Do Something for Its Own Sake: Living with Authenticity

healing, somatic, somatic healing, somatic psychology, yoga, santa barbara healing, somatic psychology

Authenticity

Writing blog posts and staying connected to clients and friends virtually is an interesting process. I want to stay connected and remind people of what I offer, all the while trying not to bombard them with extraneous articles or self-promoting spiritual rhetoric. It can certainly feel inauthentic and counter-intuitive to “sell” healing-focused services, yet people do it every day and business is business, right? Not really. I think a lot about authenticity and what it means for each of us. I especially ponder this in the morning, just before having coffee and figuring out how much time I have to either meditate, stretch, or frantically run around and get shit done. My father has more integrity than anyone I know and he always tells me to “do something for its own sake”.  Even when my ego puts a banana peel underneath my integrity, I strive to have that statement be my life-mantra.

Attempting to market something as intimate as psychotherapy, bodywork, and healing can feel like inter-psychic tight-rope walking. Authenticity is important and it cannot always coexist with ego-driven marketing approaches; at least not for me. I have an enormous amount of respect for individuals who are able to professionally put themselves out there while operating from the heart. It is a meaningful skill and something to be proud of.

There are so many ways to express meaning in our day-to-day experiences, yet often authenticity seems to slip through the cracks of good intentions and productive life goals. Have you ever found yourself moving along the path, mostly in alignment with what you are meant to do, yet somehow forgetting how you got to that path in the first place? Or do you wonder what would have happened if you took a different route? It is natural to question things and challenge ourselves to do better and be in alignment with our destiny. It is also important to stay in touch with the lived experience of life in the body, as not to get swept away by critical thinking or mental confusion.

In other words, challenge yourself to be authentic every single day, but also cut yourself a little slack.

Some steps to tap into AUTHENTICITY and support LIFE FLOW.

Gratitude

Take a moment to pause and be grateful for what you have. Visualize what you’re grateful for, honor it, and be thankful for it.

Breathe

One great practice is taking slow breaths for a minute or so, and then doing an easy pranayama: Inhale 4, hold 8, Exhaling 4. Practice for five + minutes.

Sense

Where do you feel sensations? What do they feel like? Assign adjectives to the sensations. Are there emotions you can associate with those sensations?

Write

After taking some minutes to do the above, write out your goals or authenticity-driven plans for that day, week, year. Then check back in with your body. Does it feel spacious and connected to what your are writing? Or restricted and lacking resonance? Usually our bodies will inform us of what we need to know and if what we are working on is in alignment with our path. This isn’t to say everything we do professionally or personally must always feel peachy. Life is full of ups and downs and it’s our biologically job to ride the wave as long as we can; ideally guided with compassion and insight. Body awareness and mindfulness enable us to live with more authenticity and grace. It’s that simple. The next time you are questioning what is going on in your life, or how to be more authentic, slow down and sense; and then maybe grab a pen and get curious about your next steps.

Other tidbits about Romi can be found on Facebook or Instagram @romicumes

(Video) Five Poses a Day with Romi: Yoga for Jet Lag

Five Poses a Day: Yoga for Jet lag

This sequence will help you feel relaxed and restored after long periods of sitting, traveling, and crossing time zones. It can be completed in fifteen to twenty minutes. Or, add a few of your favorite poses and take some extra breaths to create a longer practice.

Five Poses a Day with Romi: Yoga for Jet Lag from Romi on Vimeo.

(Video) Five Poses a Day with Romi: Yoga for Inner Balance

Five Poses A Day: Yoga for Inner Balance

This video was filmed in the wilderness in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Utilize these postures to feel more present with yourself and create a feeling of inner balance and calm. This sequence can be completed in fifteen to twenty minutes. Or, add a few of your favorite poses or take some extra breaths in each posture to create a longer practice.

To stay in touch with us about Romi’s upcoming 2018 Yoga Safari in the Okavango Delta, email us at romicumes@gmail.com or call (805) 448-4111

Five Poses a Day with Romi: Yoga for Centering from Romi on Vimeo.

Five Poses a Day with Romi: Centering

Five Poses a Day, September Sequence

Happy Friday!

I have many clients and friends that want to start practicing yoga, meditating, or exercising more, but find the process daunting or unapproachable. Even though I have been practicing and teaching yoga for many years, I can relate and often find it challenging to simply get on the mat. One thing I find extremely helpful with this yoga/exercise quandary, is to simply commit to five postures. That’s right FIVE POSTURES or simple exercises. We can all make time to do five poses and by setting the intention to just do five, we usually end up wanting more and extending the practice. Doing five poses a day is not overwhelming and only takes fifteen to twenty five minutes, depending on how fast you work through the sequence and how many variations you add.

Today is a new moon and a new time to commit to taking care of your body, mind, and spirit. Here’s a sequence that can help you jump start your day and motivate your self-care practice.

plank-1

Pose 1: PLANK 10-20 breaths if done without variations. With variations, 5-10 breaths each

(Variation 1 and 2 Pictured below)

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plank-3

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Additional Pose/Rest: Child’s Pose or Wide Knee Child’s Pose

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POSE 2: Low Lunge with Rhomboid Squeeze

5-10 breaths holding lunge. 10-20 shoulder/rhomboid squeeze reps (pulse and squeeze shoulder blades together behind you, keeping hands active)

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Variation 1: Gentle twisting low lunge (left arm not visible in photo and can reach above head to activate psoas/hip flexor stretch)

side-bend-1Pose 3: Side Stretch with Hip Opener; keep feet and arms active (both sides, 5-15 breaths)

Variation 1: Side Stretch with Hip Opener and Neck Release

side-bend-2

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Pose 4: Knee to Chest (both sides, 5-15 breaths)

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Pose 5: Spinal Twist (both sides, 5-15 breaths)

 

Have a beautiful day!

-Romi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams, the Election and a Breath Practice

For the last three elections I have been offered several dreams that have subversively displayed the results of a major election about four to six months before November. Last night I received a second of two dreams that may be clarifying the end result of the election. I received the first dream about six months ago, which circuitously referenced both a mass shooting and Mrs. Clinton in the same sequence. Various points in the dream showed her “being in charge” after this terrible shooting. How she presented to me in the dream was not ideal, but it was what it was and she was in the lead. My intention for her is that she will choose to work with other democratic leaders, such as Bernie and Elizabeth Warren, so we may evolve into our next global phase of consciousness.

I received an additional dream last night which leads me to feel certain Trump will not win in 2016. The metaphor was that he is on a lower floor, he is not on top. As many of us sense, he is young spiritually and at an introductory level with much to learn. And, when observing another’s spiritual path or “flaws” if you will, it is also important to remember how we each have our own lessons to learn in this lifetime, many of which are about growing away from operating systems fueled by ego and power. Regardless of the level or floor we are on, we still need to treat others with kindness, hear their story, listen to their needs, and work together rather than separately to serve humanity and meet goals. There is no “better” and “higher” and my sense is when we really get that on a body and soul level, we will see great changes in this world. And yes, some people just aren’t on the top floor yet, and have a lot more work to do, no matter how many penthouses their portfolio can afford. We still need to be humble, kind, and accepting of others. This dream also showed me that on a soul level, Mr. Trump knows about his narcissism and that it will limit his development. A part of him is choosing to be below right now. Election-wise my sense is he will not end up on top.

And lastly, although I don’t usually write so much about politics, I do want to take a moment to honor Bernie and all he represents for humanity. He has been leading with authenticity and love for decades and whether he is president or not in this lifetime, his efforts are being received by the Whole. He is another keystone in building a more conscious, expansive, and unified future; one where violence and greed will no longer be what guides people of power. Thank you for that Bernie, you have helped so many and I hope you get to take a nice long vacation before your next circuit of inspirational speeches.

Mindfulness and Somatic Inquiry

I will end this with a question for you. What are you doing each day to support yourself to feel more balanced, loving, and centered? If time is an issue for you, remember that even a ten minute mindfulness practice can reset negative thinking, calm your nervous system, and support you to show up in the world in a more peaceful way. Those minutes you take not only impact you, but positively impact the world around you. Studies have shown that twenty minutes or more of daily mediation can shift grey matter in the brain, so the more minutes the better. That being said, five or ten is still better than zero, so remember to do something today to mindfully take care of yourself. If you don’t have a favorite meditation or yoga teacher, there are many free guided resources on You Tube, as well as free and low-cost guided meditation Apps. For a brief yoga session, go to “Yoga Anytime” online. I will be posting a free guided audio/video meditation in the next few days. See below for the written version.

In addition to being physiologically beneficial, breathing exercises (pranayama) are especially helpful if you have an active mind and need something to focus on while meditating. Breathing exercise can support you to feel more balanced and physically spacious, as well as regulate the nervous system and sooth the sympathetic branch of the nervous system (fight/flight/freeze response).

Ten Minute Mindful Breath Exercise (set a timer)

Breathe in slowly through the nose for four counts, then breathe out for four counts. Repeat that 5-10 times until you sense a rhythm and flow. Make sure you are comfortable in a seated or supine position.

Next: Inhale through the nose for four counts, hold (retain) your breath for four counts, and exhale out your mouth slowly (also about four), as if you are fogging up a window with your breath. Relax your mouth and face and visualize tense energy moving out of you and also imagine energy grounding down towards your feet and the earth. You don’t have to understand this cognitively, just feel your breath and imagine energy moving in and out and in and down (grounding).

Repeat the above for the next eight minutes.

Practitioners can also hold the breath double the amount of time (for eight counts) before exhaling. Start with holding 4 and move on to 8 after practicing this a few times.

This practice focuses on utilizing a clearing breath (exhaling out the mouth), however exhaling out of the nose also works well here and has a calming effect. Exhaling out the mouth more directly assists the jaw to relax and clears stuck energy. Feel out which type of exhale feels right for that day’s practice. In Yoga, exhaling out the mouth is often referenced as a “cooling” breath.

Beginners please note: When practicing additional Hatha Yoga with asanas (poses), not just pranayama, it may be beneficial to discuss your practice with an instructor. Feel free to message me with any questions. 

Adding a somatic focal point can also be helpful here. Choose an area in your body that needs some extra support, space, and love and focus there while you breathe.

Notice how that area feels when you begin; is it tense, tight, loose, tender, hot, cold, dense etc.? As you approach the end of the session, notice how it has changed. If your somatic awareness wants to travel to another area in your body, allow it to.

Taking just ten minutes to do this each day, or any other mindfulness practice you reasonate with, is a powerful step for creating more ease and joy in your life. I will be posting videos of these practices soon on this blog. Stay tuned, literally 🙂

Have a beautiful day,

Romi