I’ve always been aware of and attracted to contrasts. Light vs shadow. Bright vs dark. In my personal art practice, contrasts have been a theme, as they have in my personal experience of emotions. And in Hawaii, this awareness was heightened. I visited Hawaii for the first time in 2017 while I was still living in Johannesburg, with a group friends who are all Kahuna Bodywork practitioners in South Africa, along with our Kahuna teacher. I wrote this article a few weeks after our return from this trip.
Going to visit Hawaii is a distant dream for many people, certainly for people in South Africa. It’s something we put on visionboards and bucket lists, because Hawaii has the appeal of being like paradise. It is a minimum 32-hour excursion to travel half way around the world to Hawaii from Johannesburg, but it is a trip worth making, and I am so grateful that I was able to go.
Many parts of Hawaii are just like the tropical paradise we are shown when we Google images. Everything is bigger, brighter, bluer, crisper, more colourful and exquisite than we experience in daily life in smoggy Johannesburg (or any big city). In terms of beauty, it’s like Cape Town on steroids. The plants are exquisitely exotic, with colors that appear too intense to be real, and the rainbows look like they were painted on top of the clouds, close enough to touch.
But Paradise also has its dark parts and challenges and bad weather. It was the volcanoes that had the biggest impact on me. The black lava landscapes had me fascinated, and as we got closer to them I was entranced by the ‘lava doodles’ created as lava flowed and solidified into earth. (l do love doodles!)
The Big Island (Hawaii) is an active volcano. As you drive, you see large parts of the landscape are made of pitch-black lava. One morning, we ventured out at 4 am to walk nine kilometers to see where the live volcano’s lava tube entered the ocean. It was beyond exhilarating to be walking out in this dark landscape before the sun was up.
It is a natural habit of my mind to draw parallels between Mother Nature and our human existence – we are part of nature after all. The stark contrast and beauty of the black and blue, the light and dark, brought to my mind the essence of how we often feel, living in our world of duality, a world where it’s all about right vs wrong, black vs white, Christian vs Muslim, Jews vs Palestinians, us vs them, rich vs poor etc. It’s also how we flow with our emotions – one day we can feel joyful, and the next, we can be in a deep dark pit of despair. For me, this adventure was the highlight of the whole trip – seeing new earth being formed in front of our eyes. It was a potent moment to witness all four elements present in one place like this – fire and water creating earth, and letting off steam (air).
The potency was in noticing that at the point where the two contrasting energies of fire and water meet in the ocean, alchemy happens and there is magic. Something new is formed. New land. New territory. New terra firma. It changes the shape of the existing island and creates more land. This is the power of fire. It is both destructive and creative.
Since my return from Hawaii, I have felt like I am the lava. I am the hot red molten stuff flowing down the mountainside toward the ocean where I will be transformed into something new. I did not yet know what that meant, however it is inevitable that if my thoughts are changing and my energy is changing (as I am consciously working on them to create change, and traveling the world changes you), then the physical nature of my body and the outer reality of my life will change too. It has to. It has in the past, and it is certain that it will in the future.
In the meantime, I’ve been going through quite a journey down that mountainside toward the changing point. For a few weeks after Hawaii, the heat of the lava’s fire burned deep inside me, and showed up on the outside as rage (road rage in particular. I often use my reactions to other drivers on the road as a barometer of what my emotions are really doing inside me), irritation, and hot fury.
Then the anger turned to hurt, sadness and disappointment. It was not aimed at anything or anyone, except perhaps politicians and the state of the world in general, and at myself. Now, I know better than to place the blame for my uncomfortable emotions onto anything outside myself, because the world is as it is, and I am responsible for my inner world and my emotions. I also know better than to be angry and blaming myself. But the emotions (and their associated thoughts) came along anyway.
All of these emotions came to the surface with force. My dear partner has been so loving in accepting them – but I have been so judgmental of them, trying to be the perfect partner and mother, the good girl, the pleasant daughter, friend, and colleague. I wanted to see myself as perfect in all ways, and I didn’t want to accept these ‘ugly’ and uncomfortable emotions as part of me.
So I took steps, took action to clear the confusion and move the energy. I’ve been dancing and art journaling, and intuitively writing and drawing (doodling) and meditating and ruminating and chanting and receiving Kahuna massage to shift them. I’ve been to see my homeopath and doctor, and got remedies for the physical signs of my anxiety and stress (like not being able to get enough breath in, and feeling totally fatigued). I am emerging from the deep dark pit, and seeing a bit of light again.
Sometimes moving and shifting these emotions is not always the answer. We need to BE with them. Sit WITH them. And wait for them to transmute into something else. THIS is the alchemy. This is where the magic happens and we start to love ourselves wholly – love the whole spectrum of emotions and feelings that we experience, AND all the behaviors and quirks that show up as part of us. These ‘ugly’, ‘bad’ parts are not something separate from us, things that need to be ‘got rid of’. No. When we can gently be with them like we would be with a small child who is having a tantrum, and love them fully, then we can love everyone else more fully – especially those people or groups of people that we view as ‘different, separate, other’. Perhaps this is the healing that we all need to do for our planet to heal.
The experience of these deep fiery emotions changed me on the inside. The hot emotions moved on eventually, and I felt I had been cleansed of deep-seated beliefs that were holding me in a pattern that was stuck. Something was released. Six months after this trip, I found myself married and moving my life across the ocean to live in Washington. (I had always dreamed of living away from Johannesburg, near water, and here I am surrounded by the most beautiful lakes.)
One way to learn to love yourself more deeply is by connecting with the body. Kahuna Transformational Bodywork is often called “the dance of breath and life from the heart.” Regular sessions of Kahuna bodywork can take you through the fire, emerging on the other side. You can schedule one session, or if you want to experience how regular Kahuna Transformational Bodywork can support you in your life, I offer special pricing for packages. Book via my website, or contact me directly to book a session at Cedar Sanctuary. firstname.lastname@example.org / 425.435.9498
I placed a sign at the entry of Cedar Sanctuary that reads simply, “choose joy.” Is it really that simple? (My initial typo when writing this was “chgoose” joy, which I am en-joying and will use here.) I chgoose joy!
What does this mean, and what exactly is joy? Joy can be an attitude, a lens through which we see the world, even when (especially when) times are challenging, painful, or situations that seemingly do not inspire joy. Key: This does not mean denying or resisting feelings of grief, anger, sadness, or moments when joy may be temporarily forgotten. Chgoosing joy means finding it in every situation. (Deep breath.)
Remember the kid game Whack-A-Mole, where creatures pop up their heads up and you whack ’em back down with a mallet? Yep, that one. Have you ever felt like you’re caught in a Whack-A-Mole loop? For me, recurring dental issues and debilitating pain sometimes feel like the game that would-not-end.
While this may not be funsies joyful, I can still experience the joy of addressing deeply held issues and beliefs and getting at their root (pun intended). The joy of finally finding a holistically oriented competent and caring local dentist. The joy of having wonderful friends through all the times. The joy of challenging moments that can still inspire me to laugh out loud, although perhaps a bit maniacally. All forms of laughter exercise the laughter muscle, are great for shaking off stress, and can be quite contagious. I can chgoose to observe and laugh through it all!
You may be thinking I’ve gone off my rocker here and that may be so, but I know that I always have a choice as to how I experience challenging moments, and:
A. No amount of wishing changes the reality of what has come to pass, only my perception of it. I may as well joyfully get with the program.
B. I have so much to be grateful for, especially my ever-deepening understanding of my spiritual nature.
C. I’ve learned to befriend all the feels, including, “This sucks!” (I had a great WTF soundtrack playing yesterday while dancing like a wild banshee. It’s rated PG for profanity, but next time you visit Cedar Sanctuary, ask me to play it for you.)
> Inserts maniacal laughter here. <
Begin by taking your awareness to the center of your head. Feel the whole head filled with the starry night sky. Rather than a head full of thoughts, notice spaciousness and expansiveness of the starry night sky.
Release into that state of expansion. Whatever thought arises to awareness, expand beyond it into the spaciousness of the starry night sky.
Feel the expansiveness of the night sky fill your entire body. Rather than sensations of tension or pain, feel your whole body as spacious and expansive. Whatever bodily sensation arises to awareness, expand beyond it into the spaciousness of the night sky. Relax into the expansion of the night sky.
Feel the boundaries of the whole body-mind dissolve into this spaciousness. Relax and release further and further out into the infinite expanse of the starry night sky. Whatever arises to awareness, expand beyond it into the spaciousness of the starry night sky.
Expand out even further. Let go and allow expansiveness to simply occur. No more are you expanding out, just the process of expansion.
Everything continually released into the process of expansion. Expanse, expanse, endless expanse, and a starry night sky.
Join Sonia for in-person meditations, and more:
Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation at Discover Yoga (first Fridays, 6:30-8pm)
Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation at Cedar Sanctuary (last Fridays, 6:30-8pm)
Meditation Series at Cedar Sanctuary (September Saturdays 11am-12:30pm)
Viniyoga (Thursdays, 10-11:15am at Cedar Sanctuary)
Viniyoga (Fridays, 9:30-10:45am at Discover Yoga)
Written by Simone Holderbach of Eastside Bodywork
This isn’t just a great song! It also summarizes a relationship I see frequently in my practice. Most of the clients who come to see me due to pain issues, also have an underlying breathing dysfunction that they are unaware of.
Even though we take more than 23,000 breaths per day, most people are shallow chest breathers who’ve never learned to use their primary muscle of inhalation – the diaphragm. Being in a constant state of stress is one reason for shallow breathing. What makes matters worse, is that many people (especially women) have actually been taught to suck in their belly to appear thinner. This reinforces compensatory use of the neck musculature (such as the Scalenes) and can lead to core instability, neck pain, or headaches. Add childbirth to the mix with its slew of pelvic floor implications, and a perfect storm might be brewing.
Breathing forms the base of EVERYTHING in the body. We need a stable platform to move from, and if we don’t have that we likely develop problems in other areas of the body.
The goal is to achieve full 360-degree breathing, first filling the belly, then the lateral rib cage, and finally the posterior rib cage with your in-breath. This type of breathing creates adequate intra-abdominal pressure for optimal movement and function.
Although it sounds basic, for someone who is a chest breather this isn’t an easy thing to do, and may require a bit of coaching. It also takes repetition to get it right, and I recommend practicing 360 degree breathing as often as possible (e.g. before going to sleep or after waking up in the morning).
How is your breathing? If you’d like to learn more about how to achieve proper breathing mechanics, below is a step by step list I provide for clients to practice 360-degree breathing:
• Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground or bed.
• Take a couple of normal breaths. Don’t pay attention to any details.
• Switch to inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
• Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Continue breathing normally and pay attention to which hand moves. If it’s your upper, your are likely over-engaging your neck muscles.
• Visualize sending your breath into your belly (without making your upper hand move) as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Imagine a balloon inflating your abdomen with every breath you take.
• Let’s add some counting to get into a good rhythm. Breathe in for a count of 3, hold your breath for a second, then breathe out for a count of 3. Do this for 10 breaths.
• Now, place your hands on the sides of your rib cage. As you breathe in, imagine expanding your ribs to the sides. As before, fill your belly first and then feel the lateral rib cage expand under your hands. Practice this for 10 more breath cycles. (If you cannot yet feel any pressure on the side of the ribs, keep your focus on breathing into your belly. You will progress to side and back breathing later)
• Finally, place your hands (or direct your attention) to the back of your rib cage. As you inhale, try to expand into this area of your body within the final moments of your in-breath. As before, picture yourself pushing the back of your rib cage into your hands. Visualize to inflate the balloon even further. This is the most challenging part and may require quite a bit of mindful practice.
You may then add progressions, such as breathing in a sitting position instead of lying down, or prolonging the exhale, but this is a good way to begin optimal diaphragmatic breathing. Notice your breathing pattern, improve it, and then notice how much better you move from a more stable core.
If you’d like support with this, or are interested in checking out additional techniques to reset, restore, and rebuild your health with results-oriented, neurology-based bodywork, you can schedule your own private session at my Kirkland practice, Eastside Bodywork.
Writing a great bio can frustrate even the most creative of people. There is something about the pressure of distilling a career, or personality into a few captivating paragraphs. امريكان اكس برس
Hiring a copywriter to write your bio can be an amazing experience.Our very own Barbara Krauss facilitates bio writing in amazing ways.
If you are of the DIY mind, here are some suggestions on how to pen a business bio:
1. Start with the transformation that you offer
Sparking interest with the very first few words triggers the alert part of the brain. Engaging the “Why should I care, or what’s in it for me?”
2. Create conflict
The best stories have a narrative arch that has a key part: a problem. Your bio can include a situation where you were able to solve a problem in your own life, or in a client’s life. Or simply point out a common enemy. In wellness, a lot of the time the enemy is pain.
“When clients come in, usually they are in pain. They have been told to try expensive procedures, take a lot of pharmaceuticals, and are generally not listened to. من الفائز بكاس العرب 2023 How Awful!”
3. Give away personal information
I’ve heard clients report many times that having a short description of their hobbies and interests brought people into their practice. Are you someone your clients can relate to? Do you have a secret addiction to reality TV, a hobby that has you traversing Mt.Rainer on the regular?
4. End with an invitation and inform potential clients of the next steps
A well-written conclusion invites people to your practice. The next logical question is “how do I get there? البير ميونخ ”
“If you would like to explore non-invasive options to pain-free living, I invite you to call our office and make an appointment.”
It’s a little cheesy, but it works.
“You know how you are doing in your practice based on the quality of your relationships.” Why did Krishnamacharya, who is often called the father of yoga, say this?
When we are able to embrace all aspects of ourselves, we are able to equally embrace others and the quality of our relationships improves. What we previously reacted to in another, we no longer react to. كلاب السلوقي We can instead relate compassionately to ourselves and to others.
If there is a part of ourselves that we reject or deny, we will reject that aspect in another. The next time you react to someone’s behavior, pause and feel into what it is you haven’t accepted in yourself. When we become heartbreaking real with ourselves, we open up to becoming truly human. This is the first step on the spiritual path.
Here is a guided meditation to practice to embrace ourselves, others, and the world, without judgment. البلاك جاك Through this practice, we may see that there is no separation between ourselves, others, and the world.
Inhale, breathe in, embrace what you are experiencing in this moment.
Allow all of it to be OK.
Exhale, breathe out, offering yourself love and compassion.
Inhale, breathe in, embrace all the qualities of those around you.
Allowing all of it to be accepted.
Exhale, breathe out, offering them love and compassion.
Inhale, breathe in, embrace all the qualities of the world, the darkest to the lightest. (If we reject any of it, we don’t allow for the healing. كوتشينة بالانجليزي )
Exhale, breathe out, offering love and compassion to the whole world.
Sonia Weirich teaches Viniyoga classes Thursdays at 10am at Cedar Sanctuary and Fridays at 9:30am at Discover Yoga. You can also schedule a private Restorative Yoga session with Sonia ($80ph) or your own group program at Cedar Sanctuary.
Long after Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, wellness is the gift that keeps on giving any day of the week. Treat yourself or a loved one to a restorative session with our fabulous Wellness Connects practitioners, attend a rejuvenating class, or share one of the many great gift items available from our providers.
As for supporting nonprofits that do great work – not just on Giving Tuesday – the following local organizations are facilitated by two of our own Wellness Connects practitioners!
ERIC (Eastside Refugees and Immigrant Coalition): Working to assure that our communities are safe and welcoming for people of all backgrounds and abilities.
clarity4action: Supporting teens and young adults (and the people who care about them) to navigate a successful life by integrating whole-person decision making into their lives.
Pamper & Pause: Gotta Have Happy Feet!
Your afternoon of necessary indulgences begins with simple MELT self-care foot techniques using small balls to awaken and restore balance and vitality. Followed by a Barefoot Signature Foot Soak with our Happiness aromatherapy blend enhanced with a mineral salt blend. You’ll then be treated to a mini foot massage followed by a bed of warming Basalt stones to complete the grounding experience. (Cuppa and connect time while others receive their massage.) Happy feet = happy you. Take a break!
Restorative Rolling with MELT
Move and feel better! Improve your body’s stability, mobility, balance, and fun-factor with restorative foam rolling. Using a specialized soft foam roller and small balls for feet and hands, these easy self-care techniques release tension, stuck-stress, aches, and pain, decompress the joints, and help us move with greater ease from head to toe. Sound awesome? You bet!
(Let us know if you’d like to join us for Breath Centered Viniyoga class the same day at 10-11:15am with Sonia Weirich @ $35 for both classes! Normally $25 for Viniyoga)
Sound Bath Meditation
Invite lightness and flow into your life as we take a transformative journey immersed in the luscious soundscapes and healing frequencies of an extraordinary ensemble of therapeutic sound instruments. The pure, penetrating frequencies will tune every cell of the body and support your experience of harmonization as you are guided into a deep state of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Your evening will include a unique blend of quartz crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, native drum, rainstick, tingshas, and koshi chimes. All of these instruments will play a part in our meditative experience as they bring their own unique textures and tonal qualities to your sonic journey. Clarity and presence will lead you on the pathway to Light and Peace.
Essential Oils and Gemstones: Make your own Bracelet!
Join aromatherapist PJ Hanks for a fun evening making a beautiful gemstone bracelet. Lava beads are added to the bracelet for essential oil application, so you can enjoy the benefits of your essential oils while wearing it. These also make great holiday gifts, especially when adding a bottle of a fave essential oil. PJ will also share how to use essential oils to get through the holidays with ease!
Investment: $20 for one bracelet plus booklet or $35 for two bracelets plus booklet (arrive on-time to also create a free holiday essential oil roller bottle).
Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Judith Kramer
Monday, January 14 & Monday, January 28 at 11am-12:30pm at Cedar Sanctuary
Your body is like an instrument, and Kundalini Yoga tunes your strings to bring you into harmony with the Universe. This ancient practice uses breath, movement, posture, sound, and meditation to stimulate the kundalini energy that lies dormant at the base of your spine, and to consciously direct it upward through your body’s energy centers.
By chanting ancient, sacred mantras during meditation, you create vibrations that will clear your mind of old thoughts and habits that no longer serve you. Even if your mind wanders, the vibration and flow of the mantras will keep washing through your subconscious. The goal is to grow your awareness beyond the inner duality of right or wrong, good or bad – to a state of listening deeply, guided by your intuition.
All levels of fitness are welcome; almost all of the exercises are done with your eyes closed to encourage an inward focus. This 1.5-hour class is all about you and your path to inner peace, clarity, and vitality.
Move&Groove is a dance playground. Freestyle movement, dimmed lights, eclectic music, and an awesome supportive community. All are welcome and no dance experience needed.
We were born in motion and we came to dance. Every body is a dancer, and when we come together and move to the same rhythms, we rewire individual and group neural pathways, release stuck stress, connect through a universal language that transcends words, and have big fun! Your dance. Our dance.
This class is based on the practice of Chi Nei Tsang developed by Taoist monks in ancient China. Chi Nei Tsang is deep abdominal organ massage with the purpose to detoxify, strengthen, and repair the body for health and vitality. This was the groundwork for their intense spiritual practices. Chi Nei Tsang means, ‘working with the energy of the internal organs’.
During our time together, you will learn how the digestive system works, what can go wrong, and how to support your own digestive system back to health affecting the entire vitality of your body. We will learn and experience the power of breath, gut awareness, and purposeful touch to your abdominal organs to reduce stress, pain, and discomfort. You will learn a ‘your hands on your gut’ self-care routine for daily use to nurture and support your guts. This is wonderful for family members as well, young and elderly alike. Hand-outs & resources provided.
Kathleen Yow-Wells, LMT has been practicing therapeutic bodywork since 1982. She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, passion, and humor to her teachings. Kathleen always loved to teach people ‘self-care’ tools for their little black bag of healing.
Thursday, February 21, 6:30-8pm at Cedar Sanctuary
We were born to move, and SoulDance is a safe and creative space to dance your dance ‘like nobody’s watching‘. Dancing with no judgment of ‘right’ ways to move, this is a place for you to be you. To dance your soul with a freestyle movement experience that will light up your body, your smile, and your life. Come as you are.
Brenda Loukes-Johnson creates a juicy free-flowing journey for each SoulDance session using voice and soul-stirring music, while drawing on her experiences as a dance instructor, Kahuna transformational bodyworker, and holding space for creative Soulpainting programs. (Co-ed. No fitness or dance experience is necessary. Dance barefoot or wearing socks.)
Breath Centered Viniyoga
This intimate yoga class is focused on breath, movement and meditation. Suitable for students of all levels, group classes are designed using safe sequencing and adaptation to serve individual needs. Breath is the fundamental link between body, mind, emotion, and spirit and it is emphasized in Viniyoga as the medium for all practice. Repetition and stay in a pose helps to build flexibility and strength as well as re-pattern bodily movement and habits (neuromuscular reintegration). The class ends with a soulful guided meditation to calm and focus awareness.
Kahuna Transformational Bodywork
This Hawaiian form of bodywork is often called the ‘dance of breath and life from the heart’. Kahuna bodywork uses dynamic music, movement, and breath to unblock stuck energy in the body and create more flow in your body- and your life. This prayer-in-motion experience will take you on a soulful journey while beautifully and effortlessly combining breath, touch, music and movement. Truly, a transformational experience.
Contact Brenda to schedule your session at Cedar Sanctuary
Quote of the Month
“I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in the winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.” Jeffrey Mc Daniel
Our Wellness Providers support both individual and community wellness by creating a network of services from a wide range of modalities. We accomplish this through collaborative efforts to restore and maintain wellness through professional services and tools, cross-referrals to complementary practitioners, and community wellness programs.
Whether you’re looking to enhance physical, mental, spiritual or emotional wellness, our providers are knowledgeable, experienced, compassionate, and excited to meet you.
The following is a summary of the presentation notes from the December 2018 Wellness Connects meeting:
Online relationships move similarly to relationships built at networking events.
Interest > Nurture > Commit
Google and search engines work to make recommendations to credible websites, you can measure how the credibility of a website with domain authority, or DA.
To build better domain authority here are some factors:
> How long the domain has been in use
> The design of the website
> Traffic going to the website and is being updated with new information regularly
> credible links going to your website (a benefit of the new website)
Building Wellness Connects DA will promote practitioners websites with both a credible link and with traffic.
Blog posts. To provide fresh information, and promote practitioners websites we need blog post descriptions (why someone should read this…) and an image.
Blog posts will not be copied from sites because we want to respect your original content.
A great resource for images is unsplash.com and canva.com; a preferred size is 600px x 900px.
Authors will be credited with a bio and a link to the article on their own blog.
What’s better than a shout out? This digital marketer thinks it is a google review.
To set your business up on Google Maps go to mybusiness.google.com and fill out the form. You’ll need to verify your address with them snail mailing you a card and you enter a code.
Once you are verified, go to maps.google.com and search for your business name. Click on your name, the link up above is the link to send people who are willing to write an online testimonial. This is the best place to get a review because of the connection to search.
I’ve been thinking a lot about healing, and what this means. For me, it is not merely about fixing perceived imperfections or brokenness. beoutq موقع It is an ongoing journey of remembering the true essence of who I am and walking the path of authentic selfhood without reference to another’s opinions or judgments. It is a slow and steady breath from the core and center of my I-am, grounded in knowing and moving (dancing!) from this place.
Sometimes, it means allowing myself to experience and process authentic emotions without judgment, even when they erupt from a deep simmering place in a tsunami of tears or anger. قمار اون لاين
Most minutes, it is a song of rejoicing in the fabulousness of living upon this beautiful earth. Pausing to admire the aroma of rain, the sound of a leaf floating from the skies to the ground, or a divine cuppa and connection with a friend.
Cedar Sanctuary is my oasis for this level of connecting with what is real and alive for me, and I get to share this sacred space with truly amazing providers who are passionate about facilitating wellness and wellbeing. Join us for a program or design your own. Stay for a cuppa.