionate about this here). To be honest, all of the formats have a fair number of pros and cons. The most important thing when deciding on your YTT is finding a teacher, schedule and price point that works for you. Your 200 hour yoga teacher training just scratches the surface. You’ll be so hungry to learn more, I know I was, and my 200 hour training was fantastic!
Get to Know The Instructor
So is an online YTT worth it? Well, that depends. As with any yoga teacher trainings, or other large purchase, I recommend doing your research. I would hate for you to invest in a YTT (any YTT) and have it basically be a “lemon”. Check out the teacher(s), read their reviews and chat with them on the phone. Who did they train with? What are they passionate about? Is there training more “magical” or rooted in modern science? I would highly recommend speaking to one of their former students. I know that I would happily connect a future YTT student with a former student because honestly, I want to make sure that the students that join my yoga teacher trainings are a good fit.
I think scheduling and flexibility is a huge perk to participating in an online training. A good online training will provide live calls, one on one coaching, and community building activities in addition to their online resources. You don’t want to sign up for a training that is just a series of pre-recorded videos. Interaction, feedback, and discussion on online calls and in closed forums are invaluable. Check the call times and figure out exactly how many you need to attend to get your certificate. If you need to miss a call, are live calls recorded and available for you to watch? While we’re on the topic of schedules, I would also recommend that you find out if there is a deadline to send in your course assignments. Personally, I like deadlines because they hold me accountable, without them it could take me years to send in that final assignment. So, know if you do better with or without them.
Get A Sneak Peek
If possible, ask the instructor if you can see some of the material. Is it presented well? Is it professional? Or does it look like it was slapped together in Word. Ask to see a chapter of the manual, a module, a workbook page, or video — whatever you’re comfortable asking to see or are most concerned about. The more you know about the course, the more you will know what to expect AND you’ll know if it’s actually a good fit for you.
Unlimited Access to Materials
There were so many powerful, engaging lectures and discussions from my early trainings that I wish I had recorded copies of them, just so I could go back and review the material or sink deeper into the knowledge and wisdom provided to me. Another benefit of joining my online yoga teacher training is that all of our calls are recorded and available for you to view, review, fast-forward, rewind and rewatch.
Online Yoga Teacher Training Fits Your Already Busy Life
One of the beauties of online yoga teacher training is that you can show up exactly as you are… sweat pants, crazy hair, toddlers hanging off your hip. You can hop onto your calls from home, the beach, or a cafe. You can listen to your video lectures on your morning commute, while you’re making dinner, or after the kids are in bed. Training to become a yoga teacher online fits into your daily life… no need to add commute times, no need to hire a babysitter, no need to take copious amounts of time off of work.
In my experience, a well thought out online yoga teacher training or online workshop is totally worth it. They provide flexibility, community, and access to the materials anytime you want them. In the not too distant past, training to become a yoga teacher online was looked at as being “less than” training in person, but I’m here to change that. I’ve been pouring my heart, sweat, and tears into this project. And it’s ready to share. Registration is open for the February training.
Our fifth chakra, known as our throat chakra, is all about our ability to stay true to our personal truth and our ability to interface with the world around us with honesty and integrity. When our fifth chakra is balanced, our actions and are aligned with our words. If you often feel like you can’t express yourself freely for fear of judgment or criticism or you find it difficult to speak up for yourself and the less fortunate, your throat chakra may be blocked. If you find that you often talk over others, overshare or have difficulty listening to others your throat chakra may be overactive.
We meditate and do throat chakra practices to cultivate our inner trust, to bring ease to our communication, to embrace our creative self-expression and manage the quality of our thoughts. We learn to practice ahimsa, or non-harming, and satya, truthfulness in all of our actions and thoughts… at least to the best of our ability. We are human after all.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.”
Vishuddha Chakra at a Glance:
Location: Front of the spine at the throat pit
Element: Akasha (ether)
Color: Turquoise Blue
Lotus: 16 petaled
Bija Mantra: HAM
Aspects: Communication, sound, creative identity, self-expression, finding your voice and speaking your truth
Vayu: Udan, the upward flowing air of the throat and head that aids in the production of sound
Kosha: Vijnanamaya Kosha
Associated with: the throat, thyroid, parathyroid, hypothalamus, mouth, and cervical spine
“Every choice we make, every thought and feeling we have, is an act of power that has biological, environmental, social, personal, and global consequences. We are everywhere our thoughts are and thus our personal responsibility includes our energy contributions.”
The yantra of the throat chakra has 16 petals of smoky purple color. Each of the petals has a vowel written on it. Each vowel, when combined with nada bindu or NG creates a seed sound. In addition to the vowels, each petal is associated with one of 16 different vrittis (mental fluctuations). Most of the vrittis associated with vishuddha chakra are musical in nature. The seed sounds on the lotus petals include Om, Ong, Swaha, Namah and many others. These sounds are associated with different deities and their characteristics.
The Element Akasha and Vishuddha Chakra
Vishuddha chakra is associated with the element of akasha, also known as ether, space or the void. According to Ayurveda’s five-element theory, Ether is the subtlest of the elements and it precedes all other elements. The throat chakra is linked to our ability to hear and our ability to speak. In Harish Johari’s Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation, “Akasha is generated by the tanmatra of sound.”
The Bija Mantra for Vishuddha Chakra
The bija mantra for the throat chakra is HAM, sometimes spelled HUM or even HANG. The variations in spelling and pronunciation vary from region to region in India.
Take a moment to chant the sound of HAM and notice its vibration in the region of your throat. The bija mantras are used to awaken the chakras and their various characteristics.
The sound HAM is carried upon the back of gaja, or elephant. The gaja carries all the knowledge of the earth and its plants and it teaches self-confidence and patience.
Panchavaktra Shiva and Shakini Shakti and the Throat Chakra
The throat chakra is associated with Shakini Shakti, the embodiment of purity, the bearer of higher knowledge and great siddhis. She reveals her teachings when we’re in a deep dream state. She is associated with memory, peace, intuition, wit, and improvisation.
Panchavaktra Shiva represents all of the Shiva energies. Each of his five heads represents the five tanmatras and the tattvas that emerge from them along with their corresponding Shiva energies. Panchavaktra Shiva is the bestower of fearlessness and is also commonly referred to as the Great Teacher.
Aghora, lord of the North. Aghora resides in the cremation grounds and is associated with the tattva akasha or void.
Ishana, lord of the Northeast. He resides in the shrines and is associated with the tattva water.
Tat Purusha, lord of the East. He appears in meditation and is associated with the tattva air.
Vama Deva, the eternal Shiva. He is associated with the tattva earth.
And finally, Saddyojat, the lord of the south. He is associated with the tattva fire.
An Out of Balance Fifth Chakra
We fear being controlled or not having control, being trapped, or feel like we have no say in the world around us.
When your throat chakra is underactive you may find it difficult to express your thoughts and opinions for fear of judgment or failure, whereas if your fifth chakra is overactive you may tend to speak over others, or struggle to listen.
A Balanced Throat Chakra
When Vishuddha Chakra is balanced, your words and actions become aligned, and the words you speak come from the heart and speak directly to the heart of those around you. Prayers, songs, and mantras spontaneously arise from the depths of your heart.
Your sense of self-knowledge is strong and unwavering and you express yourself freely without fear of judgment or reprimand. You’re able to communicate with clarity and ease AND you pick up non-verbal communication just as easily as verbal communication.
The fifth chakra is often associated with a spiritual rebirth, a transformation of the spirit.
How to Balance the Throat Chakra
Meditation on the throat chakra is one of the most powerful ways to bring about its awakening. Chanting mantra through japa meditation, kirtan, and song are all beautiful ways to cultivate an awakened fifth chakra. Sing in the shower, chant in the car, go see live music.
If you’re feeling stuck, tongue-tied, your creative juices aren’t flowing you might find it helpful to get your words, thoughts and ideas down on paper. Buy a beautiful journal and get in the habit of journaling, whether it’s one sentence, a bullet list or a full page, just start. Other suggestions to awaken your fifth chakra are to read a book or take up a new creative hobby like painting, drawing, or even dancing. Find something that inspires you and start there.
Practice deep listening. Listen with full presence and curiosity. Ask questions. Repeat back what you hear. Listen without thinking about how you’ll respond.
Two mudras for the Throat Chakra
Hand mudras can be used to heal and awaken the chakras and balance our energy. Here are two hand mudras that can be used to awaken your fifth chakra.
Udana Mudra | Upward Moving Air Gesture
Udana Mudra cultivates the energy, or air, of Udana Vayu. Udana Vayu governs the space between your chest and your head. It is an upward and outward flow of energy and is the basis for sound.
We can cultivate Udana Vayu to help awaken our fifth chakra, improve our sense of self-worth, and increase our creative self-expression. This mudra is also often practiced to create more joy and optimism in our lives.
To practice Udana Mudra, bring the tips of your ring, middle, and index fingers to meet the tip of your thumb. Extend your little finger long.
Shunya Mudra | Gesture of the Void
Shunya Mudra helps to balance the excess of ether. If you’re having trouble listening, you’re feeling flighty or ungrounded then Shunya Mudra can help you feel calm, clear and capable of listening earnestly and communicating clearly.
To practice Shunya Mudra, fold your middle finger down toward the base of your thumb and wrap your thumb over the top of your middle finger. Extend your little, ring and index fingers long. This mudra is the same for both right and left hands.
Crystals for the Throat Chakra
Blua Apatite (personal power)
Lapis Lazuli (truth and awareness)
Yoga Poses for the Throat Chakra
Warrior One or Crescent Lunge with the gaze lifted
I’m sorry. I went dark for a few months. I didn’t go to a dark place, don’t worry, but I’ve been absent from all the “things” recently. I’ve been absent from Facebook, email, and even my beloved Instagram. And it has been glorious, but I’ve missed hearing about your summer trips and all of the fun things you’ve been up to. This past “winter, spring, and summer” was one of my busiest retreat and teacher training seasons and it was important for me to take a pause this month. A very big, delicious pause to rest, recharge and enjoy a bit of summer before buckling down again.
I want to share a moment of insight I had during the Back to Nature retreats in July. For those of you who have not been on the Back to Nature retreat (yet), on our final night we do a fire ceremony. During the fire ceremony, we let go of old stories and dramas and release our old belief structures (fear, self-doubt, etc.) and turn them over to Spirit, Source, Universe, God. It is both cathartic and healing to burn the ties that bind us… all in a safe, supportive circle of strong, beautiful women. And we call in exactly what we need!
I’ve sat in many circles. I’ve been apart of many fire ceremonies. Each one touches on my heart and my soul in a different, unique, and beautiful way. This time was unexpectedly different. I seem to release the same things over and over again in different layers, like peeling back the layers of an onion or bulb of fennel. And what I released was more of the same patterns I continue to work through, but what I called in was even more important! Straight from my soul, with no filter, with no mask, I asked Spirit to “Burn the F’n Boats!” Yep, I swore in circle and I meant it! I meant it wholeheartedly and I still do.
You might be wondering what the heck do you mean by “burn the boats” and if you know where the saying comes from, you might be even more confused. Why is my yoga teacher talking about war strategy? Sun Tzu shared the strategy in the ancient military treatise, “The Art of War”, Alexander the Great used the strategy when his Greek army arrived in Persia, and as the legend goes, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez also employed the strategy when he arrived in Mexico in the 1500s. Okay, and…Burning the boats removes the escape plan, the fall back plan, it removes the thought, “well if things don’t work out, I can (fill in the blank with xyz)” Don’t get me wrong, having a plan B is a great idea BUT if our fall back plan isn’t painful enough or scary enough we don’t give our all to achieving our goals, dreams, desires. When plan B is pretty cushy we stay in the status quo, we fall back into old habits, we procrastinate on our dreams, we don’t push as hard through the tough times, we don’t do the hours to make our dreams our reality. Our dreams are ours. Let’s take ownership over them. When you burn the boats you ignite a burning desire to succeed, you light a fire under your own bum! You say YES to living the life you want. A healthier life. A joyful life. An inspired life. You make it priority number one. There is no other choice.
So why am I telling you all this? I’ve always felt like I do a “pretty good job” getting things done, but if I’m really being honest, I spend a lot of my time distracted, messing around on YouTube and social media, cleaning the house when I don’t need to, pinning on Pinterest, excessive planning… when I could be a bit more focused. And this next stage of life requires that I am all in and that I do, in fact, burn the boats! I want to stay connected with my yoga tribe. I want to travel more. I want to spend more time with the people I love. I want to spend more time in nature. So what does that mean?
1) We’re moving… again. (Myself, Steve and our furbabies will be back in Bend in October)
2) Finding Thrive, my online course rooted in Ayurvedic self-care practices and habit evolution launches in January 2020. If you’re feeling stuck with your diet, your sleep, your lifestyle… this course is for you. I don’t even know if I can call it a course because it’s so much more… you’ll learn the tools you need to succeed, you’ll have access to an awesome support tribe (let’s be honest– we can’t do it on our own), and you’ll receive one-to-one and group coaching. <3 More details will be available by the end of September.
3) Online Yoga Teacher Training starts in February 2020 (If money is tight, please reach out. I will be offering a few spots at a special *very discounted* rate for beta testers. You get to take the online course for cheap, in exchange, you give me feedback about what you liked/didn’t like from each module.) More details will be launching soon.
4) My YouTube channel will be blowing up with new yoga practice videos, meditations, yoga nidras and tutorials, starting ASAP. Check it out!
5) I would love to come visit you and maybe even host a workshop at your favorite local studio. <3 Nowhere is off-limits. Email me!!!
6) My 2020 Retreat schedule is coming together nicely.
Padma mudra, is known as the lotus mudra or lotus seal and it is a beautiful mudra to incorporate into a meditation or asana practice. In Sanskrit, padma is commonly translated as lotus. My favorite translation is “sacred lotus”. The sacred lotus is a reminder of the divine within and our own inner beauty and light.
Lotus symbolism and imagery is common throughout Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. A lotus flower takes root down in the muck and mud and rises up through the water to blossom unscathed at the water’s surface. You can think of the path of the lotus as the journey to enlightenment. It is the journey from the darkness to the light.
The mud and muck represent our ego, our habits, our stories, our dramas. It represents life’s challenges, our shadow, and even inertia. The water through which the lotus must rise is cleansing and purifying. It is our yoga practice and our personal development. It takes action and awareness. The lotus flower’s rise from the muck up to the water’s surface requires action, and fortitude, it is a period of growth. And the fully bloomed flower represents our fully awakened self. Pure and beautiful.
Padma mudra is often associated with the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the shakti of all types of good fortune and abundance, both spiritual and material. She graces us with the gifts of auspiciousness, grace, compassion and love.
How to Practice Padma Mudra
To practice padma mudra, bring your hands to anjali mudra, or prayer mudra, in front of your heart center with the palms of your hands touching. Keep the heels of your palms touching, your pinky fingers touching and your thumbs touching as you peel the palms of your hands, index, middle and ring fingers away from one another. The three middle fingers of each hand blossom away from one another like a lotus flower in bloom. Hold the mudra for five to ten minutes.
One of my favorite lotus mudra practices puts a little spin on the traditional mudra. Sianna Sherman calls it prayer wheel padma mudra. I personally like to add either pranayama or mantra to this version.
From a traditional version of padma mudra, you begin to spin the fingers away from your torso, you roll to the backs of the hands until the pinky fingers touch again and then come back to lotus mudra. I often incorporate this version into my Lakshmi practice and chant “Om shrim maha Lakshmyai namaha” or simply Lakshmi’s seed sound “shrim”. I will often do 27, 54, or 108 rotations.
Benefits of Padma Mudra
Padma Mudra helps you remember that your very essence is love, radiance, and bliss.
the lotus seal inspires purity and perseverance
Reminds you of your own inner beauty
It is calming to the mind
Affirmations for Padma Mudra
I rise above life’s challenges with ease and grace.
My inner light shines brightly.
My heart is pure.