Our Mindfulness Practice
Welcome! I am so happy you're here.
I encourage you to move through each lesson at your own pace to fully process and integrate the learnings before moving on.
Each lesson will include:
1. FOUNDATIONS, which provides some context for and info to the concepts you need to fully engage in the journal prompts. My intention is to provide you with anchors - or background understanding. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t.
2. JOURNAL PROMPT(s), This may mean physically writing or typing your answer or thoughts down, or simply by taking "mental" notes. At any time if you're feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to pause, and revisit when you're ready. Just think - feel - write - release.
3. OPTIONAL, PHYSICAL PRACTICE IDEA.
Let's get started
Lesson 1- Set your intention
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class before, your yoga instructor likely paused at the beginning of your practice and encouraged you to set an intention. Sound familiar? Well, whether this is your first experience with intention setting OR if it’s already a part of your daily practice (or, let’s be real, if you’re somewhere in between)...
Let’s begin your journey.
This lesson, SET YOUR INTENTION, is all about creating an INTENTION.
We will learn the WHAT, WHY & HOW behind intention setting and connect it to our yoga practice.
What is an intention? An intention is a specific statement, mantra, or affirmation that you keep coming back to. Intentions, when returned to frequently, are a powerful tool for growth on and off the mat.
But why? While it’s difficult to navigate shifts during new challenges, having a powerful intention can inspire a sense of grounding and connection. Setting an intention allows you to connect better with yourself and gives purpose to the task or goal at hand. When you’re deeply connected to your intention - surprise! - it has the power to positively impact your practice, mindset, and your actions! Your intention will be your constant foundation that guides your inner work throughout life and it's challenges and triumphs.
1) What called you to this? What is your WHY?
3) What do you hope to solve or get more clear on? No need to get overwhelmed by everything that could possibly change - just tap into your intuition and trust that whatever comes up is meant to come up. Feel, write, release. Here are some potentials:
Shifts in routines and habits
Shifts in your yoga practice or connecting to your body
5) Now, what is your INTENTION for this program? This intention may change down the road, but is an important step to lay the framework for self-development on and off the mat (Note: This intention can be a single word, an “I am” or “I release” statement, a mantra, or something you want to focus on throughout the duration of the Virtual Retreat).
OPTIONAL, PHYSICAL PRACTICE
Sun Salutation A’s + B’s
Now that you’ve reflected on your purpose, goals, and desires, it might be time to bring this intention into your physical asana practice. Use Sun A and Sun B to build a strong foundation to solidify your intention, and strengthen your mind-body connection.
You’ve shown up and set your own intention for this program and we’re so incredibly proud of you. Welcome to step 2 in your SHIFTING journey. In your last SHIFTING session, you set an intention and practiced some foundational yoga postures to help you ground into your individual purpose for this program, before moving into today’s content, go back to your journal and reread the intention that you set. In step 2, we’re going to dive into breathwork practices to help you channel that intention even more powerfully.
This step, Build Your Foundation, is ALL ABOUT YOUR BREATH.
Now, let’s get real. By signing up for this Virtual Retreat, it’s clear that you view your yoga practice as a tool for personal growth (or that you want to!). We know that shifting your mood and mindset is a top priority in your life. It’s possible that you already have a consistent yoga practice, and maybe you journal pretty regularly too, but how often do you truly pause, stop, and BREATHE intentionally to shift your mood and mindset in the micro-moments of your daily life?
Today, we’ll encourage you to think through moments in your life where you’ve felt stuck, or like something needs to shift.
Just observe: Think of a time when you felt overwhelmed, anxious, or like you weren’t feeling/being authentically “yourself.” What happened, or what caused you to feel that way?
Think back to the same situation that left you feeling negative or out of alignment. What happened in your breath, body, and mind? Think: what physical symptoms came up as your mental and emotional state changed?
Get honest with yourself: what types of interactions or experiences in your everyday life usually make you feel ungrounded, or like you don’t have a steady foundation?
When was the last time you took a conscious deep breath? Just reflect and share whatever you realize or notice.
PHYSICAL PRACTICE: Breathing techniques
Now that you’ve solidified your intention and set a physical foundation, it’s time to focus on our breath as a tool to connect the two. Today, we’ll share a number of simple breathing techniques that can help harness a sense of empowered control over our bodies and mind. Heads up - if you’ve never played around with breathwork, some of these may seem quite silly, but we encourage you to stay the course and trust the process.We will now use our breath as a tool for transformation.
Your breath - or in yogic terms, pranayama* - is truly the foundation of your physical yoga practice (and your life!). *PS. pranayama literally translates to lifeforce in Sanskrit. Decades worth of research has shown that regular, intentional breathing can reduce stress and stress hormones in the body. It is proven to help self-awareness, focus, and concentration. Breath is a major tool that will help you make shifts, big and small, on and off your mat. Breathwork exercises - in conjunction with our yoga, mindfulness, and journaling techniques - help us shift our physical and mental bodies.
Think and know moving forward:
YOUR BREATH IS YOUR MOST POWERFUL TOOL & YOU HAVE ACCESS TO IT ALL THE TIME!
You have the power to incorporate these techniques into your everyday life - especially in the micro-moments where you feel yourself shifting away from your most authentic self.
Lesson 3- self study
You’ve shown up, set your own intention, practiced foundational yoga sequences and learned how to connect that to your breath. Now, welcome to step 3 in your SHIFTING journey. By signing up for this course, you have decided that something needs to shift...but you might have some habits, triggers, anxieties that have prevented you from taking that action. Today, we’re going to get real with ourselves, tune into our mental chatter, and practice non-judgmental self study.
This step, Vulnerable Self Study, is ALL ABOUT SELF-AWARENESS WITHOUT JUDGMENT.
Now, without getting too technical, the 8 Limbed Path of Yoga includes svadhyaya - an essential inner practice, which translates to “self-study.” Practicing regular self-study goes hand in hand with building more self-awareness on and off your mat. When you get vulnerable with yourself and acknowledge where you are in the present moment without judgment, you get more clarity on what needs to shift.
In this phase of your SHIFTING journey, you’ll take time to notice your mental chatter - all of the thoughts running through your mind. Some of the thoughts will likely be positive; others will be neutral; others will be untrue, negative, or limiting beliefs that hold you back from feeling your best. By taking an honest inventory of our thoughts, and by acknowledging that these limiting beliefs exist (without beating ourselves up about it), we can start to release triggers and anxieties and shift habits to step into our truest, most authentic selves.
JOURNAL PROMPTS & PHYSICAL PRACTICE:
Follow the suggested order to get the most out of your practice!
PS: These exercises will not “solve” or “erase” any of your underlying limiting beliefs - but they will help you bring more awareness to your thought patterns and insecurities. We encourage you to pay attention on purpose and notice any themes that arise without judgment. Today's exercises might feel difficult - certain questions might stir up emotions, and your heart-opening practice may make you feel more vulnerable than normal.
Stay gentle with yourself through it all. Take breaks when needed and revisit when you're ready.
What is one limiting belief, insecurity, or negative thought that arose during this meditation?
What did you notice about this limiting belief? (Think: Where did it come from? Have you thought it before? How often? Did it impact your ability to stay present while meditating? etc.)
Did other limiting beliefs cross your mind? If so, name/describe them now!
Name one of your limiting beliefs, insecurities, or negative thoughts.
Does this limiting belief impact the way you feel about yourself? Does it impact the way you view yourself, describe yourself, or how you identify? How so?
When you reflect on when this limiting belief usually arises, is there a specific trigger that brings it up for you? Maybe this trigger is a habit, or something external that causes you anxiety?
When you’ve gotten stuck in this limiting belief in the past, is there something you’ve done to pull yourself out of that negative feedback loop? If so, what?
On a physical level, backbends are simultaneously invigorating and strengthening. They stretch the hip flexors, shoulders, and chest - areas where many of us hold physical tension. Practicing backbends safely and regularly can help improve posture, alleviate some kinds of back and neck pain and increase fluidity and mobility in our spines. On an emotional level, backbends help open our heart space, something that is often closed off (both literally and figuratively). Heart opening postures require self-awareness and an understanding of how far you can go - physically and emotionally - while still feeling safe in your body and heart. Including heart openers in your practice can help you breathe through challenging thoughts and emotions, draw and maintain strong boundaries, and open up to vulnerability.
Lesson 4- self study
Hey friend! Welcome to step 4 of your SHIFTING Virtual Retreat! We’re so inspired by all of the challenging work you’re doing on and off your mat. You’ve taken inventory of your limiting beliefs, and if it all feels pretty heavy - that’s normal; you’re not alone.
Hopefully by now you’ve developed some powerful tools to help you determine what needs some shifting in your body, mind, and heart. All of this intention setting and self-study is incredible - but it has even more of an impact when partnered with ACCEPTANCE & SURRENDER in the present moment.
This step is ALL ABOUT ACCEPTING & SURRENDERING.
If you’re thinking, “Kirsty and Sandy - I don’t even know what it would look like to ‘accept and surrender in the present moment” - ALL GOOD! In this next step of your SHIFTING journey, we’ll share exercises and strategies to help you accept and appreciate where you are in your journey. And hopefully, we’ll help you see your limiting beliefs, thought patterns, triggers, and challenging experiences as catalysts for growth.
Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever had the same thought, trigger, or habit pop up and you’re like, “you again?!” (trust us, our hands are raised REAL HIGH). For better or for worse, we subconsciously replay memories and past experiences in our minds. And unless you’re an enlightened mindfulness guru, it’s probable that you subconsciously let negative thoughts and emotions from the past impact how you behave and feel in the present.
It’s easy to let triggers take over, and it’s also easy to get down on yourself for having the same challenging thoughts and emotions come up over and over again. You might feel frustrated for a decision you made in the past, and you might feel upset that it’s still impacting you in the present. But, my friend, you have the ability to stop that pattern in its tracks.
First, remind yourself: YOUR TRIGGERS ARE YOUR TEACHERS. They come up to remind you of your patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior that could use some shifting.
Second, know: THE MOST POWERFUL SHIFTS COME FROM A PLACE OF LOVING KINDNESS. When challenges arise, it’s crucial for you to stay compassionate with yourself. How can you see it as an opportunity to grow and shift something that’s no longer serving rather than beating yourself up about feeling that way in the first place? We’re more likely to make long-term changes (and feel good about them) when we find contentment with where we are in the present moment, rather than wanting to change something from a place of fear, anger, or frustration.
Third, remember: ACCEPTING & SURRENDERING DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE BEING PASSIVE, OR NOT TAKING ACTION. Rather, practicing acceptance and surrender helps you take action that is more aligned to your highest, most authentic self. When you accept and surrender to your challenge without running away from it, you create space for yourself to pause, breathe, and respond (rather than reacting from a past pattern).
JOURNAL PROMPTS: To get the most out of this exercise, we're separating it into into 2 different sections.
1st: watch the Guided Meditation
and answer the prompt below
2nd: watch the Guided Meditation,
then write a letter to yourself
Name a limiting belief and its associated emotions.
(you can look back at your journal entries from STEP 3 to get some ideas). Then, consider what it would look like to proceed, respond, or react from a place of love, acceptance, and surrender VS. fear, frustration, and anger.
Use the sentence starters below to help guide your answer:
One of my limiting beliefs is _____________.
I’ve realized that it pops into my head when _____________.
When this limiting belief arises, I feel _____________.
The next time this trigger comes up, I can choose how to react or respond by _____________.
Proceeding with fear, frustration, and anger (to myself or others) would look like _____________.
Proceeding with love, acceptance, and surrender might look like _____________.
Write a letter to yourself with “Ho’oponopono” -
the following Hawaiian mantra - as your anchor:
“I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”
You can elaborate and describe what you’re sorry for; what you want forgiveness from; what you are thankful for; what you love - or you can simply repeat the mantras over and over again in your journal. There’s no right, and no wrong here. But when you’re finished writing - read it aloud and hear yourself saying these words.
PHYSICAL PRACTICE: Hip Openers (flow then yin)
Our Sequence is designed to incorporate physically demanding hip opening postures in a flow to build heat in the body. As practice goes on we turn that heat and focus into a grounding yin practice where we will explore opening the lower body by holding postures for 2-3 minutes to encourage surrender, release and letting go.
Physically, hip openers help to improve range of motion in the hip socket, increase circulation and assist in alleviating low back pain. For most, negative feelings/energy, tension and stress are held mostly in the hips, so we use hip openers as a tool to physically release emotions, stagnant energy and surrender. Yogic traditions call for hip openers to connect more with our divine feminine energy. The hips are associated with the creative center of the body (the Sacral Chakra) and by opening the hips we can create a huge energetic shift.
Lesson 5- make the shift
You’ve pinpointed different areas of your life that were craving a shift. You’ve set intentions, looked inward, confronted some tough truths, and *hopefully* learned some strategies to take challenging moments as opportunities to practice acceptance and surrender - physically, emotionally, and energetically. You should be so proud of all the work you’ve put in these past few days. Moving forward, the rest of this virtual retreat is dedicated to making powerful, positive, and intentional shifts on and off your mat!
This step is all about MAKING THE DAMN SHIFT.
Let’s think way back to the beginning of this retreat. What was your original intention for the program? Now, pause and think. What tiny routines, habits or actions have you incorporated into your life to further align yourself with your intention? For example, let’s say you wanted to be more present in your daily life; maybe your small action was putting your phone away at the dinner table. Or maybe your intention was to learn how to hold crow pose, and your small shift was to incorporate more strengthening drills into your physical yoga practice. Whether you realize or not, these tiny actions you’ve taken will add up over time and create a big shift.
Making shifts can be scary, but it’s easier to make aligned actions when we have a clear vision and intention of what our ideal life looks like after we’ve done the damn thing. When we know what we want and believe in our end result, we can “backwards plan” and intentionally take the steps to get there. No matter what your intention is or was, there’s no specific, prescribed action plan that’s “right” for everyone. We can’t tell you what choices to make or how to live your most authentic life. What we can do is help you commit to small, realistic, and tangible actions to make things happen and support your growth on and off the mat.
Believe what you want to achieve and hold that vision clear in your mind. When you consistently make decisions that are aligned with how you want to live your life, you build up your mental and physical “muscle memory.” These day-to-day choices and actions matter; over time, they become second nature and create powerful shifts in your mind, body, and heart.
JOURNAL PROMPTS: Time for some manifestation!
Write a letter to yourself describing what your life will look like when the thing you’re trying to shift has come to fruition. It’s possible that you’ve already felt a shift and feel like you’re already living out the intention you set at the beginning of this program. If that’s the case, dream up something else. Come up with a NEW intention. What do you need in the next part of your journey? Write whatever feels meaningful to you - but here are some ideas to get this manifestation process started:
What will your day-to-day look like?
What habits or routines will you practice regularly?
Who or what will be prominent in your life?
Who or what will you have released?
How will you feel?
You’ve written your letter? Good. Now, think - when do you think you’ll lose some motivation in regards to living out your intention? When might you crave some inspiration or a kick in the butt? This could be four weeks from now, or it could be two years away. Either way, pick a date and head to your calendar. Set a reminder to come back to this letter.
2. What are a few small, tangible actions you can do TODAY to live in alignment with your SHIFTING intention?
These workshops are breakdowns of our favorite yoga postures. We include alignment tips, drills, and modifications that will help you build your “muscle memory” to eventually feel more comfortable in the pose. They will help you see the power of just showing up on your mat. Regardless of whether you can “hold the posture,” or not, we hope to guide you through the process of truly envisioning yourself in it - and believing that one day, with aligned work and dedication, you’ll get there.
Lesson 5- make the shift
YOU DID IT! You made it to the last step in your SHIFTING virtual retreat! Give yourself a big hug (and know that we’re giving you one virtually!). We hope that this program gave you new tools to navigate through challenging moments on and off your mat.
We want to thank you for entrusting us on your journey and want to remind you of just how powerful you are. You took time out of your busy life to prioritize your own growth and well-being. You set a clear intention and experienced how your yoga practice can serve as the foundation for huge shifts in your life. You did the tough inner-work and moved through limiting beliefs to accept where you are in the present moment. You’ve identified which actions you needed to take, and began incorporating them into your day-to-day. You’ve dedicated so much time to your physical, mental, and emotional shifts, and now it's time to celebrate!
This final step is all about CELEBRATING your shifts with GRATITUDE.
What have you learned about yourself lately?
What shifts are you celebrating?
How are you feeling right now, and why?
What resonated most with you from this experience?
How can you use your learnings to help others, if you’re inspired to do so?
PHYSICAL PRACTICE: gratitude
Life is a never-ending journey. You’re forever taking the steps to evolve into your most authentic self.
Thank you. We love you,
Kirsty and Sandy