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Please … Listen

My poem was published in InJoy Magazine. This work is intended to remove the stigma of mental illness and promote a sense of love and a call for discussion. It was inspired by the tragic mass shooting that occurred at our beloved Capital Gazette in Annapolis Maryland.

I am unsure of whether or not mental illness is more prevalent these days, or maybe it is  just spoken of more openly. Throughout history we have seen instances of mental illness and the dire effects that it can have on society. In the past it has always felt like mental illness came with a stigma, a scarlet letter… it was something to be hidden, ashamed of, taken care of quietly, or sometimes ignored.

Although it is still a difficult and sometimes taboo subject, it does seem that in more recent years people are willing to remove the veil of secrecy and stop suffering in silence. If there is one message I hope to pass down to my children, and one message that I hope as a collective society that we can pass down to the next generation, it is this; Do not suffer alone. Life is too short and too precious to not live it with joy. Rely on those around you and seek help when needed. Check in on your neighbors, friends, and family. Reach out to those who are hurting and lonely. Be a voice of peace and compassion whenever possible, and never forget how worthy each one of us is.

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Full Moon Home Practice!

I am so very fortunate to live in a community where people love to come together to celebrate the full moon as a time of change and renewal.

Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday evening to celebrate the full moon! It was such a beautiful night and lovely to be outside despite the brewing storm. What a wonderful experience to hear the distant thunder and feel the gentle sprinkle of the cleansing rain washing away all of the negativity from our lives.

If you could not join us for practice yesterday, I encourage you to check out these videos below. The full moon will be visible this evening assuming there is not too much cloud coverage.

The first video is perfect for children and families. It features a quirky attempt at green screen lol! A shortened moon salute and a read-a-loud story to help end the day.

The second video is the practice we typically do for our full moon meditations on the beach!

Wishing you well! Please share with anyone you feel might find this interesting.

Much love,

Jillian

Happy Fourth Of July: Home Practice Including Eagle Pose

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Happy Fourth of July!

Although I will miss practicing with those I get to see regularly on Wednesday nights this evening, I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday. Please see the video link below for a new home practice video on my YouTube Channel 

Inspired by the 4th of July, this practice incorporates Eagle Pose as well as meditations on what it means to be truly free.

Regardless of our political beliefs, or our party affiliations, we are all human. We all have the same basic needs, the same desire to be loved and accepted. We all have the same rights. Let us be grateful for all that we have and to practice kindness, compassion, love, and non-judgment to ourselves, and all we meet.

Happy 4th!

Namaste
-Jillian

Intermediate Challenging Strong Flow Sequence

Let’s Get Flowy!

Enjoy this challenging fun and flowy sequence. Incorporating half lotus, fallen triangle, three legged down dog, toe stance, and more! Modifications are available as needed and you should always listen to your body.

Personally I love experimenting with new movement ideas, interesting transitions, and exploring my body’s capabilities day by day. Take some time to challenge yourself, to delve deeper into your practice, and to harness your physical and mental strength!

If you enjoy this video please consider subscribing to my channel and sharing with others who might enjoy it as well!

Namaste!

-Jillian

Stretch Your Calves!

Stretch and Release Tight Calf Muscles

Our calves play an important role in just about every step we take. Tight calf muscles can increase your chances of injury and can greatly decrease your range of motion. Below are several stretches designed to help stretch and release your calves. Tight calves come with the territory for those who wear heels, ill fitting shoes, desk workers, and  runners. Happy stretching!

Single leg extension
lifting the heel of your front foot pull the toes towards you. Keep your beck knee bent and front knee as straight as possible.
Cross Legged Forward Fold
Keeping your crossed legs straight and feet close together, fold forward at the hip hinge.
Runners lunge
Staying on the shin of your back leg sink your hips toward your back heel as you fold forward over your front leg. Point and flex the front foot.

Full Moon Yoga: Let go of that which does not serve you

Tomorrow May 29th marks the next Full Moon! I will be doing a live feed practice from my community beach. I will be guiding you through a meditative moon salutation where we will help rid ourselves of any negativity that may be hindering us from living life to our fullest potential.

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I ask you to reflect on any areas of your life that are causing you distress. Do you have unrealistic expectations? Are you holding onto past hurts or old grudges? Are you being too hard on yourself or those around you? Do you get stuck in negative thought patterns?

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Spend some time in gentle reflection and join me here tomorrow (8 pm EST) for a live feed practice where we will let go of that which does not serve us and make space to begin anew!

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Celebrate the Gift of Life on Mother’s Day

Who else on earth is able to bring forth new life? Who else on earth knows the joys and difficulties of a new life forming within their own? Who else, but a mother?

On this Mother’s Day I want to share with you a passage from The Rumi CollectionSomething about it just speaks of the immense mystery and beauty of the formation of human life.

The Embryo

When the time comes for the embryo
to receive the spirit of life,
at that time the sun begins to help.
This embryo is brought into movement,
for the sun quickens it with spirit.
From the other stars this embryo received only an impression,
until the sun shone upon it.
How did it become connected
with the shining sun
in the womb?
By ways hidden from our senses:
the way whereby gold is nourished,
the way a common stone becomes a garnet
and the ruby red,
the way fruit is ripened,
and the way courage comes
to one distraught
with fear.

Today we honor the divine power of the female form.

Namaste

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Instagram Art by buttafly_art

Instagram Art by buttafly_art

A Mindful Approach to Chronic Pain and Illness

We have the great honor and great privilege of being human. However being that we are only human, we must come to terms with our own mortality and our own limitations. We must treat ourselves with love, respect, care, compassion, and grace, even when faced with aspects of ourselves that are difficult to appreciate.

When there is something that is causing us pain or discomfort, or if something is limiting us in any way, it is only natural to want to find an immediate solution. While some problems may be easily fixed, unfortunately for others, there is simply no quick fix and in some cases, no fix at all.

This may sound disheartening and this may sound dismal or hopeless, but just because there may be no available solution, does not mean that the only option is to suffer. This concept proves especially beneficial and pertinent to those who experience chronic pain or suffer from chronic illness.

We all deserve to feel our best and to function as the best version of ourselves. And to function as the best version of ourselves, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to accept ourselves as we are and to not hold ourselves to unreasonable expectations or demands. We are after all only human.

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We must view ourselves as perfectly imperfect and remain free from judgment. Don’t push, don’t force, don’t demand change. Instead, acknowledge, appreciate, and accept.

Living with chronic pain or illness can seem like a life of inescapable suffering, a burden too heavy to carry, and completely intolerable. But you don’t have to live in this negative frame of mind.

While a mindful approach to chronic pain and illness is not a cure, it can be a maintenance tool that can drastically enhance your quality of life.

As  a sufferer of migraines and endometriosis, I have found myself all too often thinking things like,  I can’t do this, I can’t live like this, this will never end, I will always be in pain, this is the worst pain I have ever experienced, I don’t want to live like this anymore….

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What happens when we get caught in these negative thought patterns is that we begin to fixate of what is wrong, we begin to panic, and our mind begins to suffer along with the body rather than guiding the body through the suffering.

Negative thinking is hard to overcome but if we can begin to train the mind to be a place free of judgement, to be a calm center for control, and to be a rational zone for positivity, we can greatly decrease the amount of physical suffering we endure.

The first step is to simply breathe. By oxygenating the blood, we flood the body with endorphins, which naturally help to decrease the amount stress and pain we experience.

Breathe

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Inhale…. Exhale….Inhale ….Exhale. To calm the mind and stop your thoughts from racing say this to yourself as you allow deep breaths to fill the body.

Put a count to your breath, 3 counts in and 3 counts out.

Imagine inhaling peace, calm, comfort, and acceptance… Exhale pain, negativity, stress, and anxiety.

 

Once we begin to control the breath and use it to our advantage we can then begin to meditate on something more positive. Find the good around you and let go of those things that you cannot control.

Meditate

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Call to mind something for which you are grateful today.

Recall a treasured memory.

Imagine a picturesque or soothing scene.

Find something beautiful that you have taken for granted (something in nature, something in your own home)

What is something that you have done that you are proud of?

What defines you? Truly defines you? Who are you, for you are surly more than your pain, your illness, or your disability?

 

If you are having trouble calming the mind and body with breath or positive thought, try a beneficial distraction. When we approach ‘distraction’ in a mindful way, we are not telling ourselves we are not allowed to feel a certain way, we are simply giving our self the opportunity to consciously turn our attention to something more beneficial.

Mindfully Distract

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Go for a walk. Actively look for the beauty and peace that surrounds you in nature.

Call a friend.

Read a book.

Be creative.

 

While we might not be able to fully cure our chronic pain or illness, there are often various things we find that can help ease the symptoms or severity. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s mild exercise. Perhaps yoga or stretches help ease pain and discomfort. Maybe a massage, or a warm bath prove beneficial. Perhaps giving yourself extra time to rest or making certain dietary or lifestyle changes can help in some way. The key is to actively seek out any triggers that you may be aware of, and then explore different methods of alleviating the pain or discomfort as best you can.

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Just because we live with chronic pain or illness, does not mean that we must allow it to control us. We are beautiful and worthy and when we approach our limitations with compassion, we can achieve a better quality of life and overall wellbeing.

 

 

 

Do You Sit Too Long?

Many working parents find it difficult to find time in the day to exercise or practice self-care. For those who work office jobs, this often means falling into the trap of sitting more often than they would like, limiting physical activity  and potentially leading to chronic aches and pains. If you sit at a desk the majority of the day, chances are you suffer from neck and back pain. This video features exercises that can be done right from your desk! It also features a short sequence designed to restore the body and mind at the end of a long work day.