What is Yoga?

What is Yoga?

Whether you've taken a yoga class before or not, you might still find yourself asking at some point: what exactly IS yoga? To answer that big question, we turn to the big, old, yoga texts.

The yoga sutras are one of the main ancient yoga philosophy texts. They provide a wide variety of practical knowledge and suggestions for healing the mind, body and spirit. There is so much to be gained by reading the sutras and they provide a firm foundation for any yoga practice. Without an understanding of the reasons behind yoga, it's easy to fall into a mindless practice.

Today we'll be breaking down and reflecting on just one sutra, Sutra 1.2, which describes exactly what yoga is:

“Yoga is the reflection of the fluctuations of consciousness.”

Swami Satchitanada’s translation says: “Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff.”

So when we think about 'yoga,' we might think of the western ideal of a traditional yoga asana (posture) class. But nothing is mentioned here about the body, stretching or yoga asana. (In fact, asana is only actually mentioned ONCE in the entire book of the sutras!)  Sutra 1.2 is suggesting that yoga exists within the mind; from there, we have 5 types of yoga to offer us various ways to achieve restraint of the mind. Asana is just one of those paths.

Another thing to take note of about this definition is that we're not trying to 'empty the mind' completely. Rather than trying to force out thoughts, yoga asks us to begin by simply noticing how the mind fluctuates. We can then begin to notice that many of our thoughts are repetitive, negative, past, or future-oriented. You might even find that certain yoga postures result in certain types or qualities of thought. Once we notice the patterns of our consciousness, only then can we begin to develop some restraint.

"The mind is a busy thing. It is always moving. Even when we sleep, the mind is fluctuating, making up little stories, tossing flashes of color and light around, reenacting or inventing conversations and scenes that feel like reality while we’re experiencing them. Only when we wake up do we realize our dreams were “just dreams,” no matter how real they felt. We’ve all heard of lucid dreaming, right? Some people learn to recognize that they are dreaming while it’s happening, and that changes the dream. Similarly, we become lucid in our waking life when we learn to tell the difference between what is real and what is just mental noise." - MissDirt.net

To practice restraint is an active process. There is much intention behind the practice and it's most useful when we can incorporate it into our daily life. It would behoove us all to slow down, and allow enough time for stillness to listen to our thoughts. The quality of our day-to-day thoughts can often be surprising, but this process is what makes yoga so incredibly life-changing.

Our perception of reality is a direct result of the quality of our thoughts.

And it takes time to change thoughts. Many eager students, (myself included) hope to pop right into a deep state of blissful meditation without having dedicated the time and practice needed to notice and alter thoughts. Noticing 'the fluctuations' has to come before the refining process...so begin there. Begin with just a few breaths of attention. A few moments dedicated to non-judgemental acknowledgement of your thoughts. Practice easing your way into a sense of patience throughout those fluctuations. Before you know it, you're practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation. :)

 

Be well!

 

SO HUM Meditation

Please enjoy and practice this SO HUM meditation at your leisure! The words 'so hum' are a sacred Sanskrit mantra that mean, 'I am that,' or 'I am myself.' The words themselves are extremely grounding and you'll find the rhythm of this meditation soothing and healing.

Click the photo below to take a closer look or download and print the file to keep on hand. SO HUM is useful to incorporate into your day or during times of stress, so practice it and remember it for next time!

 Click to download and print.

Click to download and print.

PEMF Therapy

If you've been following along with me on social media, you might know about my recent neurological challenges.

A brief synopsis: a chronic hip/pelvis pain helped to alert my chiropractor to what was actually a problem with my left brain stem. Due to the cranial-sacral connection (as well as the vagus nerve that runs directly from the base of the skull down to the pelvis) an old concussion had created a major rift between by brain and my spine. Unbeknownst to me, I had been living with this imbalance for about 17 years and was very lucky to have only really experienced low blood pressure, heart rate spikes, occasional light headedness, and the hip pain.

The condition is called dysautonomia and it affects all of the functions of the autonomic nervous system (breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, pupillary response...etc). There are many different origins and types of autonomic nervous system dysfunction, but for many people, the condition is debilitating and there is no known cure. Western medicine turns to a lifetime of drugs, surgeries, and pace makers to try to force the body into regulating.

Medication is not the answer for me. I believe that the human body is phenomenal and intelligent and is designed to heal itself when conditions are right. 

As I began to work through the layers of this disorder, I was referred to Paul Bando of Cellular Therapeutics. Paul offers a wide variety of healing modalities including cranial-sacral therapy and Pulsed Electro Magnetic Therapy, or PEMF. Electro Magnetic therapy involves laying on a PEMF mat set that is set to a specific frequency. Magnetic energy permeates the entire body, passing through all of your tissues. The mat essentially recharges and balances unhealthy cellular voltage.

PEMF mat
If you want to find the secrets of the universe,think in terms of energy frequency and vibration.
— Nikola Tesla

PEMF mats are the most therapeutic option for any nervous system disorder. Pittsburgh's own Shadyside Hospital recently began incorporating the use of PEMF mats for post-op cancer patients, however, in Europe, the mats are used to avoid surgeries altogether. You might find the use of PEMF mats at your chiropractor or physical therapist's office to assist in healing and prepare muscles and fascia for support.

"Science teaches us that everything is energy. It’s always dynamic, so it has a frequency. All energy is electromagnetic in nature. Every cell and organ in our body produces its own electromagnetic field. Since PEMFs deal with impaired chemistry and the function of individual cells, they boost overall health by delivering beneficial EMFs and frequencies to all cells." - Source

The benefits of PEMF mats are literally infinite. I have experienced profound relief from the severe insomnia that comes along with dysautonomia as well as the original hip pain. By restoring the body’s natural electro-magnetic energy through PEMF therapy, cell metabolism is boosted, blood cells are regenerated, circulation is improved and oxygen carrying capacity is increased.

I'm so grateful to share that Paul is allowing me to borrow one of his PEMF mats for the month of February while he is away! Paul generously lends mats to other healers, clinics and those that need them. I am extending this offer to use the PEMF mat to Wholehearter students who are in need of extra physical support. Typical PEMF sessions are around 20 minutes. If you are interested in trying it for yourself, it can easily be included into a private yoga session or a reiki session.

Schedule a PEMF mat session soon!

 


 

Local Healing Professionals

If you need help with a specific chronic or undiagnosed issue, these are the amazing friends and healers who have surrounded me, supported me, educated me, and helped me the most. These people are my tribe and I highly recommend and love them all dearly.

 

9 Obstacles of Daily Yoga Practice

9 Obstacles of Daily Yoga Practice

As we begin or progress in a yoga practice, we will encounter many various obstacles. How to fit yoga into our busy schedules? Where exactly should I practice? What do I do on my own to develop an at home practice? And even after all of those questions are answered, we are still somehow often prevented from practicing daily. But repetitive daily practice (abhyasa) is how we begin to move into deeper layers of healing.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1.14 says: "When practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation."

Patanjali does not clarify what it means to practice for 'a long time.' We can make our own assumptions, but I would humbly assume that 'a long time' isn't measured simply by counting the years. This type of daily practice is living yoga.

For may of us, when we first fall in love with yoga, regular practice comes easy. We're so curious about discovering new postures or uncovering new ways of behaving. But when the 'honeymoon' stage of enthusiasm with yoga wears off, we may find ourselves back at the beginning with more roadblocks than reasons to keep going. If we allow those challenges to weigh on us, the negativity becomes it's own practice.

Abhyasa requires that we're aware of what our most common roadblocks and excuses are.

Thankfully, Patanjali has addressed this, too. We find the answer in Sutra 1.30: "Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground and slipping from the ground gained- these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles." So all of our excuses fall into one of these 9 categories:

  1. Vyadhi : disease, illness, sickness
  2. Styana : inefficiency, dullness
  3. Samsaya : indecision, doubt
  4. Pramada : carelessness, negligence
  5. Alasaya : sloth, laziness
  6. Avirati : sensuality, craving
  7. Bhranti darsana : false views, misconceptions
  8. Alabdhabhumikatva : failing to attain stages of practice
  9. Anavasthitatvani : inability to maintain, instability

A recent question in a Facebook group for yoga teachers really got me thinking. The question was, "Why do we [as yoga teachers] often struggle so much to keep a daily practice?" Originally, I thought that part of the answer was false views (putting students before self or misunderstanding our role), but now I feel that for a lot of us, myself included, it's often dullness.

Practicing 'for a long time' needs to be approached with the same care as a longterm relationship. Do you remember your very first date? Those feelings of uncertainty, excitement, and anticipation? THAT is what we need to keep practicing. If you lose the spark or stop 'dating' and trying new things, boredom creeps in and we lose the gift of 'the beginners mind' and curiosity.

Abhyasa is a journey, but our devotion and dedication is worth it. It's not about being perfect or never missing a day, it's about simply being aware and cherishing the gift of yoga. Take the time to remember the very beginnings of your yoga practice (or a relationship). Find ways to keep discovering new things. Explore all 5 types of yoga regularly. Try a new style of yoga that you've never heard of and just see how it feels. And most importantly: keep all 9 of Patanjali's obstacles in mind to remain vigilant as you practice.

Be well!

 

10 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly

It's week 10 out of 10 in this blog series on a few ways to Live Wholeheartedly. I hope that this series has helped you to stay grounded throughout the holiday season. If you've missed any of the past several weeks, catch up here!


speak love

Today's final suggestion to culminate these past 10 weeks is to SPEAK LOVE. When you think about 'speaking love,' what exactly does that mean to you? How can you practice communicating from a place of love? Or you might also be asking: what do speech habits have to do with yoga practice?

All of our patterns and our relationship to our self is our yoga practice. So in order to create healthy patterns of speech and communication, we have to heal our relationship with the self first and control negative thoughts.

In order to speak love, we must practice high vibration thoughts and speech.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of high/low vibration, I'll give you the Reader's Digest version: Our bodies and minds are made up of cells, organs, tissues, systems, electrical impulses and fascia that all vibrate, pulse and fire at various frequencies. Thoughts and words also have specific frequencies that are either high (healing, supportive, useful, things you want MORE of) or low (harmful, draining, tiring, things you want to release).

The concept of vibration may seem abstract at first, but in fact it is very simple. Since you cannot separate the mind from the body, learning how to think and eventually speak 'love' (the ultimate high vibration), your body and mind are better able to function. Your brain is dramatically affected by the types of words, images and thoughts it is exposed to on a daily basis. Changing the way you speak will allow you to begin to feel physically better, think more clearly and attract like high vibration energy.

Learning how to speak mindfully is a yoga practice in and of itself.

If you'd like to begin this speech practice, you'll need to begin by catching yourself in the act of negativity. Do you find yourself feeling angry or impatient in certain situations? Do you tend to belittle yourself for making mistakes or worry about the future? Are you complaining on social media or gossiping via texts? There are many ways in which we communicate and we must bring them all into the light in order to experience the amazing benefits of speaking love.

Here are a few tips for holding yourself accountable within your speech:

1). Keep a journal handy! It's helpful to begin to notice what types of people, experiences or events trigger mental negativity. Try to observe what they are and take note for more awareness next time.

2). Practice breathing during challenges conversations. When your breathing becomes rapid or shallow, your brain is receiving less oxygen and you are much less likely to be able to speak wisely. Take a few big breaths in and out through the nose

3). Before speaking, practice rephrasing your thoughts to include high vibration words. You can still express a full range of honest emotions without speaking negatively. For example: "I want less stress in 2018" becomes "I want more peace in 2018." Or, "I will release my fears" becomes "I will embrace bravery." Or lastly, "I hate waking up early" could become, "I love sleeping in when I can."

4). Check your most recently used emoticons. Many of us communicate regularly via text. What types of emotions are you expressing?

5). Take your time. In a conversation, allow time to mindfully gather your thoughts before responding. Consider how you can support and love yourself as well as the other person or people you are speaking to.

Speaking from a place of love is a challenge. But it's a way to draw in the supportive energy of love for yourself and everyone you communicate with. You cannot speak from a place of love without being mindful. You cannot speak from a place of love if you allow yourself to be consumed by hate or fear. Challenge yourself to practice raising the vibration of your self-talk, your communication with others, and texting or posting on social media.

Every word you put out into the world has an impact. Choose wisely.


Here's a cool TED talk with Joanna McEwen about how and why raising your vibration increases serendipity. (Also, Joanna has a beautiful accent, so I could listen to her talk all day long)

9 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly

Care for Yourself

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I'm a big advocate for self-care. (I even did a whole retreat on it this past fall!) I've been burnt out before and I hope to prevent it for myself and others. It's a hopeless, often preventable feeling.

Caring for yourself can look like many different things, but it's not always the pampering many of us think of. Though it can be relaxing, caring for yourself also means making hard decisions, saying 'no,' and creating real boundaries. But so much of the time, we're stuck in this place of expectations v.s. reality and social norms.

It is normal to be burnt out. It is normal to work non-stop and still try to do it all at home. It is normal to put yourself at the bottom of your list and neglect your basic needs 'for the greater good.' But that doesn't mean you don't have a choice. Can we stop pretending like this is all okay? Can we stop 'working for the weekend' and running a mile a minute for the sake of  productivity?

Let's stop pretending that multitasking is an admirable skill or that self-care is selfish.

We don't have to keep behaving this way. Yoga asks us of all of our habits: 'is this useful?' If not, there is no excuse to continue them for one more minute. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to the people around us to create balance in all ways. To live as an example and to live mindfully.

Last March, I wrote a blog post on the concept of Yin v.s. Yang self-care. I was first introduced to the idea of yin and yang self-care when I read the book, "Elemental Yin Yang Yoga, by Erin Aquin." I realized that my self-care tended to lean wildly in one direction or the other, but I wasn't balancing the active and passive energy of the two.

I know that it can be hard to take breaks, shut down or step away from your usual responsibilities. But in caring for yourself, you are truly better able to function and care for those around you. If you're challenged by the idea of self-care or what to do, it can be helpful to have a go-to list on ways to care for yourself.

When brainstorming your own activities, you must first be comfortable with what self-care is. Notice what comes up for you when you hear that term or consider ways to care for yourself. Erin Aquin offers some valuable tips here:

  1. If it doesn’t fuel you or nourish you, it isn’t self-care.
  2. Self-care means you do it for yourself. While asking for help or support is great, self-care should be empowering and something you can do for yourself with as little reliance anywhere else as possible.
  3. Self-care is something you look forward to. If you don’t enjoy/get a deep benefit, it won’t fuel or nourish you.
  4. Self-care results in health and vitality. Self-care doesn’t mean going out and eating a 3-layer cake or getting bombed. Never use “self-care” to justify bad habits or behaviour that hurts you or anyone else.
  5. Self-care is necessary to your well-being, take it seriously.
  6. Did you catch that last one? Self-care is necessary to your well-being, take it seriously. 

If you need more help developing or creating a self-care routine, contact me or create the time to map it out for yourself. Pop over to my other post on self-care here, to download a printable Self-Care Checklist. It's a great visual to hang on your fridge or put in a notebook as a reminder for yourself to stay on track.

Tis' the season to create amazing new intentions for the year!

8 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly

8 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly: DO NOTHING

For many of us, today's suggestion to 'do nothing' is truly not as easy as it sounds. (If you're reading this when it was published, it's the day after Christmas, so hopefully taking a break is a little easier right now.) But for the most part, many of us feel guilty taking time to just relax. You might feel as if you need to 'earn' your rest. Doing nothing may have even literally been a punishment for you as a child.

If you can easily shut off and enjoy nothingness, then kudos to you! It is a rare skill and I'm sure you don't often receive a pat on the back for it, but in a world where over-stimulation and over-activity are the norms, learning how to shut off is an imperative skill.

Just as with any other habit, doing nothing takes practice.

Taking time to rest is a learned behavior. It's difficult to figure out how to rest fruitfully if you're surrounded by fellow busy-bodies. When self-care isn't a regular part of our lives, we often don't seek rest until our minds or bodies are absolutely desperate for it. If you're addicted to busy-ness, trying to sit and do nothing will feel painstaking and boring. But that's okay. Start small and practice.

A few ways to practice doing nothing:

Start small. Try just a few minutes of nothingness and remember that doing nothing means doing nothing. It does not include watching TV, using your phone or trying to meditate. Remove as many distractions as possible and just exist with yourself.

Breathe. When doing nothing is a struggle, try paying attention to your breath. Resist the temptation to label as meditation and just feel yourself breathing slowly in and slowly out. Let your body soften into each breath to find a place of ease.

Do nothing within nature. Within the woods or your favorite natural area, there are fewer distractions. You may be able to slip into a place of calm a little easier within the wild. Take in your surroundings and just sit.

Do nothing within your daily life. This is the final stage of doing nothing and it's a technique that takes much practice and intention. Try it once you've practiced and become competent at the above stages.

Start by doing nothing while you are waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, on a bus, driving or waiting for a plane. Wait, without reading a newspaper or magazine, without talking on the phone, without checking your email, without writing out your to-do list, without doing any work, without worrying about what you need to do later. Wait, and do nothing. Watch and listen.
— Zen Habits

Truly doing nothing is a rare gift. Though it feels challenging at first, it's not meant to be punishment, but a way to offer yourself miniature breaks from the constant over-stimulation of our existence. It's one of the most grounding, satisfying and useful practices to draw into your daily life, especially during seasons of busyness. This week, carve out time for absolutely NOTHING.

 

 

7 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly

Welcome to week 7 out of 10 in this blog series on how to Live Wholeheartedly. If you've missed any of the past few weeks, check them out here.

7 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly: REARRANGE

Today's suggestion is to REARRANGE. I have a few different categories of rearranging to consider, but at it's core, rearranging comes from an innate need that we all have to start fresh at times. It helps us to gain a different perspective. Rearranging even small seemingly insignificant details can often be JUST the type of jump-start we need.

What type of rearranging will be most useful for you? Here are my top 3.

 

 

1) Rearrange Tasks & Schedules:

One obvious aspect of life to rearrange is our schedule. Though at times it may seem as if there is no wiggle room to shift things around, there always is. Our schedules are simply a choice. Are you choosing wisely in a way that supports your physical, mental and emotional well-being?

Rearranging your schedule may be as simple as editing your morning routine, trying something new, or saying 'no' to just one invitation. Rather than thinking in terms of sacrifice, think in terms of clear prioritizing. I often like to make a list of things that are on my mind or things I feel I have to accomplish. Inevitably, there are things on that list that I don't need to worry about right now, and by rearranging them to a later date, I take a bit of weight off my shoulders.

One of the most useful ways I've found to help me prioritize and organize clearly has been bullet journaling. If you've never heard of it, it's a simple and effective way to organize all of your tasks, thoughts, inspirations and scheduling in ONE place. You can use any blank journal to do it and set it up in a way that makes sense to you. It's definitely a great tool to help whittle away at those nagging tasks that cause stress or keep getting shuffled around.

 

2) Rearrange Things & Surroundings: 

Have you ever walked into a home or office that just FEELS stale? I don't necessarily mean stuffy or unclean, but just a sense of energetic stagnation. When there is a lack of air flow, movement, life or creativity within a space, it is very tangible. Refreshing your space and environment is SO helpful and important. Just as with the habits of our bodies and minds, if our surroundings never change, it creates a feeling of heaviness.

There are many ways to cleanse and refresh your environment. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

  1. Move around your furniture, artwork or knickknacks regularly. If you've been to my house, you know I LOVE rearranging things. At least seasonally, or as much as possible, mix things around within your space. Get your creativity flowing and allow it to fuel the changes.
  2. Clean and cleanse your surroundings. Try to do a seasonal deep clean in the spaces where you spend the most time. But only do so when you can offer it your full attention and gratitude, so as to further infuse the energy of the space. If you bustle through the task or find yourself irritated, come back to it later.
  3. Open windows, diffuse essential oils or burn sage to clear out stale air
  4. Refresh a space with sound. High vibration (supportive, cleansing, positive) sounds help to raise the overall vibration/energy/frequency within space. Whether it's singing, chanting, symphony music or clapping, choose whatever feels most therapeutic to you and crank it up.
  5. Add live plants! Since plants are living and cleansing, they help a space to feel energized and light. I have at least one plant in almost every room of my home, with extra where I spend the most time. You don't need any special space or window; there is always a place to add a small, low light plant, or even an air plant!
  6. Purge. At least once a year, take the time to go through your space thoroughly. Consider everything from your sock drawer to your attic. Are your possessions serving you by either bringing you joy or being useful? If an item does not fall into one of those 2 categories, it is creating bondage in some way. Unused or unappreciated items are literally creating dead energy. Allow those items to move on to someone who needs or wants them. Donate or get rid of anything that weighs you down.

3) Rearrange Thoughts & Stories:

This final suggestion (to rearrange our thoughts and stories) takes much time, honesty and compassionate self-reflection. So much of what holds us back or keeps us stuck and stagnant only exists within our minds and is based on our experiences and past. 

You might practice simply catching negative thoughts or self-talk, taking the time to observe recurring patterns or lessons within your life, or checking in with your expectations, fears values. A good counselor can help you sift through the patterns of thought are useful and uncover the places where your mind is causing you unnecessary stress. When we can get the help we need to rearrange some of our old thoughts and stories, we can make room for new ones to grow in their place.


Consider taking these 3 steps to refresh your routine, your surroundings and your mind. Now is the perfect time of year to remove ourselves from old patterns and truly begin fresh with a new mindset.

I would love to help you or share more ideas and suggestions, so please reach out if you're ready for change!

6 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly

6 of 10 Keys to Live Wholeheartedly: SEEK SUPPORT

We've most likely all heard the phrase "no man is an island." What you may not know is that this phrase comes from a sermon by the seventeenth-century English author John Donne. This is an excerpt of the original sermon, made into a poem:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

When I read or heard these words in the past, I used to make associations in my mind about society working together and functioning as a whole. Great! It was natural for me to imagine myself in the role of working alongside or supporting others as a cog in the wheel. But receiving support wasn't really in my wheelhouse...or so I thought.

In retrospect, how very ignorant of me to not appreciate the support I was already receiving daily. I now realize that it was arrogant of me to believe that everyone around me needed encouragement, but I was somehow exempt. "No man is an island" now says to me that no matter how independent you think you are or would like to be, we are always connecting and interacting with other people who support us. On a soul level, we are all the same.

There are many perceptions and negative associations around seeking certain types of help. You might be open and willing to chat with a friend, but hesitant to seek counsel from a therapist. It might be easier for you to seek certain types of support than others, but are you reaching out to the most qualified or helpful source? The fact is, we all have certain skill sets and gifts that we're meant to share with one another and we can't do that if everyone stays stuck in our old stories.

3 Stories We Tell Ourselves About Seeking Support:

1.) "I don't need help because I am different than you." Being willing to seek and receive support requires us to stop seeing ourselves as an exception. The separation that we see between ourselves and others only ever causes pain. Even if it's subconscious, refusing help, yet regularly lending a hand says, "I'm better than you. I have myself together and I am fine offering support, but I don't need your help." We must establish humility.

2.) "By refusing support, I am being selfless." True giving comes from a place of abundance, not lack. Selflessness literally means that you're more concerned with other's needs over your own. But not having your own support is lack and creates an uneven energetic exchange. If you're consistently in the role of giving without receiving what YOU need, you will eventually feel drained or resentful, thereby defeating the purpose. Whether it's time, money, gifts, love or attention, a discerning recipient of your perceived selflessness will have an awareness of the energy behind it.

3.) "I can do it myself." Sure, there are certainly many types of support that you can DIY or occasionally skip. But why? We're not meant to do it all alone. When you refuse to reach out, you're also denying someone else the pleasure of offering their support. Plus, some of us make a living by offering support, but wouldn't be able to do that without the support of people seeking support! ;)


Donne's poem says, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." How beautiful to recognize our dependence on and connection to others. We all deserve to fully experience the pleasure of a healthy support system.

So especially around the holidays, make plans for what YOU need. Pay attention to the types of care your body and mind are calling for. Schedule a new type of self-care that draws you out of your comfort zone or challenges your ideas of independence. Recognize the amazing support network that already exists around you each and every day...and don't hesitate to reach out.