1-on-1 Yoga Sessions: What to Expect

I’m guessing that if you’re here, you’re interested in booking a private yoga session with me and would like to know more. You’ve come to the right place!

First off, a yoga practice has many proven benefits.
An internet search or a look at my article on the benefits of yoga will make that quite clear!

But why try 1-on-1 sessions?

These carefully crafted, individualized sessions are really all about the client and what they want and need. It is a space for a client to get specialized attention and support.

This is why 1-on-1 yoga sessions are superior to a class setting for clients who crave individual attention. There is no way a client can get much specialized attention in a group setting (nor would it be fair to the instructor and the other yogis to expect it)!

Some clients also appreciate the privacy of 1-on-1 sessions, as well as the ability to customize the environment to their liking (temperature, lighting, music, etc.).

Every instructor has their own unique way of leading regular and private classes. That’s a wonderful thing because every student has their own preferences for what they seek in a teacher.

So, with all of that said, this is what you can expect in a 1-on-1, private yoga session with me:

The client and I meet at an agreed time, either in person or virtually via Zoom. Sessions are 1 hour long, crafted entirely for my client, and are as gentle or as vigorous as the client wants/needs.

Generally, there are long-term goals for the student when beginning private sessions. To actually attain these goals, we meet anywhere from 1 to 3 times a week.
With only 1 meeting a week, however, it is especially important for the client to continue their practice on their days off. Even just 10 minutes a day can make a difference! (For guided practices, I recomend Apple Fitness+ – new classes are uploaded all the time, and they start at just 10 minutes long.)

As far as tools and props go, the client will need to supply their own nonslip fitness mat. Mats range from very cheap ($5-$10) to very expensive. Materials and thicknesses vary widely.

The best mat is whatever suits the student and their budget.

If the client has limited mobility or struggles to get up and down from the floor, then a sturdy, armless chair will go a long way.

Yoga straps and blocks can also be very useful, especially if the client has limited flexibility (which is perfectly okay). Alternatively, one can use old hardcover books for blocks, or a necktie or towel as a strap. (Check out my Yoga Props 101 post for more info!)

Before the first session, the client will be sent a little bit of digital paperwork: a Liability/Terms & Conditions Waiver and a Client Intake Form. They may print the forms, fill them out, and send me photographs, or fill the forms out digitally on a computer or tablet and emailed to me as a PDF file. The client and I will meet 10 minutes before the first hour-long session to go over the paperwork together.

The Client Intake Form lets me know vital information including:
The client’s yoga history (if any), what they want to get out of the yoga sessions, and their medical history. This information helps me tailor session plans for each individual client, with any limitations and goals in mind.

We begin each session by going over any aches/pains that are felt in the body. It’s also very helpful to know how the client is feeling mentally/emotionally. That allows me to adjust the planned session to give the client what they need that specific day.

Then, I may begin with a tiny talk on a specific aspect of Yoga as it relates to the session. This is an educational aspect that tends to get left out in group classes, and gives the student a way to become more holistically involved with their yoga practice.

Then, we take a few minutes to get centered and grounded to prepare for the practice. Here I may utilize breathing exercises, chanting, or visualization meditation practices.

A private yoga session can be chill, energetic, or somewhere in between. The sessions’ energies can even vary from meeting to meeting. Again, it’s all about what the client wants and needs and attaining their longterm goals.

All sessions end with an approximately 10-minute meditation and rest, or Savasana (sha-VAH-suh-nuh). This resting portion is crucial in a yoga practice, as it balances the nervous systems and integrates the physical work in the body with the mind and the spirit. Savasana is an amazing opportunity to learn to rest on command.

So if the idea of private, specialized yoga sessions appeals to you, contact me directly to set up our first meeting.

I can’t wait to meet with you and to help you feel better in mind, body, and spirit. 🙏

With love & gratitude,

My Yoga Journey (In Short)

I originally tried yoga as an exercise regimen…

My personal journey with yoga started in a superstore when I was 19 years old. 
I was in college full-time,
in an abusive, long-term relationship,
and my home life was challenging.

I was stressed and directionless. I was not taking care of myself. 

I had heard so much about how great yoga was, but I didn’t know where to start.
(This was right before the era of infinite online yoga videos.)

So as I browsed the fitness section of a superstore at 19, I noticed Jillian Michaels’ “Yoga Meltdown” DVD and felt drawn to give it a shot.

This DVD was physically intense, especially with how out-of-shape I was. But I liked the challenge and I enjoyed the new ways in which I was moving my body.
Jillian threw in small bits and pieces on yogic philosophy which showed respect to yoga’s roots, all the while catering to her audience: regular, modern people who want to be fit. Jillian guided me through the poses in a beginner-friendly way. She reminded me to breathe. She also kicked my ass. I still hear her sass echo in my ears when I’m holding an asana for longer than I’d like:

“Get 👏 comfortable 👏 with 👏 being 👏 uncomfortable!👏”

That DVD, which barely even scraped the surface of what yoga entails, began my love affair with this wonderful, mystical, ancient practice. 

At 20, I gained access to free yoga classes through my university. And I took advantage. I attended various types of yoga classes 1-3 times a week. I convinced friends, and even my dad, to go with me and try yoga. I was compelled to share my newfound Uncomfortable Bliss. 

Vinyasa yoga, Yin yoga, Kundalini yoga, Hot yoga. I tried whatever the gym offered. Looking back, I see my yoga practice was the main thing keeping me sane during that taxing period of my life.

Before I started these classes, I lived only in my head, overanalyzing the past, present, and future nonstop. I was disconnected from my body and my intuition. I struggled to understand who I was and what I wanted. My breathing was shallow. I was separate from Source energy and out of touch with my own power.

Then, like a flower unfolding its petals ever so slowly over those 2 years of free classes, I began to connect with myself. I became acutely aware of my whole body and the life force energy in my breath. I felt physically stronger and gained a little confidence. I made healthier food and drink choices. I prioritized exercise. I even dumped the abusive boyfriend.

And Shavasana by Shavasana, I came closer and closer to feeling connected to a greater unifying Source…

It was yoga that opened a door for me to walk through into spirituality. From there, I casually took an interest in Buddhism, and found even more inner peace and self-acceptance from the abundance of this ancient belief system — much of which derives from yogic roots. 

The benefits to my mental, physical, and spiritual health stayed with me long after I graduated and didn’t have access to free classes anymore. I continued my practice at home, using the abundance of videos available online. But time and time again, I recall things my instructors did and said that, to this day, guide me in my practice and my teaching.

Yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit. Though I am now honored to be able to teach, I shall forever remain a student. 

Everyone possesses the potential to evolve through yoga in unique ways. This is why I am so keen to share yoga, ensuring others practice safely, with self-love and self-acceptance. 

I originally tried yoga as an exercise regimen,
and I ended up more mentally, physically, and spiritually evolved.

Thank you so much for reading my story.

With love & gratitude,

❤️ Comment below: How did you discover yoga?

Follow me on Instagram: @CreepetteYoga

Autumn: A Time for Gratitude

my digital collage for Autumn 2022

Wishing you all a Blessed Mabon!!! 🍂🌻🎃

Above is my new seasonal digital collage for my favorite season… It is transformational and spooky and also: my birth season. ♏️ 🍂

The pose I featured is Malasana, or Garland Pose, AKA Yogi Squat. It is a grounding pose, targeting the Root❤️ and Sacral🧡 Chakras. It is a good asana choice for gratitude and reflection.

Modifications & Variations for Yogi Squat:
Sit on a block.
Lift the heels.
Hold a chair to get low.
Use a wall for support.
Bring your feet wider apart.

September 22, 2022 is the Autumn Equinox in the northern hemisphere, a time when both day and night are equal. 🌞🌝 

This is a time of balance and harmony. It’s also a time to express gratitude for what we have, recognize our accomplishments, and to let go of what no longer serves us.

What can you let go of this season? Letting go creates a vacant space for something new and better. Let go of the negative, and then invite in the positive.

Thank you so much for reading.

With love & gratitude,

🍁 Comment below: What is your go-to tradition for Autumn?

Follow me on Instagram: @CreepetteYoga

Yoga Props 101: Common Props & Uses

I compiled a list of the most common yoga props.

Now, a quick note: You don’t actually need any of these props to practice yoga. (Including mats!)

However some, or all, of these props may help you develop a more personalized and enjoyable practice. Props can be used by absolutely everybody, regardless of experience or fitness level.

It’s all about experimenting and seeing what works for you and what doesn’t. The important thing is knowing your options!

So what are the options?

1. Mat

Mats have become a yoga staple, and you’re likely already quite familiar with this one.

There are many types of mats, made with different materials and varying thicknesses. Don’t hesitate to get a mat on the thicker side if you need the cushion.

You don’t need to spend a lot on a mat. If you’re on a budget, discount stores sell them for under $10 and they do the job just fine.

I recommend that you have your own personal yoga mat instead of borrowing the studio’s mat or a housemate’s mat, as it is more hygienic to have your own. Mats are very high-touch props.

2. Blocks

photo credit to unsplash.com/@samantha_shepp

One or, ideally, two blocks can help you explore the different asanas (postures) and feel more comfortable and aligned in them.

You can use household objects instead of buying blocks, such as hardcover books or firm cushions. There are even DIY yoga block tutorials online: For example, this tutorial shows you how to make blocks out of cardboard and tape!

Blocks are so useful because they bring the floor up to you if flexibility or anatomy is an obstacle to achieving the full expression of a pose.

You can use blocks in basically any pose to alter how your body expresses it and to change the sensations in your body as well.

Blocks can also be used in more restorative poses, like placing one under your lower back for Reclined Butterfly Pose or Corpse Pose.

You can also sit on a block to elevate your pelvis in meditation postures. This keeps your spine upright and hips more relaxed.

3. Strap

A yoga strap is great for people with little flexibility, as it increases a student’s range of motion. Straps are useful for students of any level, however. They aid in posture, alignment, and flexibility.

You can use any non-stretchy fabric or rope as a strap, such as neckties. Sometimes new yoga mats come with looped straps to carry the mats around conveniently. You can even use that strap in your practice.

4. Towel

If you sweat a lot, you may be interested in a non-skid yoga towel the size of your mat, which you can wash between uses. They’re commonly used in hot yoga classes.

A towel can also prolong the life of your mat by providing a barrier from rubs and nicks.

A folded towel can also take the place of a folded blanket for cushion under the knees or wrists. Some like to cover themselves with a towel or blanket during long, restorative poses for comfort.

5. Bolster

photo credit to kurma-yoga.com

Bolsters are firm, long pillows commonly used in restorative and, sometimes, prenatal classes. Bolsters aids the body in opening up and relaxing.

6. Blanket

A rolled blanket can be used similarly to a bolster.

A folded blanket can be used for cushion under the knees, wrists, lower back, and hips. Some like to cover themselves with a blanket or towel during long resting poses.

You can also sit on a folded blanket to elevate your pelvis in meditation postures.

7. Eye Pillow

Eye pillows are kind of like eye masks people use for sleeping. Eye pillows are small, cloth bags filled with natural fillings to have a small weight to them.

They are used at the end of class for Savasana and block out light. Eye pillows create a gentle weight on the eyes, aiding in relaxation. They can also be scented for aromatherapy benefits as well.

Thank you so much for reading.
I hope this list helped you gain a better understanding of yoga props and even inspired you to try some of them in your practice!

With love & gratitude,

💬 Comment below: What is your favorite yoga prop?

Follow me on Instagram: @CreepetteYoga
www.creepette.com

Benefits of Yoga: Body, Mind, & Spirit

(@CreepetteYoga on Instagram)

The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” which means “to yoke” or “to unite.”

This refers to the uniting of universal consciousness with that of individual consciousness.

Yoga truly is for the body, mind, and spirit. When these are all in harmony, magic happens!

It is a common misconception that yoga is just poses, or “asanas.” In fact, Asana is just 1 of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Yes, there are 8 Limbs! But that’s another post for another day. 😉

My point is: Yoga is so much more than physical postures. Yoga as a whole, with all its 8 Limbs combined, is deeply beneficial for the entire being: Body, Mind, and Spirit.

“Yoga is not a work-out, it’s a work-in.”

Here’s my take on how anyone can benefit from a regular yoga practice:

1. Physical Wеllnеѕѕ

Physical wellness may be the most common reason people practice yoga in Western countries. At the very least, it’s often the reason people try it at all.

So what happens to your body with a regular yoga asana practice?

You gain the innumerable the benefits of cardio. You gain flexibility. Your balance and strength improve. Your bones, muscles, and joints become stronger.

You gain a deeper awareness of your breathing and the breath’s health benefits. These benefits include detoxification and oxygenation of the body, as well as decreasing cortisol (the stress hormone).

2. Innеr Peace

Wealthy, modern humans pay thousands of dollars to travel to exotic, remote places to get a taste of peace… Littlе dо they know: Pеасе is always attainable within them, no matter the backdrop.

A yoga practice cultivates inner peace as it untangles the knots of chaos in our minds by bringing attention to the breath and, therefore, the present moment.

There is a saying:
“Thinking about the past makes us depressed,
and thinking about the future makes us anxious.”

The past is memory. The future is imagination.

Yoga is a continuous dance with the breath.

When the mind is focused on the breath, it is focused on the present moment (which is all there truly is).

3. Strеѕѕ Reduction

A yoga practice a day keeps the stress away. (…Too corny?)

Yoga relaxes the mind and body, and the postures get a body moving the way it is meant to move. There is very little opportunity for deep stretching and movement in a modern lifestyle.

Feeling achy and tense contributes to stress in the mind. The movements and postures of yoga relieve pain and tension in the body.

Deep breathing elicits a relaxation response. This replaces the “fight or flight” mindset many of us constantly live in. Loud, everyday noises like car horns literally put our bodies into a stress response.

A yoga practice teaches us how to be calmer and more centered amidst chaos. It is an escape from daily stressors.

4. Mental & Spiritual Wеllnеѕѕ

You gain a calmer state of mind and an increased ability to be in the present moment.

Some may go on to attain a higher state of consciousness in their practice, even if only for a fleeting moment. This opens up opportunities for spiritual growth.

Then, all of this will likely lead to better sleep quality and more mindful eating habits, which benefits the health for obvious reasons.

But wait, there’s more!

If you practice regularly at a studio, being a part of a community, a natural human need, has its own benefits too. A community opens doors to new, meaningful connections and provides us with a sense of safety and security. 

5. Improved Relationships

This one’s short and to-the-point:

If yoga chills you out and makes you feel better physically, mentally, and/or spiritually, your relationships naturally benefit: You will be more present, more secure, more loving.

Final Note

If you’re reading this post, you may be brand new to the world of yoga and want to begin a physical practice.

If you want to try a yoga class or video, please give it a chance. Actually, please give it several chances, with different instructors and different styles. You’ll find your own sweet spot, I am sure of it!

Many people think they need to be skinny and flexible to do yoga. WRONG.

If you have physical limitations, you can still practice the postures of yoga, or variations of them.

There are classes dedicated to teaching students with limitations and disabilities.
There are beginner-friendly modifications for any pose.

Virtually anyone can practice yoga.

And maybe one day you’ll be able to do that asana in its “fullest expression”…or maybe you won’t: Everyone’s anatomy and history is different, and that’s perfectly divine.

Yoga is called a “practice” for a reason.

Yoga is not about showing off. It’s about showing up.

It’s about connecting with yourself and with Source energy: with Love.

What matters in a yoga class is that:
1) You always stay within your physical limitations and
2) You strive to continuously be mindful of your breath.

It can really be that simple.

A huge thank you to India for creating this practice and keeping it alive for thousands of years, despite many tribulations.

And thank you for reading.

With love & gratitude,

✨ Comment below: How has yoga improved your body, mind, and/or spirit?

Follow me on Instagram! @CreepetteYoga

Cultivating Self-Love: Where Do I Start?

If you’re reading this, you probably struggle with “self-love” or, more directly, low self-esteem.

Maybe you make negative judgments about yourself. Maybe you sabotage your successes with bad decisions. Maybe you need everyone to like you. Maybe you allow others to treat you like sh*t. There are many signs of low self-esteem.

I get it: This is something I have been all too familiar with in my life too.

Negative messages, however indirect, from family, friends, and society as a whole shame us into believing the worst lie of all: that we aren’t good enough just the way we already are.

The truth is: You ARE good enough just the way you already are.

Your brain has been wired to think otherwise, and it isn’t your fault.

You can rewire your brain to ditch the self-judgments and to remember what a stunning, unique, strong, talented person you are.

I chose Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, for this self-love collage. It is such a major heart chakra opener which means it opens you up to LOVE.
It’s one of my favorite asanas and feels so powerful yet so vulnerable. 
Digital collage by me (@CreepetteYoga on Instagram)

🤍 9 ways you can cultivate self-love starting today:

  1. Practice self-love when it comes to your basic needs. This one is so simple and yet so overlooked. Drink enough water, get enough sleep, choose cosmetics with clean ingredients, ditch unhealthy eating habits, move your body, etc. 
    You can even take some of these basic needs to the next level if you can spoil yourself (just a little bit). For example: Use a lux water bottle that makes you feel fancy. Or make your bed irresistible with high-quality sheets so that you will go to bed sooner instead of staying up too late playing video games… You get the idea.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not them and they are not you! You are your own person with vastly different genes, experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” (Amen. 🙏) When you’re busy comparing, you are not present with all the greatness that you already are. You’ve come a long way in your life. Honor that. Honor yourself.
    Focus on yourself and your goals. When you do this, other people’s lives, bodies, clothes, or Instagram photos won’t even be on your radar: You’ll be way too busy doing all those things that make you feel so whole and undeniably you.
  3. Break up with toxic people. It doesn’t matter who it is or how long you’ve known them. Life’s too short to willingly be around people who bring you down or make you feel unworthy.
    And, contrary to popular belief, family is no exception. Remember that you have no obligation to willingly be around anyone, including family members, that disrespect you. 
    I’m sure you’ve heard that “Blood is thicker than water” quote. It’s actually a misquote of this: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”
    Meaning: The bonds you choose can be much stronger than the bonds you are given through birth.
    Choose your own family, one that brings you up and supports you. As others love you, it becomes easier to love yourself.
  4. Give yourself the grace to be human. It’s okay to fail and make mistakes! It means you’re trying. Be nice to yourself. I often remember this advice I read a long time ago: “Talk to yourself as if you would a best friend.” Relationships with others are vital, but the relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. You should be your own best friend, your #1 fan, and your strongest support system. Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and misgivings and love yourself anyway.
  5. Tap through self-hatred using the Emotional Frequency Technique, or EFT. Commonly known simply as “tapping,” this very simple ritual is on based on the meridian points in your body derived from ancient Chinese medicine. EFT tapping restores the balance to your energy when you feel or experience something negative. Hating yourself really throws the energy in your body off because it is a very low-vibration feeling. If you want to read more about EFT, go here. If you prefer videos and following along with someone, search “EFT for self-love” on YouTube. So many wonderful people teach this easy, effective tool to the masses and are making a huge impact. And the best part about EFT is that you can use it for any other issue or ailment you experience. If you’re skeptical, try it for yourself. It only takes a few minutes.
  6. Worry about only one person’s opinion: Your own. It doesn’t matter if it’s your partner, your dad, or your coworker. If you are being true to yourself and someone else doesn’t like it, remind yourself of this: “It is not my problem how anyone else feels about me or my decisions.” Live your life for you and you only. And when you live your truth, you will become a magnet for those who’ll support you.
  7. Notice whenever you think negative judgments about yourself or others. Self-awareness is key. Oftentimes we judge so passively and so frequently that we don’t even realize we are doing it. It’s vital to notice when our inner critic is disapproving and unaccepting. Only then can we switch out those negative thoughts for positive ones.
    Ask yourself: Where are these judgments actually coming from? (Hint: It’s never you.) Forgive yourself and replace that judgment with loving words about yourself, even if it feels like a lie. Tell yourself something like: “I am the coolest person I know!” 
  8. Express gratitude. For anything and everything. Gratitude is a high vibrational emotion. Practicing it focuses your mind and energy on the good and therefore attracts even more good things to you. And try to express gratitude for things you may take for granted, like health or easy access to clean water.
  9. Seek a licensed therapist to help you love and accept yourself the way you were always meant to. If you cannot afford therapy, know that there are clinics and mental health practitioners that offer services on a sliding scale based on income. Many people are unaware of sliding scale therapy. For more information about what it is, how it works, and where to find it, go here.

Rewiring your brain takes a lot of patience and hard work, but it’ll all be worth it. I promise you.

The world needs people to love and accept themselves for who they are now, in the present moment. I truly believe that if everyone really loved themselves, the world would be at peace.

Narcissists who conquer with money, force, and greed don’t actually love themselves. Deep down inside, they hate themselves. That’s how their hatred and fear for others was cultivated.

When you see the good in yourself, it becomes effortless to see the good in others.

Heal yourself. Heal the world.

With love & gratitude,

❤️ Do you have any self-love tips you want to share? Comment below!

Follow me on Instagram: @CreepetteYoga

Spring: A Time for Growth

digital collage by me

💐 Ostara is upon us! Happy Spring Equinox. Our wintry time of rest and introspection has come to an end —for now anyway. 

🌳 I chose Tree Pose, or Vrikshasana, to feature in my digital Spring collage (pictured above). Tree Pose is a centering & empowering asana. It will help ground you in preparation for new beginnings and change.

It is also a balance pose: The Spring Equinox is one of the two times a year that light and dark (day and night) are perfectly balanced. 

💨 When in tree pose, try swaying slightly like a tree would in the wind. Trees that sway are more likely to stay upright than stiff, resistant trees.

How can you apply this Tree wisdom to your life circumstances?

🎨 Go start that house project, or finish that song or painting you’ve been putting off. Whatever is is, use Spring’s ever-growing, warm, sunshiny energy to accomplish your dreams. 

🐌 And if it’s in your nature to live more slowly (like me), remember that slow progress is still progress! 

Slow progress gets shit done… Eventually.

With love & gratitude,

💬 Tell me: What is your favorite variation of Tree Pose? Hands in prayer or branched out wide? Foot by the ankle or high above the knee? How does Tree Pose make you feel?

Winter: A Time of Rest

Ah, Winter… ❄️ Nature’s time of rest in preparation for Spring light.

Life, cycled.

To perform and create at our best, rest is nonnegotiable.

I created a digital collage for Winter, and I chose to include Child’s Pose due to its submissive, calming, relaxing effect. 😌

{art by me, made on Procreate for iPad}

It’s interesting to me that the New Year is considered to be the ideal time for big changes. Everyone starts imagining themselves as a different, “better” version of themselves. And that’s excellent! But considering when New Year falls, at the start of winter, it isn’t exactly the primary time to start anew (in my humble opinion).

Instead, take the whole of winter to rest and be introspective, which is especially needed after the selfless hurricane of the December holidays.

Then, come Spring, it will be the absolute perfect time to change, grow, evolve…

I think it’s better to work with Nature, not against It. 😉

With all of that said, however: It is never a bad time to make positive, impactful changes in our lives. If New Years works for you, go for it!

Thank you for being here.

With love & gratitude,

Comment below: What’s your favourite relaxing yoga pose?

Improve Your Brain with Meditation

Meditation is typically well known for its relaxation benefits, but the benefits go way beyond easing stress levels. There are many other kinds of benefits that come out of regular meditation.

Brain by dierk schaefer, on FlickrPhoto credit: “Brain” (CC BY 2.0) by dierk schaefer

In this post, I specifically want to share the results of several scientific studies that analyzed affects on the brain itself.

  • Meditation increases grey matter in the brain.
    What is grey matter? Grey matter is thought to be involved in information processing. Grey matter increases in the posterior cingulate cortex are correlated with creativity, rumination, self-reflection, and the way in which a person assesses how situations relate to them as an individual. Grey matter increases in the temporo-parietal junction are correlated with “perspective-taking and empathy.” Grey matter can also be increased in the hippocampus, which is associated primarily with long-term memory and spatial navigation. Interestingly, meditation also reduces the grey matter density in parts of the brain that are correlated with stress and anxiety. 
  • Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain.
    What are gamma waves? Gamma brainwaves are the fastest documented brainwave frequency range and are associated with concentration, perception, and consciousness.
  • There is a positive correlation between the number of meditation years and the amount of insular gyrification.
    What is gyrification? It is a process of the cortex which is thought to help the brain in processing information faster. 
  • Meditation prevents the thinning of the prefrontal cortex, which occurs naturally with age. This thinning contributes to cognitive function decline. 
  • Meditation actually relieves pain and pain-related brain activity. 
  • Meditation positively affects distribution of limited brain resources. (Note: Meditation is referred to as “mental training” in the sourced article.)
  • Meditation reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and depression (as well as heart disease and premature death). 

Pretty impressive, right? Who knows how many other brain benefits there could be that we don’t even know about yet…

If you’ve tried meditation and you think it’s not for you, please reconsider, as there are many different kinds of meditation techniques!

There are plenty of resources online, in book stores, and in libraries. I urge you to keep trying until you find a meditation practice that works for you, wherever you are in your life right now. 

Your brain will thank you.

With love & gratitude,

blog signature

💬 Comment below: Do you participate in a meditation practice? Why or why not?

Steps to Creating Authentic Art

This post is especially for those who doubt their own creative potential. I’ve been there too.

The Artist You Already Are

Dr. Mike Bechtle, a communication expert and author of five books, wrote on his blog about a little test he would conduct on groups of adults and groups of children: He would draw a dot on a chart and ask, “What did I just draw?”

After conducting the test 300 times over the course of his long career, the replies were consistent and predictable:

The adults would answer, “A dot.”

But the kids would always imagine the dot being anything other than a dot, like a ball.

Kids see possibilities and impossibilities. And they see these things shamelessly, with bravery. Unfortunately, kids end up forgetting how to be shameless and brave because the pressures to fit in become too overwhelming.

Mediocrity sets in.

Life exists to express itself. Expression makes living worthwhile. And the sophisticated level of expression that has evolved in us humans makes being alive that much more of a passionate, worthwhile experience.

We are born to create. And we do create…until society suppresses our natural ability to dig into ourselves.

When we dig, there is gold to find. Some of us have to dig deeper than others to find that gold, and that’s okay. We are all on our own journeys.

However, the world cannot see, taste, smell, feel, or hear our gold until we create something out of it. That is the only way others can experience a taste of our perception of the human condition.

Our perception is always worth sharing.

The existence of “the gold” I write about is not a matter of debate. I’ve heard many people say that they can’t [insert creative skill here], as much as they want to. These people had to be creative at some point, because they were kids at some point. They just “grew up” and left their imaginative inner child behind.

In his Ted talk titled “Be an Artist, Right Now!”, Young-ha Kim argues that adults should nurture the creativity that children display, rather than suppress it.
For instance, he says that instead of questioning our child’s morals the first time they lie, we should celebrate their newfound storytelling skills.

That’s a fresh perspective for sure.

Setting Up For Success

Everyone has the potential to be creative, whether it’s through illustrating, cooking, interior design, knitting, dancing, whatever. If you want to hone in on your creativity but don’t know where to start, think back to what you liked to do as a child. There is a lot of valuable information there if you look real close.

I personally feel so damn good after I complete my creative projects, even projects that I’m not satisfied with. I’ve learned recently how crucial it is to stop thinking about creating, and to just go create already. Start. The thinking stage can last forever if you let it.

In the Ted talk I mentioned, Young-ha Kim says, “Let’s be artists right now. Right away. How? Just do it.

Remember that creating and thinking are two different processes and should not be attempted at the same time. 

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The 3 Requirements of Authentic Creation

The three most important goals to reach before the creation of authentic art may be possible:

  1. Know thyself. What is your unique experience and perspective?
  2. Know thy inspiration. What makes you excited to be alive?
  3. Give no fucks. Who said anything you make needs to be shown to others?

Authentic art comes from a place of deep self-knowing.
But that authenticity cannot manifest into the greatness it is if we are doubting our perspectives and our self-expression.

Everyone has the potential to be an artist because humans by nature have an innate need to create things and express themselves.

The cessation of creation is the cessation of spirit.

Think about how the people we admire most are artists. And let’s even take athletes, for example: Successful athletes are fiercely praised in our culture. Are athletes artists? Of course. Athletes express themselves in a physical, competitive form.

Michael Jordan’s expression through basketball has been described as “poetry in motion.”

Stop telling yourself that you aren’t creative enough to do whatever it is and just do it already.

You will likely judge your work and yourself. But that is an opportunity to practice nonjudgement and nonattachment to outcomes.

Then, create again and again and again.

I hope you become the creator you have always wanted to be.

With love and gratitude,

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Recommended reading:
“Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon

Tell me: What’s your creative story?