Plea for Patient Encounters

Many of my friends and family have asked great questions regarding my plea for 150 patient encounters!

Thank you for reminding me that we live in a place not yet fully familiar with the concept of true holistic health! We are getting there, though, and I’m excited to see it happening!  

Ayurveda is the Sister Science to Yoga (Yoga as I practice and teach it, that is.). Ayurveda is best described as the medical side of Yoga’s physical and spiritual science. 

Yoga and Ayurveda together make this the truest and purest form of holistic health care possible. (Don’t worry! To give your healing a boost, I will continue to add into the mix Spirit Guided Intuition and Pure Energy Therapy!)

The clinical internship for which I need 150 patient encounters will allow me to move from Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher (a professional with additional training in lifestyle management and Ayurvedic nutritional therapy beyond that of the typical yoga teacher) to become an Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP). An AP not only practices preventive healthcare and health promotion, along with herbs, panchakarma, and dietary and lifestyle therapies, the AP is a professional with training in pathology and disease management, according to Ayurvedic principles.

Yes, for those who’ve asked, this education goes beyond the scope of the Ayurvedic Health Counselor or Specialist. But those titles have come along with these studies, too. 

After clinicals, I will be so close to officially doing what I really already do for some of you, I see no point in not moving even deeper. An Āyurvedic Yoga Therapist (AYT) is a professional with additional training in advanced yoga therapy beyond that of an Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP).  An Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist may design, implement, demonstrate, instruct and teach an individual a yoga therapy program to help with their healing process based on the Ayurvedic Prakrti/Vikrti paradigm and the Ayurvedic definition of health. 

Upon graduation, I will have completed over 1820 Hours of in depth study of Ayurvedic Medicine at the level of Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP) and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist (AYT) recognized by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA).

Life pulled me out of my nursing and psychology studies during my college years. I beat myself up for years and years for not finishing those degrees. It took a little minute to realize my dharma, and a whole lotta years of getting over obstacles and fears, but here I am. It’s come full circle as it does when you’re really meant to do something God has planned for you! Again, I am fully immersed in studying what I LOVE, but this time in a way that resonates even more deeply that what university had to offer. 

It’s a true passion, this world of Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga as Therapy! 

And I really would love for you to start your Ayurvedic journey with me now by participating in consultations and follow-ups for my internship. 

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2020’s New Year Plan: Pratyahara

As we enter into a new year … a new decade, that is … it seems appropriate to start off with a topic that is missing in many yoga classes. To keep it simple for newcomers I don’t always use the Sanskrit word “pratyahara” to describe what we are doing here at Prakrti Yoga, but whether in asana (physical postures), meditation, yoga nidra, or if we are gathered in Sacred Circle, the first thing I ask is that we all tune into our breath. Then I, in some way, ask them to begin to feel into their body. 

Eventually I see their breath stabilize, coming to slow, steady, full inhalations and exhalations. Next I watch as their body and breath merge into one. I see their facial expressions soften as the mind begins to rest inside the breath and the body relaxes. 

Upon each meeting, as I gently guide them into this state of being fully present in the moment, I trust in each client’s inner wisdom. I trust they will take away any teachings or insights offered throughout our time together. I trust they will learn to connect with their hearts, with their Divine Nature, and learn to live fully in their own truths. I trust they will grow to understand their Dharma, their life purposes. 

I may plan and plan, but as I lead classes and work with clients privately, I tend to turn away from my own agenda and allow Spirit to guide, tuning into my intuition and “hearing” the needs of those sharing my space. However, it is rare that I ever fail to begin anything here without having clients settle into the present moment and turn inward, except with my Young Yogis during which I might put this part of class toward the end after they’ve gotten all the wiggles out!

This is sacred space, and most find it easy to temporarily forget the rest of the world while on the yoga mat or bolster. Yet, I want to be sure that all who enter here, eventually realize that they can withdraw into themselves and away from the chaos of busy lives. I want them to understand that no matter what trauma they have suffered or are currently suffering, they do indeed have the ability to heal. I want them to know that they can shift their mood, reduce anxiety, and get rid of chronic body pain wherever they are.

What my clients are learning by their consistent practice is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga set forth by the great Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra. The Sutra describes a series of practices along the eight-fold path we bring to action at Prakrti Yoga. Yoga Sutra could be considered life guidelines or codes of morals and ethics in which to bring us into healthier physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and vibrational health.

Pratyahara is the fifth limb of the Yoga Sutra. It comes from two Sanskrit words, prati meaning “against” or “away” and ahara, which means “food.” In this case, we can refer to ahara as any stimuli we take in and ingest. The essence of pratyahara is “withdrawal of the senses”. Some might describe pratyahara as mindfully filtering what we experience in our outer world.

During pratyahara we make a conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. We learn to detach from our senses, and direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings or habits or anything detrimental to our health which likely interferes with our inner growth.

We all have this curiosity to learn more and this drive to do or have more. Many of us are afraid we are going to miss something important or we believe we are too busy to just sit alone for a while in silence and stillness. Perhaps we feel pressure from others or from ourselves to constantly be in motion, working, acquiring material possessions, learning, doing. Yet, we are faced with constant noise – constant stimulation from media, from other people, from multitasking trying to complete a never-ending to-do list. 

After a recent short social media hiatus, I reluctantly showed myself again, in part because I had a studio schedule to post for the week. I felt relieved having had all this extra time to fold laundry and clean the kitchen. I felt happier not comparing my life or my business to others who appear to be more “successful” than me. I felt less jealous and angry this Christmas since I didn’t have to see all those “happy” family photos that were to be thrown in this grieving momma’s face! I was less stressed, and it was so noticeable I seriously thought about deleting my accounts. Except experts seem to believe I need social media for the success of my business. 

I logged on but it wasn’t long before I shifted from my work on the studio’s Facebook page to bragging about my kid on my personal page. Next thing I knew, I was scrolling through my feed to see what I had been missing over the past few days while I was away. Fortunately, I caught myself and stopped before I got too drawn in. I was proud for not spending too much time away from my studies, as I was on a deadline. Soon enough, though, I caught myself with too many Google tabs open to count. While I was studying my Ayurveda assignment, I was reminded that I need to purchase some herbs, which led me to check my suppliers for the best prices, which led me to the sale on essential oils which I also need to restock, which made me remember I need storage containers for my bulk herbs and herbal and EO blends I make for clients. 

Oh … while I’m at it, I don’t like the labels I used last time, so let me just take another minute to see if I can find something more suitable … and oh yeah … which shoes was my son looking at – how much are they? What about those he already ordered – are they still scheduled for delivery on Tuesday?

Wait! I forgot to take my Ashwagandha with warm milk. Since I’m in the kitchen I’ll get my Triphala ready for later, too … Better pee before I get back to studying, but first these dishes need to be loaded and the dishwasher started. 

I wouldn’t say I’m ADHD by nature, but it sounds like it, doesn’t it?! According to Ayurveda, I am of Vata Pitta constitution. Being Vata, I’m highly involved in any and all types of thought processes, I feel a constant need to be busy, and everything seems very important to me. Vata when out of balance makes me feel confused, causes anxiety and fear and causes me to forget to eat, among other things. My Pitta part makes me highly ambitious and extremely driven to get things done … and done properly. No half-@%%ING allowed. That Pitta causes me to get frustrated with myself for not being able to stay on task. If I’m not careful, I find I’m mad at the world because I’ve exhausted myself with my own distractions and imperfections, and I had to stay up later than I intended to get my assignments turned in on time. Pitta becomes imbalanced and I suffer from chronic migraines, body pain, and fever because my fiery nature needs to somehow release. 

Eventually, I did find my way back to my studies. I giggled as I remembered a question a precious friend once asked me. “Do you ever actually get anything done. From where I sit, you look like a cat chasing its tail, always busy but not accomplishing anything.” I hate to admit he was absolutely spot on, but he was. And it prompted me to be more mindfully present in each and every task. 

O.K. so obviously it’s an ongoing practice which most likely I will never master, but it’s one which produces positive outcomes and a less stressed me, so I’ll keep it up.

Recently, there are times when the Kapha in me shows up. Usually it’s during episodes of grief. I feel lazy and unmotivated and just want to sleep and hide from my family and friends. This isn’t a healthy form of withdrawal! That is not pratyahara! It is isolation that leads to depression. 

There are different ways to practice pratyahara, based on whichever of my constitutional attributes comes out of alignment. I have found techniques that help restore my senses, calm my mind, reduce anxiety, and ease depression – even while I sit in the bleachers watching my son play basketball. I’ve learned that I can withdraw from the noise of the crowd and frustration of bad ref calls to settle into my own breath and body. I have learned how to just be there in the “Now Moment”, fully enjoying my son play his sport, not worrying about what we’re going to eat later or if homework will get finished, or if I’ve forgotten anything that day. 

In our studio gatherings, I give all my clients one simple way of withdrawing from over stimulation and overwhelm that they can take out of the studio and into their world. If they come to me for private sessions, however, I offer other ways to withdraw from busyness and chaos – or maybe even their unmotivation if they happen to be Kapha in nature. I offer personalized methods for what they need to help bring them closer to their True Nature.  

Some pratyahara practices I might recommend could include moving the body – focused attention while practicing yoga asana, dancing, running, or lifting weights is a great way to withdraw from sensory overload or things that can cause harm. Taking a break from or performing a full media detox brings your focus back to the things that truly matter, helping to see priorities as they should be. Leaving behind or distancing yourself from other people who bring constant negativity into your life helps clear the mind and emotions of toxicity. Journaling helps you to move inward, or perhaps try gardening. Prayer, meditation and yogic breath control practices are all techniques to move us inward and away from sensory overload and toxic behaviors. 

Going forth into 2020, remember this … Input = Output. 

If you eat only junk food, it’s going to eventually show on your body or in your skin or in your overall health.* The same is true for what you watch on television, see on social media or in the news, words you read in print, music you listen to, with whom you spend time, places you frequent, etc, etc. You are what you eat. You become what your brain is fed. 

Give yourself a break this year. Practice pratyahara.

*(Please Note: No food or body shaming is allowed at Prakrti Yoga! Cheetos have been this eating disorder survivor’s comforting best friend for almost two years now, since the loss of a child.)

Feel free to drop a line to let me know how you practice withdrawing the senses!





Christmas Grief, Sort of Uncensored

Christmas, the first one since my son’s death…might offer the truest and most raw moments of grief I’ve actually allowed myself to experience and express since his passing in February. You might think it weird that I want a record of my experience. I don’t care. Grief is real, and I know I’m not alone, although at times I truly believe I am. Someone else needs to remember they aren’t alone, too.

Our tree didn’t get put up this year. No lights, no wreath, not even a candle flame. Santa wasn’t coming to visit. Unless he was bring me Christopher, he wasn’t welcome. The only thing I had to do on Christmas Eve was create a batch of medicinal herbal infusion (tea) and try to get some much needed rest.

Of course I couldn’t rest, so I took a scroll through social media looking at pretty Christmas pictures with happy smiles, dressed up kids and homes, and lots of wrapped gifts. At first it offered some mind numbing relief, as I began to sit with the harsh reality that my son wasn’t going to be joining us this Christmas.

It wasn’t long until morning, and I couldn’t find my way out of bed. How could this day really be happening with Christopher? I can’t do this. I heard Peyton up, but couldn’t face him. I’d failed at Christmas and I felt like my heart was being pulled out of my chest. Actually, that was what I was wishing for. Time passed and I was at least able to close my eyes here and there. That is, until I had a complete come apart. My Sweet Boy heard me and left his video game to come check on me. He even lay down to let me hold him close. I calmed some, and convinced him I was OK, so he resumed his paused video game.

I wasn’t really sure I was going to be OK. I was not even sure I was going to get up to get the day started. A migraine had increased momentum and nausea was coming quickly.

I knew I needed to calm down and relax. So I lay there in my darkened room practicing pranayama and realized my state of mind could be headed to a dangerous place. I thought maybe I should call someone, but realized this was something nobody else needed to see on Christmas. Besides, I don’t know any other way. When stuff happens, I deal with it alone. Always have. But I put my friend Scott’s number in my phone dialer for a quick dial, just in case. Then I got up to prepare a hot bath with essential oils and Epsom salts. Eventually, I felt my headache lessening but my emotions escalating again.

I realized that as happy as I was trying to be for all of my FB friends whose kids have come home from college or the military, I really felt like I was being smacked in the face. Good for you. Your kid is home. Mine never, ever will be home again but thanks for reminding me! I found myself resentful for pretty and fun gifts. That’s what’s important right now? Materialism isn’t LOVE. I love my kids more than anything, but there just isn’t enough money to overindulge them. They aren’t hurting for anything, and in my heart I realized there is absolutely no reason to set myself up for disappointment if they don’t show appreciation or if they left messes for me to clean up. Yet, how guilty I felt for having not put myself through all the petty pressure of shopping needlessly and exhaustively expending time and energy I don’t have this year!

(Seriously. I bought gifts for one person, at Peyton’s request, because he is a sweet young teenager who likes a girl who likes him back. That was an experience that brought me joy, especially when a stranger and I began chatting. He was a young man who fully expressed his love for his girlfriend and her children, and he was having the time of his life spending his earnings on them. This very well could have been one of my favorite parts about this Christmas, and I told him I hope my son loves so unconditionally when he is older.)

During a meditation, I was reminded of Christopher’s Greatest Gift. It’s a gift he gave freely and open heartedly. The Gift of Time. I realized that in my own way, that is exactly what I had been trying to give my kids. At least to Peyton and Cameron. Kymberlee doesn’t need me so much anymore. (Yes, I’m dealing with that, too.)

A calmer mind helped me remember the few people who are genuinely generous with their time whether in person or through messages and phone calls. They share it so beautifully with me, even when I’m not the best of company. The gift of time with no strings attached, no expectations, no judgments, and no running off to tell everyone else what may or may not be the full truth. These are the ones I trust most, the ones most likely to really know how I am because they can see through me. These are truly precious people and their presence in my life is powerful.

Yet, here I was, on Christmas morning and I couldn’t find the motivation to be with Peyton. I was in the bath, feeling as though I was drowning in grief, when Kymberlee came to check on me. My tears weren’t hidden by the bath water, and of course her waterworks started, too. 

I was thankful she was keeping an eye on Peyton, and I told her where three gift bags were. I explained that I wasn’t able to label the bags this year, getting as far as I did was all I could handle. I told her who was to get the one that should have been for Christopher, and asked her to go ahead and distribute them. The bags were exactly alike, as were the contents, and I didn’t care if they were from me or from Santa. I apologized that it was all I could do, and she was amazing. They all were. Not one child cried or complained that they only got a small amount of money for Christmas this year.

I finally was able to gather myself and my composure a bit so that we could go eat lunch with our family at my mom’s house. It was a good day, spent with people I love, but we all felt the void. When Christopher was a baby, we started the tradition of making a Happy Birthday Jesus cake and signing before we cut it. This year was no different. My grandson did bring me pure joy when he said “Jesus isn’t going to eat any. He can’t because He lives in our hearts.”  He’s 3 and he knows what’s up! The True Spirit of Christmas, right there, Folks.

I struggled all day. Once or twice before the night was over, I typed out a message to a precious friend I had been in contact with already that day, to please, please tell me everything was going to be OK. Part of me thought I might believe it coming from him. I was adamant that I was keeping my &#!% to myself, though, so I deleted quickly. I wasn’t going to be someone else’s problem today.

I don’t know what it is about grief. It is all too easy to get lost in it. When I use the tools I’ve gained through Yoga, mindfulness and other meditation practices, I know there is no shame in it. Yet it isn’t something that can be shared easily with others. Just in one day, I experienced every emotion associated with grief, and I thought of all the ways I could numb out but didn’t. I was proud of that. I didn’t try to put on a fake smile and pretend everything was fine. It wasn’t. It isn’t. But it will be.

I found acceptance for my Christmas grieving process and I sat with everything that came up, no matter how excruciating.

And I survived. 

To those who reached out to check on me on Christmas Day, Thank You. To those I’ve seen since and my eyes leaked as you told me you remembered me in prayer, Thank You. To those who reached out through cards, calls, and text messages, Thank you. To my family, who shares this grief in their own ways, Thank You. To Christopher’s friends who have checked in and are grieving, too, Thank You. To those who pray with enough faith it goes without saying you’re praying, Thank You. To those who have presented me with gifts or other tokens of thoughtfulness, Thank You. To those who have shared your precious gift of time, Thank You. 

You are the ones who continue to help me learn how to live without my firstborn child.

Namaste, Nikki


Have you ever been told to Suck It Up Buttercup? Or to get over it because someone else has it much worse than you?

How’d that make you feel, as an adult going through something that may have created great despair or pain?

I think phrases such as that are fine to tell our children when they are acting like spoiled brats upon not getting their way. As a matter of fact, I should probably say something like that more!

Appropriate for everyone, though? I’m not so sure.

Two months ago my son committed suicide. I’m having to learn to live without the one who gave me a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. I’m learning to live without one of my life’s greatest inspirations and teachers.

This passage is for me, to remind myself of my own strength, will, and determination.

Yes, I’m putting myself out there to be judged and criticized, but somewhere I know that there is someone out there, dealing with what they seem they cannot endure, and I pray this reaches them. 

“There’s someone else who has it worse than you.” Yes, that’s true, but please use that phrase with caution unless you really know that to be true. 

A short synopsis of what life has thrown at me…

Anxiety and misdiagnosed dietary/health issues starting very young. Depression and eating disorders by grade 8. Sexually violated and suicidal by 12th. Survived, after feeling unwelcome and unloved by even God during my near death encounter with the Keeper of the Golden Gates. “Not yet. Someday. You still have work to do down there.” Don’t believe in near death experiences? You should.

Unexpected pregnancy by age 19. Keep or abort this baby? Rocky Relationship, but I love him and I already love this little creation with my whole heart. Keep. I might get disowned. But definitely keep. All I’ve ever known for sure is that I want to be a mommy. Easy pregnancy, relationship turned violent. Addiction returned. Had to walk away. Tried unsuccessfully to get back together but then the toughest of love lessons came our way. I had met another who promised the world so please don’t call anymore. Probably not what I really wanted. Probably wanted him to put up a fight, but he listened. If that was my plan it backfired.

Single mom married to someone who hid his true colors well. Marriage was emotionally/financially/spiritually abusive starting day 1. Within a year, became seriously ill in eating disorders and checked into recovery facilities out of state at 84 pounds, after accidentally overdosing on prescribed medications just to try to get some rest and migraine relief. Left my now 4 year old behind. Heart broken.

Worked my butt off to stay healthy and to try to salvage anything left of my so-called marriage. Unsuccessful, but too afraid to leave. Too many threats, another pregnancy with a daughter this time. Yay!! I had been told no more kids, too much damage to my reproductive system.

Where are we going to live, though, now that she’s a toddler?! Don’t have a clue where all the money has gone, but house payment hasn’t been paid. Foreclosure. How did I find out? My aunt saw it in newspaper, and my mom asked me about it. Seriously? This is happening and I’m the LAST to know? What kind of person am I living with?? Found housing, and took over bills to try to dig us out and figure out finances. Hmmm…lots of things don’t make sense and don’t add up. But don’t question it. I’ll regret it if I even consider it. 

The news that Christopher’s father had died turned my inner world upside down. So much I could have done differently. I let it end without even saying I love you. I had lost him, really lost him forever. Could I have helped save him?

Not sure if it was too much stress or all the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds I was on, but I miscarried twins. A boy and a girl. Guess who didn’t care? No support from my husband, so I’ll just keep this one to myself. Most likely no one else will care either. Heavy burden to carry alone. So much sadness and grief and no one knew for years.

New house. New beginnings? Nope. More of the same. Baby boy on his way now. Cannot wait! My kids are truly my world. My whole reason for living.

Wait. Lies. Lies. More lies. Just admit the truth. I can forgive it all. Nope. Denial and more narcissistic behaviors make me think I’m totally nuts. I can’t do this anymore. It’s killing me. I’m living life as a prisoner in my own home. Please go out of town soon, or work overtime. The kids and I need to come out of our rooms and feel welcome in our own house. My kids cannot grow up thinking this normal or ok.

Get out of my house. Divorce. But it’ll be rough. The only promise he ever kept was to make my life miserable and difficult if I ever left him. Two years for the divorce to be finalized, all the while having to watch my back for his vehicle or a co-workers, or vehicle from another agency hiding around the corner watching me and the kids through binoculars. Just within enough distance to let me know their presence to intimidate me, but far enough away that I can’t call in for restraining orders. Well played, but please understand that people at my workplace are noticing, too.

Anxiety. Here, Baby Boy. This helps me. Some Yoga and Pranayama (Breathwork). And carry this special rock with you in your pocket. It has Mommy’s Kiss and anytime you miss me or feel anxious, get it out, rub it or kiss it, and remember that I’m not far away. I promise I wouldn’t leave you here if I didn’t trust your teachers. Thanks, Mrs. Principal for lovingly restraining my boy while I run off to get to work through my tears. Not only did Father choose to leave, but Mommy left her 16 year old position as stay home mom to go to work. I promise I’m not abandoning you, Sweetie. I’m doing the FOR you. We’ll repeat this process all year and have more of this experience for another 2 or three years. Whew! Eventually it does get better.

Ok…hang on tight. Here’s a ride. Thank God I know the signs of depression. Helping a daughter who had discovered self-harm and had her own suicidal thoughts wasn’t fun. How many nights did I cry through this?! Such a difficult thing to go through alone. Poor Peyton. How neglected you must feel while I try to help Sissy. What?! She’s pregnant? OK. Another baby is always welcome, plus he saved her life. Thank you, Angel Child.

Dating? Are you kidding me? How many guys do you think want to date a woman who is in Mommy Mode 24/7. Oh wait…I AM only on standby for four hours a week but I really need that time to nourish myself. Please leave me alone since I’ve finally learned that he isn’t really just going to take off with the kids and not return them! I’ve learned that it is ok to take care of me! Anyway, if you aren’t going to be good for and to me, and be willing to accept me AND my kids for who we are, then we don’t need you. Go ahead. Walk away and use whatever story you need to tell yourself to make you feel less guilty. We’ll be ok. We are perfectly imperfect and we are a chaotic mess. But we are each other’s everything.

Too much stress and overwhelm has created chronic illnesses that make it difficult to function in my everyday life. Guilt arises at all I’m not accomplishing and time I can’t spend in wholeness with my kids. Yoga and meditation help greatly but I need more support. That’s hard to admit…SIGH…

I watch from a distance as my (step)daughter goes through stuff that I’m not in a position to be able to offer help or even much emotional support, and her babies and my (step)son’s are all growing way too fast. I hate that I’m missing it. But I have never been allowed to develop relationships with the rest of the family, so this really shouldn’t bother me so much. Yet, it does. Always has.

Now Christopher.

What did I miss? I think nothing, but there must have been something? He was the one who spent the most time in counseling. His faith in God is the strongest fo anyone I know. He has so much to look forward. Graduating with highest honors, faithfully attending mass and chapel, loyal to his friends and family. What did I miss? There were no obvious signs. He worked hard, he was proud of himself for his efforts. Perhaps it was uncertainty of what’s next after College Graduation. Perhaps he was afraid of not getting into grad school. Perhaps he was afraid of being alone, starting his new chapter in life. Perhaps it was lack of sleep as he tried to excel in his classes, but he didn’t speak about his “maladies” openly to us. Or to anyone, it seems. I have, however, seen notes of encouragement left in his school mailbox. I cannot express how thankful I am for those short, sweet notes.

Because I had allowed myself to become stressed to the point of illness, I did my best to remind him to slow down. Rest. Play. Enjoy Life. He was much like me, in many ways. I could never ever deny him, nor would I want to!

He did Enjoy Life. He travelled. He spent quality time with friends. He knew what he wanted to do, and he did it, with no apologies or regrets, except that he did care whether or not his family supported his decisions. Of course, we usually did! He enjoyed life. Or so it seemed.

Robin Williams. I see now that my child had a soul in resonance with the great comedian.

Someone recently expressed concern over my being alone at my Yoga Studio at night. I assured him I take safety precautions when I’m alone, but that I’ve already experienced so much, that not much else could phase me. Sure, I could be killed, but I’m all good. Death happens, and it’s going to come to me anyway. The worst thing that could happen to me at this point is that something would take away one of my kids.

Damn. I was right about that. So please excuse me while I grieve.

Nothing. And I mean NOTHING is worse than losing a child.

So I write this reminder to myself. Not for sympathy, but to remind myself that I’m strong, determined, and now capable of showing compassion and unconditional love to others. I now know how to share and help others who have struggles, too. I take joy in sharing with and serving others and helping them find their Light again.

I write this as a reminder that I’ve changed tremendously for the better. I’m happy to say I’m not the same person I use to be.

I’ve been through Hell and Back. And I’ve survived. In large part to my parents who always have my back, and in large part because of my Faith in One Higher Than I, for all those times I didn’t feel adequate, capable or able. And of course, Yoga. It makes everything better. 

NOTHING is worse than losing a child. But I’m doing pretty damn good, considering.

And so are you, The Bright Shining Star who is reading this. Go, Do You. Nobody else can do it so well!

Struggling so much you’re not sure you can hold on much longer? Trying to help someone you love?

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline today! 1-800-273-8255



Eating Disorder Awareness 2018: Day 7

I realized I needed help when my firstborn was almost 4 years old. I was a full time student and a primary caregiver to my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. I was in an unhealthy marriage. I was stressed to the max and overwhelmed. I was scared. I weighed in at 83 pounds, couldn’t sleep for days at a time, suffered horrible migraines, and literally hated everything about myself.
I used alcohol, opiates, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety meds to try to survive. I was in therapy, yet I was in large part self-medicating. One night, I overdid it, and was lucky to have woken up the next morning. I called my therapist and she got a team together to start putting my treatment plan in place. She saw my desperation to stay alive so that I could be Mommy to my baby. I am thankful she believed in me and fought her own battles to see that I got appropriate help. If I had nothing else to live for, I had my baby.
I was sent to Florida for treatment, where I resided in two facilities, and started attended different 12 step meetings. I despised being away from my kiddo, and angry that I missed his 4th birthday. However, that’s where Yoga found me, and I realized my story was to be used for a Higher cause someday.
My healing began 20 years ago. It is a process, not a perfect. Recovery has been a rough ride, and I have good days and bad. When I can’t remember on my own the tools I’ve learned, I have friends and family who jump in to help. Even on my darkest nights, though, I remember the who and why that finally brought me face to face to my most dangerous demon.
This kid, from the moment I first found I was pregnant, gave me a sense of purpose and belonging. My Mommy Status requires that I stay healthy, set a good example, and live my life in accordance to Divine Will.
I didn’t choose to suffer with eating disorders, but I can choose to give up or continue on the fight. I choose to allow God to work through me, because I know somewhere out there someone else needs to know he/she isn’t alone. The struggle is real, but help is out there. 

Call NEDA now 1-800-931-2237, and if you want, use the form below to contact me, too. You are not alone.


Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018: Day 6

5 Steps to Positive Body Image:
1. Appreciate all that your body can do.
2. Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like.
3.Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep.
4. Look at yourself as a whole person. 
5. Surround yourself with positive people.

Challenge: Show us who supports you/recovery. Community-We all have some sort of tribe, support group or community that we do things and surround ourselves with. Maybe your tribe is your local yoga studio, your church group, your running buddies or your family. Who is your community that you love to be with, can’t live with without, and what do you all do together

My sons, daughter, and grandson. They are undoubtedly the loves of my life. Nothing in the world means as much to me as my babies. Every decision I have ever made…the good along with the not so good…have been for these kiddos. My intentions have always been to do whatever it takes to make theirs lives the best possible. They are the reason I keep waking up every morning, and keeping fighting the battle even on my darkest nights.

I also have some of the best friends a girl could ask for. I haven’t always gotten along with other females. However through the years, these Lovely Ladies have helped me understand the importance of having feminine energy surround me and support me. I need it to help me stay healthy and break negative lifestyle and mental patterns. When most everyone else come and go at their own convenience, these Gals show up, invited or not, just to be sure I’m ok. They aren’t afraid to tell me like it is, hold me accountable, and perhaps most importantly, remind me that I’m loved. My Soul Sisters.  

Image may contain: one or more people, child, closeup and outdoor

Do you or someone you know need help? Call NEDA now.
Toll-free Information and Referral Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

Also, feel free to use the contact form below to reach out to me. You are not alone.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018: Day 5

10 (MORE) general Physical Symptoms of Eating Disorders, as per NEDA:

Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity; Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails; Swelling around area of salivary glands; Fine hair on body (lanugo); Cavities, or discoloration of teeth, from vomiting; Muscle weakness; Yellow skin (in context of eating large amounts of carrots); Cold, mottled hands and feet or swelling of feet; Poor wound healing; Impaired immune functioning

Today’s Challenge: Uneasiness/Vulnerability- Putting yourself out there and trying something new can sometimes make us pretty uneasy. Have you ever done a yoga posture or fitness class that just made you feel unsure, maybe a bit vulnerable? Did you have to back out or were you able to complete the task! Tell us and post a picture of what it was.

Although I can easily answer yes to certain yoga poses and fitness classes causing me to feel uneasy, tonight’s challenge was literally just to get me out of the house to start stepping into my “normal” life. I have not been out of my house much at all since Feb 9. I’ve only left a few absolute necessary times, for short amounts of times.

Tonight, though, I even got out of yoga pants and into jeans, and I put on makeup. GASP! I know, right?! In truth, there were probably other reasons for the makeup…but it still got put on…that’s a true rarity.

One little step into acceptance that my life really does have to go on without one of my children. I’ll probably forever hate Fridays, but spending time tonight watching My Little Man play basketball was worth taken on the anxiety and the vulnerability that I am still feeling.

How could I even think about missing his first AAU game of the season? Could I have forgiven myself if I hadn’t been able to get over my own $#!t?!

I’m thankful for some people who have made me feel just a little bit more safe during this dark night.

And I’m thankful for this kid. Just look at his smile.


Do you or someone you know need help? Call NEDA’s Toll-free Information and Referral Helpline: 1-800-931-2237. You can also use the form below to contact me. Remember, you are not alone.


Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018: Day 4

Let’s start talking about some general PHYSICAL Symptoms of Eating Disorders  

The first 10, as per NEDA: Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down; Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.); Menstrual irregularities — missing periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period); Difficulties concentrating; Abnormal laboratory findings (anemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low potassium, low white and red blood cell counts); Dizziness, especially upon standing; Fainting/syncope; Feeling cold all the time; Sleep problems; Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting)

Challenge- show us Strength! What activity have you done in the past that made you feel strong? Tell us and post a picture of what it was so that we can celebrate YOUR strength! 

My yoga studio. Designed for small, intimate classes. I had a vision many years ago to use my life experiences to help/serve others through Yoga. I was being called to help others heal. Yet, there were many, many obstacles to overcome to first. I had to first understand what Yoga had done for me.

Yoga helped me through eating disorders, an unhealthy marriage, divorce, severe depression and anxiety, dealing with a child suffering from her own and then dealing with her teenage pregnancy. Now Yoga is helping me find acceptance in the worst ever kind of Momma Nightmare imaginable. Through Yoga, I connect closely with God…that’s where any strength I have has ultimately come from.

I vowed to someday teach using my own experiences. I understand that not all yoga is right for everyone. I get to watch people thrive who once didn’t feel comfortable in other class settings or who have been too self-conscious to try Yoga. I was one of those people, too, so I get it! I LOVE to watch people change and grow confident in themselves.

My strength…My Little Studio…because I know where I once was and I’m thankful for how much I’ve changed.


Do you or someone you know need help? It is time to call NEDA’s Toll-free Information and Referral Helpline: 1-800-931-2237.

Feel free to contact me, too, using the form below. You are not alone.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018: Day 3


  • Any new practices with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism)
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
  • Frequent dieting
  • Extreme concern with body size and shape
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
  • Extreme mood swings

Today’s Challenge: Resourcefulness! What is the most resourceful thing you have ever come up with to get your workout in?

Well, Darn it. I’m actually going to have to do more today than just snap a shot of a pose or two. Am I ready to practice? My first actual asana practice since 2.8.18. Twenty days. I don’t know if I’m ready. May it’s time. I should clean up first. I’m a mess. My pants don’t fit well, my hair is a mess, and this shirt though! Just do it.

Ok. Done. Did I really forget a few Ardha Uttanasana? My alignment is off, I couldn’t hover in Chaturanga, I had trouble with headstand. Look at my heavy breathing. Do I dare post this?! I know I have to…for me…and perhaps someone else.

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations…if I do nothing else to move my body, I practice a few rounds of these. Often, like today, once I start, I’m led to a few poses that I need. Sun Salutations create the perfect balance between strength and flexibility. Sun Salutations offer a meditative experience as each breath links to each movement. Sun Salutations raise the heart rate and help with detoxification and purification.

Most importantly, though…Sun Salutations can be done almost anywhere. No special equipment needed. Not even a yoga mat is really needed, but carpet is gross…my nose isn’t going there!! But what’s better? Fifteen minutes. My whole practice today timed right at 15 minutes. My body feels better tonight and my mind feels more focused. And I’m thankful for the challenge.

Do you or someone you know need help? Call Toll-free Information and Referral Helpline: 1-800-931-2237, and remember you are not alone. Feel free to use the form below to contact me. 

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018: Day 2


  • In general, behaviors and attitudes that indicate that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting
  • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
  • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
  • Food rituals (e.g. eats only a particular food or food group [e.g. condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow foods to touch)
  • Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals

“Today’s challenge: Humanity/Humbleness: What is one activity that you have tried that you failed at miserably that first time you tried it?  Did you go back and try it again?”

This was tough for me because impulsively I answered LIFE! Too many miserable attempts and failures to count! UUUGH! Ok, I do admit though…I’m not in my happiest of places right now, and every day, every thing I do is taking every ounce of effort.

So I chose my favorite yoga pose that helps me break free from ego’s pride. This asana helps me surrender to the truth of what’s happening in my body, mind, and spirit when strong and often uncomfortable sensations arise telling me all those long held “issues in my tissues” are ready to be dealt with and released. When I learn to stay present during difficult moments on my mat, I’m also learning to stay present during life’s perfectly imperfect moments.

Humble Warrior reminds me to stand strong in my truth and in my faith, and to do so in sweet surrender. I am reminded to turn my focus inward so that I can Listen to Divine Calling. During particularly difficult times, I couple this asana with the Kali mudra to connect with My Inner Fierce Goddess. On my darkest days this mudra helps to let go of the pain and allow the light to enter again.


Do you or someone you know need help? Please call NEDA’s Toll-free Information and Referral Helpline: 1-800-931-2237.

You can also use the form below to contact me. You are not alone.