Category Archives: Off-the-Wall Musings


Daily Routine Supports a Healthy Life

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This is my fourth installment in a series of blogs I’m dedicating to the ancient sister science of Yoga—Ayurveda. Here are links to the first three in case you missed them:

The Science of Life: How to hone and own your best assets

Getting in Sync with nature

The Taste of Life

A very important aspect of an Ayurvedic lifestyle includes a daily routine (dinacharya). Do you notice when your routine is disrupted, you are more easily thrown off balance and more easily prone to stress? Then convincing you of the importance of a daily routine should be easy!

A daily routine is of utmost importance not just to maintain balance but also if you are looking to create change in your body, mind and soul. Kind of like meditating one day isn’t going to have a long-term effect, right?

Out of all the doshas, Vata is the one who is most resistant to change due to Vata’s “mobile” quality. (See the first blog in this series to determine your predominant dosha as well as which dosha might need some extra balance). Remember similarities aggravate and opposites sooth. So routine is especially important for Vata!

I should mention here that this mobile quality is involved in most, if not all, disease processes because it’s moving into various areas of the body. But that’s a huge topic on the stages of disease. It’s enough to say that if your dosha is predominantly Vata, it will be easier for you to be thrown off balance and thus invite various disorders into your system. So, again, routine is uber-important!

We talked a bit about the Ayurvedic clock two weeks ago. Following the clock helps with your daily rhythm, which aids digestion, quality sleep, regular bowel movements, and stress levels. Need I go on? We covered waking up early before the sun rises as well as best times to eat to aid digestion, suggested meditation times, best times and activities to go to sleep and have good sleep, etc. using the Ayurvedic clock. This is all part of your daily routine.

You probably already include at least a couple other of the most essential parts of a daily routine, like brushing your teeth, having a regular bowel movement, bathing, exercising, and wearing clean clothes. Notice that what you do habitually is easy to remember. So for the topics I cover here that aren’t part of your habitual routine, fit them in around those that are to get a rhythm while incorporating them into your life. Habits are great places to place new activities you want to include.

If you’re reading this, you may also have a regular meditation/mindfulness practice and/or yoga practice. See the blog series prior to this one on simple rituals to bring Spirit into your life if you’d like some suggestions on fitting mindfulness in. And, of course, I’m here to help if you’d like suggestions for creating your own daily home practice.

Scrape your tongue

So what’s left, you might ask? The first one I’ll cover may take a bit of getting used to; but trust me, once you’ve started doing it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner! It’s like flossing my teeth now. I don’t feel right if I don’t. Have problems with bad breath? All gone when you start scraping your tongue! Scraping the tongue also stimulates internal organs, aids your digestion, and—very functionally—removes dead bacteria (bad breath be gone!). Do this first thing in the morning before consuming anything else.

There is a whole system of tongue diagnosis in Ayurveda which is way too deep to cover here and I’m definitely still in the learning stages there! I’ll just mention that the tongue is a like a hologram for the bodily organs, similar to your ears, hands, and feet. You’re probably familiar with reflexology maps for these. Well the tongue is a “map” for the organs, the doshas (see the first blog in the series for more on doshas) as well as your digestive fire. Without getting too complicated, there’s even areas on your tongue that experience the six tastes we talked about last week.

Bottom-line? Scraping your tongue affects all of the above! So what are you waiting for? A stainless steel scraper is suitable for any dosha but love my copper scraper. I like the fact that copper “disinfects itself” because it’s bacteria-resistant. Copper also provides important enzymes needed for healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.

The scrapers are U-shaped. You take the “U” and gently place it on the back of the tongue and then scrape from back to front 5-10 times. I’ve read various numbers. And if you have a real problem with bad breath, you might want to scrape after every meal. I personally do this practice in the AM only.

Drink water

An easy one you don’t need an introduction to would be to drink a glass (or two) of room temperature water upon rising. And if you’re all in, letting the water sit in a pure copper cup the night before helps flush the system out (GI tract, kidneys etc.). Ayurveda doesn’t recommend addictive drinks like coffee or tea, but if you must have those, it’s suggested to wait an hour or more after the water. Full disclosure, I love my coffee.

Oil Swish

Holding oil in your mouth, or swishing the oil strengthens our teeth, gums and jaw. Vasant Lad, MASc says this practice also “improves the voice and removes wrinkles from the cheeks”. Warm sesame oil is commonly used but you can also get various combinations of oils. Banyan Botanicals has a combo of sesame, coconut and herbs.

Use 2-3 teaspoons of oil, gently swishing around, pulling the oil through the teeth for a few minutes (some say up to 20 minutes!). The longer you do the swish, the more benefits you experience. Remember my suggestion to do it around a habit? I’m reading that swishing as you shower might be a good time. Some texts suggest spitting the oil out in the trash vs. the sink to avoid drain clog—word to the wise. Vasant Lad, MASc also suggests doing this practice twice daily. I have yet to be consistent with this practice but I’m trying!

Nasal drops (Nasya)

A Nasya oil lubricates the nostrils. Doing this especially when you’re in a dry hotel room really helps! So if you have trouble doing this daily, try packing Nasya oil in your travel bag. You won’t regret it! I do a simpler version of using just a couple of drops of Nasya oil in my palm, dipping my little pinky in the oil and lubricating the inside tip of my nostrils.

In addition to lubricating our nostrils, which is enough for me, this practice cleans the sinuses, enhances the voice, and improves vision and mental clarity. “Our nose is the doorway to the brain, so nose drops nourish prana (life force energy) and unfold intelligence.” Source: The Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume 3, by Vasant Lad, MASc

The full description, again if you’re all in, would involve lying on your back cushioning your shoulders so your head tilts back (perhaps hanging the head off the bed) and dropping 3-5 drops of warmed Nasya oil (Vasant Lad, MASc suggests warm ghee will also work) into each nostril.

There are some contraindications for this practice: It’s not meant for young children (although Cate Stillman’s Living Ayurveda 9-month training suggested doing the pinky dip I described above and even doing the same for the ear opening tip.) Pregnancy, menstruation, immediately after exercise, while intoxicated, on a full stomach, digestive issue like diarrhea or vomiting, fever, hypoglycemia and dehydration are also contraindicated. (Source: The Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume 3, by Vasant Lad, MASc)

More oil to the head and body (Abhyanga)

This practice is one of my absolute favorites but remember, I’m a Vata dominant dosha so I have that “dry” quality. So “oily” is an opposite and very soothing. And I practice this after I shower vs. before as often recommended. I suspect many would prefer not dressing with oil on them to keep their clothes from getting oil. Oiling your body just before bed is also supposed to help you sleep soundly.

I have been leaving bhringaraj oil on my hair for several hours the day I’m going to wash my hair to help reverse hair fall out I was experiencing due to hypothyroidism as well as menopause. Mahanarayan oil is my oil of choice for after shower since it helps with muscles and joints. It balances all the doshas but especially Vata. Vasant Lad, MASc recommends warming the oil and using sesame or almond for Vata, sunflower or coconut oil for Pitta and mustard or corn oil for Kapha. If there’s a favorite oil of yours, don’t let the recommendations stop you from using your oil of choice, in my opinion. I have a jasmine infused Vitamin E oil I also use.

Applying oil to your body is a practice of self-love. It will improve your circulation, moisten and condition the skin and is a great de-stressor in this day of go, go. The Sanskrit word for oil means love. Enough said.

There are other practices we could go into for your daily routine but let’s start here and pick something that resonates with you. Be good to yourself. The more you take the time for self-care, the more your body will respond positively. The more you are able to relax with these practices, the more tools you are providing your body to rejuvenate and heal from within. That’s the Ayurveda way—heal from within. Please let me know if I can help you in any way on your journey.







The Taste of Life

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings, Welcome to "My Better Day" Weekly Musings!
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This is my third installment in a series of blogs I’m dedicating to the ancient sister science of Yoga—Ayurveda. Here are links to the first two in case you missed them:

The Science of Life: How to hone and own your best assets

Getting in Sync with nature


We covered zeroing in on just what your energetic personality type is in the first blog and tackled the Ayurvedic clock / circadian rhythms last week. Now that you know who you are and what your preferences are, as well as the best times to wake, eat and sleep; we’ll touch a bit on just what to eat for  your type. Reviewing the past two blogs will help you here.

Six Tastes

Remember opposites soothe and similar aggravates. Each dosha, or energetic personality type, has tastes that pacify and soothe their dosha. There are six tastes: Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. Ayurveda recommends that we have all six tastes in our diet and preferably in each meal. The key is to eat these in appropriate amounts for your “constitution”/doshic balance.

Sweet: Pacifies both Vata and Pitta but increases Kapha.

Sour: Increases (or aggravates) Pitta and Kapha and it decreases (or pacifies) Vata.

Salty: Moderate use relieves Vata but increases Kapha and Pitta.

Pungent: Pacifies Kapha but excites/aggravates Pitta and Vata. If you eat a little bit of pungent, the first action of pungent is to pacify Vata due to the heat qualities. Using it too much, however, will dry so it increases Vata (already dry) and Pitta (fire element is one of Pitta’s components and is already drying).

On a side note, when I took an in-depth 9-month study on Ayurveda in 2014 (Living Ayurveda with Cate Stillman), I started to drill down on just what spices and foods do to our mentality, mood, and body. I used to absolutely love cayenne! I’d sprinkle cayenne on literally everything! I mean you could see red on my salad! Then I read that pungent in excess makes you …angry, irritable, aggressive, competitive, jealous, envious, and even violent. Makes sense, doesn’t it? What goes in must come out. Pungent is hot, sharp and penetrating. In small quantities that’s good. In excess, not so much!

Bitter: Increases Vata but decreases Pitta and Kapha. Bitter is the most lacking taste in North America. This may be why coffee is so popular—it’s bitter. However, you know how some research shows too much coffee will cause bone loss? Over-consumption of bitter can reduce bone marrow and lead to bone loss. There are many qualities I could go into here, but won’t for now.

Astringent: Reduces both Pitta and Kapha, but increases Vata.

Favorite Tastes

Vata Dosha

Vata prefers sweet, sour, and salty foods to soothe and balance their dosha.

Pitta Dosha

Pitta prefers sweet, bitter, and astringent foods to soothe and balance their dosha.

Kapha Dosha

Kapha prefers bitter, pungent, astringent foods to soothe and balance their dosha.

Toxins / Ama

Let me just add a quick note on toxins in our body (“ama” in Ayurveda). If you are consuming a lot or processed food, or not using organic vegetables (especially for the infamous “dirty dozen”), or using chemical-laden cosmetic and cleaning products; you’ll probably have some toxicity in your digestive system.

Our body is so well-designed that without the toxicity, our cravings are healthy. Our body will actually crave those things that will balance our doshas! How cool is that? Cellular intelligence at its finest! However, and this is a biggie, if you have digestive issues due to toxins or other considerations, our cellular intelligence is off and our cravings become what Ayurveda likes to refer to as “perverted”.

Modern science is catching up to the ancients here. I’ve read recent studies that if we eat the wrong foods, we feed the wrong microbes in our gut. What we feed grows and wants to stay alive so the cravings will be more of the same—“Feed me!”

So part of the healing process of our gut is to start eating the good stuff, right? Then once we remove the toxins from our diet, our cravings will be healthy ones.

A few other things that can lead to toxins could be overeating, eating heavy foods in excess or large heavy meals just before bed, eating hard to digest foods for your dosha, and eating at the wrong times (night, between meals, or unseasonally.)

My favorite Ayurvedic Cookbook

So I’ve highlighted some ideas for heading toward a balanced intake above. But what about some recipe suggestions? My favorite Ayurvedic cookbook is Eat, Taste, Heal: An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living. Each recipe is labeled with which dosha it’s appropriate for as well as how to adjust a particular recipe to be okay for a different dosha. Genius, right?! There’s also “Dosha food lists” in the appendices for easy reference.


Fruits as a starter list from the above cookbook
(There’s more, but this will get you going until you get the book!)

Vata would favor all berries, dates (a super food in Ayurveda), oranges, apricots, coconut, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, limes, and avocado (healthy fats!).

Pitta would favor apples, avocado, sweet berries, sweet apricots, dates, coconut, sweet grapes, mango, sweet plums, watermelon, and pomegranate.

Kapha would favor apples, apricots, berries, cherries, mango, peaches, pears, and pomegranate.


Vegetables starter list

Vata: favor cooked vegetables—asparagus (again a super food), beets, squash (winter, butternut and acorn), carrots, cucumber green beans, leeks, onions (remember cooked), sweet potatoes.

Pitta: Brussel sprouts, butternut and spaghetti squash, leafy greens, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, fresh corn, cucumber, green beans, kale, collards, mushrooms, peas, parsley and sprouts.

Kapha: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, fresh corn, eggplant, horseradish, kale, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, parsley, white potatoes, radish, and summer squash.

There are also categories for grains, legumes, dairy proteins, nuts, seeds, oils, sweeteners, herbs and spices, condiments, beverages, supplements. Too much to cover here!

Food combining

“Every food has its own taste, a heating or cooling energy, and a post-digestive effect. Some also possess an unexplained effect. When two or more foods having different taste, energy, or post-digestive effects are combined, your digestive fire, (Agni in Ayurveda), can become overloaded, inhibiting the enzyme system and resulting in the production of toxins. Yet these same foods, if eaten separately, might well stimulate your digestive fire, be quickly digested, and even help to burn toxins.” ~ Textbook of Ayurveda Volume 1, by Vasant Lad, MASc.

This is a very important topic that we don’t always consider. You’ve probably heard to eat fruit alone? This is one of the Ayurvedic recommendations. Improper food combining causes indigestion, gas, fermentation; and yes—disease, among other things. Here’s a quick chart to start your journey. Remember to start slow. It’s a process!

Kitchari: Kind of like Chicken Soup

Kitchari is a simply prepared meal. It’s also a great balancing, easily digested complete meal in a single dish. There are many recipes out there. In my current Ayurveda training with Yoga Veda Institute, they commented that while Kitchari comes from Ayurveda, each culture has their version—kind of like our chicken soup recipes. So explore your favorite Kitchari recipes online.

I hope you’ve enjoyed dipping your toe into eating with your doshas in mind. I’ve only touched upon some very basic concepts. The rest is up to you. I’m here to help if you have questions! See you next week for my fourth installment on Ayurveda!







Getting in sync with nature

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Last week was the first of the current series of blogs I’m dedicating to Ayurveda and some simple steps to make this 5000 + year-old sister science of yoga part of your lifestyle. Last week I introduced doshas—your energetic personality type, here.

One of the easiest ways to start to foster a balanced lifestyle is to live according to the natural laws of nature. Just as we each have our own energetic biorhythms that define what our essential nature is (doshas), Mother Nature has circadian rhythms that affect us as humans living on this Earth. Ayurveda teaches us how to live, eat, and breathe in harmony with nature.

The Ayurvedic clock / Getting in sync with nature

The Ayurvedic clock is broken down by doshas:

From 2 – 6 AM and PM it is Vata time. As you recall from last week, this dosha is all about movement with qualities of light, subtle, clear, flowing and mobile—among others. From 2 – 6 AM is when our minds are more awake and clear. Ayurveda would say to rise with the sun, no later than 6 AM. Exposure to sunlight also causes a chemical reaction to that makes your body more alert. This is why insomnia experts recommend dimming your lights as the day comes to a close so you don’t have this alertness affect your sleep.

Getting up before 6 AM is actually easier than you think. I’m sure you’ve woken up before 6 AM and felt totally awake, right? That’s Vata time! Ayurveda recommends getting up no later than 6 AM to meditate and do breath practices (pranayama) when your mind is the most clear (Vata).

Once 6 AM hits, it’s Kapha time from 6 – 10 AM and PM. This is the dosha with the force of nourishment, lubrication and structure and has qualities like heavy, gross, dense, static, smooth and cloudy—among others. Kapha time is the hardest time to get motivated. We tend to be groggy (cloudy) this time of day. So sleeping past six will allow the heavier, denser qualities of Kapha to influence your day’s experience. This is why exercising in the morning to help rev up the engine and energize the rest of the day is helpful.

Kapha is also the time in the PM when we start to become sleepy. So Ayurveda recommends going to bed no later than 10 PM. Use the Kapha timeframe to wind down, dim the lights, quit using electronics and chill. Staying up later and fighting the drowsiness Kapha brings could give us a second wind when Pitta is in full force, making all chances of a good night’s rest impossible. Journaling, restorative yoga, some peaceful breath practices, and/or perhaps some relaxing aromatherapy would all be helpful ways to prepare for sleep.

From 10 – 2 AM and PM it’s Pitta’s time to shine. Pitta is the fire dosha with the power of transformation, digestion, and metabolism. This is the time when our digestive fire is the strongest which is why Ayurveda suggests eating your biggest meal at lunch. Eating our biggest meal at the end of the day, as many of us do, falls into Kapha time when our digestive fire is the slowest.

Having less food energy to digest as you sleep allows the second round of Pitta time (10 PM – 2 AM) for digesting and processing all the other intake from the day—our mental energy needs digesting as well. This is the one area we don’t always take into consideration. All the mental energy we took in during the day with emails, phone calls, social media, television, traffic, work-related issues and meetings, needs to be processed by our brain. Our body also turns on its repair functions at this time.

I’m sure you’ve heard how important sleep is for the health, right? Well a big part of that is allowing time for the repair functions that occur while we sleep. Your brain literally clears things out during sleep.

Eating lighter at the end of the day lightens the digestive load, making it easier to rest and detox.

Start to notice when your energy peaks and wanes. Perhaps journal about how you feel on days when you follow the Ayurvedic clock more closely vs. not. Our daily patterns affect our health in so many ways

Many ancient medical systems, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, recognize the seasonal cycles of nature and the benefits of living in balance with nature. Even modern science is catching up with the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine being awarded to three joint winners for their discovery of how internal clocks and biological rhythms govern human life.

While circadian rhythms can be altered with various changes to your schedule, research shows this isn’t always healthy. Night-shift workers, for example, have been documented as having various health problems. As the old commercial says—“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”



Dialing up Spirit

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This is my third blog in the series I introduced a couple of weeks ago promising to send you simple rituals to invite Spirit back into your daily realm. I promised they’d take no more than a few minutes and easily fit into your schedule. I hope you enjoyed the first two blogs. Here’s their links if you missed them:

Using Ritual to Listen to Spirit 

A Silent Night all year round 

Now, on to this week’s topic!

Dialing up Spirit

If you aren’t regularly making time to connect to Spirit, Spirit won’t have a venue to talk to you because you obviously aren’t listening. It’d be like leaving messages and sending gifts to a relative or friend but never hearing back or getting an acknowledgement they’ve heard from you. Eventually you’d quit, right? The same goes for Spirit. Once Spirit knows you’re listening, the floodgates open! I am speaking from first-hand experience!

I like to take a moment in the morning to contemplate a question for Spirit—maybe it’s some advice I need. It could be before I get out of bed, perhaps just after I’ve meditated, or maybe after I’ve exercised and done yoga. I could chose my moment just after I light a candle, as I wrote in my first blog on this series. If mornings don’t work, you can do this practice in the evening too. As you can imagine, these random connections can happen any time you’re feeling like you need a fix!

Here’s a collection of ways to “dial up” Spirit:

  1. A simple one sentence /page random reading from your favorite spiritual or inspirational book. I have a gazillion! Many of mine center on yoga:

  • Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche, (Never fails to address exactly what I was asking about!)
  • Yoga Gems by Georg Feuerstein,
  • Yoga in Every Moment by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati,
  • A Year of Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater.But I also like many topics:
  • Daily Guidance from Your Angels by Doreen Virtue, PhD,
  • Seize Your Life Now to Carpe Diem Every Day by Jasmine Brett Stringer,
  • Grace, Guidance, and Gifts, Sacred Blessings to Light Your Way by Sonia Choquette (This source has several sections per theme, depending on your time: “Message from Spirit”, “Invocation”, “Today’s Mantra” and “Your Personal Blessing”.)
  • You Have a Purpose, Begin it Now by Susan Hayward (a perennial favorite and quick source of a random message)
  • A Walk in the Wood, Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh by Dr. Jason Parent and Nancy Parent (my most recent purchase)
  • The Science of Mind Magazine has great daily readings. I’ve been subscribed for years and use many of them for my final relaxation readings at the end of a yoga class.
  • Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe by Michael Dooley. He has several books. You can even get a daily email from Michael Dooley after signing up with some personal information: the name you want your emails addressed to, perhaps a personal goal and your birthday. Then he’ll send them to you in emails at random times (not too much) and for sure on your birthday! They’re always whimsical and make you smile, if not laugh out loud. Now, who wouldn’t want to laugh out loud sometimes? My most recent email was from last Friday (no goal mentioned in this one):

“Sandy, have you been leaning on me lately?
A lot?

For absolutely EVERYTHING?

Day and night, rain or shine, Gummi Bears or Gucci?

Just checkin’
The Universe


Sometimes a particular reading from these above-mentioned books resonates with me so much at the time because they’re spot on to what I asked about. So I’ll reread that particular passage daily for a while to let it really sink in. Why not? THAT’S the reason Spirit sent you the message, right? If it resonates in a big way, keep dwelling on that message!

Keep in mind that if the topics that interest me don’t interest you, any random reading from pretty much any book can carry a message. Try it. You’ll see.

  1. A random card pull from a motivational deck of cards.

If you prefer a different kind of random pull, you can use a deck of cards. I like to shuffle the deck until one pops funny. It could drop out, it could flip over, or it could just stick out in a unique way as I’m shuffling. Somehow it lets me know, THIS is the one! And then I always take the bottom card from the portion of the deck that’s still in my hand and do a two-card reading. If two cards happen to pop out, I’ll still grab the card from the bottom of the deck. I figure Spirit knows my M.O. and may have been trying to get that bottom card to me somehow! You don’t have to do it my way. I just thought I’d share.

I used to highlight my favorite decks in my newsletter. I have that many! There are many decks to choose from! There are even some readings you can find digitally—like here. (Native American wisdom)

Here is a small sampling of what I’ve highlighted in previous newsletters:

  • Empowerment Cards for Inspired Living by Tavis Smiley
  • The Power Deck, The Cards of Wisdom by Lynn V. Andrews (Native American Wisdom)
  • Ascended Masters by Doreen Virtue
  • Yoga Path Cards by Susan Woldman (no longer in print, sorry!)
  • Ask Your Guides Oracle Cards by Sonia Choquette (My guides have names…okay there I said it. So I’ll ask for a message by their name when I use this deck.)
  • The Silvey Energy Deck by Shari Silvey (since repackaged and renamed The Power to Transform Card Deck—I had her original cards and self-laminated them! I’ve known her for years!)

Many times the cards have a full message, but depending on your time, you can just read the summation or key word. Bing, bang, got it!

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I own. I finally had to admit I have a fetish for them and stop buying new ones! I even started to train to read Tarot cards (I’m a work in progress!) They are fun, quick and I promise they’ll become one of your best resources to talk to Spirit.

  1. A desktop or countertop calendar


They’re simple, quick and may be just what you’re looking for. There are affirmation calendars, horoscope calendars, even a word a day calendar can bring a message if you’re asking. Here’s a couple I use:

  • The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne is in a calendar format. I still like to randomly flip in this one too.
  • Inner Reflections by Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda is my favorite daily use calendar spiral book. It doesn’t have daily readings so much as beautiful photos and affirmations/quotes scattered throughout.

When I’m feeling disconnected from Spirit, these suggestions are like picking up the phone and literally dialing up Spirit (I may be aging myself with that term!). It’s like talking to an old friend and asking for their advice. No matter how long it’s been, Spirit remembers you.

It helps to be a bit centered prior to doing a random reading—at least for me. So remember to take a deep breath, think of a question or area of advice that you’re working on prior; and trust me, the responses you get will start to amaze you! Whatever portal you open to spirit, I promise you, the messages will come!

That didn’t take any time at all, now did it? Enjoy!

P.S. I’ll add here, that if you are exceptionally down and you DO have more time, you can always do multiple card readings, random book readings, etc. Sometimes I need a good talking to. Maybe you do too. So give yourself this gift of time.




A Silent Night all year round

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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Last week I introduced this series of blogs on easy ways you can bring simple rituals into your daily realm to invite Spirit back into your life. These rituals take no more than a few minutes and will easily fit into your daily schedule. And as I mentioned last week, if one doesn’t resonate with you, perhaps the next topic will.

Driving and Stress

Do you ever find yourself stressed while driving? Perhaps you drive to and from work during rush hour when traffic can get a little, shall we say hairy? It’s sometimes hard to stay calm as you notice how many other drivers are perhaps texting or simply wanting to drive right through you!

How do you insulate your nervous system from this onslaught of stress? It’s an important question because it’s the quality of life every day that creates your overall health, right?

Try turning off the radio and humming a favorite tune and if it happens to be a spiritual song, or one that reminds you of loved ones, even better.

When I’m driving and want to stay calm, humming some of my favorite songs brings me back to center. My go-to song to hum all year round is “Silent Night”. This song pops into my head immediately when I’m driving. Sometimes I find myself humming it before I’ve even realized I started humming—like the infamous “Pavlov’s dog” experiment. I get in the car and start to hum as I start to drive because my subconscious knows that’s my M.O.

If it’s a long drive, I have a playlist of sorts. “Silent Night” turns into “You are my sunshine”, which has a very emotional component, calling to mind my mom (in-law) as well as my great aunt (in-law), both of whom have passed. Next I hum “Que Sera Sera” which my dad used to whistle to himself. When I find myself missing him terribly (he passed away in 2003), I’ll hum the “Polish National Anthem”. My parents were both born in Poland and I went down the aisle to the Polish Anthem as a surprise gift to both sets of Polish parents. (My in-laws are also 100% Polish.) My dad could play this tune on his harmonica to his dying day (from Alzheimer’s). It was his favorite song and would always bring tears to his eyes.

Humming has a calming effect in and of itself but the songs you choose to hum will also add to the healing environment you are creating with the sound of your vocal chords. It’s like inviting my best friends into the car with me—my most supportive relatives surrounding me. The songs that have come to mind when I drive bring soothing memories and a reminder of important connections in my life.

Maybe it’s a spiritual song that brings you comfort. Maybe it’s like the ones I’ve chosen. Although it’s really more like they chose me!

I believe everything’s a sign and I’ve often thought the songs that have made it to my playlist are my relative’s way of reaching out to me when I need it, especially when the song just starts humming itself unprompted.

Then at other times I know that humming the tune by conscious choice will bring them to mind. And this conscious choice literally brings their spirit to me whenever I am in need of their particular message—like a calling card of sorts. Sometimes I just need a reminder of what their presence meant to me in my life to bring me back to center.

How about you? Do you have certain favorite songs that bring someone special to mind? Invite them back into your life by humming “their song”. They’re only a song away.

Some humming benefits

You know innately that humming calms your central nervous system. I’m sure you’ve experienced this before. This calming response is compliments of your Vagus Nerve which runs through your vocal chords to the base of your stomach. (Yoga activates the Vagus Nerve too, but more on that another day.)

I’ve read that humming enhances health and wellness by increasing oxygen in the cells. It lowers your blood pressure and your heart rate too! How cool is that? No meds required! Humming also clears toxins out of your body by increasing your lymphatic circulation, increases melatonin—the sleep hormone, reduces stress hormones, releases oxytocin—the love/trust hormone, releases feel good endorphins promoting natural pain relief, and also increases nitric oxide levels which is a molecule that promotes healing! Humming transforms us on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. (Source: The Humming Effect by Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman)

There’s a yogic breath called “bees” breath (Bhramari) that is one of the best breathing exercises to release agitation, frustration, or anxiety and helps get rid of anger. Could you use those benefits while driving? The exhalation sounds like a humming bee sound. So even if you can’t think of a tune to hum, you can try simply making this vibratory hum sound of a bee. (The full practice would suggest closing your eyes and placing your fingers in your ears, plugging them. Obviously you WON’T do this full practice while driving but you could hum a vibratory bee sound without the other details.)

Try it! You’ll see. Humming relaxes you in mind and body, reduces fear and worry; and keeps you grounded and focused. It’s kind of like your own white noise filling your mind with soothing tones vs. the monkey mind of chitter chatter your ego likes to go on and on about. I’ve read that humming helps you concentrate (some auditory learners need that white noise) among many other benefits. You may have read that our iPhones are taking our concentrative powers away! We have an antidote—humming!

Try humming a few tunes the next time you’re on the road and see if you arrive at your destination a little calmer, more centered and at peace.



I resemble that remark…

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I recently had to switch doctors since my regular doctor moved on. As my new doctor was doing the routine exam, she inquired if “that” has gotten worse at all. “That”, I asked? What do you mean by “that”? She meant my belly-button! I was a bit flabbergasted. I’ve had “that” for 52 years. It’s my belly button and no, it is NOT a hernia! I have to add that my belly button is not grotesquely “out”. It is a simple “outie” button. No, I’m NOT taking a photo!

A belly button hernia should not be confused with an ‘outie’ belly button, a perfectly normal physical feature. A herniated navel will protrude much more than an outie belly button, and it may be accompanied by pain and soreness, especially in adults.”

St Thomas Aquinas saw the navel as the “bodily metaphor for spiritual things.” The navel has been considered the “ultimate power point” in yoga and other oriental disciplines. Chi and vital breath is thought to “emerge” from the navel. Sigmund Freud thought the navel point was where a dream’s message and its psychic significance connected. My dreams were where I got the name for my business—Better Day Yoga. Hmmm, something to dwell upon for this “outie” belly-button’s significance!

Your belly-button’s significance-clincher, however, is the miraculous lotus, a symbol of creation, which sprung from Vishnu’s navel. Brahma, the creator himself, sits in the lotus “spinning endless universes out of his own sleep.” (Again the association with sleep, the navel and spirit/psychic inner world.)

If your belly-button has that much significance, wouldn’t you want it to be more than a mere indentation? Yes, 90% of you have an “innie” but 10% of us have an “outie”. I didn’t know that figure until I researched it for this blog, and frankly up until I did the research, I always thought mine was the “correct” version—I mean an “innie” doesn’t look like a button now does it? I guess I knew I was in the minority, but hey—perhaps I’m special that way.

(This post was originally posted about five years ago on a Prana Pages blog I shared with a colleague. That blog has been discontinued so I am reposting some of them as I have time.)


My dream tutorial

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I had the utmost pleasure of taking several workshops by Indu Arora at the Minneapolis Yoga Conference. I always learn so much whenever she’s the presenter! And everyone who follows her workshops feels the same way—we all talk about how much we love and adore her! We are all huge fans of this amazing woman!

Her “Ratricharya” workshop—10 steps of Ayurvedic Night Routine was excellent! One of the many things she suggested doing to prepare you for sleep is a Yoga Nidra practice (Yogic Sleep) at night and that includes a “Sankalpa” or intention/resolve of heart and mind. Your Sankalpa is made with a one-pointed resolve to focus on a specific goal and it’s meant to be a noble goal that could possibly serve as a lifetime goal. It’s not just for light-hearted goals.

Since I’m in between Level 1 and Level 2 of Indu’s Yoga Nidra training, I have been practicing Yoga Nidra as part of my studies. I decided to use my Sankalpa last night before bed as I drifted off to sleep. I’m looking for “my one thing”. What is it I’m called to do—the one thing that will move my business forward? How do I get unstuck?

Last night’s dreams were like a mini-tutorial on the status of my mind and steps I could take to become unstuck:

The overflowing bag of exquisite tacks

At one point I was in line preparing to purchase an overflowing bag of what appeared to be very ornate “tacks” with beveled tips that appeared to be solid silver. In the dream, I knew that these tacks were meant for a whole other purpose than I was intending them for. Their purpose was so exquisite that most would use only one or two of them and even engrave their names upon them (my “one thing”). That’s how very special and expensive they were. They were held in the highest esteem by those who used them for a very special occasion. And here I was purchasing an overflowing bag full!

As I awoke, I realized this is my usual “M.O.”—“If a little’s good, a LOT must be better!” Well it’s not. I don’t need to acquire any more skills. I don’t need to have one more tiddlywink or doo-dad to work with. Stop the madness! I also need to focus on an “exquisite”, one-pointed goal in my business and then break that down into my daily activities. What is it I want to “tack” onto the vision board of my life? I need to choose my “one thing” and put my thumbprint on it to make it uniquely mine—to engrave my name on it. I spread myself a bit thin and many days never get to the one thing I wanted to accomplish. And my business offerings might need to be pared down as well. Less is more. The shotgun approach never worked for anyone. While I innately knew this, my dream was reminding me it was something I urgently needed to attend to.

Not worried about the opinions of others

Next I was back at an old corporate job and was moving things around in my office. My office had just been moved and I was rearranging this and that, looking at my phone monitor to see that there were customer messages blinking at me that I had to attend to, clearing away papers into a file, etc. In the dream my boss and her boss were walking around in the area and I chose NOT to be concerned with what they may or may not think about my activity. I resisted the urge to jump on the phone and appear to be in the heat of making sales calls. I had a job I started to do and was going to finish it without feeling judged upon—at least that’s what I was attempting to tell myself. Worrying about other’s opinions has always been a thing for me. But in this dream I did pretty good sticking to the project I had already started. So glass half full. Perhaps the dream was saying, “You put on a good front, but the inadequate feeling is still there. Work on it!”

The obstacle that didn’t have to be there

Still in that office setting, I was having trouble getting my rolling office chair up to the desk. It kept bumping into an obstacle under the carpet that acted like a brake. Without the ability to get my chair where it needed to be, I couldn’t function. I pushed this way and that—No luck. I was getting frustrated but kept working around it trying to figure out what to do. Suddenly in the dream I realized the obstacle was from the previous old arrangement of furniture and all I needed to do was remove whatever that bump/obstacle was under the carpet. It no longer needed to be there and I wasn’t seeing that there was no need to keep it around.

“Doesn’t that sound just like me?” I thought as I awoke and analyzed my dream. Many of the obstacles to what I need to accomplish are unnecessary and remain from a past arrangement/condition/belief. I might go so far as to say that a good majority of the “obstacles” I experience are my thoughts about what I can or can’t do—my worthiness so to speak. I need to remove them. They are no longer necessary and are hindering me from my goal.

Many times when I’ve asked a question over and over just before I fall asleep, I’ll get some sort of response between sleep and awake. I’ve written about this before. It was how I named my business, Better Day Yoga, back in 2009 after I’d been teaching for over a year. It’s a fun memory. The messages come in a strange vernacular that always tells me exactly what I need to know in the most unique way that many times only I’d be able to interpret. Sometimes it’s like I’m reading headlines off a newsreel in my mind.

Last night’s “dream tutorial” highlighted areas I need to work on and the wisdom of the presentation has me in awe. In ancient civilizations, dreams were considered messages from the heavens and the shaman would share their dream messages around the campfire to an eager audience. I, too, consider my dream last night a message from the Universe; or perhaps, a kick in the pants to get busy! “Sweet dreams”.


 “Have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices? I’ve heard them calling my name….” ~ Kermit the Frog 

Indu and I after the workshop



Reindeer Magic

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Two nights ago, my husband and I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie about Reindeer Lodge. Reindeers were hailed as a sign of true love. I’ve read they are also a sign of positive things coming into your life like new beginnings, good news, and even new love. They remind you that you have the ability to achieve whatever you want as long as you come from the heart. (Source: )

I’ve always found flying reindeer to be as magical as those depicted in so many Christmas films. We own two magical prints that we display during the Christmas season. This year the one entitled “Earth Magic” has fallen off the wall twice now….reread that. “Earth Magic has fallen to the earth” as if to say “I’m bringing magic to the earth this time of year”. The other one entitled “Caribou Moon” also fell once—probably around the time of the recent full moon now that I think about it. Why they fell isn’t as important as the fact that they fell. They make a stunning presence on our wall but this year they are making a statement I think we all need to hear.

Caribou Moon

Earth Magic











Did you know that reindeer used to be plentiful further south across the world in ancient times and in the U.S. as far south as Nevada and Tennessee?  There’s more: “Throughout the grasslands of northern Mongolia and southern Siberia are planted hundreds of stone pillars, ranging from three to fifteen feet tall, with carvings that seem to show reindeer in flight. The stones have been dated to approximately 3000 years ago. The Reindeer and its association with the sun is an important element in Siberian Shamanism.

That is interesting on its own, but what’s even more intriguing is that, because of climate change, at the time these stones were carved, it had been a thousand years since actual reindeer lived in that local landscape. The people who carved these flying reindeer on the stone pillars had likely never seen a reindeer.” (Source:

Flying reindeer are part of actual history? How cool is that?! I like to think they did see them or at least believed in the stories told of them by their ancestors. Who’s to say?

How much magic have we overlooked thinking we need facts? The solstice is tomorrow celebrating the darkness as we wait in anticipation for the return of the light. Be open to the magic this time of year. Look up! Merry Christmas!













What I did this summer. Remembering to walk the talk

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I subscribe to “The Sacred Science” blogs and received an email this morning reminding me of a synchronicity I’d already forgotten about. I believe we receive messages from the Universe all the time and that acknowledging those messages is what turns the spigot on for more of the same. So receiving this reminder email simply added to the synchronicity demanding to be heard, recognized, and celebrated. Just like a good friend that’s encouraged to share more personal stories when they see we are listening and are present for them, the Universe will quit sending messages if we aren’t noticing them. So please let this post be my way of saying to the Universe: “Thanks! I needed that!”

I often share a similar sentiment in my yoga classes that the more we listen to our body’s messages, the better our intuition becomes. There’s a wise suggestion known in yogic philosophy to listen to your body whisper so you don’t have to hear it scream. As you read on, know that I needed to relearn that lesson too.

I’ve been having some physical issues this summer, to put it mildly. Without going into a lot of boring details, let me just say that it’s my opinion I may be experiencing side effects of the hypothyroid medicine I’m on. There’s a long list of them. It wasn’t until I researched and found that one of the side effects is favoring a hip with a limping gait that I sort of lost it. My hip has been an issue for about as long as I’ve been diagnosed as hypothyroid. I hadn’t connected the two until recently learning that there’s importance in knowing the root cause of an auto-immune diagnosis so I’ve been analyzing it a lot. It’s all very intriguing.

I had cut back on some anti-inflammatory supplements to trim down my intake and then my side-effect symptoms starting appearing more prominently. So I might have been medicating the side effects with anti-inflammatories for awhile. Lately my hip had literally been giving out at times, causing my sacroiliac joint to be very unhappy from all the jarring, not to mention the hip pain. Thank God for my yoga practice. It has been and always will be my lifesaver in so many ways. It’s like an etch-a-sketch for what ails me.

My visit to the doctor only resulted in “normal” thyroid readings. I plan to see a functional medicine doctor soon to see if we can unravel the mystery.

I also decided to finally get a mammogram. It had been ten years since my last one—I know, I know. I consider myself very holistic so it was incompatible to me to have X-rays looking for cancer when X-rays are known to cause cancer. But since advancing age is also a cause of cancer, I decided to pull my head out of the proverbial sand and get a mammogram. They considered this a baseline since it had been so long and I was told more than once that to try to find my ten year old mammogram would probably not be worth the effort because of the typical file purging; and that even if I did find it, it would be too old to be helpful. So I left it at that.

They needed me to come back for a second mammogram because of suspicious micro-calcifications. And that mammogram was not enough to rule out cancer so they recommended a biopsy. Again I was told finding my old mammogram would not be helpful. The biopsy was done on a Friday morning and I had to wait until the following Tuesday, early PM, to hear back on the results. I had originally thought I should write about that ordeal and my blog title was to be “walking the talk”. But it felt too personal at the time. I needed some space.

I will say that I had a good long talk with myself, during the stressful four-day-wait for results, as I kept sliding into panic mode. I told myself, “If you can’t use the skills and wisdom you share with your students about handling stress, then what kind of yoga teacher/therapist are you?”

I am always reminding my students to take the time to regularly practice stress reducing activities like yoga, meditation, and breathwork so that they’re in their “back pocket” when they’re needed most. These routine practices are like old friends, ready to soothe. It’s only a breath practice and a silent meditation away. My daily personal yoga practice always gives me just what I need physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

When I arrived for my biopsy appointment, I explained to the receptionist that I might smell like sage as I had smudged myself earlier to keep the bad juju away. I also wore my protective hand /“hamsa” shirt to ward off the evil eye. I was laughing as I shared this with the receptionist which caused her to comment that she was so glad I did what I needed to take care of myself. She shared that most of the time people show up and they’re a basket case. She didn’t know I kind of was a basket case inside. Thank God for my sweet husband, Ed, who came along for support.

Four excruciatingly long days later, the doctor called to say the micro-calcifications were benign. There was a lot more detail than that but enough said. He recommended that I come back in for a follow up mammogram in six months since this was considered the “baseline”. I mentioned the ten year old mammogram and the comments his colleagues had shared more than once about not needing to find them. On the contrary, he was very interested to see them. Okay, sure. I’d try to remember where I had the mammogram ten years ago.

It took me all of maybe ten minutes to remember, call, and have the ten-year-old mammogram digitally sent to the doctor who did my biopsy. He called me within an hour to say “Good news! It looks like the micro-calcifications have been there since 2007!” He then added, “I sure wish we’d had these sooner because it would have saved us a lot of trouble.” In other words, had he had them, he would not have seen the need to do the biopsy in the first place. Well that was more than frustrating to hear. Yet and still, good news is good news and I was more relieved than words can say! My husband and I had a celebratory dinner out that night.

The summer still had more in store. Two weeks later, Ed and I went to the Polish Festival here in the Twin Cities. Last year we attended but there was no dancing to be had since Ed had fallen 15 feet only 14 weeks prior and he broke his left talus (foot) bone and right big toe. So this year was extra special as we danced our “dupas” off on the polka floor, making up for lost time. Was that smart considering my hip had been acting up? Probably not. But I will never turn down an opportunity to dance! This I know about me! (So much for listening to my body whisper, right? The thing is, my body was also screaming to dance the polka!)

It may have been a combo of bad shoes and a tender hip but I didn’t realize until the following day that I screwed up my right knee and my left peroneal tendon pretty bad. We even walked around after dancing without issue, so who knows. It was quite warm and we were so content to have come full circle from Ed’s fall the year before. Perhaps the festive atmosphere and our sheer joy numbed us to the after effects.

I couldn’t walk without pain at all the following day. I have not been able to walk without extreme pain in the left heel and a very spongey right knee going on the second week now. In case you’re wondering, except for some soreness for sure the next day, Ed appears to have been no worse for the wear! I must have been the one out of practice! Go figure!

Here’s where the synchronicity popped in—just by “coincidence” I only had to cancel one class in the next two weeks due to vacations having cancelled the others prior. And the one class I did have was a private client appointment so it required less props to carry into the location. Plus my husband drove me so he was there to help since my car was in the shop (oh, that’s another summer story!). The Universe somehow knew I would need the time off to rest, recoup, and heal.

It’s not in my nature to take time off no matter how bad I’m feeling—which brings me back to the yogic philosophy I mentioned earlier—listening to the body whisper so you don’t have to hear it scream. Apparently I needed to learn that lesson again. I realize I really should have taken the time to do less sooner. Remember I said I’d needed some space? Why didn’t I listen?

The whole breast mammogram, recall mammogram, biopsy, four-day-wait fiasco had taken more of a toll on my psyche than I cared to admit. We can’t just keep sweeping things under the carpet and expect to continue on our merry way without repercussions. I knew this deep down, but I didn’t listen. I really hadn’t walked the talk after all, at least not as well as I could have. Lesson learned.

I have to wonder if I’d taken some time to decompress after the mammogram results like I really wanted to perhaps my body would have been in a better state overall when I danced the polkas. The mind really is connected to the body. They are inseparable. So not only did the Universe pre-plan my much needed time off in my business schedule, it also gave me reason to sit still more than I had been due to the injury. Apparently I really needed to stay put. Maybe the next time I need to learn a lesson, the Universe won’t have to resort to bodily injury to get me to listen. One can only hope.

Photo taken just after our polkas! 
So content and happy to have come full circle


A Tribute to LaVonne

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter, Off-the-Wall Musings
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I started teaching yoga about nine years ago. There are two yogis in particular, LaVonne and Bebe, who have been coming to my classes since that time. Needless to say I absolutely adore them! We’ve become great friends!

Last year I had the utmost honor to work with LaVonne one-on-one as she battled cancer for a second time in her life. This time it was terminal cancer. There was no cure. She was a breast cancer survivor, so this news hit her and her family quite hard but they rose to the occasion, not missing a beat on staying positive. Throughout our time together this past year, she continued to be the most optimistic person I know—such an inspiration!

Everyone wanted to be around her because she was always smiling, always happy, and always looking on the bright side of life. She treasured her family. Time with her grandkids was sacred. She welcomed a new grandchild into her life earlier this year. Her husband shared with me recently how much joy that brought her. It gave her the strength to continue her treatments.

I saw her as a private client for several months. We used gentle, restorative yoga; Yoga Nidra; hand mudras; visualization; meditation/mindfulness; aromatherapy; sound therapy (tingsha bells, chakra bowls, healing music, nature sounds); grounding stones to hold onto and to surround her; and Reiki therapy in which I heavily use prayer. We consulted books on healing cancer, practiced rituals using candles and affirmations—you name it.

Mostly it was my sincere wish that our work together would give her hope and put her in a “rest and relax”/parasympathetic nervous system mode—the only time your body is empowered to regenerate. And as Wayne Dwyer used to say “If it’s placebo, I’ll take two!” She liked that quote a lot. She was up for whatever I brought to our sessions and she always had a smile and a hug for me coming and going. The trust she placed in me humbled me. I treasured our time together. It was such an honor and blessing to be invited into her home and into her family’s life throughout this tender time.

LaVonne passed away surrounded by her loving family this past weekend. I can’t stop thinking about her. Her energy goes on. As I said in my last post, I believe our souls live forever. I have been deeply blessed by this lovely lady. I will hold her close the rest of my lifetime and always remember that smile.

LaVonne’s in the middle and Bebe is on the right in this New Year’s Eve 2016 photo

P.S. A sweet addendum: My sweet husband and I went to LaVonne’s visitation as well as her funeral services the next day. Both functions were literally packed with her adoring friends and family. At the visitation, we saw many, many lovely photos of her life. There were numerous family pictures, pictures from her large group of “church ladies”, pictures from her wedding album, pictures of many fun trips to Europe and elsewhere. My husband and I really enjoyed viewing these memories and visiting with her family.

As we drove home from the visitation, “The story of my life” by the group, One Direction, came on the radio. The story of my life….I knew LaVonne’s spirit would be talking with me. I just hadn’t expected it so soon! The next song, back to back, was “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. My husband has always told me he would like this song played at his funeral so LaVonne had this special gift for my husband too. This would be just the special consideration she’d give to a visitor—playing their song so they knew it was for them. We both broke down crying. I could just picture her joy at watching my husband and I view her lovely photos—”these are the story of my life”, she’d say. And oh what a wonderful life it was.

“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” 
~ David Ellsworth from The Serenity of Selfism




Delicate…but powerful!

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My husband and I just got back from a week-long vacation in Napa, CA; and we, uh, had a chance to visit just a few wineries while we were there…hiccup @#! One day we had a professional chauffeur, Rosanna of “Sip and Swirl”, drive us around—a service offered through the Candlelight Inn where we were staying. Mental note to self: Rosanna was retired and did this part-time, she shared that she gets invited to numerous events due to the nature of her job, and she appeared to be enjoying life! Having an escort was smart on so many levels! She knew places that weren’t on our radar and they turned out to be some of our favorite spots. She also had a lot of local trivia to share as we drove around.

Chándon (“Ch is pronounced as “sh” and the accent is on the second syllable) features sparkling wine, a.k.a. champagne. Lovely name, isn’t it? Rosanna started us out there first thing in the morning, because who doesn’t want bubbles to start the day? (I think I want them every day, but that’s another story!) Chándon has a gorgeous location with a lush landscape and beautiful Adirondack chairs in their outdoor seating area surrounded with “indigenous oak trees” for an amazing view. The tasting room has floor to ceiling windows so you had that amazing view wherever you went!


We also loved our wine professional, Karly. She was a hoot! She was not only fun, but everything she said about our tastings could have been put on a t-shirt I’d wear all day long! Seriously, she needs to be in their marketing department! My favorite was the title of this post: Delicate but powerful. Now couldn’t you just rock that t-shirt?!
Another golden nugget quote she used was Sweet spice not heat spice. And then there was Approachable. She had so many, shall we say, words of wisdom? Well they got your attention and made you smile! We joked about needing to take her home with us and made plans to stop by on the following Monday as we were headed back home toward the airport. At least I hope she realized it was a joke…hmmm.

The last quote I’ll mention here may have been from uh…the next winery—heck it may have been the next day (we were having too much fun!), but it’s worth a mention: Always polished/Never dull.

“Delicate but powerful” is the one I’ve haven’t been able to get off my mind. I’d love to be referred to with that descriptor, wouldn’t you? I see a black t-shirt in my future, seriously. Chándon’s beautiful star logo (the star could be a “sparkley”) and tagline “let’s catch up” on the front and the quote in royal blue or hot pink on the back would look stunning, don’t you think? It could even be a polo shirt with a collar to make it a little classier. I tried to configure something online with just the quote. It wasn’t what I was looking for but it’s a start! I’m a bit obsessed.

I wonder if Chándon realizes how valuable Karly is. How she does what she does is magic. While many of the wineries had great service, with great presentations, Karly’s was exceptional in her delivery. I mean I’m not making imaginary t-shirts out of any of the other’s now am I? She hit the mark. This was not the norm at all the wineries we went to. Karly made our visit just that much more memorable. I guess you could say she was delicate…but powerful….It’ll stick with you now, won’t it?


I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog/newsletter. I don’t publish on a regular timetable so subscribing is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing posts such as this one! (Poking fun at myself. 🙂 ) You’ll also be the first to receive updates, resources, and more. I’ll even give you a free gift! 🙂 Click on the “FREE Chakra-Balancing & Loving Kindness Meditation!” link in the right-hand column. Thanks! 


Soham: I am that. Słucham: I am listening.

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You’ve probably figured out by now that I am very Polish! My parents were born there and my husband’s grandparents were born there too. I have always been extremely proud of my heritage.

Hearing any Slavic language pulls on my heart strings, especially Polish. This beautiful language enveloped me in my youth. Even though my parents did not teach me how to speak fluent Polish, I totally knew certain orders: Eat! Sleep! Come here! And I’ve always joked that I knew when to duck for cover. They spoke their native language frequently, especially when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying.

I was the youngest of five, so my parents had been in the United States ten years by the time I was born. Yet, to this day, I can still distinguish a Slavic accent even with those who have been in the States for a very long time. You never forget your mother’s voice. In fact, “new research suggests that babies begin to absorb language when they are inside the womb during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy—which is earlier than previously held. Newborns can actually tell the difference between their mother’s native tongue and foreign languages just hours after they are born.”

As a yoga teacher, I’ve also picked up various Sanskrit words. Sanskrit is said to induce a sound therapy. The pronunciation of Sanskrit affects the meridians of the tongue and stimulates the roof of the mouth where the hypothalamus resides—very important to major bodily functions such as body temperature, appetite, thirst, metabolism, circadian rhythms, physiological responses to stress, etc. The science of mantra repetition creates sound currents and the vibratory effects create a sound therapy manifesting health and healing. It is considered a sacred science.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that Slavic languages, such as Polish, are believed to have common ancestry with the Sanskrit language! Perhaps it’s just me, but I find comfort and more than a little joy in the similarities. “Joga” in Polish is pronounced as “yoga” in Sanskrit, but it doesn’t stop there. The Polish word, “mówisz”, for example, means “you speak” in English and sounds close to our English word “movie”. Doesn’t it make you smile that “a movie with a sound track” is our definition of “talkies”?

Similarities such as, Soham—which means “I am That” or “I am He” in Sanskrit—sounds very similar to  S?ucham in Polish—which means “I am listening”. The word “Koham” in Sanskrit—which means “Who am I?” is also very similar to the word “Kocham” in Polish means “I love”. We are love, aren’t we?

“When Soham applies to a person’s name, according to Vedic philosophy (ancient Indian scripture) it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. Some say that when a child is born it cries Koham-Koham which means Who am I? That is when the universe replies back Soham. You are the same as I am.”

Substituting the similarly pronounced Polish words and their meanings into the quote above translates to a beautiful message:

When “I’m listening” applies to a person’s name, it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality. When a child is born it cries “I love-I love” to which the universe replies “I am listening.”

We are meant to come into this world to love. When we do things with love, the Universe responds in kind. When we pursue a dream for the sole purpose of benefitting mankind in some way, the Universe listens.

When I discovered the common ancestry of the two languages and realized the similarly pronounced words, my heart just melted. I knew there was a reason I was so enamored with Sanskrit. Its similarity to Polish is undeniable. It seemed to be a sacred kind of kismet—my two loves colliding: the love of my Polish ancestry and the love of all things yoga. It was as if the Universe was saying my two loves have the same roots in my DNA: “You are the same as I am”.

Isn’t Language beautiful?  / Nie jest j?zyk jest pi?kny?

i-love-poland-2007Koham, Kocham,
(“Who am I?”, “I love.”)

Sandy Krzyzanowski
Better Day Yoga LLC

I used to share a blog with a colleague a couple of years ago. She has since removed that web page so I am “rescuing” some of my favorite stories here. Enjoy!


The Crucifix candelabra and the wooden boy

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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One of my yoga students is preparing to move after having lived in her beautiful home for, I believe she said, almost 45 years. She and her husband are preparing for their next amazing adventure together! Isn’t that how moving should feel? It’s been a joy to watch her meticulously organize and pack in preparation week by week. Five other amazing ladies, who have stolen my heart, make up the balance of the yogis in this weekly class held in the basement of her home.

In the process of cleaning out and packing, she accumulated an assortment of treasures in her three-season porch and invited us all to peruse her “Free Garage Sale”, as she worded it. This lady is one of the most generous, big-hearted human beings on the planet. I am truly blessed to have her and this whole amazing tribe of loving souls in my life. Did I mention I adore them?

Given her decorating style and taste, I knew that I would most likely find some pieces I had to have, but I had no idea of the treasures waiting to surprise me! She used to own a gift basket business so there were many items relating to that production, as well as gardening and floral décor.

And then it happened. There in the midst of a couple vases and a candle holder was a gorgeous, antique, standing Crucifix candelabra with silver-plate and a holy water font! She had picked up this stunning gem in France! I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It literally oozed good energy like a magnet drawing me in. It was immediate attraction.

Here you see it as the centerpiece of our “mini-altar”. Its energy permeates the room.

Here you see it as the centerpiece of our “mini-altar”. Its energy permeates the room.

I knew I wanted it but thought I should ask my sweet husband’s opinion. I casually browsed the rest of her collection.

Then another animated treasure literally stopped me in my tracks. Sitting on the ledge in front of some silk flowers and an index card holder was a sweet, sweet wooden boy she lovingly referred to as “Geppetto”. She quickly added that she knows the story goes that Geppetto was the woodworker and Pinocchio was the wooden boy come to life, but Geppetto just seemed to fit for her. She found him in Germany and he pulled her heart strings too. I was completely smitten. Geppetto is decorated in red and green hand-painted attire. Now, anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE Christmas!

I immediately pictured Geppetto exactly where I have placed him here. (Yes we started Christmas decorating this past weekend in the basement! We have to start early in time for our party, right?)

I immediately pictured Geppetto exactly where I have placed him here. (Yes we started Christmas decorating this past weekend in the basement! We have to start early in time for our party, right?)

I swear I heard the spirit of this sweet wooden boy whisper, “Look at me! Look at me!” It was a done deal, no turning back. Sure I would ask my husband’s opinion, but we’ve been married over 33 years. This man knows me. We are on the same page energetically. He’ll pick something up in a retail store and two seconds later, without knowing he’d touched it, I’ll always pick it up too. It’s freaky cool. We are often attracted to the same things. He loved it too, but I knew he would! Geppetto jumped into my arms (okay so maybe I picked him up), and that was all she wrote!

My sweet host was enjoying our extended visit after yoga class so much she asked if I wanted a cup of coffee as I “shopped”. You always feel like an honored guest at their house. She embraces you with her warm smile and genuine appreciation, making you feel like you’ve just been hugged—which, of course, she gifts freely at least a couple of times each visit.

There were a couple of other pieces that made their way home with me that day, but these two absolutely made my heart sing. I could barely contain myself! “My Tuesday gals”, as I often refer to them, threw a birthday party for me earlier that month—one of several precious moments we’ve shared that I will always hold close to my heart. It felt like my birthday all over again that day! I remember feeling a warm, fuzzy glow of contentment the rest of the day because of her hospitality. I treasure the memory. These gorgeous works of art from their home to ours will be a constant connection to a wonderful couple I am humbled and honored to call friend.

I think they both look quite content in their new places in our home. Don’t you?

Life is so very precious,

Sandy Krzyzanowski







Welcome to “My Better Day” Weekly Musings!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter, Off-the-Wall Musings
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Storytellers Creed has become my favorite creed to live by. It was given to me by my wonderful, and oh-so-supportive sister-in-law, Mary Ann Krzyzanowski. The Storytellers Creed is hanging on a wall in my “she-cave” providing daily inspiration:

“I believe imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more important than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” ~ by Robert Fulghum


I’m moving to a weekly venue vs. bi-monthly since that obviously didn’t work for me last year. **Sigh**. I’ve also changed the headings a bit to spruce things up and add a little pizzazz and excitement to the mix. I hope you agree? Please let me know what you think. I would be honored to hear from you.

“My Better Day” is a weekly, rotating, heart-centered journal on:

  • tips to empower your personal yoga practice,
  • ways to bring the magic of yoga and meditation into your life,
  • a Chakrascope section exploring ways to work with your vital energy centers to revitalize and regenerate from the inside out
  • magical crystals, stones, talismans and other good juju (*new section for 2014!)
  • celebrating the Goddess within (*new section for 2014!)
  • whimsical, inspirational, and off-the-wall musings to invite magical elements into your life
  • delicious recipes from my good friend and excellent chef, Christine—and more!

Crack open the door to the magic awaiting inside. It’s always been there. Please visit often, as your spirit moves you to make your day a Better Day!  And please share!


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl.


The Room Beneath the Tree

I’ve always had an affinity toward all things magical and totally agree with the opening quote: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” How about you? Have you ever wondered what instills this magic inside of you so much that it becomes innate?  Read on to hear the roots of my magical installment.

I remember my eight-year-old self riding my bicycle around with a Lego-made fairy house propped in my bicycle basket. Every fairy needs a home, right? I treasured shows like The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, and The Borrowers. As an adult, I discovered Darby O’Gill and the Little People—a must-see this time of year with St. Patrick’s day fast approaching.

My March 2011 newsletter was my last installment on this magical, mystical, passionate subject. The time has come again. It’s long over-due if you ask me. This story has been on my periphery for some time now, begging to be shared. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did living it.

In that 2011 newsletter, I mentioned a favorite childhood book:

Similar to other children, I grew up with a fervent belief in all things magical. Houdini was one of my childhood heroes. My favorite childhood book was a book about elves, fairies and mermaids.  I think it was The Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies or The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies with assorted Pixies, Mermaids, Brownies, Witches, and Leprechauns by Jane Werner. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive my childhood. From the comments on Amazon for the second book mentioned, I have to believe the illustrator’s magical drawings affected more than just me as a child believing in magic.

One small mention of “the book” to my oldest sister and she went off on a tangent about the mermaids in the book. My special memory was a depiction of an elfin family beneath a tree. No space went unused. There was a loaf of bread stored in the crevice of one root, and others were used as furniture. I could get lost in that illustration and I did many times as a child.”

Well this past Fall I decided to finally go for it on Amazon and purchased what my best instinct/memory told me was the treasured childhood book. There were finally some used ones in Amazon at a price I could afford. A few years ago they were a couple of hundred dollars! From an array of various versions of Golden Books of Fairies and Elves, I chose the one with the blue cover.

I waited with anticipation for my beloved childhood book to come. Now keep in mind I knew what I was getting in the mail. I could barely open it quick enough I was so excited. The nano-second I saw the details on the cover up close and personal, my inner child let out a wistful gasp and my eyes started to tear up. With each page I turned, another and another squeal of excitement came out. “Oh! That one! I remember that one!” Hah! Yes! I remember him!” “Oh, yes! That one was really special!” And then the page came up: the elfin family beneath the tree….the tears flowed. I couldn’t quit crying. All of this happened literally within a matter of a few seconds as I quickly turned page after page. When I finally got to the mermaid story, I immediately remembered my sister’s fondness for this one and thought “of course—yes, yes of course! The mermaids!”


The room beneath the tree


While I had yearned for this book for a long time, I could not have predicted this particular reaction was buried deep inside. I knew I would enjoy it. I knew it was a special memory for me. But not for one iota of a second had I imagined I’d be moved so deeply and instantaneously upon viewing the illustrations. I was brought right back to my childhood in a split second as if on a literal time machine. It was as though I found a long, lost childhood friend and confidant. I had rediscovered the portal to my magical childhood kingdom.

I can only say as a child I must have spent literally hours getting lost within the pages of this treasured book. I intimately knew each detail and had committed to memory every minute character illustrated within its pages. They were all still there, buried in my memory, waiting for me to come back and play. They each still held a special spot within my heart. They had comforted me when I was sad and lonely and had filled me with awe and wonder so many times so long ago and they still dothis was the big surprise. This was the special treasure. This depth of emotion still amazes me.

For the next few days I’d sit down to slowly re-read, embrace, and relive these treasured stories. My husband would catch me crying profusely. One time he didn’t know I was reading. He only heard me sobbing and asked out loud from the other room if I was okay. Through tears I sobbed “he made her silver slippers…” and my voice trailed off.

Of course, I was referring to “Singeli’s Silver Slippers” translated from Swedish by Martha Inez Johnson. It’s a story of a poor, shoemaker who wanted only to provide shoes as beautiful as his beloved daughter, Singeli. So he chose to make them with silver-colored leather vs. the more frugal, common, wooden shoes. One night the fairies-of-fortune came to the shoemaker’s house and stroked the silver shoe leather Singeli’s father was crafting for his daughter, whispering: “Little slippers, Go only on bright roads, Only on good roads, Only on right roads.” And whispered to the sleeping Singeli “If you, dear child, Go astray, Silver slippers will vanish away.” The shoes then turned into real silver. I don’t want to ruin it for you.

I try to logically explain the emotion: Perhaps it was because I knew my grandfather was a shoemaker (my mom’s dad whom I’ve never met) that this story touched me so deeply, or perhaps it was because my own dad always made me feel this special and he is now passed. Re-reading the treasured stories re-awakened the hopeful child within still full of wonder and awe at the magic of it all. (I’m not certain she ever went to sleep, truth-be-told.) Most likely it was a culmination of all of the above that brought me to my knees with emotion. I could not quit crying.

Each story left me overwhelmed with heart-felt emotion. The Pixies’ Scarf by Alison Uttley tells a tale of a young boy who finds a pixies’ scarf while picking berries with his grandmother. He’s told adamantly by his grandmother to return the scarf, for surely the pixies will know he has it and come for it; but he keeps the scarf any way. The scarf imbues him with magical abilities to hear and understand all of wild life—the birds in the trees and the fish in the river—even the stones spoke. “Like a mirror on the ground” he could see wildlife below like the rabbits nestled in their homes. “The earth itself seemed to be whispering, and the stream answered back.” Of course, the pixies came to claim their scarf and the boy barters it for some pixie marbles made of “pixie rubies and emeralds” –“green as grass in April, blood-red, snow-white, and blue as the night sky”. He knew they contained magic and “would capture every other” marble.

And if you doubt the magic this book carries, please read on. Seconds after just completing this magical story, I was still in a mesmerized stupor when my husband says “Listen to this!” and he shares a story from his business magazine:  “A decades old plane crash, originating from India, has been found in the French Alps. They discovered a metal box believed to be on board the flight containing rubies, sapphires, and emeralds worth an estimated $332,000!”… Whoa!! Seriously? That’s the story he decides to share at that exact moment? Goose bumps! Does anyone reading this doubt that this book finding its way back to me was magically inclined? Thump on the head from the wee folk!

Fast forward a few weeks and I decide to order a couple more used books as Christmas presents for my siblings. My oldest sister has no idea what I am giving her. We aren’t even supposed to exchange presents. Only the younger members of the family get the gifts here.

I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be, but I was bursting out of my seat as she opened it. As she ripped the wrapping paper off, she immediately said “Why do I know this book?” She looked down at it and then at me in quick succession and immediate tears. Neither of us could quit crying. She looked and looked and looked at every page as we both bawled and hugged over and over. Our relatives have become used to our antics by now but even they were wondering “what the heck?”

She, too, shared that it “was like finding an old friend you thought you’d never see again.” She said, “It brought me right back to my childhood and I kind of want to stay there awhile.” She couldn’t believe her reaction either. It overtakes you immediately and whisks you off to the magical realm. But what about my brother….?

We celebrated Christmas with my brother’s family the next day. After some confusion as to where the second book I thought I brought was, I figured it was still in Minnesota nine hours away. So I started to ask my brother if he remembered a book from childhood about fairies and elves. I wasn’t sure if he read it. I mean do boys read about fairies and elves? We were close as children, but didn’t read together persé. He thought a moment and said “was the cover green?” “Oh no”, I said, “It’s blue—definitely blue.” All of a sudden I noticed the unwrapped book sticking out of the bag of gifts we brought. (I didn’t wrap it because I was considering giving it to my other sister if she came—which she did not. I was time-crunched for wrapping, as we all are. I knew my brother would understand.)

As I handed the book over to my brother I noticed the back was pure green. Here’s to the memories of our childhood! His reaction was slow and methodical, as is his demeanor. With girls I think it’s all about emotion and sobbing. With boys, there’s less outward emotion and more logic and details. At first I was a bit disappointed thinking he was not as moved as his sisters had been, but then he started his commentary: “Oh yah, I remember him. And that one. I remember that one. Oh yah…Oh yah.”

As he continued to page through, he came upon the page that had haunted my memory for so long—the elfin family beneath the tree. And he says “Oh…oh yah, there it is. That’s the one.” So it was a special illustration for him too! He silently continued to page through and then said with a lot of thought “I wonder what it is about this book that stays in your memory. Is it the color? Is it the storyline? There I am back in our basement again.” The basement was our toy room. We played there for hours in our childhood.

What was your favorite childhood book? Find it. It holds the key to magical memories. It is worth its weight in gold. You won’t regret a single penny spent in bringing it back into your life. Crack open the magic and take a ride back in time when scarves had magical powers and slippers turned to silver. Like Peter Pan you’ll be the boy or girl who never grew up. Meet me there and we’ll hang out.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi



Image of my beloved childhood book


Our Ancestors: “We Are Them; They Are Us.” And they can help us—or not. Within our DNA are our ancestors’ memories, which can nourish the dreams of our souls.” ~ Cyndi Dale

Written by Sandy. Posted in: My family history, Off-the-Wall Musings
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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

Our Ancestors: “We Are Them; They Are Us.” And they can help us—or not. Within our DNA are our ancestors’ memories, which can nourish the dreams of our souls.” ~ Cyndi Dale


Five years ago my husband and I visited Poland—the homeland of our ancestors. I was having some issues with my left hip prior, but the pain was off the charts when we landed. The pain in my left hip wouldn’t allow me to walk more than half a block at a time without doing a “last resort” lunge wherever I could to alleviate the pain a little so I could walk another half a block. We had not rented a car so travel by foot was our only option within the various cities we were visiting.

It was still a beautiful trip with unforgettable, precious moments. I refused to let the pain dull the time there or the memories. We had an absolute blast visiting many of the top tourist spots like Krakow, Zakopane, and Częstochowa; as well as the larger cities near my parent’s birthplace villages: Kielce and Rzeszów. We were not in touch with Polish relatives at that time. So our visit did not include family.

More than one person shared their belief that the pain in my hip was a reflection of ancestral healing needed within either my family or even my homeland, Poland. We carry the stories of our ancestors within our energy field. Unresolved conflicts, emotional wounds, damaging judgments, and other limitations held by your ancestors past or present will continue to influence generations to follow. Our ancestor’s memories lie within our DNA. Deep, unexpressed emotions such as grief, anger, guilt, shame and fear can also be passed to us from our ancestors, just like our eye and hair color. Energy from our ancestors passes through the family tree. It’s an amazing thought, isn’t it?

My dad never made it back to the farm after World War II. He was taken from his home by the Germans when he was about 17 and was a prisoner of war on a German farm, as was my mom. Given the dates I saw on my grandparent’s graves, my dad lost his dad earlier the same year. His dad died in his arms—a story my dad repeated often. My dad never saw his mom again. This fact was driven home when during his final years with Alzheimer’s he would wander off saying “I’m going to find mama!”

We went back to Poland this past June. This time we visited family! We stayed on the farm my dad was born on in a 400-resident village in south-central Poland. My cousin, Henryka, her husband and two daughters currently live there. It was a deeply meaningful trip of a lifetime.

My cousin’s daughter, Anita, found us on Facebook in 2009. Since then, we have been in touch constantly. Her family’s connection with us and her visit here last year started the healing process of our extended families. Our visit back to Poland this year continued to “make right” the broken family relations.

Anita tells me that during WWII, my dad’s mom and younger siblings would hide in the fields for days when they knew the Germans were coming. Upon returning to the farm, the German tank tracks were visible near their home, some chickens missing, the house disheveled. When Anita recently took us for a walk in a nearby forest that surely my dad had frequented with his brother and sisters, the smoothed out hollows in the earth where the Polish soldiers and villagers would hide from the Germans were still apparent this many years later. It gave me an eerie, surreal feeling to walk through the forest. On the one hand my dad probably spent some wonderful hours playing within the forest area; but on the other hand, the energy of soldiers in wait and in fear lingered.

Back in the early 60’s my dad and mom sponsored his sister, Stanislawa, her husband, Henryk, and their three children—Maria, Krystyna, and Henryka—to come live here in America. After a huge falling out, my dad’s sister and family moved back to Poland. The details as given to me, a very small child, were sketchy.

Between the pain of being taken from his family home during WWII and then losing connection to his family a second time with the falling out years later, I’m thinking there was definitely some ancestral healing needed in my dad’s immediate family. But anyone who knows Poland’s history—(woah!..literally, as I typed the previous phrase and Googled the “history of Poland” to research the dates Poland was not even a country on the map, our electricity went out in the house for perhaps 30 seconds. Insert Twilight Zone music here. I’ve had my own experiences with electricity and communication from those that have passed, but that’s for another blog. Communicating through electricity is apparently a venue of choice for those that have passed: “They also work through electricity – turning TVs and radios on and off, affecting lights, doorbells, phones. They seem to be able to manipulate energy – most likely because they’re energy!”. “Hello!” to my Polish ancestors!) As I was saying, anyone who knows Poland’s history knows Poland’s borders have changed numerous times.

From 1796 until 1919, Poland did not exist as a county. World War II began with a massive German invasion into Poland. “Hitler’s policy was to eradicate the Polish nation and Germanise the territory.”

Within a matter of weeks, the Soviet Union moved into Poland, claiming its eastern half. “Thus, Poland was yet again partitioned. Mass arrests, exile and executions followed, and it’s estimated that between one and two million Poles were sent to Siberia, the Soviet Arctic and Kazakhstan in 1939–40. Like the Nazis, the Soviets set in motion a process of intellectual genocide.” Source:

When friends and therapists shared the concept of ancestral healing and connected it to the pain in my hip, I have to say I was more than a little intrigued. As a yoga teacher, I’d learned that we store a lot of emotions in our hips, especially the emotions we don’t want to, or can’t, deal with. Your hips generate any movement forward in your life. If you’re feeling stuck or blocked in some way, your hips are usually involved. The idea that an ancestral block was lodged in my hip resonated with me—especially since the pain went off the charts once we landed in Poland.

My Polish ancestors definitely had deep, unexpressed grief. Undeniably, negative influences from the past affect us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and as we’ve learned from mind/body science, they also affect us physically and energetically. Since the hips are where every initiative starts, any pain or trauma we have stored in the hips that’s stopping us from physically moving forward will also stop us from energetically moving forward.

Perhaps visiting Poland without connecting with family five years ago stopped my hip from moving forward with ease on our trip. Perhaps my ancestral homeland was “holding on” to my every step insisting I do more than just visit the tourist stops. Who can say? (Read about the chakra connection in the Chakrascope section below!) As we planned a return visit back to Poland five years later, it was more than a little on my mind. I didn’t want a repeat performance! But perhaps this trip with the sole purpose of meaningful connection to family would help shift the energy of unexpressed grief. At least that was my hope.

On a side note, I donned a karma bracelet for inner strength and courage early June, a month prior to our trip. Karma bracelets are designed to fall off when your karma is complete—when you have released your negative karma and achieved your personal goal. My “inner strength and courage” bracelet came with the following message: “Wear your bracelet to dissolve away any fearful or doubtful karma and give light to your inner strength. Confidence is the key to manifesting anything you desire.”

Karma is defined as “The total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining the person’s destiny.” And another: “the cosmic principle of rewards and punishments for the acts performed in a previous incarnation.” If you look at karma in the light of our ancestral heritage, my bracelet was working on releasing any fearful and doubtful karma from my ancestors.

I’d witnessed a friend’s karma “complete” its journey quickly, falling off within a few days. So I expected my karmic “lesson” to be, at the most, perhaps a week or two. Why I thought I could estimate timing on karma is humorous in hindsight. Each lesson is personal, as is the timing.

As we approached the timing for our return trip to Poland, the karma bracelet still had not fallen off. I started to wonder if perhaps this once-in-a-lifetime trip to the farm my Dad was born on was to “complete” any unresolved karmic energies surrounding inner strength and courage.

The courage and inner strength it took for all Poles to rise above their violent history—let alone my parents—and to hold onto their Polish heritage under threat of death was not something I dwelled upon as a child of Polish immigrants who had been prisoners of war. My parents shared no bitterness for having had ten years of their lives stolen with the added humility of being held prisoners on farms and in war camps, their families ripped apart.

Both of my parents were prisoners of war on German farms. My mom was auctioned off to the highest bidding German farmer. She never, not once, discussed her time as a prisoner on that farm. I’m certain it wasn’t something she cared to remember and least of all share with her children. My parents and others like them buried their despair and their grief and moved on to a new life in the U.S. This is a common theme among WWII immigrants to the U.S. Their children learned to ask no questions. You were not to touch the sleeping dragon.

I was an adult before the reality of my history truly hit me: “My parents were prisoners of war on German farms, met in a war camp, got married in the war camp, and had two kids in that war camp.” And I was a yoga teacher in my 50’s studying the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before I finally deduced that my parents weren’t just born with short fuses and erratic temperaments. Those are classic signs of PTSD.

I was told our recent visit to Poland was an “event” for this quaint village. When we would walk down the road, neighbors would step out onto the road to peak at us as we walked away. One cousin remarked as she met me for the first time: “It is impossible.” She was referring to my return to my dad’s birthplace village. Another had just lost her last sister and expressed gratitude for having met me and knowing she was not alone. Each and every one of them touched my heart and will live on there. I will hold them close as I know my dad did in his memories.

I couldn’t help but think about my parent’s decision not to remain in war-torn Poland; to move on to another land with two small children and start a new life. Now there was some inner strength and courage!

I felt lost simply not knowing the language fluently and I had a fluent bilingual relative accompanying me everywhere! My dad tried to take lessons to learn English here in the U.S. early on but holding down two to three jobs at a time got in the way of his studies and he had to abort the lessons.

My mom learned English all on her own, creating some of her own words and phrases along the way like “meat-lunch” for “lunchmeat” and things at an angle were “on an ick”*. She was my dad’s bookkeeper (he had his own ceramic tile, linoleum, slate business for close to 30 years) and took great pride in writing the checks and other business papers in perfect English after much trial and error. I know she felt self-conscious her whole life about the mastery of her second language. They both mastered the English language brilliantly, in my humble opinion.

Their struggles and accomplishments paved the way for my future just as the contributions of other famous Poles did:

Marie Curie, Pope John Paull II, Copernicus, Chopin, and I might add, Chopin’s first cousin, Wladimir Krzyzanowski (recognize the last name?) to name a few.

(*Side story here: It was last year sometime in a conversation with my second oldest sister, Barb, who is nine years older than me, that the phrase “on an ick” was used by my sister. I started to chuckle and she asked why. So I commented that “ick” was a sweet “mom-ism”—a made-up word from mom. There was a long pause, and she said “Are you serious? That’s not a word? I’ve been using that word my whole life!” –a more humorous example of an ancestor’s struggle with learning a new language in a new land.

In Zakopane, as I walked among the Tatra Mountains my dad had often spoken so fondly of, I sent a silent message off to my dad’s spirit: “I am here, dad; and it’s as beautiful as you always said it was. I am here and I am home.” By the time we were in Zakopane, it was a little more than half-way through our trip. And after hiking 18 kilometers (a little over 11 miles) the first day—half of that all uphill—I knew my hip issues from five years prior were, thankfully, not going to reoccur! Of course, my husband and I also continued doing daily yoga throughout the trip each morning as well! Let’s hear it for the healing powers of yoga!

We even took another hefty hike up the mountain the second day to do a cave tour—a precarious walk up slippery slope rock-steps with an equally precarious, if not downright dangerous, path through the cave that deemed us worthy of saying we were definitely “spelunkers”! I teased my cousin’s daughter, Anita, that we were filming “How to lose your relatives in two days”. All joking aside, she apologized several times as we were in the midst of the cave tour among other tourists who were likewise in disbelief saying “Oh my God!” and “Jesu, Jesu!”

As we were waiting to catch the bus out of Zakopane back toward Krakow, I suddenly noticed my karma bracelet was gone! It fell off somewhere in Zakopane! “Wear your bracelet to dissolve away any fearful or doubtful karma and give light to your inner strength. Confidence is the key to manifesting anything you desire.” I have to say having lost the bracelet in Poland, and particularly in the midst of the Tatra Mountains, must have made my mom and dad smile. It was a sweet feeling to have left a little part of me there. Dwelling on my parent’s inner strength and courage, as well as the inner strength and courage of all Poles, undoubtedly “gave light to” my own inner strength and I can’t thank them enough for that gift.

I’ve read that ancestral healing allows you to make peace within your family going back many generations. Some say seven generations forward and backward. If my trip to Poland has done that for those that came before me and those that follow, for this I am truly grateful. If it has cleared the path for my own life’s mission, well that would just be the icing on the cake now wouldn’t it?

Ancestral Healing can transform energetic patterns that are not in your highest good, or are preventing you from carrying out your soul’s mission and life’s purpose. If you are experiencing recurring patterns where things get in the way of feeling satisfied, enriched or successful, then Ancestral Healing may be the missing link that can free you to attain personal fulfillment.”

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, our trip to Poland has completed me. Before this trip I wouldn’t have thought I felt “incomplete” or “lost”. Yet after this trip I now know a sense of connectedness to family I have never known. It’s palpable. I have been hugged and kissed by cousins and distant cousins in numbers I cannot count. I have truly been “home”. My roots go deeper now and I am grounded in a way I’ve never felt before. I know where I come from and some of the stories that helped make me who I am. There’s a sense of security and safety in really knowing family. Having met, this family connection can only grow from here and the story continues…

How about you? What patterns, legacies, values, attitudes, key events, connections, struggles, triumphs and disappointments have been passed on from your ancestors? What impact have your ancestors had upon your present life? How will you embody their lessons and what will you pass on to those who come after? Are you disconnected from your immediate family? Only you can make the journey to complete yourself.

There’s no such thing as a lost soul.

I know where they are, and everyone makes it home.

Thanks for caring,
The Universe
(Source: Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe daily emails.)

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“…it’s important to realize that questioning the intent of our practice inevitably leads us to inquire about the meaning of our life as well. We could just as pertinently ask: Why am I really alive?” ~ Richard Rosen

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“…it’s important to realize that questioning the intent of our practice inevitably leads us to inquire about the meaning of our life as well. We could just as pertinently ask: Why am I really alive?” ~ Richard Rosen


Inviting the sacred into your yoga practice

A recent article suggested experiencing your entrance into your home or onto your yoga mat as “entering a sacred temple”. That resonated with me. How about you? Do you approach your yoga practice as though your mat is sacred ground? The energy with which you approach anything will affect both the experience as well as the outcome.

Sometimes you don’t even realize how you are approaching a moment/project/bodywork practice and the energetic messages you instill and invest into them are not apparent—or so it seems. This is the difference between washing the dishes because you need to get the dishes done, and washing the dishes to wash the dishes; or practicing yoga as only a workout vs. approaching your yoga mat as though it were sacred ground.

You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.

This dovetails into a comment one of my students once made upon having missed a couple yoga classes. She said, why is it when I miss a workout at the gym I don’t really “miss it” so much; but when I miss a yoga class, I really seem to miss it?  Here is an example of experiencing your yoga practice as having entered “sacred ground”. What’s more, it’s more than words can say, isn’t it? It’s your sacred ground and no one else’s. You develop a relationship with your yoga practice that feeds your soul in a very personal way as much as it feeds your physical body. Mind and body are connected.

Like many others, you may have come to yoga for the fitness aspect, but suddenly it means much more; and sometimes you aren’t sure why—as my student attested to. So while setting the intention to approach your mat as though you were entering a sacred temple will foster your personal relationship with your yoga practice, the relationship will happen of its own accord given your dedication to the practice.

You may not even realize the difference between your mindfulness when going to “workout” vs. participating in your yoga practice. Or perhaps your approach to your yoga practice has been less than focused for various reasons—time, energy, space, personal issues, etc. You don’t realize your lack of awareness until, suddenly, the energy feels somehow different and you wonder, why? What changed?

This could pertain to anything you dedicate your time to. You might have been doing something good for you on a regular basis and one day your schedule changes and you skip doing it. You begin to notice that for some reason you no longer feel the same—like taking a moment for some grounding rituals each morning before turning on your electronic devices, or taking an afternoon walk outside. Your ten minutes of meditation really do make a difference and the five minute break outside when having a stressful moment really does regenerate you. Take the time. You may not even realize the beneficial energetic effects until one day when you haven’t been doing it and you realize the energy—is gone.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

The yoga mat is a metaphor for life. How you approach your practice, how you participate in it, the attention you dedicate to it, is a metaphor for how you approach your life. You practice yoga to learn about yourself. How do you handle challenges? How do you handle a stumble? Do you tend to rush through life, or approach it with a controlled consciousness? Are you aware, intimately aware, of what you are doing while you are doing it? “Practice, and all is forthcoming.” ~ Pattabhi Jois.

Knowing that you are afraid to balance in, say, crow pose, you can choose to ask yourself what you are really afraid of. Failure? Hurting yourself? Hurting your ego? Not being perfect? While practicing balance poses you can begin to realize that balance is not about being rigid and still, it’s about the micro-movements your body just knows to do in order to keep you upright; and it’s about letting your body do what it knows to do without fearing a momentary stumble. You can always get back up. Daily practice increases your ability to stay balanced in challenging situations. Daily practice will change your relationship with yourself.

“If you fall, I’ll be there.” ~ Floor

Just as your yoga practice teaches you to drill down into what’s going on inside your body, your yoga practice will also deliver exquisite, life-affirming messages when you take the time to notice. You’ll never have enough of something that doesn’t feed your soul. Likewise, you can never have too much of something that does. You will always undoubtedly benefit by experiencing more of that. And just as your yoga practice is very personal, the benefits you experience will likewise be very personal. It will send energy just where you need it and release it from where you don’t. It is a tonic for your soul; an anchor for your day.

This year, in the wee hours of a winter morn’, I started to turn on three specific lamps in our bedroom to light my morning yoga practice area. (See the Charkascope section below for more on the power of three.) Two of the lamps are salt lamps. After an amazing visit to the ancient salt mine in our ancestors homeland, Poland, Wieliczka Salt Mine, my husband and I will always and forever have a heart connection to salt lamps.

Many studies have shown that salt crystal lamps can increase the negative ion count. Negative ions benefit asthma patients, people with chronic lung illnesses, and allergy sufferers. As well, they help improve learning, memory, and emotional well being. By creating a balance of ions in the air, they stimulate natural drive and healthy energy. A low-cost method, a salt lamp is an excellent source of negative ion. Healthy ions cleanse the air. Ever experienced the change in the air after a good rain? That’s from negative ions. Source: (Another source on salt lamp claims:

I turn the first salt lamp on as I say my morning prayers and affirmations. It not only reminds me of our trip to our ancestor’s homeland, but of our history together as man and wife.

The second lamp is a night light given to me by my dearest friend (next to my sweetheart of a husband, of course)—Christine. She writes the “featured recipes” for my newsletter. It’s a nightlight with an owl on it—for wisdom. Owls have always attracted me. How about you? I’ve always considered them magical creatures. Ted Andrews writes in Animal Speak, The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, that owls represent “The Mystery of Magic, Omens, Silent Wisdom, and Vision in the Night.” Owls are also associated with the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Athena. When I turn this particular light on, I am, in my own way, inviting the energy and wisdom of my best friend to share my morning experience.

The last salt lamp I turn on was purchased in Poland at Wieliczka. At first we only lit it on “special occasions”—but why ration something that brings you joy? This lamp is a pink salt, like the first lamp, but a much lighter hue of pink—almost white. Lighting this salt lamp still evokes “special occasion” energy, and the memory of the ancient Wieliczka Salt Mine definitely adds an element of the sacred. (Wieliczka has many religious carvings and is sometimes referred to as “The Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland”. The religious carvings are what draw many to this mine. See for yourself.)

I practice yoga within the circle created by the three lamps. I’ve never been an “altar girl”, but lighting these three lamps evokes what I consider the equivalent of lighting the candles before mass in church—creating a sacred space, setting an intention.

At first I lit these lamps out of necessity—it was dark. Once it was lighter in the morning, I tried one day to refrain from lighting them. It felt somehow incomplete. Something was missing. The energy just wasn’t the same. So I turned the lights on again to create my circle of sacred space.

Within the confines of my sacred circle, I am safe; and as I approach my yoga mat, it is a space within a space—more sacred, more personal, simply “more”. Just as some recommend setting up a personal altar for your meditation practice, the three lights and my yoga mat have become my “altar” beckoning me inward each morning to find my connection to the sacred—to that still small voice within which says “Practice, and all is forthcoming.” ~ Pattabhi Jois.

Do you approach your yoga practice as though you were entering a sacred temple? Do you consider your yoga practice a prayer in motion? Any activity done with mind and body connected is considered “yoga”. Although it is helpful to have a dedicated area in your home for creating your sacred space, with a clear intention, you can create a sacred space within yourself. Viewing your yoga practice—or your life—as a “prayer in motion” brings new meaning to the quote from the Bible: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Once you have found your sacred space upon your yoga mat, never lose your sacred connection. Come back to it again and again. Make your whole life a connection to the sacred. Draw upon that connection without ceasing. Make your whole life a prayer in motion. Your life is the Universe—God, Source, Spirit—speaking through you.

“My life is my message.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi



“What is your larger goal in the work you do? What is the true calling behind your apparent role in the world? Hold to that, and let that vision guide you, no matter the task in front of you.” ~ Laura Cornell

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

My primary goal for 2013 is to continue to share the transformative power of yoga and wellness with you. Can you help me with this goal? Here are a few ways that you could help:

  1. If you have enjoyed my offerings this past year including classes or newsletters, please let me know via an email testimonial or suggest new ways to improve my offerings.
  2. Spread the joy and wisdom of yoga and wellness by sharing my newsletters with friends and family
  3. If your company is interested in an on-site program, please inquire for details.  Better Day Yoga LLC offers On-Site Corporate programs like Yoga,  Meditation/Breathwork, and “At-the-desk” classes to fit your budget and benefit the physical and mental health of your employees.  Let’s talk about the many benefits to both the employer and employee that Corporate On-Site Programs offer.

Last year, I changed the timing of my newsletters from one every month to one every two months, and it even became less than that toward the end of the year. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed!  I may be switching that up this year as well. I’d rather write quality vs. quantity. I hope you agree. If I have something important to relay to you, I’ll send a dedicated email vs. a full newsletter, if need be, on the off months.

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

 “What is your larger goal in the work you do? What is the true calling behind your apparent role in the world? Hold to that, and let that vision guide you, no matter the task in front of you. You will ultimately have a lot more fun, and feel a lot more fulfilled in your life.” ~ Quote by Laura Cornell from her article “On Being a Spiritual Teacher”.

Last year at a YogaFit®  Mind Body Fitness Conference I purchased a hand-made bracelet that was created with the intention of helping you clear your energetic knots (“granthis” in Sanskrit). It has one of those “Chinese coins” in the middle picturing a dragon-like image on one side and Chinese characters on the other. There are two strands extending from each side of the coin with one of the strands on one side containing a unique “square” bead representing a “knot” or “granthi”. Several red/orange agate stones adorn the bracelet (agates are great grounding stones!) along with a few beautiful light green to milky yellow jaspers, and there’s a dove charm at the clasp. It feels very “earthy” and grounding to me.

The energy of stones speaks to me. I am enamored with energy. Working with the energy body has always been a magical subject for me. How about you?

I’ve referred to energetic knots/granthis in past newsletters. Let me recap a bit here.

Just as acupressure or acupuncture releases blocks in your energetic “subtle” body, yoga releases blocks along the nadis—or delivery system—in the body. “Nadi” means “movement”. They operate as a delivery system for the chakras and transport subtle energies throughout the body. They are often compared to the Chinese meridian system since both distribute energy and interact with the chakras.

Knots are considered “thresholds” where the energy gets stuck. When energy is stuck at the various thresholds, it develops a physical “pathology” specific to that area of the body. When the knots clear, we become “aligned with the truth of our nature, and the symptoms disappear.” (Source: Kundalini Rising. Exploring the energy of awakening by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Andrew Newberg, Sivananda Rhada, Ken Wilber, and John Selby.)

The knots lie within the root, heart, and third-eye chakra. (Some texts say the first knot is in the solar plexus chakra.) Yoga helps release the energetic knots or blocks. Once the blocks are released, our energy flows freely—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When there is no energy, there is no life. Our energy—also known as prana or chi—is vital to our life-force. When it flows freely, we feel healthy, vibrant and connected to our true spiritual nature; and are able to become all that we are meant to be.

As mentioned earlier, the first knot we must unlock is located within the root chakra. This first knot is “Known as the knot of names and forms, the world of ambitions and desires..” The Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier.

The root chakra is my “go to” chakra for health and well-being since it is typically the one I need to strengthen. It speaks to feeling safe, secure, centered and grounded—nurtured. It is the “seat of survival.” You need to satisfy your survival needs of safety and security before you can become enlightened, right? I tend to focus on staying grounded, stable, and secure sometimes at the expense of venturing out. Putting yourself out there feels vulnerable, doesn’t it?

How about you? Have you struggled with feeling centered, secure, and grounded? Do you feel stuck because the risk seems too great to be “out there”?

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom ~ Anais Nin

Here’s the rub—the first knot remains shut until you have overcome your attachment to stability, inertia and identification with the physical alone. That’s been a sticking point for me, to say the least, but it makes sense. The root chakra is all about stability and security—but when you strive to attain those things in excess, it still blocks you from recognizing your true nature—your spirit. We weren’t meant to survive life “safe”. We were meant to thrive! We were meant to let our spirit loose! We were meant to connect with our true spiritual nature!

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “WHO HOO, what a ride!” ~ Author Unknown

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I believe we attract the lessons in life we personally need. We all have different lessons and different paths to learn those lessons. When I bought the bracelet, I knew there was something about it I needed to address—this clearing of energetic knots.

“What do you want more of in your life? Create a piece of jewelry to symbolize your desire and focus your intention.” ~ Suzanne Vadnais Monson’s “Enchanted Jewelry” Enrichuals© card.


We’ll come back to the “unlocking energetic knot bracelet” later! Hold that thought!

This past weekend I had the honor of presenting a recently updated version of my Facial Exercise, Acupressure, and Self-Massage workshop at my favorite yoga studio—my yoga sister, Tracey Mortensen’s, studio—Inspiring Actions, LLC. I’d presented this workshop a few times at my original studio location, within Vita Bella’s in Little Canada, as well as at Spirit River in Anoka.

The recent updated version adds more yogic philosophy. While the additions were subtle, it really clicked with my personal vision of what I wanted to communicate in this workshop. (Or to use the phrase from Cyndi Dale’s book referenced above—the workshop “aligned with the truth of my nature”.)

Ultimately, what speaks to you and feeds your soul is the true calling behind your apparent role. What is the larger goal in the work you do?

There’s always been a section reminding the student that a yoga practice is a great anti-aging practice in and of itself. And I have always stressed this workshop is not about getting a “Botox-like” perfection. The results are more subtle and natural. We aim for an improved, better you—not perfection.

Combining the two sentiments brought it home: Coming from a yoga philosophy, I added a reminder of the importance of being okay with where you are at, to love yourself “as is”. Just as your yoga practice is not meant for achieving the “perfect” pose, neither is the intent of my workshop to achieve the “perfect” face.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  ~ Reinhold Niebuhr.

You have certain features you can improve upon, but what you have to work with is God-given and should be treasured, loved, and even nurtured. The most important element of an anti-aging routine is your mind. That message—the importance of a positive, nurturing mindset in all of your endeavors, and the importance of loving and nurturing yourself—is the larger goal in what I am called to teach. It focuses on love and joy—simple, yet not easy. While there are tools I use to convey that message, the “click” came when I switched my focus from the details of the tools to focusing on the larger aspect of love and joy.

How often have you heard to quit focusing on the details—to focus on the bigger picture—to achieve all? Detach from the details, and all will be forthcoming. Remember your true nature in the bigger picture. Flow with that. Focus on your larger goal and the details will take care of themselves.

“The wave forgets the truth that it is ocean, thinking itself
to be the grand shape, which it has temporarily taken.
For a while, it takes on the rupa (form) of wave.
Finally, it remembers its true rupa (form) of ocean.
The two coexist, though one is true, and the
other, though beautiful, is only relatively true.
So too, we humans forget our true nature,
but, through yoga, can remember.”


One of the facial acupressure points highlighted in the workshop utilizes the grounding aspects of the point to help focus on “what do you really want?” I’d never really been able to nail the answer to that when I focused on the details. It seemed so big. But when I focus on the larger goal, the answer is simple.

“The answer is simple…Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit” ~ Sonia Choquette (the tile to her new book.)

Other luscious, yogic and energy philosophy additions to my workshop included:

  • Extra chakra energy references in regards to the skin, the pineal gland and your metabolism—all important aspects of a “younger” appearance.
  • Extra reflexology point references
  • Extra “energy medicine” references

All I can say is these additions to content made the workshop literally come alive with new life for me as the teacher. It has a whole new feel to it when I present it because it speaks to my passions so much more directly. Curious? Book a workshop!

I wrote this newsletter before I received this email about Gaiam’s® “Connect 2 Happiness” program  :  “When we take a moment to listen to our inner guide, we get clues that can lead us down the path toward happiness. Choosing what makes us feel happy over what makes us feel safe can take us out of our comfort zone; yet when we connect to our passions with our actions, we stop seeking and start living. Find you joy. Listen to yourself, and take action.

Start a conversation with your inner guide. Ask yourself these three questions, and listen closely to the answers:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. How can you bring more of that into your life?”

Infuse your current life with more that you are passionate about and watch your world pop!

The workshop being held at my yoga sister’s studio added a very special significance for me. Tracey (the owner) and I completed our first and second 200 hour yoga teacher trainings together, so we’ve walked the yoga path together for several years. Her friendship means the world to me. Presenting at her studio was, for me, a crowning achievement. She was placing her trust in my abilities and I didn’t plan on letting her down!

Feedback from the workshop was very positive, with several students giving unasked for compliments on content and presentation. I was walking on cloud nine for the rest of the weekend, feeling content and “on purpose”. “On purpose”—something I had not felt until I focused on the larger goal and putting my “passions into action” as primary and let the details be secondary.

The next day, I even treated myself to a celebratory shopping excursion at Kohl’s® and found myself in the yoga clothes section. Then it happened. I was in the try-on room when my bracelet unraveled. I was stunned and at first, disappointed. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I gathered up the beads on the floor and quickly realized all the beads weren’t there so I found some others on the floor where the yoga clothes were. **Sigh***

Glass half-full—the bracelet was hand-made with high quality materials and I didn’t question the workmanship. I used to sell beaded jewelry so I know they can’t possibly last a life-time. It’s the nature of the beast. Still, I had to sigh. What did this mean? Was it some sort of sign?

I didn’t realize until later that the only strand that unraveled was the strand with the square bead representing the knot/granthi. Then I remembered YogaFit® has a line of other simpler bracelets referred to as “Karma bracelets” that are designed to fall off when your karma is complete—when you have released your negative karma and achieved your personal goal. They are supposed to turn your intention into action. (Portions of proceeds go to the Khushi Charitable Society in India, providing after-school opportunities to impoverished children.)

Karma is defined as “the force generated by a person’s actions”. I had to wonder, did I unlock the first knot?

A couple of weeks prior to this, while in the preparation stages for the workshop, I had experienced a pretty dramatic reaction to a deep tissue/trigger point massage—Lymphatic congestion to the nth degree and subsequent kidney heaviness—all part of your detox and immune functions of the body. The first chakra, where the first knot resides, governs the immune system and the blood and is also associated with the kidney meridian. Also, in Chinese physiology the kidneys rule the emotions fear and insecurity—root chakra issues.

Note to self: If you are coming down with a cold or just getting over one, it is NOT recommended you have a deep tissue massage. Got it! Check that lesson off! Yet and still, a good mind/body expert/friend, Dori Brown, PT,  suggested that perhaps a clearing that happened quickly, albeit dramatically, was better than slowly over several weeks, adding—everything happens the way it’s supposed to, and my body was calling for a clearing. Read the Chakrascope section for more on kidneys and the root chakra (and salt cravings).

Again, to repeat an earlier quote from Cyndi Dale’s book:  When energy is stuck at the various thresholds, it develops a physical “pathology” specific to that area of the body. When the knots clear, we become “aligned with the truth of our nature, and the symptoms disappear.” (Source: Kundalini Rising. Exploring the energy of awakening by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Andrew Newberg, Sivananda Rhada, Ken Wilber, and John Selby.) I wondered, could this be what was happening to me?

Detox—getting rid of what you don’t want. As I contemplated the “bigger picture” message my body was trying to tell me, several questions came to mind. I am, by nature, intensely curious about how life’s lessons manifest in the body, energetically, spiritually and physically. It’s all connected.

The next time you have a physical symptom, ask yourself what might be going on in your life/mind that could be affecting your physical body. Sound strange? Why? Do you question that frustration can lead to either over or under eating or over or under exercising? And would that result in a physical manifestation? Do you question stress affecting your immune system, or causing you to clench various parts of your body? And would that result in a physical manifestation?  How else would the body speak to you if not through its symptoms? Have you let this habitual pattern of stress or frustration become your norm so that you no longer see how it leads to the physical manifestation? All I’m asking is that you try listening for a change and perhaps enlighten yourself for your own healing journey.

Inna Segal in her book The Secret Language of Your Body, states that the antidote to a rebelling lymphatic system is to practice courage, self-esteem, and leadership and focus on appreciating yourself, loving yourself, and creating a supportive environment where you can feel comfortable to be creative, lively, and spontaneous. I believe I accomplished that by creating and presenting my “new and improved” workshop. Was this all part of a transition to release the first knot? I believe you never really know.

All I do know for sure is I feel as though I am living “on purpose” and I am so enjoying my life exactly as it is. Perhaps by teaching with a focus on a larger goal, I am finally learning the lesson of love and joy for myself. I think you are called to teach what you need to learn. I’ve heard it referred to as the “wounded healer”. It is your own hurt that gives a measure of your power to promote healing.

“People who love themselves and live their Spirit are not necessarily subjected to any fewer challenges in life than those who rely solely on their egos and intellect to guide them. Life is life. Loving and living the Spirit within doesn’t prevent you from facing life’s storms. It does, however, greatly assist you in navigating the treacherous waters as painlessly and creatively as possible. And it allows you to do this while enjoying the journey.” ~ Sonia Choquette quote from her new book, The answer is simple…Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit.



“What turns inspiration into conversation? The power of positivity. Gains worth celebrating. And a single moment of meaningful change…” ~ Special K™ Movement manifesto

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
Comments Off on “What turns inspiration into conversation? The power of positivity. Gains worth celebrating. And a single moment of meaningful change…” ~ Special K™ Movement manifesto Tagged with

“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“What turns inspiration into conversation?
The power of positivity
Gains worth celebrating
And a single moment of meaningful change…” ~ Special K™ Movement manifesto


A couple of years ago I did a blog on slogans and asked what your tagline would be if you had one. I’ve always been attracted to good slogans. Being a fan of affirmations, I’m attracted to slogans that make you feel good. I’ve gathered a handful of new favorite slogans to share and invite you to ponder the slogans and taglines appearing in your life as a way to feel good inside. You won’t be bereft of advertising any time soon you may as well find a way to make the most of them, right?


“Celebrate the kid inside” /
“Let your inner kid loose” ~ OREO Cookies!

The impetus to gather another round of fun slogans came from a teeny tiny ad on my iPhone. At first I was just annoyed, as ads can sometimes do when they appear in the way of what you are trying to read, but then I saw the message and it made me smile. I often use affirmations in my yoga classes and one of them is from Wayne Dyer—“Don’t let an old person inside your body”.  And then another is “You will always be that young girl.” (Or guy, of course, when there are guys in the class!)

So when “Let your inner kid loose” appeared at the bottom of my iPhone, I left it there to peak at throughout the day. It was an invitation you couldn’t resist. Their website has a contest to “Bring out the kid in all of us” and I can only say “Bravo!” Watch this 30 second commercial and try not to tear up…I do every time. “You do something to me that nobody else could do.” Your inner child can do that.

Don’t you love the concept of Oreo Cookies celebrating 100 years by celebrating the kid inside? That’s the way to do it! You can do that too! You’re never too old to let your inner kid loose!

I love the sign at the end—“Next Stop:  Childhood” Let Oreo cookies take you there. Why not? What is your ticket to letting your inner kid loose? Find the trigger! Perhaps it is an Oreo cookie! If it is, use it! Perhaps it’s something else, but whatever it is, find it and pull the trigger! Which leads me to the next great slogan…

“Find what speaks to you” ~ Pier 1 Imports!

Just being open to the messages the Universe is sending you can open the floodgates to receiving more. One of the great gifts of a yoga practice is noticing the subtleties of messages you receive from your body, mind, and spirit. If you aren’t tuned in, you won’t get the right channel, right?

Finding what speaks to you might be easy—the messages might be “loud and clear”. If so, that’s great! But what about the subtle ones that may go unnoticed if you aren’t paying attention? What about the joy you get out of a great cup of coffee first thing in the morning—that you don’t always have time for, or perhaps don’t take the time for? You might not notice the good mood or peaceful feeling that stays with you the whole day when you start your day out right. Start noticing. What speaks to you? Is it the good mood you suddenly acquired? Or contentment for no reason that you can put your finger on  or a boost in self-esteem that magically happened? Find what speaks to you!

My regular readers know how much I love affirmations. My usual morning practice includes yoga, a sitting meditation, and affirmations. When I expanded my AM yoga practice, my sitting meditation practice fell to the wayside for a bit, as did the affirmations—the two are intertwined for me. Either in the middle or at the end of my mantra meditation, I have a series of chakra balancing prayers and affirmations that includes my own personal loving kindness meditation. I could tell fairly quickly by my general mood that I was feeling incomplete and down on myself more than usual. I’m happy to say I’m back to my full morning practice.

Notice when you are in a good mood and try to figure out what brought it on. What speaks to you? Listen!

And while I know retail therapy can be an addiction, if you love something enough that it speaks to you for several days after you’ve seen it in the store, perhaps it’s worth figuring out how to attain it—reasonably. I mean we all love the way too expensive things, right? But what if you saved up for the one thing that really made your heart sing? Only you can decide what your heart loves—and your budget can afford. I remember taking a class at the Open U / Learning Annex years ago and the speaker said if there’s something that makes you feel good about yourself, get it, buy it, be it. There’s some magic in that statement. Find what speaks to you.


“Create Wonder” ~ Samsung!

What surrounds us and what we choose to surround ourselves with defines how we live, what we do, and who we are….” –Part of the Samsung message:

This statement ties into the Open U speaker I listened to years ago. Look around your environment. What have you chosen to surround yourself with? It’s a common Feng Shui suggestion that if something in your environment sends you bad feelings—the holiday ornament that makes you feel guilty because you didn’t treat that person too nice once, or the decor you display because you feel obligated to but can’t stand—you should remove it. Makes sense to me! Is there something in your environment not sending you good juju? Remove it! Is there something you simply love to look at—add more of that.

I love Quan Yin—the Goddess of mercy and compassion—she makes me feel peaceful and protected simply looking at her image. It stems from an Asian lady statue/lamp we had in my childhood home. I didn’t realize the connection until I was an adult. I simply knew that I loved Quan Yin, but wasn’t sure how it came to be until one day it hit me. I realized that as a child, this Asian lady statue/lamp struck me with awe and dare I say “wonder”? It was as though she was watching over our whole household. Finding out she was the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion was simply an added bonus. Knowing that her image comforts me, I’ve chosen to add her into my environment as a way of adding peace. My yoga room contains two Quan Yins; my home—several! You can do that too. How can you create wonder in your life?

“The screen is your canvas to create wonder. Transform what you’ve captured into what you imagine.”—Both messages from Samsung’s SmartCamera campaign under the heading “Express Yourself”.  There is something very magical in the invitation to “create wonder” and “express yourself”, don’t you think? Have you ever thought about your ability to “create wonder”? Yes—you have the ability to create wonder. Do you have a hard time believing that statement? Who am I to think I can create wonder? Create wonder?! Yes! You can!

Don’t like photography? No worries! You can use those cues for ideas too. Once you’ve “captured” an idea in your mind to create wonder, transform it into what you imagine. Do you imagine a fun get-away weekend? Plan for it—transform your idea into reality. Do you imagine a perfect job? Write out the details of perfect job—“just for fun”. Remember writing it down gives it a life in your psyche. “Write it down, make it happen.” What do you have to lose?

“What will you gain when you lose?” ~ Special K™!

“The Special K™ Movement

It’s time to start a movement.
Let’s rise up
Join together
And change the way we talk about weight loss.

Because when we lose weight, we gain something, too.
It’s an emotion—a spark— that comes
from achieving our best selves.

What turns inspiration into conversation?
The power of positivity
Gains worth celebrating
And a single moment of meaningful change.

Starting today—and everyday—
We can radiate confidence
We can claim our own authentic beauty
And inspire our friends to do the same.

It’s time to change the conversation.

Joy. Vitality. Moxie. Sass.
What will you gain when you lose?
Rise up and declare your gain to the world.”

What a great idea—instead of focusing on loss, focus on the gain as a result of the loss! It’s seeing the glass as half full. It’s looking for the silver lining, because there always is one. Perhaps it’s looking at the lesson, and how that lesson helped you to move forward in a better way. If you didn’t have the darkness, you wouldn’t know or appreciate the light. The darkness literally helps to define the light.

Perhaps your silver lining it’s that “spark” they mention in their “movement” manifesto above—the spark that comes from achieving your best self. Remember it’s the friction that polishes the lump of coal into a diamond. Without the friction, there’s no diamond.

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now…with its aches and its pleasures…is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” ~ Pema Chödrön.

Sometimes loss requires a moment of regrouping—yes. But to stay down is not the answer. Focusing on “what’s next” helps you get up and figure out what you’ve gained from your loss. It could be you’ve gained the ability to keep on getting up. THAT is crucial—to keep on keeping on.

One of my best friends is a breast cancer survivor. She shared a story with me about a nurse who was discussing how the treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) affects various women. When my friend shared her thought that the side effects must be harder the older you get, the nurse’s response was the exact opposite. She said that older women have seen it all. They can handle more than most. They realize that in life things happen—you figure out how to keep on keeping on. THIS is one of the gifts of getting older.

Fall down seven times; get up eight ~ Japanese Proverb.

So how do you achieve your best self? Only you can answer that. What are you holding onto that you’re afraid to lose? Be it weight, am unfulfilling job, or a negative friend who drains your spirit—write down what you’ll gain when you lose and dwell on that. Be like Special K™ and “re-frame loss from deprivation to inspiration.  It really isn’t about what you have to lose—it’s all about what you have to gain.” Believe it.

“Believe—because it works” ~ Weight Watchers®

I love the word “believe”. I own several rocks that have that word on it. It’s an affirmation in and of itself and attracts forces in you that you didn’t know you had. Yes—it’s magical!

The video below starts out withI am you and you are me.” This phrase resonates perfectly with the definition of “Namaste”:

“The divine in me recognizes and honors the Divine in you. I greet that place where you and I are one. I honor the place in you, which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.” ~ Ram Dass.

Recognizing that we are each Divine—the same Divine—creates trust, unity, and strength. Believe because it works. Believe because without belief it won’t work! Believe in yourself—in your goals, in your efforts, in your greater self. Believe in the greater good of all people—because “I am you and you are me.”

“From The Secret Daily Teachings

Ask, Believe, Receive – just three simple steps to create what you want. However, very often the second step, believe, can be the most difficult one. And yet it is the greatest step you will ever take. Believing contains no doubt. Believing does not waiver. Believing is absolute faith. Believing remains steadfast despite what is happening in the outside world.

When you master believing, you have mastered your life.”


“Challenge what’s possible” ~ Olay®

What you think is possible is filtered through your own personal beliefs. If your background and life history contains a story—it will be difficult to conceive of another version of the story. Perhaps your parents or older siblings have repeated the phrase, “Oh it’s because I’m old.” Or, “They say you fall apart after 40.” That’s simply not true!

We’ve all fallen prey to outdated beliefs—that ache or pain that you think isn’t going to go away because you’re of a “certain age”; or the idea that you can’t do something because you’re too old.

As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite affirmations is: “I’ll always be that young girl.” Dwelling on that makes me smile and gives me a sense of confidence so why dwell on the alternative? Visualize the younger you—and know that younger you is still inside.  Where else would she be? Your younger you is what made who you are today, so all of that younger you is still in there!

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. ~ Madeleine L’Engle

More than once in the past when I had a major pain in my body I thought I’d just have to live with because I was over 40. Get over it! I’m over that kind of thinking and I’m here to tell you, your body heals at all ages! Your body is designed to regenerate constantly! It uses your mind power as part of the fuel—so be careful what you put into your mind.

If you aren’t healing the way you want to, try other options. Don’t be complacent. Challenge what’s possible! There’s always other options! And remember, “healing” may or may not be “cure”.

I remember buying some skincare items at the local store and the wonderful checkout lady sharing “at least you are still making the effort”. Of course I am! Another favorite mantra of mine is “I’m goin’ down fightin’!”

Old age is fifteen years older than I am. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Defining what you think beauty is isn’t the question here—it’s being the most beautiful you because you radiate from inside. Who needs “perfection”? What’s more, who can define it? As they say “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Taking care of yourself—mind, body and soul—will resonate more than physical beauty. You’ll be unstoppable!

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts. ~ Martin Buxbaum

Feeling good about how you look is essential to your self-esteem, and taking excellent care of your emotional health and well-being can make your RealAge™ as much as 16 (!) years younger.” (Source:

When it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift any day.  ~ Marty Bucella

Here’s a Daily Holistic Beauty Regimen: Try these five habits on. Perhaps add one a day to your life and practice it mindfully for twenty-one consecutive days.

HABIT #1 – Explore PEACE: I will practice inner quiet and tranquility at least one hour a day.

HABIT #2 – Explore MENTAL CLARITY & FOCUS: I will practice doing one thing at a time for as long as I can.

HABIT #3 – Explore JOY:  I will practice creating and experiencing moments of joy until my life becomes a joy-based life.

HABIT #4 – Explore CREATIVITY, CONNECTION & CONTRIBUTION: I will practice creating daily. I will practice listening to others like every word they say is from the Divine. I will practice contributing to others with no strings attached. (Note: You can also do these three things simultaneously.)

HABIT #5 – Explore STUNNING HEALTH: I will practice only consuming things that will add life and vitality to my body.

Another way to integrate these habits slowly is to add one habit per week and practice for twenty-one consecutive days. Tip: Be easy with yourself and have fun with it.

Holistic Beauty: This perspective of beauty is a function of your whole, perfect and complete wellness. It’s a stunning and magnetic beauty that oozes from your insides. It’s how you retire in the evening, give thanks for the day and consume the miracles of nature as fuel to realize your ultimate destiny. It’s how you celebrate our respective cultures, and present the gift of yourself to others. It’s a beauty that says that everyone can be a rockstar by tapping in and utilizing what you have at your finger tips. Like Cracker Jack’s, there is a guaranteed prize inside of you (and in each one of us). Everyone is a gift and that gift deserves a lovely package.”

~ Excerpted from OMTimes Magazine article, Beauty v. Holistic Beauty: 5 New Habits, by Akua Auset, September 2012.

                                                    Image Credit:  Sakari Graphics


It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them ~ Volkswagen

I saw this commercial the night before I was going to release my newsletter. The commercial is a testament to the healing benefits of laughter yoga.  An excerpt from my June 2012 newsletter:

Not only is it healthy to learn to laugh at yourself, it’s very healthy to learn to laugh whenever you can; and if you can’t, fake it. There’s healing in laughter. “…laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.”

Have you tried a laughter yoga class before? “I went to a seminar on laughter yoga, and I felt elated for hours later. I didn’t have any pain,” When you combine laughter and breathing, there’s healing there. ~ Jody Ross, certified yoga laughter leader.

The tagline—It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them—speaks to your heart. My mantra: It’s the quality of your life every day that matters. So be on notice for the things that add to the quality of your life. I am finding myself saying “That makes me smile” more and more. It’s another phrase I use to “call out” the precious moments that make up the quality of my life.  (Another is “This very moment” whenever I want to claim it as precious.) Yesterday it came out as I watched a squirrel bouncing across our path as my husband and I went for a walk. Earlier, it was the call of the robin in the area. You know the one, it sounds like a giggle to me, and it happens around the 24 second mark in this link. For me, this sound is the sound of summer. So hearing it now–in the midst of fall, makes me smile. What makes you smile?

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we takebut by the moments that take our breath away. ~ Hilary Cooper



“Open up and invite life in.” ~ SC Johnson’s, Glade®

Glade was part of my last slogan article in 2010 as well. Then it was “Release the magic™”. What can I say? I like their slogans! (Truthfully, anything with the word “magic” in it appeals to me!)

The lesson here is open up! If you aren’t open to new adventures, new ways of being, new thoughts, new emotions, then you will stagnate just as you are. Remember the earlier slogan, what will you gain when you lose? Lose the old stuff!

“If you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.”

“I am open to possibilities.”

“If you want tomorrow to be different from today, you’ll need to take yourself off autopilot and make different decisions today than the ones you made yesterday.”


“Make something amazing.” ~ Kraft

When I went to Kraft’s website today to check out their “Make something amazing” campaign, I found that they have other phrases following “make something”. They’re all absolutely inspiring: Make something sizzle. Make something wondrous. Make something with a touch of awesome. Make something authentic. Make something a little better. It’s amazing to me what an affirmation can do for the spirit.

Each and every one of these phrases speaks to your ability to create the life YOU want—you have the ability, and only you, to do that for yourself! And if you’re going to create something, it may as well be amazing, sizzling, wondrous, awesome, authentic and better! Why not? Not feeling up to the challenge? Let Marianne Williamson’s famous poem answer your fears:

“A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”

So make something—anything—amazing! Make your life amazing! Use the power of your mind with each and every thought to affirm your amazing, sizzling, wondrous, awesome, authentic, better life!


“Some people say they haven’t yet found themselves. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.” ~ Thomas Szasz, Hungarian psychiatrist

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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

As a reminder, in response to my reader’s feedback, as well as my own “2012 Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I have shortened the newsletter format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month.

I continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page:!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

 “Some people say they haven’t yet found themselves. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.” ~ Thomas Szasz, Hungarian psychiatrist


I have been going through a transformation with my yoga business. Those of you who read my blog on one of my teacher’s Prana Pages, know that I’ve been following what seems like explicit instructions from the Universe. All within one week’s time I found out my studio’s building was sold with plans to turn it into a senior center, and my second location’s retail owner lost her lease and was moving to a new location with no room for yoga.

Two weeks prior to all of this I’d met the owner of my new location at a fair I was exhibiting my yoga business at, and she wanted me to teach at her location. I was wondering just where in the heck I’d fit her into my already full schedule. We were set to meet the week after the week I found out about the demise of my two locations.

The Universe works in mysterious ways. It knew I’d need the comfort of a new location before being told the other two were gone. I can’t previously recall the Universe ever spelling out my next move so clearly, and I am humbled by it.

“That which you are seeking is also seeking you.” ~ Rumi.

I’ve always loved that quote by Rumi. Yet recent events steering me to my current new location really brought the meaning of Rumi’s quote home. The Universe really is conspiring for my full expression! (One of my favorite affirmations committed to memory.)

I have been affirming having a perfect yoga space for so long; I almost forgot it was I who set the wheels into motion for making a change. I knew eventually my current location would be too small, and its size has limited me from going hog-wild advertising it. I kept holding on, thinking I should wait until I literally outgrew the current location, but that was a slow process. So I held on to what was comfortable.

“Intuitive guidance means having the self-esteem to recognize that the discomfort or confusion that a person feels is actually directing him to take charge of his life and make choices that will break him out of stagnation or misery. And, while we measure our own success in terms of our personal comfort and security, the universe measures our success by how much we have learned.” ~ Caroline Myss.

Comfort is highly over-rated. At least the Universe thinks so! As you shift and change, it will be uncomfortable, but it is required that you do things differently if you want different results. One of my favorite quotes is “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting!”

I’ve been gathering positive affirmations in a journal for several years now. It all started when I purchased the book New Moon Astrology, by Jan Spiller. I wasn’t necessarily “into” astrology so much, it was all of the affirmations in the book that attracted me; and if there was a magical time with more power to use affirmations, well why not? What I didn’t know was that I purchased the book right in the midst of what Jan refers to as my “granddaddy power period”—an especially abundant time for me to work with affirmations based upon my birth date. Interestingly, the transition of my businesses is now happening during that period. As Gibb’s would say on NCIS—there is no such thing as coincidence! (Want to know when yours is? Go here ).

This journal has been a part of my life for so long now, that when a friend suggested it wasn’t just the Universe pushing me along to my new location—this outside force I have no control over—it was me, well of course, I intuitively knew that. I had been using the principles of vision-boarding by writing down affirmations monthly and repeating them as part of my morning rituals.

It’s so hard to acknowledge your power within, isn’t it? Well acknowledge it!

“I am the cause of this reflection. I am in control of what I see. The world is a reflection of what is inside of me. I create my reality.” (I wrote this one in my journal without the source. It is not mine, but I love it.)

“I am a creator. And I create with my words. I honor my words.  My words honor me. As I speak, so it shall be.” ~Sonia Choquette quote from her excellent book, Your Heart’s Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want.


So as you change, you may wonder if you are changing in the right direction:

First off, the dramatic alignment of losing both of my locations within a couple of days of each other and having already had a third location lined up wanting me to teach there is a huge high sign for me! As I’d mentioned in the “Prana Pages” blog I referenced earlier, I feel it is my only option to acquiesce to the Universe. I can’t previously recall the Universe ever directing me on my next step so clearly and succinctly.

I’ve heard it said that if you don’t follow obvious signs, the future signs become a little bit more drastic. I’m not sure I want to see the next sign I’ll be sent if I don’t take this obvious direction!

I also align myself with the belief that the reason you should detach from the outcomes of your goals, or the “how to’s” to get there, is because the Universe has much bigger and more unique plans than you can imagine.

I had been holding on for some time at the current location not sure how to grow since the current location is a smaller space with no walk-in traffic in an industrial type area. A desire to stay near my current student base adds to the equation, as does the excellent rent. When the news of my two locations closing hit me, it was then that I emotionally detached from the outcome and the “how to” grow. Perhaps it was simply that I surrendered and perhaps that’s what the Universe was looking for me to do all along. If the perspective new location appointment I had set up wasn’t a blinking neon sign, then I didn’t know what was! I decided to go with the flow downstream vs. fight it upstream. (More on that later in the Chakrascope section!)

My new location is not necessarily near my old one, but it is in a very high traffic area with excellent rent. It’s also closer to my residence and in an area I’ve always personally considered one of my favorites in the Cities. I have been affirming that I want to easily find myself in perfect new location that is just right for me. This one has all the earmarks—high traffic, larger space, and excellent rent. The added benefit of less drive time is a bonus. So it is with a full heart that I surrender again to the Universe trusting that it will direct those who will benefit from my offerings appropriately to me. I wish all of my students the joy of exactly what they need for their personal journey.

Look for the signs—they’re there! Yesterday was the first of my classes at the closing studio to have its final class there. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through the class without some emotion breaking through. If you’re like me, you might find yourself needing constant reassurance of your choices as you grow. The Universe is only too happy to send you a sign if you are open to receiving them. So look for the signs!

The Yoga Journal email I received that same day was about how massage and yoga go hand in hand as healing modalities. The new location I’m moving to just happens to be a massage studio. I considered this email newsletter a high sign from the Universe reminding me the move was a good one—divine intervention even.

The new location being a massage studio environment will also allow me to slowly expand into working one-on-one with clients using my current training toward a yoga therapy certification. Full disclosure—I have been a bit…um..hesitant to take the leap into pursuing more one-on-one appointments—there’s that tendency of mind to hold on to the comfortable again.

Also on the same day, I ran across an article about Hanuman’s pose reminding me that Hanuman didn’t know he had the power to take the “greatest leap ever taken” until he did it. His love of serving others brought out this unknown power. (The highlighted yoga pose in this newsletter is Anjaneyasana, which is another name for Hanuman and chosen for this very reason.)

As I mentioned my goal to the owner of my new location, I added that I want to “grow into that” as I get more comfortable with it. Within a matter of a few thoughts and sentences, she was thinking of three massage clients she would refer to me.

Apparently, the Universe must want me to grow quickly vs. slowly! “They say” be careful what you wish for—affirming my goals to be in a perfect location, and to continue to grow in my yoga career in the direction best serving those that cross my path has nudged me along to where I am today.

I end every yoga class I teach with an internal prayer: “Perfect God within me, perfect life within me which is God, come forth as expression through me as that which I am.” ~ Derived from a quote from Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes.   Their magazine is one of my perennial favorites too!  Energy follows thought. “Thoughts become things. Choose good ones!” ~ Mike Dooley (Oh please, dear reader, subscribe to his emails—they deliver such heart-felt, wonderful messages personalized with your name. I mention this several times in my newsletters for a reason!)

I had been afraid to say out loud that I want to grow toward more private consultations / one-on-one yoga therapy  as I work toward that 800 hour minimum certification.   I purposely made myself mention it to the new owner so it would be “out there” as a goal with no turning back because I’m afraid. Hanuman reminded me that I, too, have the power within, even in the midst of eternal self-doubt; and yes, I should take the leap and know the net will appear.

You can do that too. Say your goal out loud. Write it down. Make it happenyes I own the book by that title too, by Henriette Anne Klauser. I recommend it highly!

“Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D., explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them. Writing can even help you understand what you want. (I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted in a “perfect location”.)”

Another great suggestion pertains here from Tara Mohr:

Question the voice that says ‘I’m not ready yet.’ I know, I know. Because you are so brilliant and have such high standards, you see every way that you could be more qualified. You notice every part of your idea that is not perfected yet. While you are waiting to be ready, gathering more experience, sitting on your ideas, our friends referenced in rule five are being anointed industry visionaries, getting raises, and seeing their ideas come to life in the world. They are no more ready than you, and perhaps less. Jump in the sandbox now, and start playing full out. Find out just how ready you are.”

Please see her whole, excellent  blog, Tips for Transformation. 10 Rules for Brilliant Women.

Speaking and writing your goals are the fast track to making them happen. If you don’t zero in on exactly what you desire, how will you find it? If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? If you don’t make plans for your life, others will make plans for you and your life will be filled with other people’s plans. Affirm what you are reaching for—speak it, write it, believe it is happening—and let this help you remember who you are becoming. Put one small intrepid step out there in the direction of your dreams, and watch the Universal wind tunnel carry you off in the direction of your desire! Your life is still unwritten! Write it! Today is where your book begins!

…Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Therefore dharma—your life purpose—is action that arises from the feeling of being you. These are the actions that will support and uphold you, actions that support the right use of everything. ~ Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati and Jayne Stevenson



“Greatness isn’t something you should always be chasing. There’s greatness within all of us, and I think that’s what we forget,” ~ Brad Meltzer

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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

As a reminder, in response to my reader’s feedback, as well as my own “2012 Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I have shortened the newsletter format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month.

I continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page:!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Greatness isn’t something you should always be chasing. There’s greatness within all of us, and I think that’s what we forget,” ~ Brad Meltzer

My last newsletter focused on magic and suggested remembering a magical character you loved as a child. It’s ingrained in our society at a very young age to look up to a hero/heroin in our life. I’ve dwelled on the concept of heroes before. I even gave a speech once in college on the importance of heroes. The lessons brought to us through our heroes are lessons we need to learn, and what better way than via someone we hold in high esteem?

Who do you hold in high esteem? How about yourself?

“Self-esteem is the immune system of the mind and of the spirit.” ~ Lee Pulos, psychologist, entrepreneur and author

As important as the lessons you learn from the heroes in your life, it’s even more important to realize that the real hero in your life is YOU. The longest relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. Do you look up to yourself? Do you place value in your own advice—better known as your intuition, your gut, or your instincts? How well do you know yourself? Discover your own truth. Discover the hero that resides within.

We often forget that the heroes we look up to are just as real as we are—ordinary people who rose to the occasion. They’re not all comic strip characters, are they?  If they are, well that’s another story! Hopefully, deep down you realize you look up to the characteristics of their moral code.

When cuing Virabhadrasana (Warrior) poses, in particular Warrior II, I often remind my students that Virabhadrasana loosely translates to mean hero. I use the gazing point / drishti for the pose as a focal point to focus on an important goal or intention and suggest that each student “be their own hero” and make their intentions and dreams come true by single-mindedly focusing upon it. Sometimes I include a pulse up and down with the front leg straight and then bent again as you simultaneously raise the arms overhead and then drop them down again—all the while holding your gaze in the same spot over where the front hand’s fingers are pointing toward.  It’s a sort of “calling out” your goals and intentions reminding them you have them in your sites and nothing is going to stop you from attaining them. What you focus on expands, and if done during your meditative, relaxing yoga practice, studies show that you are more receptive to affirmations and intentions. ( )

I like to make my cues self-empowering, fostering a belief in oneself. With this in mind, it’s no wonder I was attracted to a compelling article in USA Today by Brian Truitt that re-ignited my curiosity in the subject of heroes once more.

The article was about Brad Meltzer’s website and the t-shirts Brad designed to celebrate six icons. The name of the website hints at the powerful message—ordinary people change the world!

There’s Muhammad Ali’s t-shirt with the phrase “I will never apologize for who I am.” There’s Amelia Earhart with the quote “I know no bounds.” Eleanor Roosevelt’s t-shirt says “I know that an open hand is more powerful than a closed fist.” George Washington’s shirt says “My faith is not just in my country—it’s in us.”

He had me at Lucille Ball. Everyone loves Lucy, don’t they? The front of Lucille Ball’s T-shirt is a cartoon character of Lucille Ball (Brad Meltzer is, among other things, a comic-book writer), and the back is the quote“I know humor can take on anything.”

I’ve read that she found escape from a troubled childhood by entertaining people after she lost her father at the age of three. Troubled childhood? Who knew?  I didn’t know her mother had remarried to a man not fond of children and had Lucy sent to his parents to live while her younger brother was sent to her mom’s parents.  (For the full bio, please see She also lived with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis from the time she was diagnosed at 17.

We rarely hear about her rough start in life. She didn’t let it bring her down. Her shows are still watched by millions of viewers yet today, and “her ground-breaking work in the area of comedy paved the way for future stars such as Mary Tyler Moore, Penny Marshall, Cybill Shepard, even Robin Williams.

Her genius did not go unrecognized. During its six-year run, I Love Lucy‘s success was unmatched. For four of its seasons, the sitcom was the number one show in the country. In 1953 the programmed captured an unheard of 67.3 audience share, which included a 71.1 rating for the episode that featured Little Ricky’s birth, a turnout that surpassed the television viewing for President Eisenhower’s inauguration ceremonies.”

You say you’re a fan of Star Trek and Mission Impossible? Her production company, DesiLu produced the original series. I could go on, but the point is this—she was her own hero. Rest assured, you can do that too! Don’t believe me? I understand that can be a tall order if you haven’t worked up to it. So work up to it!

I’m reading an excellent book right now by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer called Wishes Fulfilled. He uses the quote by Henry David Thoreau—“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” He dwells on the use of the word “imagined” and suggests that this is your sacred, creative space. Never place anything in your imagination that you don’t want to materialize. If you start to notice yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, he suggests you put up a “do not disturb” sign and keep those thoughts out. He reminds you that your imagination is yours and yours alone.

I’ve often quoted Albert Einstein. He is known for the saying “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Dr. Dyer uses another one that’s appropriate: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Envision your everywhere. What does your “everywhere” mean to you?

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne introduced me to the fact that the words “I am” are the two most powerful words in the Universe because whatever you place after those words dictates who you believe you are and who you in fact become. Wayne Dyer uses the “I am” teachings heavily in this book reminding us that in the bible, God tells us his name is “I am that I am.” He so eloquently points out that “Every time you put a non-God descriptor after I am, you negate your Divine nature. The words I am are your sacred identification as God—your highest self.”  Check out your inner voice. What kind of descriptors do you put after the words “I am”? Remember you can “work up to it”. None of us are perfect! Take the opportunity to laugh at yourself from time to time as you continue to do the “work”. Soon you’ll be to the point where you won’t doubt your inner greatness and all of your “I am” messages will be just what you mean them to be.

So embody Lucille Ball’s mantra for life and know that humor can take on anything. Perhaps it’s when you are least inclined to laugh that you need to the most. I like the quote: “The inside you needs the outside you to take care of you.” I’ve used it often in my classes, but am not taking credit for the quote. Some wonderful soul gave it to me. I just can’t locate the source.

Not only is it healthy to learn to laugh at yourself, it’s very healthy to learn to laugh whenever you can; and if you can’t, fake it. There’s healing in laughter. “…laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.”

Have you tried a laughter yoga class before? “I went to a seminar on laughter yoga, and I felt elated for hours later. I didn’t have any pain,” When you combine laughter and breathing, there’s healing there. ~ Jody Ross, certified yoga laughter leader.

Looking back on your life, what was something that came to you as a negative, but helped you develop one of your best skills?

Did the back injury bring you to a career in healing that makes you happier than you’ve ever been? Did the failed business bring you to a crossroads that changed your direction into a better opportunity? Did losing your job open up an opportunity to go back to school for what you really want to do? Did the love of your life leaving you make you realize loving yourself can carry you through?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison.

Just as the oyster polishes the grain of sand into a pearl and the piece of polished coal becomes a diamond, your life lessons can be used to catapult you into finding something greater, or they can beat you down—only you decide—no one else. Be your own hero! Live your life and overcome any trials, discomfort or pain!

When you are focused on what’s inside of you, your core, you gather your inner reserve and can accomplish whatever you set your mind on. You can achieve balance, in physical yoga postures as in life, by one-pointed focus on your core power. If you’ve had a stressful day (week, month, year), balance will be illusive—both physically and mentally.

Single-minded focus on a spot (goal/intention) that doesn’t move (drishti), and adding extra root lift/lock (mula bhanda) and belly lock (uddiyana bhanda) adds more groundedness.


Single-minded focus on your goal or intention with extra emphasis on connecting to your inner guidance and your special talents will keep you grounded. Finding out what your special talents are is your personal mission. Getting to know yourself and setting meaningful personal goals and intentions is a continual life-time process. That’s a yoga lesson from the mat.

It is through your own “hero’s journey” that you become your own hero. “According to folklorists and other narrative scholars, the hero’s journey forms the basic template for all great stories. Described at length in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the hero’s journey serves as the tale every culture tells. The journey’s path is described variously, but in general it includes the call to adventure, a supernatural aide or mentor, initiation by trials and adventures, victory, and return. Many fiction- and screen-writing courses focus on the hero’s journey, and its universality can easily be seen in fairy tales and other traditional tales (like Moses and the Prodigal son in the bible), as well as in such popular culture offerings as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and George Lucas’ Star Wars.”

What is your “call to adventure”? What has been your initiation by trial? Write your own great story. Find your own victory. Inspire yourself. Discover your own truth. Laugh when you want to cry, believe in your own power—the power of one:

“When you realize your own magnificence, you will attract magnificence into your life.” ~ Anita Moorjani
(From the book, Wishes Fulfilled. Mastering The Art of Manifesting. By Dr. Wayne Dyer.)


“Create your own magical realities and when truth comes and knocks on your door you can invite her into your enchanted world.” ~ Sweetpea fairy

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
Comments Off on “Create your own magical realities and when truth comes and knocks on your door you can invite her into your enchanted world.” ~ Sweetpea fairy Tagged with

“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

As a reminder, in response to my reader’s feedback, as well as my own “2012 Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I have shortened the newsletter format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month.

I continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page:!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Create your own magical realities and when truth comes and knocks on your door you can invite her into your enchanted world.” ~ Sweetpea fairy

Growing up, my favorite “magic portal” was behind the big mirrored dresser in my bedroom. For a time, it was at an angle in the corner, creating a magical space behind the dresser to be out of sight, dream, doodle, pray, and just “be”. I’d relish the awe-inspiring trinkets I had placed in a whimsical, Folger’s coffee can. My can had a pink elephant on it and that touched my whimsy and made me smile ( I can’t remember what was in the can, but I will always remember that can! Entry into my magic corner was through the opening between the dresser where the seat usually stayed. When no one was looking, I’d crawl underneath the large round mirror and “let the magic begin”! It was my own little world, my own corner, my own magic.

Where was your magic portal? The fort you made with blankets? A walk-in closet? Under the bed? A quiet place in the nearby woods? Perhaps it was a magical attic? (Ahhhh, but my regular readers know I have my own magic attic at Krista Artista’s Gallery where I teach Thursday evenings…asked and answered as to just why this is one of my favorite places. The awe-inspiring trinkets are in this wonderful, whimsical store. The Pied Piper couldn’t have done a better job than Krista has in creating a place to draw you in. Needing some magical trinkets of your own? Inquire within Krista Artista’s!)

Why do you think children like to make forts? Why do you think adults remember them fondly? Come on, secretly you still wish for that kind of place to retreat to, don’t you? Perhaps you’ve already created one. Do we ever really “grow up” in the sense that we no longer desire feelings of awe? Are we ever really too old to wonder?

“We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“Don’t let an old person move into your body.” ~ Jim Donovan.

If you let go of the desire for awe, please excuse me as I let out a gasp of dismay for you. I guarantee you still feel a magical calling whenever your brand of whimsy presents itself. You may not know just why you enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series, or just why a trip to Disneyland still excites you—albeit “for the kids”, of course. What is it about the sparkles of firecrackers that turn even the sternest among us into a giggling child? Come on—there’s at least one holiday tradition that you can’t live without during the winter months, isn’t there? Why is that? It’s knowing your props, your triggers, that help you create your magic inside.  It’s still there you know—your belief in magic.

“When was the last time you had a conversation with the moon? Or made a wish on a falling star? Held hope from a string of delicate things. When was the last time you got lost in an enchanted wood?” ~ A Knock at the door by Angi Sullins and Silas Toball of Duirwaigh, Inc.

Elves have been known to live in the roots of trees
Gooseberry Falls, MN

We all want to clap when asked if we believe in fairies…because it would be so very cool if they existed. Forget about what you currently deem possible to believe. Let that go for the moment. Can you at least admit how very cool it would be? First, let the idea of possibility in—then the magic will feel welcome to manifest.

“For the world is full of zanies and fools who don’t believe in sensible rules and won’t believe what sensible people say. And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes impossible things are happening every day!  It’s Possible!” ~ Rodgers And Hammerstein Lyrics Impossible

Do you believe in fairies? … If you believe clap your hands. ~ from Peter Pan by James M. Barrie

You may laugh at the mere mention of believing, but it’s in the believing that the magic is allowed to enter. Are you too old to believe? Do you believe magic is only for the young? I guess you get what you believe, then, don’t you?

I’m not young enough to know everything. ~ James M. Barrie

Why is it so much easier to accept the concept of belief allowing creation to make itself manifest when it’s used in business?

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right. “ ~ Henry Ford

 Why not simply be curious enough to know you don’t know everything and believe anything’s possible?

“You’ll see it when you believe it.” ~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“There is nothing that cannot happen today.” ~ Mark Twain

There are numerous “magic mirror portals” featured in books and movies. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised mine was behind a mirror. There are also numerous uses of cloaks, capes, garments, and jewelry to create their own magic—be it a disappearing act, or a “presto change-o” character-switch to one with more power. Try listening to this song without crying…and nodding in approval…It’s about a boy and his magic cape.

He’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith. Spread your arms and hold your breath, and always trust your cape” ~ Eric Bibb

What is your particular brand of magic? How easily do you open up to it? If you keep putting up walls to something energetically, it will stop trying to reach you. Release to it. Quit fighting it. Why not believe in magic? Why not believe wishes can be made on stars and fairies are always there when you look for them? There are those who believe that magic happens to the extent and in the form you’ll most accept. Sounds like a good tactic. What are you open to?

We call them faerie. We don’t believe in them. Our loss. ~ Charles de Lint
Many people don’t believe in faeries, but if you look real close they’re always there. ~ Torlila

Perhaps all you need are some props like you had as a child. What is a child’s fort if not an adult’s ice house, tent, cabin, fishing boat, garden or meditation corner? Maybe the garden is your favorite place because you sense the quiet energy there, and it feeds your spirit. Maybe the workshop in the garage relaxes you because you’re allowed to create whatever you want, whenever you want. There’s magic in energy, in creating, in being in a relaxed space where you are open to receive. There’s magic in imagining.

Image credit:  valentinadesign

Original & Inspirational Art by artist Valentina Ramos

It can be as simple as a magic carpet…My husband and I make it a ritual to hug each morning on the carpet by the sink as the water brews for the coffee. I started calling it our “magic carpet”. Pretty soon, whenever I wanted to conjure up a magical moment, I’d step on that magic carpet with an expectant gaze; and obligingly, my husband would provide the missing ingredient—a hug. There’s absolutely no place else I’d rather be. Before you start to smirk, may I counter by reminding you that my magic is mine—and believe me, hugging my husband of almost 29 years with a romance that grows every single day is magic. Defining the carpet as “our spot” to let the magic in and release to it is our brand of magic. What’s yours? What can you use as your “prop”?

Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale. ~ Author Unknown

Foolish, you say? Do you think we actually need the carpet to hug? Of course not! But do you think having the carpet as the instigator helps create the magic?  The answer is a resounding “yes”! A batch of playfulness helps as well. Laughter attracts magic in countless ways.

Why is a “prop” to create your own magic any different than a prop used in plays or movies to create a more believable scene? If it helps you believe, it helps create the magic, right? Think about it.  What is the definition of a placebo if not the deep belief that you’re able to heal with it? This generates the pharmaceuticals needed by your body to heal. It isn’t a hoax…it’s a healing. Those that say “it’s all in your mind” like it’s a bad thing aren’t getting it. Are they? Yes! It is all in your mind! Your mind is where the healing begins! Your mind is also where the magic begins!

“…only as long as you do not understand, is it a secret. And, indeed, do not all mysteries and miracles only appear so, in so far as we may not understand how they arise or occur?” ~Yoga Nidra: A Meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing, by Richard Miller.

One of my friends sent me a fairy door for Christmas. Yes, you heard me—a fairy door. It’s an immediate whimsy-instigator. A fairy door (a magic portal to the world of the wee folk)… All I have to do is look at it and know like I know like I know there’s something magical waiting to make its presence known, one of these times, when I open that door. There’s magic in expecting.

Attached to the fairy door is a note which reads:  “I’m just a simple Fairy Door. No promises I make. But if in fact a Fairy comes, she’ll know this is her place.” Inside it says “Fair Door Enchantment Ideas: Hide small trinkets and treasures like a shell, feather, shiny stone or pennies in your Fairy Door to encourage Fairies and imagination. Fairy Doors are usually placed in an out of sight or secret place.” Now, doesn’t that describe to a “T” my magic portal behind the mirrored dresser—right down to the trinkets and treasures? And doesn’t that totally substantiate my suggestion to let the magic know when and where it is welcome?

Here are some suggestions from last year’s March newsletter for allowing magic in:

So are you open to viewing the world a bit outside the box to allow for some magic?  Here are some ways to open to the magic, straight from Ted Andrews Enchantment of the Faerie Realm book:

“Laughter is always an open invitation.  Wherever stories are being told, those of this realm will usually gather to listen.  Simple and sincere music and song are always attractive to those of this realm.  These joyful spirits will often gather where children play and in any area in which nature is allowed to grow free—even if only a small section within your own back yard.  Wherever there is ceremony, joy and color, these beings will be found.” And a partial list to add to those not covered above to invite their presence into your life:

  1. Spend time in nature.
  2. Meditate while sitting under trees around lakes, etc.
  3. Have plants and flowers inside your house or apartment
  4. Be cognizant of the abuses of nature and do your part to clean it up and reverence it.
  5. Involve yourself in some creative activity on a regular basis.  You don’t have to be an expert in it, but enjoyment of any creative activity will draw those of the faerie realm.
  6. Leave an area in your yard to grow wild so that the faeries can play freely.
  7. Be generous in your dealings with others.
  8. Keep the child in you alive.

I’ve also read that practicing meditation and yoga weekly, daily if you can, to boost your spirituality and enhance your mind is another way to prepare for the magic.  Practicing outside so you can be one with nature is even better.

To all unbelievers still reading, please re-read the list above. At the very least you’ll have spent time outside, added meditative moments to your life, created something you enjoy, added friends and spread smiles through your generosity, and giggled more than you used to. If that isn’t creating magic in your own life, I don’t know what is. So what’s so bad about that?

(Full disclosure: Revisit last year’s March post which documents my own fairy sighting…enough said.)

Start a “Coincidence Journal” documenting lucky opportunities and watch the magic multiply! Once you’ve starting writing down your idea of synchronicity, you’ll see—the magic will feel welcome and know you’re open to more. Who doesn’t blossom when they’re noticed?

Still not sure what your particular brand of magic is? When was the last time you went some place for a couple of hours just to be there?  THAT is your answer! And if you haven’t experienced wanting to go somewhere just to be there for a couple of hours, then perhaps try slowing your life down a bit once in awhile to let stillness in.


Where magic is concerned, there is always an initial decision, an initial willingness to let it enter your life. If that is not there neither is magic. ~ Neil Gaiman

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ~ Roald Dahl

That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you. ~ Charles de Lint

“If you do not believe in magic, your life will not be magical.  Magic, like the power of Stonehenge, is part of the unknowable—that which you cannot describe, but which exists and makes your life extraordinary.” –The Power Deck, The Cards of Wisdom, by Lynn V. Andrews.


Now I ask you—do you think a child was able to create the fairy door gift I received, market it, and sell it? Or do you think there are some “in the know” grown-ups out there who believe in the magic? Remember a grown-up bought it and gave it to me…although jury’s out as to whether I’m growing up. Think that fairy tales are for the naïve and foolish and not for intelligent people?

 “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ~ Albert Einstein

You decide which type of adult you want to be—the kind that doesn’t let the magic in, or the type that fosters it every chance they can get! Don’t worry if you’re already grown-up and didn’t have the opportunity to indulge in fairy tales as a child. There’s still time!

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. ~ Tom Robbins

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. ~ C. S. Lewis

Look at your life through the eyes of the child you used to be—full of wonder and curiosity and unscathed by preconceived notions. Daily routines and stress can squeeze the spontaneity right out of you. Keeping your nose to the grindstone and never looking up to notice the subtleties of life will choke your inner child’s magic.

Was there a movie, play, or song you enjoyed as a child that made you feel that anything—even magic—was possible? Perhaps it was a place, or a costume. (For more on the magic of costumes and other outward props, take a peek at my October 20ll newsletter). Perhaps there’s a magical character you loved as a child? They’re still waiting!

Statue of Merlin in Sedona, AZ

Revisit past joys. I can’t watch The Lion King, Darby O’ Gill and the Little People, Miracle on 34th Street, Brigadoon, The Wizard of Oz, or Cinderella without letting the magic in; and I can’t go for a swing in the park with eyes closed and not feel like the world is my oyster!

Image Credit:  Aimee Stewart of Duirwaigh, Inc.

So gather your particular brand of props, and realign your beliefs to allow for possibility. Just approach the idea for now if it seems a bit over the top. First you have to approach, then you allow, then you believe; and suddenly, you won’t remember why you didn’t believe your whole life. “Magic?” you’ll ask. “Why of course I believe in magic, it’s only logical, isn’t it?”

If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.  ~Albert Einstein

“Logic only gives man what he needs… Magic gives him what he wants.” ~ Tom Robbins

Science is a way of talking about the universe in words that bind it to a common reality. Magic is a method of talking to the universe in words that it cannot ignore. ~ Neil Gaiman

Reach for the stars!
Image Credit: Author Gilles Tran & Jaime Vives Piqueres


Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.” ~ Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) quoting his dad in the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
Comments Off on Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.” ~ Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) quoting his dad in the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Tagged with

“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

My primary goal for 2012 is to continue to share the transformative power of yoga and wellness with you. Can you help me with this goal? Here are a few ways that you could help:

  1. If you have enjoyed my offerings this past year including classes or newsletters, please let me know via an email testimonial or suggest new ways to improve my offerings.
  2. Spread the joy and wisdom of yoga and wellness by sharing my newsletters with friends and family
  3. If your company is interested in an on-site program, please inquire for details.  Better Day Yoga LLC offers On-Site Corporate programs like Yoga,  Meditation/Breathwork, and “At-the-desk” classes to fit your budget and benefit the physical and mental health of your employees.  Let’s talk about the many benefits to both the employer and employee that Corporate On-Site Programs offer.

In response to reader feedback, as well as my own “New Years Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I am shortening the format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month. If I have something important to relay to you, I’ll send a dedicated email vs. a full newsletter, if need be, on the off months.

I will continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page!  I hope you’ve enjoyed these highlights for the past two years and found them useful! Thanks for your continued interest!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight again after coming through a long dark tunnel? Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.”

~ Jefferson Smith quoting his dad in the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, as played by Jimmy Stewart.

I love this month’s yoga quote. First off, I simply adore Jimmy Stewart. I always have. I know I’m not the only one. I also love that this is a quote Jimmy’s character remembers from his dad. I think each of us has some words of wisdom or piece of advice given to us by someone special that brings us strength when we recall it.

The favorite one from my dad is similar to one YOU might recall Winston Churchill having said. “Never, never, never give up.” I think my dad said to never, never, never quit. I’m sure my dad didn’t know this was a famous quote from Winston Churchill when he shared it with me. I mean, Winston Churchill doesn’t have the corner on telling someone not to give up, right? This quote from my father has carried me through many trying times and continues to be a source of comfort and willpower.

Jimmy Stewart’s quote is a unique reminder to appreciate and celebrate life—each and every precious, moment. Sometimes the stress in our lives makes us feel like we are in a tunnel, unable to see anything but the darkness of the moment.

By adopting a view of life as if you have always just come out of a tunnel, you learn to have what many Zen meditation books refer to as “beginner’s mind”. Beginner’s mind means you have no preconceived notions about what you are experiencing. It’s all fresh and new. Every day and everything in it is a new experience waiting to be enjoyed.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

If we had no preconceived notions about how things “should” be, we’d simply let things “be”. There would be no comparisons to an idealized perfection. Remember it’s our thoughts that dictate our reaction to a situation—good or bad. “It is what it is.” It is neither good nor bad. Adopting this attitude gives you a better chance to take on anything in your life. If you don’t label it as a stressor, maybe, just maybe, it won’t stress you. You can view the light at the end of the tunnel in two ways: as a reminder that “this too shall pass”, or as a possible oncoming train. Only you can decide.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. ~ William Shakespeare

With a beginner’s mind, you have many possibilities available to you on your journey in life. You are not your age, your job title, your physique, or your possessions. When you are not defined by those things, you can be or do whatever you decide. When you don’t label yourself as good or bad, better or worse, too this or too that, you have unlimited potential. When you appreciate all of it, you have unlimited joy.

I’d read a story once about a mother who’d gone through tough times. She was out of a job, and had no money to pay rent. Rather than view her life as being in turmoil, she viewed it as having full potential because she was free—totally free—to do whatever she wanted to do. She shared a proud parent moment later in the book when her young adult son experienced several setbacks at once and announced his sudden realization that he, too, was “totally free!” What a gift she gave her son, and what a lesson to share in her book.

Perhaps it’s the time of year that invites seeing your “ordinary” life with fresh eyes. It’s a clean slate and a “do over” opportunity as we start a new year. Just as you don’t need Christmas or the holiday season to create the magic that always resides within, deep down you don’t need a date on a calendar to clean your slate or declare a “do over”! We are all always “totally free” to do whatever we want to in our lives. Sometimes it takes hard times to realize it. Why not realize it regardless of life circumstance?

If this time of year gives you a “clean slate” feeling, why not take advantage of that impetus? Accomplishment is fostered by the feelings and beliefs you hold inside. So run with it! With beginner’s mind, your mantra is always “begin again!” No matter what life hands you, begin again!

 “Live …like someone left the gate open!” ~ Christine Jobe’s Photos



I think I will…Happy New Year!


“All my life’s a circle; Sunrise and sundown; Moon rolls thru the nighttime; Till the daybreak comes around..” ~ Harry Chapin

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“All my life’s a circle; Sunrise and sundown; Moon rolls thru the nighttime; Till the daybreak comes around..” ~ Harry Chapin

In my recent meditation workshop, I highlighted “spinning” as a moving meditation.  The “Whirling Dervishes from the Sufis, such as Rumi, were known for this.  Perhaps the best known dance mediation is the Whirling Dervish from the Sufis.  See the Chakra Meditation book by Swami Saradananda for a “whirling meditation” to activate the solar plexus chakra.  The Five Tibetans by Peter Kelder also has spinning “rite” to stimulate, or speed up, the vortexes/chakras/energy centers in the body.

(Side note for those of you that are unsure of what a “chakra” is—here’s a reprint of the opening paragraph in my “Chakrascope” section below for a quick primer: The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.

There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally “wheels”) that store energy/life force/prana.  They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. Each has a different relationship to a gland in the body’s endocrine system. Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body. Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine. Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there. Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus.)

The Five Tibetans by Peter Kelder promotes clockwise circles to stimulate the chakras/vortexes—that’s spinning from left to right. He even goes so far as to explain it one step further—“if you put a clock on the floor face up, you would turn in the same direction as the clock hands.” This is only one of the five “rites” you perform to get the energy centers (chakras) spinning normally again which is said to bring back and maintain your youthful health and vitality. The Chakra Meditation book by Swami Saradananda promotes an anticlockwise rotation of your body and focuses on using it to stimulate the solar plexus chakra—the gravitational center of your body and the center of your self worth.

I can’t explain or vouch for one direction of spin over the other except to say I have practiced the “Five Tibetans” and there was a definite effect. Let’s just say that my physical body told me something was indeed happening. That was enough for me. While I’ve read that healthy, unblocked chakras typically spin in the clockwise direction, I’ve also read that some believe the spin can change direction depending on whether you are male or female.

When I pointed the two spinning directions out as possible methods of moving meditations in my workshop, a Native American student in my class pointed out that there is “something to the direction” we take in circles. She shared that in her tribe you enter a burial ceremony walking in a counter-clockwise direction so the spirit of the recently deceased would know not to continue forward and that it was time to return to their source. It’s meant to bring peace to all.

I think modern society takes geometric shapes for granted. Had I known the rich history geometry has, I would have been a whole lot more interested in it the first time I encountered it in school! I know there is to be a “separation of church and state”, but I think it’s the magic of the spiritual that makes a subject come to life. Had they even alluded to the beginnings of geometry being “sacred geometry”, I know I would have paid more attention.

The circle, the triangle and the square “are believed to be the first symbols that were taught to man by priests over 25,000 years ago. At one level they represent sun (‘Circle and the One God’), earth (‘Square: the Earthly Mother’), and fire (‘Triangle: the Will’); at another they symbolize the base (crimson), the sacral (flame orange) and the solar (flame yellow) energy chakras. These are the chakras of the Lower (material and physical) self.” Harmony Angel Cards by Angela McGerr. (The base chakra in the second example is equal to the square, the sacral chakra is equal to the circle, and the solar (plexus) chakra is equal to the triangle.)

To encompass all the aspects of circles in our current and ancient history would be more than could be covered in a mere newsletter. This is my humble “spin”, if you will, on the magic contained within the circle.

The circle is the birthplace of all geometric shapes and patterns. The creation of the “line” was born when a second circle was made using any point on the circumference of the first as the center of the second circle. Connect the two points and you have a line. Connect the circles centers with each other and with the point above where the circles cross and you have a triangle. I could go on. You get the idea.

Literally, it is within the overlapping intersection of circles, referred to as the vesica piscis, that geometric shapes take their form. The vesica piscis is considered the “womb” within which all geometric patterns develop. The vesica piscis has had mystical and religious significance throughout history being associated with Freemasonry, some forms of the Kabbalah, and it is even referenced in the Gospel of John regarding Jesus’ miraculous catch of fish.

Why does such mysticism surround geometric shapes? Because the ancients considered geometry as sacred. Geometric patterns and shapes represented the Universe, our Source, our Gods and Goddesses. The triangle, for example, refers to the trinities found in various religions, and even science—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Mother, Maiden, Crone; Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva; Mind, Body, Spirit; Light, Energy, and Mass. Geometry is nature expressing itself. Nature expressing itself is God expressing itself. So to say the circle is the birthplace of all geometric shapes and patterns is to say the circle represents our Source—the complete Universe. As the quotes that cap both the beginning and the end of my newsletter reflect, the circle represents the cycles of life.

Above the entrance to Plato’s academy in ancient Athens were the words “Let none ignorant of geometry enter here.” The understanding of mathematics was a prerequisite to entering the esteemed academy.

“Geometry existed before the creation” ~ Plato

“Numbers are the sources of form and energy in the world.” ~ Theon of Smyrna (Second Century A.D., Platonist mathematician)

Geometry was held with such high regard that the instruments of geometry were considered elements of the Divine—the compass, straight edge, and pencil. Geometric shapes and patterns were incorporated in art and architecture with the circle symbolizing the number “one”. The circle symbolized stability and oneness. Seated in a circle, we all have equal status, don’t we? The creation of a circle starts with a point in the center using a compass. Consider this—everything starts with a “point”—without a center, it is “pointless”; and, therefore, crumbles.

The circle is considered a sacred space:

  • “The Circle Christian Symbol represents eternity. The circle symbolizes eternity as it has no beginning or end. Because of this many early Christians believed that there was something divine in circles. Early Astronomy and astrology was connected to the divine for most medieval scholars, the circular shape of the sun, moon and the planets were related to God’s act of Creation. The following image shows the use of a compass to create the perfect circle. And a bright ring, or circle, is used (halo or aureole) to surround the heads of saints and the whole bodies of other holy persons.”

Circle in Christian Art
Image Credit:


  • “The medicine wheel is a sacred symbol used by Plains tribes and others to represent all knowledge of the universe.
    The medicine wheel consists of a circle with horizontal and vertical lines drawn through the circle’s center. Sometimes, an eagle feather is attached in the wheel’s center.Design MeaningCircle -The circle represents the sacred outer boundary of the Earth often referred to as the Sun Dance Circle or the Sacred Hoop. It represents the continuous pattern of on-going life and death.

    Lines- The horizontal and vertical lines represent the sun and man’s sacred paths, respectively; the crossing of the two lines indicates the center of the Earth where one stands when praying.

    Feather -The eagle feather is a sign of Wakan Tanka’s – the Great Spirit’s – power over everything.” To read more about the medicine wheel and the colors of the four directions, go to

Image Credit:

  • Medicine wheels, or sacred hoops, were constructed by laying stones in a particular pattern on the ground. Most medicine wheels follow the basic pattern of having a center of stone(s), and surrounding that is an outer ring of stones with “spokes”, or lines of rocks radiating from the center. Some ancient types of sacred architecture were built by laying stones on the surface of the ground in particular patterns common to aboriginal peoples.Originally, and still today, medicine wheels are stone structures constructed by certain indigenous peoples of North America for various astronomical, ritual, healing, and teaching purposes. Medicine wheels are still “opened” or inaugurated in Native American spirituality where they are more often referred to as “sacred hoops”, which is the favored English rendering by some. There are various native words to describe the ancient forms and types of rock alignments. One teaching involves the description of the four directions. More recently, syncretic, hybridized uses of medicine wheels, magic circles, and mandala sacred technology are employed in New Age, Wiccan, Pagan and other spiritual discourse throughout the World.An odd variation sometimes found in medicine wheels is the presence of a passageway, or a doorway, in the circles. The outer ring of stones will be broken, and there will be a stone path leading up to the center of the wheel.”

(See the “Meditation on the Go” Section below for more on Labyrinths.)

Bighorn medicine wheel in Wyoming
Image credit:

Geometry is defined as “The mathematics of the properties, measurement, and relationships of points, lines, angles, surfaces, and solids.” As already alluded to, the ancients associated a number with each geometric shape—the circle symbolizing the number one, the line representing the number two, the triangle representing the number three, the square representing the number four, etc. In their effort to understand their Creator, our ancestors analyzed nature’s points, lines, angles, surfaces, and solids because they knew that to know the creator, we only need to look at their creation.

“If you want to understand the Creator, seek to understand created things.” ~ St. Columbanus (c. 543-615).

Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, felt “numbers to be the ultimate elements of the universe” and established a correlation between mathematics and energy. Churches have been constructed using mystical number systems that the architects believed enhanced an experience of God while within their walls. Egyptians used magical ratios and mystical geometry to construct the pyramids. Incorporating the energy of geometric patterns into their lives was their way of worshiping their Creator—Sacred geometry indeed.

Movement, Spirals, and Spin

The rotation along the circle also mesmerized our ancestors. Going in a clockwise direction, historically, has been considered flowing with the Wheel, or circle, of Life. It was considered the natural flow.

The movement of the sun had significant influence in ancient cultures. The sun’s energy was vital to all life. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west—clockwise. Anything that flowed opposite to this movement was considered negative or unlucky. There are many stories in folklore about counterclockwise movement bringing chaos and loss of power.

Perhaps this is why there is some evidence that traveling west to east (counterclockwise) is more disruptive for most? Or perhaps this is why UPS drivers find more efficiency by using right turns exclusively in all of their deliveries? We can only speculate. I’ve read that Native Americans both enter and exit the sweat lodge in a clockwise/”sunwise” direction.

But don’t discount counter-clockwise yet! The Cherokee fire and stomp dance ceremony is done in a counterclockwise direction to keep the heart toward the fire. The earth rotates on its axis in a counterclockwise direction and it is the direction it circles around the sun. Likewise, the moon moves around the earth in a counterclockwise direction as does our solar system in the Milky Way. Our Milky Way is another type of circle, the spiral.

Map of the Milky Way. Image credit: Caltech

“The Spiral is known as an ancient symbol of evolution. One of the oldest symbols of human spirituality in existence, the spiral has been found carved into cave dwellings, rocks and tombs all over the world. It is said to symbolize the evolution of the universe, the never-ending cycles of growth, change and eternal life as well as the cycles of the seasons.

The spiral seems to tell a story about the labyrinthine journey of life and death and speaks of the possibility of rebirth. Each loop of the spiral progresses us to a higher level, yet always returns us to the same place. It demonstrates life renewal by returning to the source.

Spirals are seen in all forms of nature. Shells, plants, galaxies and even human fingertips are just a few of the places that this simple design appears.”

“The Celts and other ancient peoples are thought to have used spirals as symbols of the sun, source of all life. (The spiral) reflects the undying energy of the universe—as well as the progress of the soul.” Meditating with Mandalas, by David Fontana.

The spiral can be an analogy for your spiritual path in life. Journeying inward along the spiral, you find your own unique center—your “point” for being in this world at this time. While journeying outward, you experience your life lessons. Just when you think you have mastered one lesson, the spiral teaches you that there is always a next and a next around the bend. We are always journeying, always learning. The journey inward parallels your journey outward. Your progress in one direction fosters the progress in the other direction. It is through life’s lessons that you come to accumulate your inner wisdom. It is through your accumulated inner wisdom that you are better able to understand life’s lessons. This analogy echoes the dual spirals of our DNA containing the traits which make each of us unique.

The structure of part of a DNA double helix
Image credit:

Clockwise or counterclockwise? Is one really better, or more natural, than the other? Does one really represent a negative aspect and the other a positive one? I believe it depends on your purpose, and as always, your focus. Both directions have their “best purpose”. Yin/yang; cold/hot; male, female; light, dark—you can’t have one without the other. You can’t have the inhale without the exhale. Polar opposites define each other. Neither is better nor best.

Even if you might associate the right as “positive” and the left as “negative”, consider that we turn jar tops and other containers to the right (clockwise) to “close” and to the left (counterclockwise) to “open”. Do you associate “closing” as a positive or negative? How about “opening”? They are polar opposites. Both are required for the lids to function as intended. Neither is “good” or “bad”.

When I wrote about using my “singing Tibetan bowls” to clear the chakras, I referenced using the clockwise direction to align the chakras and the counterclockwise direction to clear any blocks. This is similar to the Reiki (energy work) spiral symbol, known as Cho Ku Rei. The counterclockwise spin decreases and disperses energy, removing blocks; and the clockwise direction increases energy. Both directions have their positive aspects. It’s all in how you define it.

“For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.” ~ Sir Issac Newton

Wish you could retake your high school geometry class now? I didn’t think so, but it’s my hope that perhaps you’ll look twice at nature’s designs and ponder along with your ancestors.

“Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back to where they were. The life of a man is in a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop.” ~ Black Elk.

“All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.

It seems like I’ve been here before;
I can’t remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we’ll all be together again.

No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There’s no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.

I found you a thousand times;
I guess you done the same;
But then we lose each other;
It’s like a children’s game;

As I find you here again;
A thought runs through my mind;
Our love is like a circle;
Let’s go ’round one more time.

Chorus ”

Lyrics From The Harry Chapin Archive at

(This is my favorite version of this absolutely beautiful song by one of my favorite songwriters, Harry Chapin.)


“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter, Off-the-Wall Musings
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Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint

The Renaissance Festival here in Minnesota ended the first weekend of October.  I’ve always considered The Renaissance Festival as my own personal “Brigadoon”.  It’s a magical city that appears for awhile to fill your life with enchantment and then, it’s gone.

I’ve often dwelled on just what makes this place and time seem so magical.  Let’s see.  You get to don a costume/persona of your choice, if you care to, act like a fool and go unnoticed—or better yet, get noticed AND enjoy it.  What’s more, you’re surrounded by people in a light-hearted, jovial mood because letting down your barriers lightens the load for everyone.

This year I had the unsurpassed joy of going twice!  As I was planning to attend the fair for a second weekend, a surge of unquenchable joy rose within as I realized—I GET TO WEAR MY PURPLE FEATHERS TWICE!  Oh joy upon joys!  (You see, I just expect you to humor me here, but that’s the point!)  Wearing a hat made of purple feathers goes with the territory, is totally acceptable, and is just plain fun!  When you are filled with childlike excitement, do you really care who approves?  Should you?  No way!

First let’s talk about the color purple—rich, royal, magical, deep purple.  How can anyone NOT look better with that addition?  I swear it gives me magical powers when I put them on.  You all know I believe in magical beings (just like the Irish and my research showed) from my March newsletter (  So it should come as no surprise to my regular readers that my purple feather wreath seems to embody faerie magic.  Yes, you heard me.

Ted Andrews book, Animal Speak, confirms the magic of feathers. This book introduces you to the personal messages nature’s creatures are trying to deliver when they make their appearance known.

Feathers represent the energy of flight since they’re required for birds to fly.  “When a feather comes into your possession, it can help give lift to some area of our life.” They connect us to the energy of the bird they come from, but also to the energy of the air.

The elements (earth, air, water, fire, ether—there are other versions of the elements as well) are associated the “Faerie Realm.”  The air element is associated with the power of your communication, your voice, your mind. Feather goose quills were one of the early writing instruments. Through feathers, we bring the spirits of the air into our life. So it should come as no surprise that my purple feather wreath brought some faerie magic along with it!

Ted Andrews reminds us that every feather is a fetish—or charm where mystical, magical powers reside.  They remind us of the energy we are aligning with connecting us to the more ethereal energies of life.  Through this alignment, we receive direction on how to bring our wishes into reality. (See the “Answer Feather” in the bullets at the end.)

“Logic only gives man what he needs… Magic gives him what he wants.” ~ Tom Robbins

Have you watched the movie Field of Dreams?  Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, doesn’t want to believe he’s hearing voices, let alone that they’re telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cash corn crop.  He fights the magic because we are all told magic is make-believe. But if you believe it, and believing it allows magic to come into your life, why fight it? 

The baseball diamond becomes a magical place where the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago Black Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series appear to play baseball.  They enter the baseball diamond from the cornfield that is on the perimeter of the baseball diamond, and they exit the same way, disappearing into the stalks of corn as they walk in.  The mantra from this film is the message “if you build it they will come”.

So if you build or create welcoming ground for magic to manifest, it will come.  Not maybe, not as a joke for a short time, but as a constant companion in your life sprinkling faerie dust on everything you do.  You can “will” magic into your life, just like you can “will” distress into it.  There’s that Law of Attraction again.  It doesn’t care what you focus on.  It simply hears your focus, considers it your desire, and creates it.

So when I say that placing the purple feather wreath on my head makes me feel like I embody faerie magic, believe me when I say the day is spent feeling magical and enjoying every last drop of it!  Remember I mentioned dropping the barriers?  Allowing the inhibition of being an “appropriate adult” to fall away is part of letting go of the “shoulds” and grabbing onto the “why nots?”.

Who’s to say that the barrier we wear called “normal” isn’t a mask as much as my magical feather wreath is?  What if the person you are when the barriers are dropped is the “real” you?  When you repress what you are, a vibrational energy is waiting to be expressed that will eventually bubble over.  Why not let the real you out to play in your own way?

“Pretending to be a normal person day after day is exhausting” ~ Suzy Toronto.

“You make a lousy anybody else BUT you are the best “you” in existence!” ~ Zig Ziglar

This year I added an enchanting addition to my magical wreath costume—a one-of-a-kind handmade copper chain necklace containing several copper-wrapped smoky quartz crystals.  While the feather wreath makes me feel magical, this necklace makes me feel like I can RULE THE WORLD! (Said with a loud voice and both hands raised to the sky as I tilt my head back and gaze up acknowledging the source of my power.) It was an early birthday present from my husband.(See the write-up at the end of this opening write-up for where you too can find a magical piece of your own to get your own mojo on—Krista Artista Gallery!)

My Chakrascope section below highlights stones and their energetic benefits.  To take an excerpt from the introductory paragraph below: For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy.  Nothing is really solid.  Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies?  Quartz crystals are used in wristwatches, cell phones, radios and computers for their vibrating factors and precise frequency.

“Smoky quartz is a stone that brings abundance, prosperity, and good luck. Smoky quartz is an excellent stone for removing negativity and negative energy of any kind and transforming them to positive energy. It is also a very protective and grounding stone. It enhances survival instincts, and can help one reach personal and business goals, as well as assisting in making wishes come true.

Emotionally, smoky quartz is excellent for elevating moods, overcoming negative emotions, and relieving depression. Smoky quartz relieves stress, fear, jealousy, anger and other negative emotions by transforming them into positive energies. Smoky quartz is very comforting and calming, and can be considered a stone of serenity.” There’s more, but isn’t this already plenty?!

I have to add that when I first saw this necklace, I really had no idea what the energetic benefits “technically” were—I just knew how they made me feel, and had faith that energetic benefits were there.  It’s all good!  Placebo?  Who cares if my belief created the magic or the magic was already there waiting to be sourced.  I judge by end results, don’t you?

So couple this sense of empowerment with the magical faerie energy from the purple feathers, surround it with the whimsical energies of The Renaissance Festival where everyone comes to enjoy letting the child inside out to play, and you have a recipe for an enchanted day!

Did I leap tall buildings with a single bound?  No—but had I wanted to, I’m fairly certain I could have given the opportunity!

“I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.” ~ Leigh Standley

Now it’s your turn.  What do YOU need to feel magical or empowered?  How can you drop your “normal” barrier mask so the “real you” can come out?

  • Halloween is the perfect time to experiment with the costume of your choice to embody the energy you are looking for. Consider it a “prop” for the “real” you and let your “ideal” you out! (See my October 2010 newsletter’s chakrascope section for more on costumes.

Isn’t it comforting that the following history of Halloween costumes reminds us of the belief that the good spirits of friends and loved ones know the real you behind the mask, so you’re free to try on your new persona without judgment?

If you haven’t celebrated Halloween in a long time, or if you are curious about Halloween’s history, here’s an interesting background:

“October 31 was the last day of the ancient Celtic year and the Festival of Samhain, the Celtic god of the dead.  As one year became another, the Celts believed, the spirits of the dead could return from the beyond to share joy and happiness with their living loved ones.  Feasting, dancing, and singing celebrated this opportunity.  Enormous bonfires lit the night sky, welcoming revelers and spirits alike.

But fearing that some of the returning spirits might have less than honorable intentions, people often donned masks and costumes to hide their true identities.  The good spirits of departed friends and relatives of course knew those behind the masks and could make contact for a joyous reunion.  The light of dawn, marking the start of the Celtic New Year, recalled the spirits to the spirit world.

In 835 Pope Gregory IV proclaimed that the last day in October was to be known within the Catholic Church as All Hallow’s Eve, or ‘All Holy Evening’. On this date, he decreed, Catholics everywhere were to gather and remember those who had given their lives in the name of their faith.  The next day, November 1, became All Saint’s Day (also called All Soul’s Day), a time to remember all who passed on.

The Catholic Church views this ‘communion of spirits’ as a reminder that there is a continuous link between the souls of the living and the souls of the dead.  Says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church’s official teachings, ‘Between them there is an abundant exchange of all good things.’  Various Protestant religions also observe these celebrations.”  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Communicating with Spirits by Rita S. Berkowitz and Deborah S. Romaine.

Most of us, of course, are simply enjoying some light-hearted fun along with the younger children celebrating the “trick or treat” ritual of free candy and ghost stories around a campfire.  It’s all good!

  • Need a professional photo for your job?  You deserve to have it done right and pay for a full photo shoot where you’re treated like the star you are.  I had to foot the bill for a professional photo at my previous place of employment, so I decided to go for it and never regretted it for a moment!  Have some fun with it!
  • Find your own magical feather. It doesn’t have to be a feather wreath as mine was!  “The Answer Feather is a traditional healing tool for those seeking answers. Pick the feather you are attracted to and keep it with you throughout the day. Thank the feather and release it back to Mother Earth, or cleanse it in the moonlight and use it for another question.” Monague Native Crafts,
  • Try your hand at dancing—be it in the privacy of your own home with curtains drawn or out in public.  Intimidation be damned!  Dance with complete abandon.  Let the energy of the music move through you.  Let the energy of your inner muse come out!“Music is the strongest form of magic.” ~ Marilyn Manson

I subscribe to receive email messages from Mike Dooley’s “Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe”.   Here is today’s message since I thought it was synchronistically appropriate.  They never fail to brighten my day!

“How about next time you go to work, the mall, or a labyrinth, you glide, slide, and twirl a bit? Wink, smile, and wave? Dip, bend, and high-five? Strut, saunter, and beam?

Just a bit?

Teeny, tiny?
    The Universe”

  • Looking for something a bit less intimidating to try on?  Try putting a smile on your face even when you don’t feel one.  This is where “fake it ‘til you make it” comes from.  Wearing a smile will create the feeling of the smile—I promise!  Smiling releases your “feel good” endorphins.  (Option to add broad, opened shoulders for a feeling of confidence, and lift your chin up a bit.  There! “Presto changeo!”  A new you!)

Try my new favorite go-to method for peace and ease:

Thich Nhat Hanh suggests using a half-smile technique in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness.  Half-smiling when you first awake along with three deep breaths, when you find yourself sitting or standing anywhere, while listening to music, and when irritated—all with three deep breaths.  Trying it when I’m irritated works for me, calming my mind.  It also surprises the person you’re irritated with!

A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.  – Charles Gordy  

  • Thinking of a new hair-do?  Experiment with hair color!  I’ve been swearing I’m going red some day—and slowly have been experimenting with red highlights.

“What makes that 4 percent of the world’s population so dangerously different? And why do so many women suddenly want to be one? According to sources at Clairol and Wella, red is the biggest rising at-home color.

Redheads are supposed to be hard to quell. The Romans considered the Picts to be some of the most mighty warriors they’ve ever faced. And the Picts were always said to have red hair.”  The Roots of Desire by Marion Roach.

I think it’s because women have become comfortable with their power,” Roach says. “What do you do when you’re in a difficult situation? You power up. ‘I now feel that, much like Dorothy’s shoes, I’ve had it on me all the time*.’ And for new redheads, “it’s really OK that you chose it yourself.” (*The author, Roach, is a natural red-head.)

Okay, it occurs to me that the purple feather wreath and the red hair suggestion might make some think of the “when I am old I will wear purple” poem and the reference to red hats.  I have heard that the purple referred to in this poem refers to eccentricity, and the red refers to attitude. I like this description of the book:  “..its declaration of defiance against convention appeals to all those with a secret desire to throw off the strictures of propriety and set out deliberately to shock and be outrageous.”

So yes, go ahead and associate those attributes with me. Who says you need to be “old” to do that?  I will never be old. I will always be that young girl!  Eccentric?  Perhaps.  Attitude?  You bet!  How about you? What do YOU want to be known for?  We could all take a page from Betty White’s page:

  • KRISTA ARTISTA GALLERY—Home of the “magic attic” where I teach yoga Thursday evenings!  Come find your own magic!
    Wondering where you, too, can get your own one-of-a-kind piece of magical jewelry to get your own personal mojo on?  Krista Artista Gallery in Anoka has the most unique, one-of-a-kind, well-priced jewelry I have ever run across—and that is saying a whole heck of a lot!  Anoka is also the Halloween capital of the world—bonus!To use the language of the Renaissance—“Get thee to Krista Artista’s!  You shan’t regret it!”  Each week Krista has rearranged her wide variety of hand-crafted temptations to make room for more enticing treasures, and I invariably find several pieces that speak to me—loudly! Yes—I hear voices, doesn’t everyone?I believe that the energy of the crafter is contained within the piece.  Maybe that’s why, when I walk into Krista’s store, I am surrounded with an overwhelming feeling of good juju energy.  Perhaps this is where the “magic” in the attic comes from—or perhaps it’s the huge heart of the owner, Krista, who hand picks each and every item in her amazing store.  She has been a blessing in my life hosting my yoga classes for over a year now as well as the meditation workshops I just completed.  Come find your own magic in her store!

    Krista Artista Gallery features the work of more than seventy local artists, with everything from paintings to pottery, woodcuts to woodturnings, jewelry to glass.  Whether you’re looking for a hand-dyed tablecloth, a one-of-a-kind handbag, or something stunning to hang over your sofa, you’ll find it in our fun and friendly shop.

    So how will your magic manifest in your life?  You get to choose.  The power of your transformation lies in the form of your intent.  Intend now to create your own magic.  Remember the magic of the feathers?

    Feathers “remind us constantly that, regardless of appearance, we not only have the capability of flying to new heights, but we each need to do it in the manner that works best for us.” ~ Ted Andrews.

    “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl 


“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.” ~ Victor Hugo

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.” ~ Victor Hugo

The other day I had the unplanned pleasure of watching a favorite old movie, Apollo 13.

I love anything with Tom Hanks in it.  I personally consider him to be a modern day Jimmy Stewart—another personal favorite of mine!  For those of you who don’t know who Jimmy Stewart is, please give yourself a real treat and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.

I enjoyed every minute of Apollo 13 even though I’d watched the movie many times before.  You have to burst with pride for the effort those men went through to have what they described as a “successful failure”.  Tears rolled down my cheeks as the movie ended and suddenly a gift….the credits started rolling without any commercial interruption. (Can you tell I don’t make it to the theaters much?)

I was given the luxury of time to experience the full aftereffect of emotions from an absolutely compelling, real-life story while listening to the Oscar nominated music chosen to compliment the mood.


The main title is also excellent:

The end of anything excellent absolutely deserves the punctuation of time to take it all in, to honor it, to revel in it. I would even go so far as to say that if you aren’t taking the time in your life to breathe in between the moments you are missing out on the full experience—that includes all the moments, not just the ones you deem excellent.

I suspect our current mode is to negate the “unproductive” moments as being fluff and dispensable. You have to question the mentality that doesn’t allow for a pause.

Something as simple as allowing yourself the time to dwell on what just happened, or is happening, in your life, be it a movie you just experienced or a moment you want to remember—a spacer of sorts—will give you clarity.  Once you start to make it a practice to take note of your moments, I promise you they’ll all start to have redeeming qualities.  Bring attention to all the things you’ve taken for granted—the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, the hot water in your shower, the sunrise and sunset, the smell of fresh sheets on your bed.  Now it’s your turn to add to the list.

Take the time to notice your breath throughout the day and it will bring you to the present…to “this very moment”—a mantra I suggest you use throughout the day to “call out” your moments compliments of A Year of Living Your Yoga, Daily Practices to shape your life, Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD., P.T.

Yes,Life isn`t measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. ~ Hilary Cooper. But in both instances, breath is required.  We’re so used to having one more thing squeezed into every last second that we no longer take for granted that it’s not only okay to sit in repose, it’s downright healthy!

When was the last time you stepped off the fast track?  We don’t take times like this like we used to.  We rush off to the next thing on the agenda with people to see, places to go, things to do.  Where’s the balance?

Every inhale needs an exhale.  It doesn’t just ask for it.  It must have it.  Without the exhale, the inhale won’t happen and vice versa.  All of your output requires time to regenerate, or you’ll break.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you will burn out if you don’t take the time to be still—to be in repose.

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward” ~ Spanish proverb

Being in a hurry doesn’t get more done.  On the contrary, it dims your awareness so that your life becomes a blur.  Allow time to expand by taking a luxurious pace and see how being centered and focused within the moment not only stretches the time you have, but makes you more productive.

Research is documenting that taking time to be still, meditate, be mindful—whatever label you want to put on it, contributes to our well-being.  When did contributing to our well being fall on to the back burner?

Ah, there’s that word “meditation”.  The second you hear it I’ll bet you’re thinking “no way!  I don’t have time for that!”  I’m not suggesting you incorporate more time than you already have.  Yes, that is a “trick” comment, because, of course, we all have the same 24 hours each day, don’t we?  If calling it “meditation” stops you dead in your tracks, why not consider it “mindful moments”, or whatever makes you open to the idea that increasing reflective pauses in your life will make you not only healthier, but happier.  Be unconcerned about any rules and regulations you attach to the concept of “meditation”.  This will be your joy!  I promise!  Do you consider reflective moments daydreaming?

I love to legitimize what some consider “foo-foo fluff”.  Do you consider Einstein “fluff”?  I think not.  I used his status to remind you that Einstein developed his theory of relativity through a dream when I introduced the concept of “dream messages” back in my March 2010 newsletter (  The documentary on Einstein’s theory of relativity on the History channel introduced me to another definition for “daydreaming”.  He referred to them as “thought experiments” and this was how he developed his theory of relativity.  What monumental, perhaps life changing idea are you squelching by not being open to reflective pauses?

Consider these benefits of a meditative practice taken from An Easy Guide to Meditation For Personal Benefits and Spiritual Growth, by Roy Eugene Davis:

• Mental transformations and thinking processes become more organized as the result of meditative calmness and the influence of refined states of consciousness.

• The body’s immune system is strengthened and physiological functions are encouraged to be more balanced and efficient.

• Biologic aging processes are slowed. Older, long-term meditators are mentally and physically younger than their calendar years might suggest.

• Stress symptoms are reduced. The nervous system is refreshed and enlivened, allowing awareness to be more easily processed through it.

• Regenerative energies are awakened. These, directed by innate intelligence, vitalize the body, empower the mind, and have restorative and healing influences.

• Intellectual skills are improved, causing delusions and illusions to be dispelled. Intuition awakens, allowing us to directly know whatever we desire to know and to experience a vivid sense of unerring inner guidance.

• Appreciation for living is enhanced.

• Creativity is stimulated.

• Innate spiritual qualities awaken, enabling us to be more insightful, and functionally skillful.

• Rapid, more satisfying, authentic spiritual growth is nurtured because body, mind, and awareness are beneficially influenced by refined superconscious states.”

Re-read the list above—intellectual skills are improved and your thinking processes become more organized.  You’ll be more efficient so you’ll have more time to do whatever it is you want to do (and make up for the time you think right now that you’ll be wasting if you start a meditative practice)!  Einstein was working six days a week as a patent clerk when he found the time to develop his first groundbreaking theories.  Oh, and he also had a new wife and child.  Ready to try some “daydreaming”?

Another treasure from the list above—Biologic aging processes are slowed. Older, long-term meditators are mentally and physically younger than their calendar years might suggest.  Think you’d like to try the quick-fix methods out there for youth enhancement?  Why not save your dollars and try a few minutes of quiet time?

And if you “only” notice that adding reflective moments into your life makes you appreciate your life more (another beauty on the list), then would you consider this an honorable goal?  Are you “in”?!

Even a few minutes a day reaps benefit.  Once you start to incorporate contemplative moments into your daily realm, you’ll notice that time expands. Trust that it will.  My “Meditation on the Go” section has been giving you some ideas of how to take baby steps into the meditative world.

You don’t have to jump into more than a few minutes a dayAs a matter of fact, it’s better to start small, see the benefits, and build from there.  Try it on for size.  Just like anything, the more you can ease into something, the less chance you’ll start off like gangbusters and then decide it’s just too much or too hard.  Remember your New Year’s resolutions?  I don’t have to remind you of the percentage of people who’ve forgotten them by week number two.

September is a great time to decide to incorporate resolutions.  Please allow me the indulgence of repeating a section from my September 2010 newsletter:

The amazing Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sara Ban Breathnach, has been a frequent companion of mine as I “come to the source” each morning to fill my cup for the day. The following is one of my absolute favorite readings since it heralds the beginning of September and speaks to the September doer in all of us. I’ve copied it for many friends since I find it so inspiring. It’s called Turning over a new leaf. Enjoy!

“Since ancient times, September has been viewed as the beginning of the new year, a time for reflection and resolution. Jews observe the High Holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of public and private atonement, a sacred withdrawal from the world for twenty-four hours in order to become right with God and others, so that real life might be renewed with passion and purpose.

Change in the natural world is subtle but relentless; seasons seem to give way gently to one another, even if the monthly motion is so swift we don’t realize we’re moving. But when the leaves start turning colors, it’s time for turning over a personal new leaf so that our lives might be restored. ‘What we need in autumn is an emotional or spiritual shot in the arm,’ Katharine Elizabeth Fite wrote in Good Housekeeping in 1949, urging the beginning of a new tradition for women: personal and positive resolutions in September. ‘Why do you suppose so many of us waste the autumn? Why don’t we make the effort that would provide something new in our lives?’ January’s negative resolutions ‘are made when we are worn out in spirit, body, and pocketbook, and have no real urge to do anything but rest.’

It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. What do you want more or less of in your life, so that you can love the life you’re leading? It could be as simple as seeing friends more often, setting aside time to have adventures with your children while they still want your companionship, rekindling romance in your daily round, calling a solitary hour a day your own (perhaps to add a meditative practice?), or just taking more walks in the dazzling sunshine.

The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change. I can try that. So can you.”

Remember change is meant to be different by its very definition. It’s meant to transform you in some way.  You have to acknowledge that something in your life is going to change to introduce meditation/mindfulness into your life.  If you’ve been stressed lately, you may intuitively know that you need “something” in your life to introduce calm—that’s a start.  The power of your transformation is formed by your initial intention.  So set that intention now.  Commit to doing “something” for 28 days—the time it takes to create a habit.  Commit to bring something new, something healing into your life.

You have the power within you to create the energy you need for anything you set your mind to.  I can say that with utmost belief—the power is within you—within your breath. Let’s start with a simple breath exercise—

“Breathe courage and confidence into your aura from within.  Practice this all day long.  You’ll soon feel the difference and love it.  Repeat.” (Unknown author)

Yes, it can be that simple.  The next time you find yourself worrying or over thinking, simply make an effort to breathe courage and confidence in.  You may not know “how” to breathe into your “aura”.  No matter.  Trust the feeling that you generate when you breathe in what you believe to be courage and confidence.  Who said someone else had to be the expert on how you breathe in?  Enjoy!

“Assume that you are the expert on your own experience, and that you have information which other people need to hear.” ~ Ricky Sherover-Marcuse