Dear Reader, Thank you for opening this post and checking out what I have to offer. You’ll find weekly yoga session links, as well as, information about private sessions and a Winter Solstice gathering at the bottom of this message. I hope to see you soon! Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, is almost here. It’s a great time to rest and reflect on the past year. And, you may begin to feel stirrings deep within the roots of your being, of life regenerating which begs the question, what are you wanting to grow? On a recent call with my guide and meditation teacher, he told the small group that had gathered that we all needed to “up our game”. Considering how to do this, I turned toward the practices that nest together to create a “yoga lifestyle” and settled on a small discipline that I’ll undertake over the next year to “up my game”. How about you, dear Reader, do you want to “up your game”? Here’s a list and brief description of practices that can help you grow in self-awareness, beauty, wisdom, and goodness. Yoga. The Sanskrit word yoga means “to yoke together”. It is a therapeutic practice that yokes together the multiple dimensions of your being and leads to ever greater balance and self-awareness. There are eight yoga practices and I’ll highlight one for your consideration. Svadhyaya is a niyama practice, that is, a practice to be done without restraint. It’s the practice of gaining knowledge and wisdom. Here, you undertake to learn what is true, often by first identifying what is not true. You can study your body in asana practice, breath in pranayama practice, and the mind in meditation. Reading, watching, and listening to things that are uplifting and life enhancing are also ways to practice svadhyaya. Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a vast and ancient science that focuses on healing the physical body with the underlying understanding that the physical is inextricably connected to the mental and spiritual nature of being human. The most basic Ayurvedic practices will help you organize your day-to-day and season-to-season routines related to what, how, and when to eat, sleep, work, exercise, and play. When you know and practice some very simple Ayurvedic guidelines, you will more fully enjoy living in your body. Mantra. Sanskrit mantras are commonly used by yoga practitioners. They are sacred syllables, words, or sets of words. The word ‘mantra’ means “a transforming thought” and through mantra practice you change habitual patterns of thought and transform your consciousness. Sanskrit mantras are different from affirmations. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good affirmation, however, when you chant a mantra you are working with pure energy. Each syllable of the mantra has a specific vibration that when chanted vibrates your body/mind complex. There are mantras that can help you with every aspect of life - mantras for health, wealth, relationships, and spiritual development. During a formal mantra practice, you would recite a mantra a specified number of times over a set number of days. Jyotish. Jyotish is a form of astrology that originated in ancient India through which you gain insights related to your karma or subconscious patterns of thoughts and emotions. In addition, Jyotish is a tool that helps you become more comfortable with yourself, revealing your unique nature and life purpose. Jyotish and astrology in general is intimately linked with time. At the time you were born, the Sun, Moon, and planets were located in a precise location in space setting up your astrology chart and the initial conditions for the unfoldment of your life. After you were born, the planets continued to move and, through time, they will form aspects or geometric patterns with the planetary positions in your chart. When these aspects form, karmas become activated. During these times, you can greet the people, things, and events that arise with heightened awareness and recognize an opportunity for deeper healing and spiritual attunement has arisen. Vastu. Vastu is a practice where you attune to the five elemental energies - ether, air, fire, water, and earth - as they are expressing in your environment - in your home, yard, neighborhood, and workplace. Becoming aware of these energies, you can create more harmonious living conditions and enhance your peace, happiness, and prosperity. For example, the northeast corner of your home is related to the air element and is a good place to display a symbol of your spiritual aspirations - maybe a statue of Mother Mary, Kwan Yin, or something you find beautiful and inspiring. Nature. Mother Nature is our greatest teacher for we are a part of nature and not apart from it in any way. When you observe nature, you discover that there is a repeating cycle of birth, growth, and death present in all of Life. This isn’t a punishment, it’s a process, and can even bring a feeling of zestiness to living. Spending time in Nature is deeply healing and I encourage you to go outside, even in your own backyard, and observe the natural world with all your senses. Listen to the sounds, feel the air on your skin, the warmth of the Sun, and appreciate the solid ground that bears your weight. Ah! With all these practices, increasing self-awareness is key. Through understanding yourself, you understand all of life, and that very naturally leads to increased feelings of tenderness and compassion, of sweetness and joy. As for me, I am going to up my game through more regular fasting. Fasting is a practice common to all wisdom traditions that I have wanted to explore for a while. I know for sure it will activate subconscious thoughts and emotions (a.k.a. karma). Therefore I will be very attentive and gentle with myself. And, I’m ready to up my game, to invite into my life more beauty, wisdom, and goodness. I would love to hear how you would like to “up your game” so please feel welcome to share with me. Of course, if you would like my guidance or support, I would be honored to help you. It is a great joy to share what I have learned, what I practice, and to be on this journey with you. DECEMBER SPECIAL HAPPENINGS Winter Solstice Gathering Monday, December 21 @ Heart of Light Yoga (a.k.a. Jessica’s backyard) 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Please join me for hot tea and an outdoor fire - I’ll have it blazing! Bundle up and we’ll throw rice into the fire as a symbolic act of roasting karma and reflect on our passage through a pivotal time in human experience. Let me know if you can make it and I will send you the address. Masks will be required. WEEKLY YOGA SESSIONS $10/session. Payments can be made via PayPal (email@example.com) or Venmo (@Jessica-Jewell-35). Monday 6:00 - 7:00 A.M. A yoga flow to start your week. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81112192762?pwd=RDhBNU9TY0VxdWZSQ1lMMm5UTXBBQT09 Meeting ID: 811 1219 2762 Passcode: 836669 Wednesday 8:00 - 9:00 P.M. Yoga to help you unwind and release tension from your body and mind so you can feel more peace and ease. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87863741021?pwd=VnhIcWFtM0JlVE1YTk5XSGFGdlZjUT09 Meeting ID: 878 6374 1021 Passcode: 962060 Saturday 10:00 -11:15 A.M. Seasonally appropriate yoga to help you feel strong and happy. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86413355536?pwd=SUNuTTVxZVRWemlaRS9ReDlnV3dIQT09 Meeting ID: 864 1335 5536 Passcode: 598994 PRIVATE SESSIONS Group yoga practice will help to sustain your yoga practice, however, your yoga practice will be more potent when it’s tailored to your specific needs. Private sessions last 60-90 minutes and cost $75. During this time we can explore any aspect of your practice including postures, breathing, meditation, mantra or diet and lifestyle. We can talk about your astrology chart and what it has to offer in terms of understanding your relationships, career, health, or life purpose. I offer a free 30-minute conversation so we can get to know each other better and discover whether we would work well together. Just email me if you’d like to schedule an appointment.