DO THESE THREE THINGS BEFORE YOU POUR YOUR COFFEE

yoga in valencia

Wake up with mindfulness!


“Mindfulness” has been quite the buzzword over the past decade and to be honest, it has got me buzzing! 

I have experienced the amazing benefits of mindfulness in my own life, from simple daily changes to more integrated practices in my life and relationships. The idea of changing our lives can be quite intimidating. However, if we can focus on changing some of our daily habits instead, these habits can in turn… change your life. Think about it, if you do something mindful once a day, every day, your life is bound to be impacted by this change.

So, here are three mindful things you can do before you pour your coffee.

First, as soon as you wake up, drink a cup of water with lemon juice. Before reaching for your coffee, or putting anything else in your body, enjoy a few moments with this refreshing glass of water. Why? Well, having a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning is not only good for the mind, but also your health! It is high in Vitamin C, promotes hydration, supports healthy weight, has been said to protect against anemia.

Second, write a daily gratitude list. “Begin each day with a grateful heart”. Can you do that? What if some of the first thoughts in the morning were thoughts about the blessings in your life? Imagine how this simple act, which takes only a few minutes a day, can impact your entire life. Begin with listing five things. It is that simple! Gratitude has been a hot topic in the field of psychology and has been seen to improve physical and psychological health as well as enhance empathy, self-esteem and quality of sleep. Sign me up!

The third mindful thing you can do before enjoying that hot cup of coffee is to move your body. Yep. Body before Coffee! Besides the benefits of exercise first thing in the morning (like improving your mood, reducing stress, and increasing energy), this has become my favorite way to wake up with mindfulness. When I move my body intentionally before I drink my coffee, I feel more present, more connected and less rushed. My movement routine becomes more fluid and more intentional rather than another thing to check off my list. Plus, it makes that cup of coffee that much more enjoyable!

Need help finding ways to move your body? You can find lots of short and full-length yoga videos on my YouTube channel here. Or enjoy 15 days of yoga, about 20 minutes each, here.

Which brings me to bonus number four. Once I have priortized my physical and mental health before my cup of coffee, I notice how much more mindful I am when I finally have that coffee in hand. It has become a part of my mindful morning ritual, rather than a mindless, sleepy habit.

How do you start your mornings? Is it mindful? Does your routine help you to feel good throuthout the day? If not, what change or changes can you make today. And remember, moments make up your days, your days make up your years and those years make up your life. 

So, choose how you intend to spend this moment, today. Here and now.

xo,

Jennison

Why I started describing the times of COVID-19 as “interesting”

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I went from describing this time as “challenging” to describing it as “interesting”.

I noticed that whenever I was talking about, or writing about the current times I was describing it as “challenging”.

“How are you holding up during this challenging time?”

“Sending you lots of love during this challenging time.”

“Oh gosh, what a challenging time…”

I know that our experiences are a reflection of our own perceptions. I also know that we function at our best when our vibration is aligned with the universe, and to be honest, I didn’t like the vibration of the word, “challenging”. Goodness knows, I definitely wasn’t interested in inviting any more challenge into my life. 

But what would be an appropriate way to describe this unprecedented time? Interesting.

“What an interesting time.”

I chose the word interesting, because I want to feel interested in this experience. Interested in the stories of others. Interested in looking inward. Interested in growing through the experience. Interested in its lessons. Interested in our new normal. Interested in seeing what the future holds. It feels better. More open. More receptive. More aligned. I now feel more involved in this experience, an active participant and an active learner. So, I’m letting go of the ways I felt challenged and I’m embracing it in a way that allows me to expand and grow through it.

How about you? How have you been describing your experience?

Photography by @jacivibes_photo at @il_grande_prato in Tuscany.

THE LUCKY ONES

yoga with jennison

The lucky ones.

When this pandemic began, I panicked. My work was centered around human touch and travel. What now? My husband had just moved to a new job, only one month prior. What was going to happen? No school for Luca? How will we manage? A dog we recently adopted who would now be confined to the indoors? How?

We were afraid of the unknown, but we were the lucky ones. We were safe and healthy. We didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills or buy groceries for the month, but we were the lucky ones. We had a community that was eager to help us. We lost most of our work, but we were the lucky ones. We were supported by so many amazing people around the world as we moved my yoga to online platforms. We couldn’t travel more than a kilometer from our home, but we were the lucky ones. We had a home we loved. We couldn’t take Luca outside for six weeks, but we were the lucky ones. We had each other.

So many people reached out to us from around the world. They couldn’t imagine what we were going through. Especially managing with a young child indoors. They were sympathetic and felt sad for us. They felt even more grateful for their own circumstances, living in a large house, with a garden, sunshine and fresh air. We have all been pushed to our edge, challenged to shift and to expand. Forced to lean in and trust in the uncertainty of it all. And through it all, despite it all, we felt grateful too. Why?

Because We are the lucky ones. 

HOW ONE WORD CAN CHANGE YOUR LOCKDOWN EXPERIENCE

Have you ever considered how your language can shift your perspective and in turn, change the way you experience your life?

For those of you sheltering in place, in quarantine, or on lockdown with children…. who is the happiest human in the house? I am confident that most of you would answer, your child(ren). Children have a beautiful way of viewing life and a precious perspective on their experience, even during challenging times.

Luca is thriving during our lockdown experience and I love learning from him every day. While I watch him learn, grow and play, I realize that it is a simple shift in his perspecitive that translates how he is experiencing his day. Likewise, I see how we adults use certain language throughout the day, which can have an unfortunate impact on our own interpretation of our lockdown experience.

I asked Luca last night what his favorite thing about lockdown is. “Todo”, he said. “Everything”.

Luca gets to spend his entire day at home with Mommy and Daddy.

Luca gets to eat three, home-cooked meals today.

Luca gets to spend the whole day playing with his toys.

Luca gets to do yoga and cook with mommy.

Luca gets to sleep in and avoid the rush out the door in the morning.

Luca gets to watch movies and play on the tablet while mommy works.

Luca gets to be safe at home.

And you?

Do you have to work? Or are you lucky enough that you get to work during this time?

Do you have to cook three meals a day for you and your family? Or do you get to enjoy healthy, consistent meals at home?

Do you have to find things to do to combat the boredom? Or do you get to learn a new skill, study, and exercise every day?

Do you have to fight for a moment alone? Or do you get to spend quality time with your children or partner?

Do you have to manage another four weeks without hanging out with your friends? Or do you get to binge watch Netflix and Facetime your loved ones whenever you want?

Dou you have to be stuck at home? Or do you get to be safe at home?

DAY 19- RANDOM RAMBLINGS AFTER ALMOST THREE WEEKS IN LOCKDOWN

I began writing this post on Day 14 of lockdown in Valencia, Spain. I wasn’t sure where to start, or even the goal of where I wanted to finish. I wanted a way to share our lockdown experience, but have been struggling to find the words. I am not really sure if there is a message I want to convey, or if this is more of a record for me. A memory, of sorts. There are definitely things I do not want to forget about this time. And other images and stories that I wish I never saw, read, or experienced.

Here is what is currently going on in our little world.

  • The country is on full lockdown. Only essential workers are able to leave the house. Since we live in the city, both drivers and pedestrians are being stopped to confirm why they are out.
  • You are allowed to leave the house to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor, or to walk your dog. Many of my friends have been stopped on the street and questioned when they have been on their way to the market. The market limits the number of people allowed inside at a time, so you plan ahead to wait at least 45 minutes in a line outside, standing one to two meters behind the person in front of you. There are panes of glass or plastic separating the workers at checkout, from the customers, and hand sanitizer at the entrance and exit.
  • It has been said that dogs have more rights than children at the moment. I have not seen a child outdoors for over two weeks. I am quite impressed by how many people are obeying the rules. Dog owners are able to take their dog out of the house, but must stay within 100 meters from home. All parks, including dog parks, have been closed. We carry our ID with our home address as well as our dog’s ID to prove ownership. In an out. 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.
  • Speaking of walking outside. It has become a dehumanizing, depressing experience. There are days it makes me too anxious and sad to even do it and I forgo those ten minutes of freedom and ask my husband to do it instead. Everything and everyone is a “threat”.
    • Spain is the most friendly place I have ever lived. Normally, when a person walks into a doctor’s office or a cafe, they greet everyone in the room with a “buenas!”. You greet your friends, and people you have just met, with two kisses. You hold hands with your friends down the street and kids play freely at the park, while the parents enjoy a coffee together. But today? No one makes eye contact. You slide to the other side of the sidewalk and hold your breath if you are forced to pass by another human being. No one speaks to one another, or even smiles. Our faces are covered. Our hands are shaking. People’s eyes have changed. Constantly looking down at the ground. Shame? Fear? Separation.

It has been an interesting personal journey. The first few days were filled with high levels of anxiety, confusion, a bit of panic and a lot of sadness. I remember calling my mom in tears, the day before we decided to quarantine ourselves as a family. My heart was breaking for Italy. For the world. Doctors were needing to make choices as to who lives and who dies. And everyone is dying alone. WTF. It is a scenario that I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams. Or rather, nightmares. And here we are today, witnessing this nightmare in countries all around the world. My heart is still breaking. And I feel completely helpless. I find it strange though, how this bad news has become part of our new normal. These days, I do my best to limit my exposure to the news and social media. I simply cannot take it all in.

Helplessness has been a common feeling in isolation. Not to be confused with hopelessness. It is challenging for me to recognize that the way that I can help the most is to stay at home. It feels like an inactive stance, but I recognize its power and I am willing to do it for as long as it takes. After all, we are not stuck at home, we are safe at home.

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Helpless. When someone we love is unwell, sad, or anxious, our natural response is to be there for them. Physically. With a hug, a homecooked meal, an intimate talk or cuddling up on the couch with ice cream and Netflix. It feels so unnatural to go through this type of global trauma separately from those we love. I decided to fight this helpless feeling by returning to the idea of bloom where you are planted. This is a time for me to bloom as an individual. To plant seeds of love within my little family unit. To be a light for my community. The ability to continue to offer yoga to my community has been my saving grace. It allows me to feel connected, to share the gift of hope and healing with others. To continue to grow and bloom, even in darkness. Hopelessness has not been invited into our home.

Hope. A feeling of desire, expectation or trust. Or, in my case, all of the above. I am holding onto hope and faith for a happier, healthier future. I hope that this experience is a collective awakening for the world. A push for gratutitude for the little things we had taken for granted. A step away from the level of  busyness and rush we seem to feel compelled to maintain and nurture. An appreciation for nature. A recognition of how little we actually need to be truly happy. After almost three weeks of isolation and lockdown, I have become extremely selective with my time. I spend most of my time playing with Luca or speaking, virtually, with my family. I suddenly have time for yoga every day, which solidifies that fact that I was simply not making it a priority in the past. All of the extra distractions of “normal life” have been removed. All of the social expectations we have put on ourselves, have been taken away from us. We have been gifted white space in our calendars. Time. And now, we get to spend that time reflecting and choosing how we will move forward and fill that space in the future. I have hope for the choice we will make.

Nature. I am writing this section with tears in my eyes. And it is surprising to me that this has become one of my emotional triggers. I have always loved nature. Especially the sunshine and the beach. I could spend all day laying on the beach with the sun on my skin. In recent years, I have begun to crave time in the mountains. Its the silence that my soul needs. The escape. When the ability to walk barefoot on the earth… or dig your toes into hot sand… or bathe in sea water… or stare at the horizon… or watch the sunset, has been stripped from you, it is heartbreaking. Soul crushing. My husband asked me the other day, what I wanted to do when all of this was over. Without hesitation, “go to the beach”, I said. My soul is not craving social interaction, or for my business to thrive, or to go for a night out in the city. My heart is aching to be reconnected to Mother Earth. To breathe endless fresh air and to feel alive with the vibration of the earth beneath my feet. And sunshine. Ahhhh, sunshine!

Lucky for us, we found this small little oasis on the rooftop of our building. Although it is technically off limits, as it is considered a space that could potentially be used for gathering, we find it worth it to hide next to the wall and soak in the sun for a few minutes a day. We even had a picnic over the weekend! And yes, pajamas all day, every day.

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After about two weeks of social distancing, the pressure to be productive really started to set in. I saw many of my friends homeschooling their preschool aged children. Honestly? I had not even considered this. I realized that a book I started months ago, lay untouched next to my bedside. I had barely spoken with anyone except for my family. I had not even been catching up on sleep. What exactly was I doing with my time? I tried to incorporate a bit more structure and educational activities in our day, but soon let that go too.

I think we are forgetting the immensity of the situation. The immense emotions we are processing day in and day out. The grief, the sorrow, the anxiety, the hope, the faith, the love. All of it. We need to continue to create space for it all.

I feel most productive when I allow myself to truly experience the moment. There are days where I begin my day with yoga, practice writing with Luca, prepare amazing meals, snuggle on the couch, call my sister and then, out of nowhere, I walk into my bedroom and collapse on the bed. The emotion of it all takes over. All at once. I take a few minutes to filter through what I am feeling and choose one emotion to process. I turn my focus towards truly feeling it. Allowing myself to feel sorrow for those who have lost their lives. Or grief for those who have lost someone they loved without getting to say goodbye and who are now, grieving alone. I process that sorrow. I sit with the grief. And then, I choose gratitude. I count my blessings. I give thanks for my health and safety and the health and safety of my friends and family. In my opinion, there is not much space (or need) for productivity at this time. So, if you have been struggling to be a stay-at-home parent, while juggling your full time job, and similtaneously processing the devastation of this pandemic… give yourself some grace. You do not need to do it all and be everything, all at once. You are doing a great job. Hang in there.

All in all, I don’t hate this lockdown. Honestly, I kind of like parts of it. And I know some of you feel the same way, but it feels weird to admit. Wrapping up almost three weeks of social isolation, I almost feel nervous for it to end. What will the world look like when we are all allowed to go outside again? Will I even want to? I imagine I will continue to feel afraid, and on edge, for quite awhile. How will Luca adapt? We are all so attached at the moment, there will definitely be an adjustment period to let him go… Will I be able to maintain my priorities or will the pressures of “regular life” take over again? For the moment, I am going to enjoy my safe little bubble as I stare out the window and imagine a beautiful future for us all. A future full of laughter, hugs, discovering our beautiful world and most of all, love.

Sending you big hugs and prayers for your health and safety.

xo,

Jennison

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CAN SOCIAL ISOLATION ACTUALLY BRING US CLOSER TOGETHER?

“We are in this together” has never been so true. And so important.

It all felt so far away at first. As time passed and the closer COVID-19 approached home, the more we came together. Fear was creeping into all areas of our lives, but we held each other tightly. Until we couldn’t. It was literally one minute to another that our physical connection to the outside world disappeared. My husband was on his way out the door to meet with friends, when we received the news that some family members were ill and there was a chance we had been exposed to the virus. We canceled everything in that moment.

What I remember most about the first two days of isolation is the anxiety. The shortness of breath. The pain and weight I carried on my chest. Living, constantly, on the verge of tears. It was almost unbearable. But then, something shifted. I have still cried every single day and  I live my entire day with tears in my eyes, but it is different now. And maybe not why you would expect.

On my last post, America can you hear me?I promised there would be beauty and blessings. And there are.

We are all in this together.

My financial livelihood disappeared in a day. Retreats canceled. No chance of teaching yoga either indoors, nor outdoors. As you can imagine, as a yoga teacher, I don’t have many financial reserves stored away for a rainy (or quarantined) day. It has not mattered much in the past. For those of you who know me well, you have probably giggled at my personal mantra- “I live in abundance”. And with an empty bank account, this mantra has never been so true. How could that be? Let me share with you what has occured in the past week.

Social distancing can, in fact, bring you closer together.

Messages started pouring in from friends and students from around the world. Messages of encouragement, love, support and empathy.

“I just want to send love and thoughts to you, and to let you know that I, among many, am here to support you, personally as a friend and professionally as a business, in any way I can”.

“The universe always has a better plan for us once we align with our highest good and allow.”

“I see you and the light you shine.”

“Thank you for your time, energy and love.”

“I am here for you, whatever you need.”

“Hey guapa, I just wanted to check in with you and see how you are doing. We WILL get through this.”

“What do you need? How can I help?”

These are only a few of many, but I spent an entire day in tears of gratitude and an overwhelming sense of community. We are in this together.

I organized a LIVE yoga session last Sunday at 12:00- my regular class time. Within seconds of pressing, Go Live, we had 70 people joining the class and after 24 hours, more than 400 people who watched and practiced along with us. Once again, I was brought to tears. We are in this together.

I set up my donation-based online yoga platform, Find Your Zen in Quarantine, which offers 15 days of online yoga sessions. Within minutes, I received my first donation and spent the next 48 hours in tears because of your overwhelming generosity. From family to best friends to complete strangers… I felt held, loved and supported. We are in this together.

The wellness & fitness community bound together and stepped up. Promoting one another’s businesses, participating virtually in one another’s offerings, taking time to support each other to get content online and offering emotional support and encouragement on this side. Offering their services for free or donation-based to promote health and wellness during quarantine. Fear and competition went out the window. We are in this together.

Young neighbors are leaving notes in their buildings offering assistance to their more vulnerable neighbors, such as going to the market or pharamacy. One friend of mine crossed town to visit a complete stranger, an eldery man who lived alone. A friend of his asked if anyone may be able to go check on him, buy him some basics and pick up his medication.  We are in this together.

Two weeks ago, I sent a message to my best friend sharing that I was struggling with how “time” was passing during the day. I felt as though I was grasping onto minutes I had with my family each day. Now, I wake up every morning with my husband and my son by my side. I spend my days cuddled up with Luca, listening to his giggle, watching him play and remembering that regardless how stressful this may be for us, he will remember this time together fondly. I never need to say, “see you later” or “have a good day, see you tonight” to the people I love the most. I get to spend my entire day with them. How amazing is that? We are in this together.

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8:00 pm. I am sure everyone in the city would agree that these five minutes give us life. Everyone opens their windows or steps onto their balconies to applaud those on the front lines. The medical professionals, police officers, grocery store employees, pharmacists and more.  We clap, we yell words of encouragement, we play music, and yes, we all do this with tears in our eyes. You can watch a video I posted of my little family applauding this week. We are in this together.

Other time, neighbors are playing “I Spy” and BINGO across the plaza or from their balconies. Others are playing live music to keep up the spirit and positivity. We are in this together.

Valencia is amazing. I see everyone listening and staying indoors. None of my friends in Valencia continued to have get togethers or go to parties or public places. We are all staying at home. And you know what that communicates? We are in this together. All of us. No exceptions.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, so does the feeling of community and comradery. It is no longer “just China” or our neighbors in Italy. It is here, at home. But the fear is lessening. Because we are not alone. None of us. We are literally, all in this together.

Please take a moment every day to find the beauty and the blessings in this strange time. They are plentiful. And surprising. And moving.

Other things I am grateful for:

Rest. 

The ability to prioritize my yoga practice.

The ability to share yoga virtually with you all.

Netflix.

Creativity. And the time to be creative.

Cooking at home.

Cozy couch time with my husband and not needing to share him 😉

Zoom conference calls with my family.

The ability to talk to my siblings every day rather than once or twice a month.

Luca’s English is finally improving now that we are together all day.

My cozy home.

Wifi, electricity, and running water.

Natural light- the sunshine is back today!

Essential oils. If I can’t have fresh air outside, this is the next best thing!

Friends and family I can call anytime I need some company.

My health and the health of my friends and family.

Check out more good news here! 

Swans and fish have returned to the canals in Venice!

We have seen a signifcant reduction in pollution over the countries on lockdown!

AMERICA, CAN YOU HEAR ME?

It’s like one of those nightmares when you see a friend at some distance smiling at you. You are screaming at them, warning them about what is approaching from behind. No matter how loud you are screaming, you have no voice. They cannot hear you. They continue smiling and standing right where they are. Your voice is silent. Your legs don’t work either. You’re frozen. Helpless. Literally watching a nightmare in front of you.

Can you hear me?

Here I am, writing from Spain with much hesitation, but feeling as though there is no choice, except to share with you the reality of what is happening. My life, one week ago, was shifting. Something was changing. There was more fear, separation, anxiety and confusion. A lot of uncertainty. But still, doubt. Denial, even. Last Wednesday, I enjoyed a coffee date after yoga class with some of my students. We stayed later for a glass of wine in the sunshine. We knew, deep down, this would be the last time we would see each other for awhile. Although the sun was shining and the city was buzzing. It was all about to change. Wednesday evening, we received a call that both my in laws were diagnosed with pneumonia. And right then and there, the world stopped.

It isn’t real, until it is.

One of the best pieces of advice I have read is to behave as though you have the virus, not as though you are avoiding it. This is the only way you will move forward with love- with the intention to protect others. Rather than running away out of fear and avoidance, engage in acts of selfless love. Stay home. Protect the vulnerable by practicing social distancing. Completely. This does not include small dinner parties with your friends. This does not involve taking your child to a public park where you will probably be alone. This does not involve supporting your local businesses by visiting your neighborhood pub or cafe. Just stop, please. I understand that the livelihoods of many people are being destroyed, trust me I get it. I too, have lost almost all financial income and security. But you know what, the lives of my friends and family matter more. The lives of strangers matter more.

What can you do for those businesses instead? Reach out to them to see how you can help (virtually). Help to promote their businesses. Offer moral support. Donate. Encourage others to do the same. Donate and give as much as you can to the establishments, small businesses, or entreprenuers that mean the most to you. But please, stay home. 

The reality hit us hard. We canceled ALL of our plans, pulled Luca out of school and have stayed home completely except to go to the market twice and to walk the dog, once in the morning and once in the evening. By walk, I mean take him to do his business. That’s it. No extra laps around the block for exercise. No excuses. Out and in. It has been six days since our family went into isolation. Three days since Spain has declared an emergency and the whole country has been on complete lockdown.

Here is our reality:

Police patrolling the streets, checking ID and receipts to make sure you actually went to the market or pharmacy. Fines are set at 3.000 euros.

No fresh air. Luca, under no circumstances will be allowed outside for at least the next 10 days. I have 10 minutes of fresh air in the morning when I take the dog outside. My husband has 10 minutes when he takes the dog out in the evening. That’s it. For those of you with a backyard, please stop complaining.

Tantrums. Arguments. Anxiety. Yep. This is reality. Every hour or so. Your kids are going to act out way more than normal. Their little bodies are confused and they are also incredibly intuitive to the stress that surrounds them. Give them opportunities to exercise, let them run wild down the halls. Get creative. Give them grace. Hug them tight.

Tantrums. Arguments. Anxiety (adult version). Yep. You and your partner, or roommates, are also going to be experiencing these things waaaayyy more than normal. Amazing what stress and anxiety do to us, huh? Many of our actions these days are driven by fear and insecurity. Separate yourself from the emotion the best you can. And be sure you are owning your emotion, not blaming God-knows-what on your partner. Then, give yourself grace. Hug each other tight.

People are dying. And no, not “just” old people. I hate to break it to you, but young people are dying too. Remember, those “just” groups of people such as the elderly, vulnerable or sick are someone else’s everything. Maybe yours. Definitely mine.

You do not need to be old or have a prior health condition to die from this. It does not discriminate. I know it feels far away because you don’t know anyone who is sick yet. But, I promise, you will.

Everything is a risk. Last night as I wiped down our groceries with alcohol wipes, tears filled my eyes. Have you ever thought about needing to clean a can of beans and pasta packaging because it posed a threat to you and your family?

Testing is nearly impossible. Whatever numbers you see out there are not correct. Testing is virtually inaccessible. Imagine calling the helplines for six days to have someone come to your house to test you for the virus. If you are lucky, you might get through after a week of showing symptoms. If you are not in grave danger, you will be told to stay at home. No test. Behave as if you have it. If it gets worse… what? Because guess what? The emergency lines are not picking up either.

Can you imagine a world without 911? Well. Welcome to the new reality. No emergency services at your finger tips. 112 is unreachable in Spain. You’re young and not going to get sick, so no big deal right? Hmmmm. What do you think is happening to the people who are having heart attacks? The robberies. The car accidents. The child who fell and hit his head and is non-responsive. What now? Good question.

Separation and a lack of freedom. Our borders are closed. I am not sure I could even find my way home to California if I wanted to, or needed to. So, yeah. I won’t even go there. I will leave it to your imagination what nightmares I am living with at this moment. So, please, do me a favor. Stay home.

Beauty and blessings. There will be a lot of beauty hidden in these next weeks. Unexpected, tear-jerking, jaw-dropping, heart-warming beauty. You will be filled with so much gratitude, so much love, so much community in isolation. I guarantee it. Enjoy it. (I dive deeper into this on my next post- Can social isolation actually bring us closer together?)

Protect yourselves.

Protect your families. Protect mine.

Protect strangers the same way you are protecting your neighbors.

The truth is, we are in this together. So, I beg you. Be in this with me. This is not a drill. This is not a joke. And for those of you reading this from America, it’s on its way. More real than you can even imagine.

My intention in writing this is to be raw and truthful. And I am not concered about fear mongering, because it actually feels necessary. We didn’t act until we were scared. Shitless. Good thing we stocked up on TP.

Take care everyone. Please know that this comes from a place of love. A little fear, but a lot of love. The better you take care of yourselves now, the sooner we get to be reunited.

Love you.

xo,

Jennison

YIN YOGA FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

I truly believe the body has the potential to heal the body. After my yin yoga training this past winter, I have developed a deep love for yin yoga, the Chinese meridian system, and the impact of our chi, or energy, in the body. I could go on and on, but for the sake of this post, I’ll keep it simple.

A 60-minute Yin Practice to Support the Immune System

(Don’t have time for a full 60-minute practice? Choose two to three of the poses below and hold each for two to three minutes. Enjoy ten to 15 minutes of immune-support bliss!)

This practice focuses on the Chinese element of metal, with an energetic emphasis on the lungs. Incorporated into this yin sequence for the immune system, you will find chest openers, twists, and mindful breathing practices. All designed to release the body of stagnant energy, detoxify, and support the immune system.

Featured poses: Criss-Cross Arms, Melting Heart Pose, Open Wing, Supine Twist, Reclined Fish, Legs up the Wall and Savasana.
yoga with jennison

Begin your practice with ten mindful breaths.

I like to use an extended exhale technique to calm the mind and bring my nervous system into a parasympathetic state. Worry, stress and anxiety trigger our fight or flight response, sending the nervous system into a sympathetic state. This releases hormones and chemicals into the body, such as adrenaline, which can weaken the immune system. A weakened immune system can make you more vulnerable to viral infections and frequent illness.

Extended Exhale Technique: Come to a comfortable seated position and close, or lower, the eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose and a big breath out of the mouth. Seal the lips and continue by breathing in and out of the nose. On the inhale, breath in for three counts. Exhale for six counts. Repeat for at least ten breaths.

Begin your practice in child’s pose for five breaths, bringing your awareness to the present moment. Slide forward into Criss-Cross Arms, with the right arm closer to the body, palms facing down towards the earth. Remain here for three minutes. Slowly release out of the pose and spend one minute laying flat on the belly, with the arms by your sides. Then, switch sides, returning to Criss-Cross Arms with the left arm closer to the chest. Hold the pose for three minutes. Release the pose by returning to child’s pose for one minute.

Slide forward into Melting Heart pose, bringing the hips directly over the knees and melting the chest down towards the earth. You can place the chin, or the forehead, onto the mat. Hold the pose for five minutes. Breath deeply. To come out of the pose, press back to child’s pose or laying flat on the belly for one minute.

Come to laying face down on the mat. Move into Open Wing pose by extending the right arm straight out from the shoulder and placing the left palm under the left shoulder. Turn your gaze to the left. As you begin to press into the left palm, stack the left hip on top of the right hip, possibly bringing the left foot onto the earth. Hold for three minutes. Return to laying flat on the belly, with the arms by your sides for one minute. Repeat Open Wing pose on the left side. Hold for three minutes and then rest on the belly for one minute, observing the sensations in the body.

Gently make your way onto your back. Hug both knees into your chest and then extend your left leg flat onto the earth, keeping the right knee hugged in. Use the left hand to cross the right knee across your body for Supine Twist. Turn your gaze to the left and hold the pose for three minutes. Bring both knees back into the chest for one minute, to neutralize the spine. Switch sides, crossing the left knee across the chest, towards the right. Hold Supine Twist for three minutes. Bring both knees back into the chest for one minute, maybe rocking side to side to massage the lumbar spine.

Bring a bolster or rolled up blanket under the upper back for Reclined Fish pose. Let the head rest towards the earth and cactus the arms to the sides to expand the chest. The legs can be extended flat or place the feet on the earth, bending the knees. Hold Reclined Fish pose for five minutes. Remove the bolster, place both feet on the earth with knees bent and rock the knees side to side.

Bring your mat towards the wall, shift the hips as close to the wall as possible. You may like to fold a blanket under the hips. Extend both legs up the wall and relax. Stay with your Legs up the Wall for five minutes. Gently roll off the wall to one side, lowering the legs to the earth. Lay in a fetal position on one side for one minute.

Make your way into Savasana, laying flat on the mat or with a bolster under your knees. Relax your arms down by your sides, with the palms facing up. Take up some space with your legs and allow the feet to fall open to the sides. Close the eyes and breath naturally. Remain in Savasana for five to ten minutes.

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I hope you enjoy this yin yoga sequence and reap the benefits. Thank you to my beautiful model student, Jenalee, for allowing me to photograph her practice.

Cheers to a happy, healthy season for all.

Namaste,

Jennison

I CAN ALSO BREATHE DEEPLY IN THIS MOMENT

Sometimes we assume that in order to meditate or to be mindful, we need to silence the mind. There is a sense of desperation to avoid distraction and only allow peace to enter the mind and body. We are hard on ourselves when we notice our minds have wandered or when our days have become saturated with checklists and obligations.

yoga with jennison

One of my favorite mantras is

“I can also breathe deeply in this moment”.

Distractions, work, stress, sadness, illness, tragedy and bad days are inevitable. What’s beautiful is that even during these tough moments, we can also breathe deeply. Our breath is always here for us. I can feel stressed and I can also breathe deeply in this moment.

yoga with jennison

It is not about resisting, avoiding or excluding the tough stuff. But rather, exploring each moment of your life by inviting it all in as a part of the human experience. Allow the sound of traffic or noisy neighbors, while you’re meditating, to become a part of your experience. Allow physical tension to be present in the body. Allow your thoughts to move freely. And then, allow your breath to be bigger, deeper, and more present than each of these things.

MY FOUR TOP TIPS FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS

I never imagined owning my own business. “Work” was never a huge priority in my life until… I discovered my passion and created ways to thrive professionally while only focused on doing what I love. Living in Valencia, I am surrounded by both brand new and successful entrepreneurs. I’ve worked hard to get my business off the ground, while remaining committed to my mission, values, and passion. Many budding business owners have reached out to me for advice as they set out on the exciting journey of entrepreneurship. And here are my top four tips for getting your business off the ground.

My four tips for new entrepreneurs: Moving from fear and doubt to inspired action

  1. Identify your niche. Who is your audience? Get familiar and specific here. Don’t be afraid to niche down. The more clarity you have of your ideal client, the easier it will be to maintain your focus and serve the right audience. Think about who you want to serve. With whom are you eager to share your gifts? Take some time to visualize and write a couple paragraphs about him or her. Identify your special niche as you get to know your ideal client.
  2. Leave perfectionism behind. This is a big one. For me, it’s been a self-taught and dutifully-practiced concept. Here’s the thing. No one is perfect. No one. And no one has ever done, delivered, produced or created something perfectly from the very first attempt. So, please, get comfortable with leaving perfectionism behind. The most important thing as a new entrepreneur is getting your gifts out into the world. Begin to share, start to expand your reach and gather feedback as you go. Over time, you can work on “perfecting” your product or service. But today, just get started. Take that first step.
  3. Get comfortable with social media. No, no, you don’t need to become an overnight social media influencer. However, you do need to get comfortable sharing what you have to offer. When you share yourself and your gifts, you show your confidence in what you have to offer. When you put yourself out there, you are reaching your audience- your ideal client- the actual human lives you are working to impact! Don’t worry about over-sharing. For every ten posts you make, the average viewer is only seeing one or two of them. Make yourself shown. Show up and share your gifts! (Some niches will not require social media activity, but most all of your endeavors will required “social sharing”. It may be in person, advertisements, referrals, farmers markets etc.) Figure out how you are best able to reach your idea client and show up!)
  4. DON’T GIVE UP. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” Don’t. Give. Up. This is the one that I see the most often. You are inspired by someone who is “doing what you want to do” and you are excited, motivated, and ready to start your journey as an entrepreneur. The problem is that you expect results fast. You may expect your success to happen somewhat overnight. After all, you are doing exactly what that other inspiring person is doing, aren’t you? Please don’t discount the amount of time that successful, inspiring person has invested in their own journey. Don’t assume that just because their failures are not posted on their instagram account, that they have never had an experience like showing up to teach an empty room, talking alone on a Facebook live, needing to cancel an event, losing profit, etc.  Everyone experiences failure and setbacks. It is up to you whether you see this failure as an end or as a lessonChoose the lesson during every experience on this journey. Don’t give up.
yoga with jennison