mindfulness

074 | Yoga, Psychology & Permission to Be You with Ashley Turner

 
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What an honor it is to welcome Ashley Turner to the Rising Women Leaders podcast!

Ashley didn’t shy away from any of the questions I asked, including several personal questions — how her wounds of being rejected in college became her medicine & opportunity to teach, what she’s currently learning & how she’s growing in her relationship, the inherent vulnerability of leadership, what she does when she feels triggered by comparing herself to other women, and how she’s navigated her own blind spots around the conversation of white supremacy. We covered everything from trauma healing, the rise of the feminine, priestess work, love and activism in this conversation…it is rich with insight & wisdom for you.

In this episode we discussed:

  • How Ashley found yoga and decided to become a teacher 

  • What being a Priestess looks like in Ashley’s life

  • The rise of the feminine & what’s happening right now in the collective consciousness

  • How Ashley blends psychology into her yoga & mindfulness work 

  • Finding your authentic voice in a saturated field of work

  • Her practices and tools for healing trauma 

  • Her journey of educating herself in the world of race & activism

  • The vulnerability of leadership and being a public figure

  • Love & relationships, what we can learn from our soul contracts


Stay in Touch with Ashley:


Elevating personal growth as a lifestyle, Ashley Turner  is a yoga/meditation teacher, Licensed Marriage + Family Therapist (#98598), facilitator, writer and Priestess.

Ashley Turner is an acclaimed yoga–meditation instructor, Licensed Psychotherapist, writer, Priestess and facilitator.

She is the founder of Yoga Psyche Soul, an innovative Yoga Psychology training program for teachers, clinicians and dedicated students fusing yoga, depth psychology, mindfulness and neuroscience. She is the creator of 10 best-selling yoga DVDs and co-author of Aroma Yoga.

Ashley has graced such lists as:

  • 100 Women in Wellness to Watch’ ~ MindBodyGreen

  • 100 Most Influential Yoga Teachers in the US – Sonima

  • Top 100 Psychotherapy Blogs – FeedSpot

Known for her charisma, depth and ability to turn complex theories into accessible, real-life tools, Ashley is a sought after speaker, facilitator and presenter at conferences and events worldwide.

She works with therapy and coaching clients via Skype and leads transformative events to power points around the globe. Ashley lives by the ocean in Venice Beach, CA.


 

047 | Yoga & Social Justice with Michelle Johnson

 
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The truth is racism still exists. It exists in our subconscious - as a memory in our bodies from our ancestry. It exists from past traumas of our ancestors still yearning to be healed. It exists in our conditioning, our society and how many of us were raised...

Many people have been in denial of its existence, but with Trump taking office, what has seemed to be under the surface for many has only become more and more real. People of color have seen and experienced it all along, and thankfully, more and more of us have been waking up to this truth.

Not long after I set the intention to further educate myself about white privilege and racism, I received an email out of the blue from a friend I haven't talked to in years ...connecting me to Michelle and her work.

So what can we do? I sat down to talk with Michelle Johnson to learn more about privilege, oppression and racism and her unique approach of integrating the teachings of yoga with social justice. I am so grateful to share her wisdom with you all today.  

“Racism is not just impacting people of color. The system of oppression is not just harming people of color, it's harming all of us because we are connected. We’re just not conditioned to see that connection.”

In this episode we discussed:

  • Michelle's story: What it was like growing up and feeling different and not fitting in
  • Michelle's definitions of privilege and oppression
  • How Michelle integrates healing and embodiment into anti-racism trainings
  • How to approach the discomfort, fear and emotional charge of race conversations
  • About Michelle's new book, Skill in Action
  • Actual steps we can take to create change in our world and way of being
  • The role of speaking up on behalf of everyone even when we ourselves are not the oppressed
  • Michelle's vision of hope and how she stays motivated in a world where there is still so much suffering and injustice

“One must be connected with their breath to feel their body. A connection to the body allows one to feel their heart. A connection with the heart allows one to become clear about their values so that they may connect with their humanity. When one sees their own humanity and realizes that others are suffering around them they have the opportunity to connect with the oneness of all beings and our shared humanity. From the breath, body, heart and awareness of humanity, one must take action. No one can exist without taking action. Skill in Action.”

~ from Michelle's Book, Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World

Links in this episode:


From Michelle:

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I have a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit and heart. My awareness of the world through my experience as a black woman allows me to know, first hand how privilege and power operate. I understand the toll that oppression can take on individuals and the collective physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I am a social justice warrior, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner and an intuitive healer. Whether in an anti-oppression training, yoga space, individual or group intuitive healing session, healing and wholeness are at the center of how I approach all of my work in the world. I've spent many years on the front lines of justice movements craving a space for healing through ritual, ceremony and sacred practice. While working in many non-profits with missions focused on justice I didn't find a space that centered healing as a tool to create justice. So, I created my own space and way of working.

I create healing spaces in many different ways working with individuals and groups. I lead anti-racism trainings, yoga workshops focused on the intersection of justice and yoga and I offer intuitive healing sessions to support social justice workers, healers and activists who are on the front lines and struggling with how to sustain themselves as they do their good work in the world.

I have a background as a licensed clinical social worker and I have been teaching yoga for ten years. I began my own teacher training in 2014 and recently wrote a book about yoga and justice, Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World. I inspire change that allows people to stand in their humanity and wholeness in a world that fragments most of us. There are myriad of ways to work with me. I hope to support you on your healing journey and path towards wholeness in whatever capacity allows you to live your fullest life.

 

How I Healed My Heart Through Mindfulness

 
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I've been reflecting on the power mindfulness and meditation have had on my life lately because I am getting ready to co-lead a mindfulness program in Sebastopol this Fall. (There's a free orientation tomorrow night, Tuesday, Sept. 5th if you'd like to join me, more details below.) 

As we collectively and personally move through hardships and challenges in this great time of awakening, I thought it would be relevant to share a few of the ways mindfulness has helped me through hard times:

1. Heartbreak

For those of you who finished reading my book, you learned about two powerful experiences of heartbreak that I've experienced in my life, and how I learned to respond to that pain completely differently from the beginning to the end of the book as I deepened my practices of yoga and meditation in India. 

When I reflect back on some of those more challenging moments in my life, particularly when my heart was hurting, I realize:

Meditation and mindfulness showed me how to witness my pain as pure sensation, and through that space of pure witnessing presence, my heart began to heal. 

I began to create more spaciousness for myself, I learned to surrender to my emotions and accept my emotions, without a need to fix or change them. It is in that space that I opened to love, compassion and forgiveness, and my heart opened to heal.

2. Physical pain

Meditation and mindfulness helped me to relate to my pain in a completely new way. Not just emotional pain, but also physical. I've gone through periods of my life experiencing chronic pain on a daily basis: muscle aches, headaches, and jaw tension. For so long I tried to push it away and distract myself (going to sugar, alcohol, caffeine, anything to take me away from my body and out of the present moment) but I soon realized that only made the problem worse. 

It was only through really being with myself in the pain, opening to it, and breathing through it, did it begin to transform. But in releasing my need to change the outcome, I had a powerful tool of being able to love myself in those moments even when it didn't go away. 

3. Grief

arlier this year my grandmother passed away. I sat with her in her final days in meditation. If you've ever been with someone as they are passing, you know that it invites you to be in a state of total presence. I sat in full presence with her. I held her hand, I meditated, and I sang. In the days and months after she passed, I knew how to feel my grief and let it move through me. 

Now when I reflect back on my grandmother and all we shared, I no longer feel the weight of grief because I allowed myself to fully feel it. Now when I think of her I feel a profound joy and gratitude in my heart. 

4. A car accident

Two years ago I was in a car accident where my car was totaled. It was actually amazing to see what happened in the moment after impact when my airbag opened. I began practicing Vipassana meditation without even thinking. My awareness immediately began feeling my breath and my sensations from the top of my head down to the tips of my toes. I was fully grounded in the present moment. 

Instead of freaking out, I was able to act in the moment from a grounded state. I moved my car off the road, I called for help... I assessed if I had any injuries and I checked in with the person in the other car involved. Within minutes help arrived, and everyone was ok, but reflecting back I see I was able to move through such a hardship with grace because of my years of practice with meditation.

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Beyond moving through challenging times, mindfulness has brought a wealth of positivity to my life: 

1. Self-Worth - a sense of having enough, and being enough

I've learned to focus more on what I have, and who I am through a lens of wholeness rather than lack or scarcity. It has helped me come back to gratitude and an innate sense of worthiness.

2. My Relationship - more ease, love, and appreciation

Now when a difficult conversation or situation arises with my partner, I can almost see the situation from the outside. Rather than being so attached to my pain or fear, I can take a step back, breathe and move forward with love. 

3. Priorities - The ability to get crystal clear on what's really important to me

In being able to take a step back from life, I am no longer getting caught in the same habitual patterns or routines. I'm able to make choices from a broader perspective and take steps forward with intention based on what is truly most important to me.

4. Productivity - making a positive impact in my business and with my clients

Meditation has sharpened my mind and brought focus to my work. It's helped me to be fully present and compassionate with my clients and podcast guests. It's helped me tap into my intuition in a way that has been able to guide my business towards success. 

But the truth is, these results do not happen overnight, and it's not always easy to keep up a meditation practice. I have had to put in the time and attention to come to the place I am in today. 

The way I have been able to keep up my practice, is through community. That is why I am so excited about the community forming for the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program this Fall. 

Would you like to bring more mindfulness into your life? 

Join me Tuesday, September 5th, for the free orientation of MBSR at The dhyana Center in Sebastopol, co-led with Spencer Sherman of Abacus Wealth Partners. 

The details:

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) ~ an 8-week program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn of Spirit Rock, guided by Spencer Sherman and yoga guided by me 

Location: The dhyana Center, 186 N. Main Street, Sebastopol (upstairs)

Course Dates: Tuesday nights, 6:30 - 9 pm, Sept. 19 - Nov. 14th (no class 10/31, full-day class on Sunday, 11/5)

Free Orientation: Tuesday, September 5th, 6:30 - 9 pm ~ learn more about the program curriculum and practices, meet the teachers and fellow students and see if the program will be a good fit for you.

RSVP to the free orientation right here. 

With love, 
Meredith

P.S. if you aren't able to be with us in person, you may like to check out my guided meditations on the insight timer app ~ simply download and search for "Meredith Rom" in guided meditations

 

032 | Mindful Men Series: Money & Mindfulness with Spencer Sherman

 

Lately I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have “enough.” 

Last month I was lucky to sit down with a founding partner of Abacus Wealth Partners, an investment company that focuses on making the world a better place, Spencer Sherman.

I found it really interesting when he shared, “Giving and saving are two ways to tell your body and mind, ‘I have enough.’” 

Mindfulness and meditation have greatly helped me shift my relationship to money.  

I remember even just a few years ago when I had accumulated a large amount of savings, yet my mindset was solely focused on what I didn’t have. Because of that, I didn’t take a moment to reflect on everything around me. Instead I kept pushing myself. 

Now, I do my best to remind myself of what I have, with gratitude. A mantra I use often is, “I have everything I need, and I welcome so much more.”  (Thanks to Gabrielle Bernstein for that one)

Shifting my mindset around money and focusing more on generosity than on scarcity has helped me let go of the need to grasp on to the next prospective client, the bigger house, or next new item for my wardrobe.

And I have to say, it’s been so relaxing to take that pressure off. 

The funny thing is, the more I soften and rest into the trust that I have everything I need, I feel like so much more abundance is coming to me.

I’ve consciously been letting go of the grasping, the feeling of “getting the short end of the stick” and really honoring where I am at and what I have. 

It’s not an easy practice, I know, and sometimes I still get stuck in the mindset of “I don’t have enough.” So that’s why I’m excited to share with you my latest podcast episode all about Money and Mindfulness with Spencer Sherman. 

“The less attached I have been, the more ease I have found with money, the more it comes to me.” ~ Spencer Sherman

A few months ago it became clear to me that I’d like create a “Mindful Men Series”  to honor the perspective of the divine masculine and share the voices of men I see around me honoring their gifts and purpose while giving back to the world. 

After listening to the episode, I’d love to hear, what does enough look like for you? How do you cultivate a feeling of enough?  Let me know in the comments over on instagram. 

I’m also excited to share that this Fall Spencer and I are collaborating in an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program locally in Sebastopol.

Save the date September 5, 6:30 - 9 pm at The dhyana Center for a free orientation to learn about the program.

In this episode we discuss: 

  • Discovering your true net worth 
  • The best day/worst day of Spencer’s life 
  • The missing piece one of his clients discovered to living a joyful life after having “made it” in the financial world
  • Meditation and how that has affected Spencer’s relationship to money and how he relates to clients in his business
  • The first step to take to bringing more awareness to your finances 
  • Abacus’ approach to wealth management and sustainable investing 
  • Our upcoming course, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (Save the date for Sept. 5 for a free orientation)
  • Spencer's book, The Cure for Money Madness

I hope you enjoy today’s show. It may be just what you need to earn more money, start saving and giving, or maybe to just cultivate more peace of mind.

With love,
Meredith

P.S. Join me this coming Wednesday August 9th for my next webinar, The Art of Feminine Abundance where I’ll be sharing more about my insights on wealth, joy and abundance. Click here to sign up.

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Spencer Sherman is a financial expert, public speaker, teacher and author. Spencer has taught classes and spoken to audiences across the U.S., including at Esalen and Kripalu. He has practiced meditation since 1983 and is a qualified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He is a founding partner of Abacus Wealth Partners, an investment company that focuses on making the world a better place. Spencer and his wife Janine live in Sebastopol, CA with their 2 children.

 

How to handle any difficult situation with ease and grace

 
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When I first started doing yoga, I noticed I slowly became less reactive.

If something happened that would usually make me sad, angry or frustrated, instead of blowing up at the situation, I was able to find an inner calmness to process my emotions.

One of the most valuable tools for me has been Tonglen meditation.  I learned Tonglen from one of my mentors, Kimber Simpkins in a yoga training.  It is a Buddhist practice to lessen our reactivity and hold a space of compassion for ourselves, and all beings.

It goes like this:

Breathing in, I allow myself to feel exactly what I'm feeling. 

Breathing out, spaciousness and compassion for myself. 

Breathing in, I know I am not alone.  I remember so many other beings have experienced and have felt what I am experiencing and feeling right now. 

Breathing out, spaciousness and compassion for all those other beings.  

This meditation helps me realize I am not alone in my reactions and emotions.  It reminds me that actually so many other people have experienced this before, and instead of being caught up in my emotions, I can hold a space of compassion, knowing I am now experiencing something so many other beings have experienced before.

I created this guided meditation video for you to follow along and embody the practice. Click below to watch:

[av_video src='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQy1iheyf8U' format='16-9' width='16' height='9']

And the next time you feel you're about to blow up in a difficult situation, try it.  Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below.

Love, Meredith

PS. You can also view my other yoga and meditation videos here.