Lifestyle · Meditation

Mindfulness & Grief

For suicide prevention day, I wanted to make a video on mindfulness and grief. For those who might be new to my life, I lost my dad to suicide almost four years ago now. I spent over an hour making a 10 minute video. Starting over. Not knowing what to say. The authenticity was stolen. I gave up and went to study. A few hours into studying, Purple Rain comes on (my dad’s favorite song played at his funeral). I continue to work and not think about how much I miss him. The next song is What’s Going on (another song my dad would CONSTANTLY sing) and I decided to take it as a message to not let this day pass without sharing what I wanted to talk about.

 

Through the healing process I learned about mindfulness. For me, mindfulness was something that was healing me before I even knew it had a name. In short, mindfulness is allowing yourself to feel your feelings here and now. In grief or any really challenging situation mindfulness can be really helpful. Sometimes you might notice you do not know how to feel because you are so out of touch with your emotions, I’ve been there. In the early stages of grief I did everything I could to not feel. This resulted in panic attacks, and manifested a bunch of other issues then finally I went to grief counselling. I sat down on the stupid couch and said something like, “Hi my dad killed himself now I can’t figure out how to live and about how long is this whole healing thing going to take because I am very busy” My therapist retired a few weeks later. It’s funny now but that was my personality in a nutshell. In anxiety I overdo as an escape to feel. That’s why I needed a mindfulness practice.

 

As you might imagine, in difficult situations, it is of course far more challenging to sit with emotions because it is painful. We do not like pain. However sitting in discomfort can teach you so much about your healing process. Mindfulness is checking in and being curious about what comes up. Today when that song came on my first reaction was to push it away. I was “too busy to feel sad”. In that moment, I used mindfulness to check in and notice in a gentle way how I wanted to push it away because I am different now. I did not judge myself for that, I just noticed, there is a big difference. Mindfulness is a practice, there is no way to be perfect about it and if there were, it would not be true mindfulness. Perfectionism and mindfulness cannot coexist.

 

I invite you to put this into practice. Notice throughout your day how you judge people, or things, or even yourself. Then, ask yourself why you believe whatever that judgment is. Is it true? Start to notice if anything changes. Sit with whatever comes up and then let it go.

kids yoga · Meditation · Yoga

What I’m doing in New York

Tomorrow I leave for New York to stay for a week at the Omega Institute!😁
There still seems to be a lot of confusion around what I’m doing 😂

This is not necessarily a vacation or a retreat.

Let me fill you in a little bit on what I’ve been up to:

The last few months I’ve been working on starting my own business. You’re probably thinking, “wait haven’t you already done that…” and yes I guess in a way I do work a lot for myself as far as teaching yoga in various locations and doing private sessions and workshops. This is a little bigger.

Each day I’m understanding a little more how much of a calling I have to work with children and bring mindfulness programs into schools. I’ve taught in a few different schools but I want to go bigger and expand. Teaching kids tools to manage stress and use emotional intelligence is very important and close to me. I don’t want to just get my message to only children but I want to understand how this message can be shared to other school teachers, administrators, and even parents. We need this. Can you imagine the change that would happen if just one kid learned how to handle stress more efficiently?

Long story short, I’m going to an intensive training that focuses on yoga & mindfulness in kids, how to reach out to children dealing with trauma, classroom yoga, chair yoga, and a bunch of other new and upcoming healing modalities to teach children (or anyone really).

In the next few weeks I will definitely be sharing more on the specifics of what I will be doing but for now it’s time to learn🤓

Lifestyle · Meditation · Yoga

Springtime & Solar Plexus Healing

Hello!

Happy  s p r i n g  and almost May! Spring is a great time to reflect on new beginnings and manifest something new. Often we have ideas running through our minds of how we want to change without ever considering how to make it happen. Spring is the season to sit with those thoughts, write some new goals, and analyze what you are being guided to try in all aspects of life.

Currently I am finally taking more time to myself for the next few weeks, it is a major change for me! I am equal parts excited to finish some projects and also bored thinking about how I will spend my extra time. Some people are really excited for a summer off to party and drink but I am mostly looking forward to a regular workout schedule and going to more yoga classes!

Lately my home yoga/meditation practice has been focused on balancing my solar plexus, the third chakra. Energetically this area holds space for your inner power. Stimulating this chakra involves healthy movement of energy to flow to help promote inner strength and personal power. A balanced Manipura (solar plexus) allows you to have healthy control over your thoughts and emotional responses while a weak Manipura may cause feelings of anxiety, poor self-image, and laziness. Here are some poses to try to promote a healthy third chakra:

5 Yoga Poses for Solar Plexus Balancing:

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge), Urdva Dhanurasana(wheel), any spinal twist, Ustrasana (camel), Virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1)

*Wheel pose is not recommended in the middle of a pathway 

Whatever it means for you, act on something new and do not let it be a thought any longer. Take charge, make a change, step into your potential! Use these poses to help tune into your inner power!

If you are interested in additional help with balancing chakras, I have listed a new service (as requested 😉 ) on this page called “Private Yoga Chakra Balancing Sessions” scroll down the page to explore this offering. As always, if you would like to book a session please email me at whitneyreddy@gmail.com

 

 

Love & light,

Whitney Reddy

 

 

Meditation

A quote on guidance

You will undertake a journey because you’re
not at home in this world.
And you will search for your home whether
you realize where it is or not.

If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you
will be seeking it where it is not.

You do not remember how to look within, for you do
not believe your home is there.

Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and he will guide you to your
home because that is His mission.

As He fulfills His mission He will teach you yours,
for your mission is the same as His.

By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.

-A Course In Miricles

 

Lifestyle · Meditation · Yoga

Finding Your Way Out

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Monday was Mental Health Day where social media was blasted with stories and awareness and although I am a few days late, I still would like to participate in this discussion. Stories are so powerful and hold a great opportunity for healing for both the writer and the reader.

This post may rub you the wrong way, you might think I believe mental health is not real. What I am actually explaining below is how I feel that mental health is as real as any emotion, thought, or physical illness. What is real anyway?

Yes, I believe depression is as real as a broken leg however, you are not a broken leg; your body has a broken leg. It is temporary and if you go see a trained professional it is their job to heal and fix the broken leg. Mental disorders like obsessive compulsive and generalized anxiety disorder work the same way. It may take multiple doctors and treatments but you can find healing because you are more than any illness or disorder, you are not stuck. From my experience it is not a one time fix all situation. It takes time, love, and patience. One week after you get the cast removed from a broken leg, you probably will not be running around and back to your old self again. You continue therapy and taking care of yourself. I imagine you learn a lot about yourself in this process, maybe how to avoid breaking your leg again or you realize the things you took for granted.

I could write about the handful of mental illnesses I have experienced and how real they felt in the moment but that is behind me now. I silently work every day to keep my shit together. I avoid gory movies because I am susceptible to anxiety and death trauma. I do not drink often because I know alcohol is a depressant. I exercise because it is a natural mood lifter (seriously, read the studies!). These are some examples of choices I make to mentally feel my best even though I have lived with crippling anxiety and depression. I’ve tried the medications and they did not work for me, so I had to figure it out myself through counseling and spiritual work.

When it comes down to it, thoughts are just thoughts (something one of my grief counselors told me which used to piss me off because I didn’t get it). You do not have to hold onto the thoughts in your mind. Turning a thought like “this is really scary I am going to have a panic attack…” to “that’s interesting that this situation gives my mind anxiety, I don’t feel like choosing that right now I can think about something else…” takes some serious practice but hey, if I can do it, I believe anyone can.

Here is a list of things that helped me snap out of it when I felt my mind taking over:

  1. Choose a different thought.
  2. Call a friend. You don’t have to tell them why, just hear someone else’s voice.
  3. Watch a video you think is funny.
  4. Take a break and go for a walk.
  5. Get grounded: walk near so trees, take off your shoes and get out of your head.

These choices seem very easy, and they are. When it comes down to it, you are choosing to do/think of something else and not give in to listening to the mind all the time, be the observer of the thoughts, that is who you really are.

Most of the quotes and ideas inspiring this post comes from one of my favorite books, The Untethered Soul which played a huge role in my healing process. I recommend you check it out if this resonates with you at all.

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Lastly, if you do feel captured by your mind with no way out there are services exactly for such purpose. Specifically the Nation Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Mental illness is hard to live with but I do not believe that you have to live with it all of the time. People are good and we are here to help each other by sharing stories and really listening to one another. Reach out and do whatever it takes to find healing whether it’s publicly or confidential. You will find your way out.

Meditation · Yoga

Yoga Nidra, The Ultimate Reset

The Powers of Yoga Nidra👁

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When I finally committed myself to yoga teacher training it was like learning a new language. News words, sounds, and phrases I’ve never heard before, but I knew I finally found a huge community of weirdos that were into this stuff just as much as I was. When I learned about yoga nidra from my teacher for obvious reasons, I fell in love with the practice.

Yoga nidra was definitely a practice I could get behind because 1. I love to sleep (duh) 2. I usually don’t have enough time to sleep (just like everybody else…) So when someone tells me I can do a 45 minute meditation that is the equivalent to four hours of sleep, I am pretty sure I lost it.

😮😮😮😮

So what is this magical practice?

Yoga nidra translates to yogic sleep and is considered one of the deepest states of complete relaxation, somewhere between sleep and consciousness resulting in serious mind and body healing. Although you are laying on the floor all cozy through what is similar to a guided meditation, you remain conscious by staying focused to the instructions which gives the mind an important task to follow and be aware of. For beginners, a shorter nidra practice is sufficient, still granting tons of benefits.

 

But what if I actually fall asleep?

Did I read your mind? Because this is a very common concern and trust me, I understand. Unlike savasana, you will have instructions and in most practices I’ve gone to the instructor continues to say, “You will remain awake!” which will snap you right out of it, at least that’s my experience. Besides, at the beginning you are usually invited to set the intention to stay awake. Surprisingly that works so take that seriously and resist drifting off.  If you are following the instructions you should stay focused and awake.

 

Personal Testimony

My first time doing nidra I didn’t really know what to expect but it sounded cool and I was soon to enter my world of yoga teacher training so naturally, I needed to know everything. I set up station at the back of the room (just to be safe just in case I started to snore and had to leave out of embarrassment…) covered up with my blankie and began following the instructions.

It was interesting watching my mind go from, “wait! don’t surrender! think about something else! you CAN’T relax!” to “screw it. we’re going there… this is DOPE.”

It was a Saturday afternoon and I still had to go to work, my usual closing shift at a Starbucks in a mall store (aka the worst aka too much stress over freaking coffee) and when I got there (late) my boss took one look at me and said, “YOU’RE HIGH.” I remember clearly how she drilled me about taking drugs and I just kept laughing (not helping my claim to being sober) and was unable to explain myself. I was calm when everything around me was in chaos.  This feeling lasted for awhile, maybe even the whole weekend.

Why is any of this important?

Again, I can only speak for me and I KNOW how important a “reset” is. I KNOW how much I push myself every freaking day because I simply have a hard time stopping and that’s WHY I crave meditation and yoga. Sometimes being so busy I notice a shift out of alignment and that’s why I’m exhausted. The reason I can keep going most days is because of my spiritual practices. It brings me back to that calm during the storm. The inner work fills me up so I am confident the outside world cannot break me when I come from a place where the energy is inexhaustible.

Overall, the stronger my inner work is the more helpful I can be to others connecting me deeper to my purpose and to God and for me, that’s what it’s all about.

Here is a cool picture I stole from Pinterest outlining some cool benefits:

nidra

I encourage you to look for a studio near you that offers yoga nidra if any of this appeals to you. If you are near me, there are tons of options including one class I am hosting on September 29th in Macomb. Check out my events page for more info on this workshop.

Lifestyle · Meditation · Yoga

Surrender Some More.

“Just when you think you’ve surrendered, surrender some more”

I have a million post ideas going through my mind right now: suicide prevention week, my almost finished yoga nidra post, 9/11 and world peace, etc. However, this is what I am called to write about today: surrendering.

To be honest I am having a really difficult time right now and it takes a lot to admit that. I’ve been begging for a sign to guide me on a lot of issues I am having and it’s almost like I’m too caught up in the melodrama to stop, look & listen. My energy is not matching what I am expecting and it’s frustrating because I know better than to get stuck in this mind virus.

Over the summer, I have had one hell of an experience being a part of an intensive training with my idol, Gabby Bernstein, and became part of this super loving support group of about two thousand people. This morning I broke down. Literally, like 2 hours after being awake and I turned to my group. I posted everything going on personally and the responses I’ve received were so overwhelmingly loving. One comment that stood out came from a stranger, “Remember, once you think you’ve surrendered, surrender some more!”

Do you know how many times I have heard this? Today I needed to hear it again. This has been my life motto. I believe in this so hard I literally have Ishvara Pranidhana tattooed on my side boob area which of course in English means surrender and devotion in short.

Surrendering isn’t to be mistaken for giving up. Surrendering means you wake up everyday and say “show me how I can serve” and you keep fighting forward towards that light no matter what gets thrown at you. You get out of your own way and remember it’s not about you. You believe with your whole heart that you are being supported even when it’s not very clear.

Sometimes the signs you are looking for are right in front of you (or in my case, tattooed on my body) and other times you just aren’t ready for them and keep yourself from seeking them. Sometimes you have to have that breakdown moment because that is what it takes to 1. surrender, 2. listen and 3. realize you have no control over your path, and you just have trust everything is working out better than you can imagine. Sometimes the craziest things happen when you just let go and decide to stop fighting against the world.

This plays into the law of attraction and your vibration. How do you think the universe is going to treat you when you constantly have trust issues and are blaming “life” for giving you shitty situations? The universe is going to mimic your energy: If you think it is treating you unfair it is going to continue to be “unfair” to you because that’s exactly what you’re telling it to do. “I don’t have enough” “I’m not good enough” “I don’t have time” are all examples of things you could be manifesting without realizing it. Because I’m not perfect, I fall into this trap sometimes like I did this morning.

Luckily this showed me I have more work to do because I am human. Quick fixes included meditation and referring back to mantras I use like: “Obstacles are detours in the right direction” and “Even though I have these obstacles, I love and accept myself anyway.”

Things might not go as I have planned (virgo problems…) but luckily I know damn well there must be a better plan for me then. This life has been full of miracles and opportunities I could not have even dreamed of, that’s why I would never turn my back now. I know how guided and supported I have been in the toughest of times, and my story is still shaping me into the strongest I can be.