Wednesday, March 26, 2014



 Ok we all know sleep is important. What you may not know is that the quality of your sleep habits is a direct indicator of the level of energy and wellness you currently have and if you are one of millions that have very poor and inadequate sleep hygiene, you literally are putting yourself at risk of manifesting chronic illness, inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease,  weight gain/obesity, diabetes and even cancer  and a strong indicator that your life span is going to be shortened! 

Do I have your attention? Sleep is not a sexy topic in our hyper-paced, modern tech- infiltrated, info- overloaded culture but SLEEP is the essential ingredient in creating a vibrant life of physical well being, emotional stability and necessary in unleashing our creative potential to co-create a high prana infused, conscious life in which we are contributing the highest gifts we are here to offer this world. I have over the years heard from folks who claim they only get 4-5 hours of sleep if that, stating" I 'll sleep when I'm dead". Most humans need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If your motto is to bankrupt your longevity potential by shortchanging sleep, you will sleep when you die and that death could come prematurely.

So what to do? First take an honest inventory of your current SLEEP STATUS. 
A. Are you well rested most days : Wake up without an alarm and feel rejuvenated, inspired and ready for the day?
B. Experience some sleep deprivation on some days: Go to bed at different times each day and have no set ritual for consistent rest. Good sleep is hit or miss for you.
C. Very Sleep Deprived: Sleep through your alarm most days, suffer from chronic fatigue or insomnia, compensate with stimulants, caffeine and sugar to push through. Frequently feel moody, agitated and depressed.

   If you are like most people you fall in to B or C. If you want to make a powerful transformative shift towards creating deeper health and conscious, creative wellness, make a soul commitment to practice the following to return the intelligent aspect of your body- mind to its natural healing state.

Committing to daily SLEEP HYGIENE will produce the healing shifts that improve our wellness on all levels.


1. Thi
s week, go to bed 30 min. earlier than your are each night, next week go 30 earlier than this week and so in. If your current bedtime has been midnight, in one month you will train yourself to be in bed by 10 pm the MAGIC TIME FOR REJUVENATION. Between the hours of 10pm -2am is the PRIME TIME for our livers to detox the energy of our day, and this is a critical aspect to whether your body is able to keep up with cellular repair and rejuvenation or fall into a pattern of backlogging waste in your tissues and organs creating chronic inflammation and dis-ease. This is a fire element time so if you don't get yourself in bed by 10pm you might get a second wind and stay up way too late, depriving your body of this crucial detoxing time.

2. Stop eating 3 hours before bed, so in an ideal world 7pm. If you eat a large meal between 8-9pm or are snacking after dinner, your body just got bombed with overload! It can't detox when your GI tract is loaded with food to digest. Try and eat your largest meal between noon-3 then have a light supper , soups, salads, small portions. Dial back caffeine consumption to near 0 or again, no caffeine after 6pm. Camomile tea is a soothing tea for sleep prep.

3. Unplug from all screens one hour before bed to detox mind. Take a warm bath with epsom salts (magnesium will relax your muscles) and lavender essential oil to calm your nervous system.

4. Remove tech devices from your bedroom including TV'S and piles of books and papers or clutter. Bedrooms need to be clear for rest and intimacy with minimal distractions. Best rest is experienced if your bed faces south or east. Worse direction for rest is a bed facing north! Too much magnetic force on you. If you have a dresser directly at the foot of your bed with a mirror, either move it or cover the mirror with a cloth at night.

5. Meditate daily: Start with 5 min practice for one month then bump that up to 10 min, and so on until you have a REGULAR ONCE OR TWICE DAILY 20-30 MIN MEDITATION PRACTICE. simply begin by sitting comfortably still and observing a deep breath in an out. If your mind wanders (and it will) just simply begin again and return your focus to the sensation of your breath moving in and out.
Think of this process of taking your mental garbage out to the curb. Imagine if we did not take our household trash out each day what the state of our living quarters would be in a week or two. Well now imagine the mental state you are in if you have never consistently emptied the trash! Get the picture? Toxic waste dump in our minds. Love yourself enough to meditate daily.

6. Left nostril breathing: Pranayama is breath work exercises that expands the flow of prana (life force) and shifts us from imbalance to balance. This practice, breathing in and out of the left nostril, known as your cooling, lunar current can support rest. Place your right thumb against the right nostril, breathe slowly into the left nostril, then press your right pinky finger to close off your left nostril and breathe out of your right nostril. Continue that loop, breathe in the left, exhale the right. Do 12 rounds.

7. Try placing an eye pillow on your eyes to support the muscles of your face and eyes in particular to soften and relax. Because of our extreme levels of processing energy and info. through our eyes, they need some TLC to release. It's known that when your eye muscles are chronically too tight and strained, we cut off from our 3rd eye or intuitive insight, the treasure trove of truth and wisdom that can guide us to living in great health.

So thats your SACRED 7 STEPS TOWARDS SHIFTING TO A OPTIMAL LIFE SUPPORTING SLEEP HYGIENE. What an essential gift to give yourself. The better rested we are , the more alive we feel, the healthier our bodies and minds function , the more we are capable of giving to the world.
Let me know if you are willing to commit to Sacred Sleep Hygiene Rituals and how the practices are going for you! I would love to hear from you. Namaste & Blessings for Strong Intentions to Reclaim your Sacred Sleep. If you know anyone that is suffering from poor sleep, please LIKE & SHARE this post with them. Anne Townend-Duffey

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


    Living in an anxious body and mind can be torture. The conditioned mind spins into endless scenarios of whats not right and what will go wrong and sees no solution caught in its very tight , restricting , limited view. Excessive anxiety is considered a VATA dosha imbalance. According to Ayurveda, the ancient holistic medical model of yoga,  VATA is the element of air with the quality of movement. When VATA is too high in our systems, we feel ungrounded, unfocused and unsupported (literally feeling no earth beneath your feet). A sense of isolation can exacerbate the already stressed nervous system. 

   The remedy is a daily practice to pacify the VATA excess. Anxiety is rooted in fear and fear is rooted in mistrust. When you begin to honor your own body/mind and practice supporting it , you build trust. The body- mind loves routine and rituals so here are a few key daily practices to root the VATA, calm the anxious current ricocheting in your nervous system and open to a deeper quality of awareness and calm where you can access making wiser choices that WILL SUPPORT you. 

  The following guidelines will greatly support reducing chronic anxiety.
1. BREATHE DEEPLY IN THE BELLY : Long and slow. Vata excess tends to concentrate the breath into upper thorasic (collar bone) and shallow, thus perpepuating the stress response. Double the length of your exhales to dial your anxiety sensations back. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system (Rest and Digest) as opposed to the Fight or Flight sympathetic nervous system you are in.
2. CREATE STRUCTURE AND ROUTINE EACH DAY: Eat 3 meals at regular times. Eat , seated at a table, without screens on so you can focus on eating. Eat warm, nourishing , grounding foods like root vegetables, soups and clean proteins. Include lots of green veggies to alkalize your acidic body ( a stressed body is an acidic body) and include healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, cold pressed virgin olive oil and nuts and seeds, Healthy fats insulate the nervous system. Go to bed same time each day after a relaxing bath.
3. GET A MASSAGE! A huge aspect of chronic anxiety is the tendency to disconnect from the body consciousness and being highly positioned in your head/thinking mind. A good body massage can bring your body awareness back online and help to release the muscle tightness and pain that can result from anxiety.
4. DO DAILY SELF MASSAGE with a warm organic oil. Abhyanga,(ayurvedic self massage) is one of the BEST practices to soothe a VATA dominant nervous system. A key sign you have excess VATA is dry, scaly skin. Daily massage before showering (takes a few minutes) helps to rewire your connection to your largest sensory organ , the skin so you can FEEL more and balance the excessive thinking patterns.
5. MEDITATE WITH A MANTRA: It provides focus or a recorded body centered relaxation audio. Anxiety is a tough condition to try and meditate on your breath , so use a tool like repeating a simple mantra (Inhale Peace, Exhale CALM) or listened to a guided audio that will support your releasing held tension.
6. CUT BACK AND ELIMINATE STIMULANTS: Including caffeine, sugar and processed snacks and action/violent based TV. These throw VATA off the rails.
7. BE AWARE OF YOUR TENDENCY TO SEDATE: With excess TV, eating or even sex as a method to deal with your anxious mind. Turn off the TV and take a walk or do some yoga to stretch and breath the body.
8. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE:  Let them know of your challenges and the need for support. Its so hard for many folks to acknowledge they need support. WE ALL NEED SUPPORT IN THIS HECTIC WORLD!
9. REMEMBER THE LARGER VIEW: You are a creation of Divine Light and whatever challenges you are facing are here to invite us to grow and awaken to a deeper aspect of awareness. The anxiety is not who you are and suffering is optional. It is a reaction to a pattern of thinking you are habitually caught in. Recognize the habit and use the tools to shift to wellness and support.
 10.Last but not least, as we move from the winter season (VATA DOMINANT) to Spring (KAPHA OR WATER DOMINANT) slow down: Notice the beauty of the season emerging all around you. When anxious by nature, one tends to tunnel vision and miss the amazing beauty of creation surrounding us. Literally slow down and smell the roses!
If you suffer from chronic anxiety and need some support, contact openinglotusyoga@gmail to set up a private yoga session or join a gentle restorative class!
Namaste and Blessings for a Beautiful, Calm, Body Centered Day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

True Surrendering is Not For the Weak!


 What does it really mean to truly surrender? If your ego was to answer that inquiry it would say to give up or give in, a sign of character weakness. Of course the ego would say this. It cannot imagine any awareness outside of itself. If your Spirit were to answer it would say to surrender is to release and let go into an intelligence larger than your personal self. True surrender has nothing to do with weakness and everything to do with courage and faith. A willingness to let go of your impulses to control everything you experience which is a grandest of  illusions and grow past your egoic limitations.
    The biggest challenge to surrendering to what is , is our own resistance. Our personal patterns of believing if we 'resist' a feeling, a thought , an experience, we fool ourselves into thinking that experience is held at bay away from us. How do we commonly resist? By blaming, judging, through sorrow or indignant outrage. These are all patterns of ego to actually control NOT FEELING things as they are. Ever noticed how some peace protesters carry more anger and division than the object of their protests? The ego loves slogans like " don't worry, be happy!" as if that could replace genuinely experiencing what you are truly  feeling in any given moment ! Nothing could be further from the truth.
    When you resist anything, it persists and gains momentum increasing our level of suffering. Yes, thats how it works . We increase our suffering by resisting what we feel . This habit or belief causes our suffering. The Buddha taught that the path to liberation and joy is through suffering. Suffering in this view is believing in your ego as a separate self. Separate from unity consciousness. The radical discovery Gautama Buddha realized is that THERE IS NO SEPARATE SELF! If your ego is pushing back on this right now, thats to be expected. Once you understand the terrain or operating system known as your ego, you begin to discern that  the ego is not who you are but more like who you think you are. The gap between those two perceptions is defined as the spiritual path.
    Our egos project thoughts, patterns and  conditions through personalities that masquerade as a separate self. The only way to truly discover your True Self is to relinquish all attempts from your ego to control  or resist experiencing what is. Resistance to experiencing things exactly as they are is just a way of saying' NO' to life as it is unfolding moment to moment. The illusion of a separate self is perpetuated by this habit of the mind. Adyashanti,  a contemporary western, realized spiritual teacher states  this limited condition of the ego is like  looking into the vastness of the universe with a pin prick size flashlight and believing thats all there is.
   To surrender is to let go into a deeper truth beyond the limits of your constructed ego. It takes a lot of courage to deeply let go as Lord Buddha did . To sit down under the Bodhi tree and declare that is where he would be until he awakened from the illusory world of Maya (ego).  He and many other enlightened beings let go and surrendered into the awareness beyond ego. They did not do this by struggling, fighting or resisting. They did this by non-doing, allowing and surrendering. This is not to say that non-doing, allowing and surrendering  and being present to what is,  is easy. Your ego will battle you every step of the way !If we hold the tapas discipline of our practice, inspired by the awakened beings that show us the way, the unsustainable structure of the ego gradually begins to deconstruct, as we are no longer feeding it with our attention and beliefs. When the ego is purified from self identification, you open to Self Realization as pure consciousness beyond form. The ego will still be with us as a useful support to move our consciousness within this human life, but it will no longer hold us in a trance of believing we are our egos.

 The practice of surrender is a  deeply courageous path to take that will return you to your True Self. Its a practice of honoring the wisdom of the spiritual heart over the thinking head. Practice being present to what is happening moment to moment without grasping for pleasure or resisting pain. Be present and feel what is here right now, just as it is without editing or story telling. Include everything especially the thoughts, memories, feelings and conditions that scare you. . Nothing excluded. This is the path to awakening . Challenge yourself to be present today. You will get a glimpse of what living is really about.

" A weak person cannot surrender. When you let go of all tension, fear, anxiety, and small mindedness, what dawns in you is freedom, real joy, real love . That is surrender!" Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Namaste and Blessings for a day of surrender!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Unlocking From the Prison of Pain ~ Are You Living Your Dreams or Living Your Wounds?

Anne Duffey

10:08 AM (3 minutes ago)
to me

    As human beings its inevitable we will experience pain in our lives. Those pains might be minor, moderate, major or horrific in scale. What distinguishes whether we end up living in a life of continual pain or we transcend our wounds to awaken to a deeper aspect of our truth? Why do some people despite their hardships have a smile on their face while others carry the pain day in and day out like a mule on a weary trek. Here's the key, until we choose to stop carrying and living in pain, we will continue to live our wounds. Carolyn Myss, the esteemed medical intuitive, coined the term 'woundology' as a category of illness unto itself. When we so identify with our wounds that we lose our deeper sense of self. We become our wounds.

All experiences happen to evolve us . This does not mean that anyone is to blame including  our version of God, for bad and horrible things happening to them. Life happens. We live on a polarity planet with positive and negative energy. Its how we are going to CHOOSE to respond to those hardships and challenges that confront us.Anyone who has ever face a significant trauma or life challenge knows this, you can be crushed or you can get down on your knees often by the complete exhaustion of resisting what is and surrender to a higher source .

The FIRST STEP IN HEALING IS TOP RESISTING WHAT IS. Stop reliving the past and FEEL into your body right now. If you feel sad, feel sad, really feel it in your cells, be present to it. What does sadness have to teach you? If you feel angry , feel it, deeply. Every emotion is a link to a deeper truth. Be present RIGHT NOW. BREATHE right now on purpose! Come back into your body temple and BE STILL. ALLOW and SURRENDER to the deeper wisdom of your soul to guide you from pain to healing. Healing means what was once unconscious is now fully conscious. Thats the healing .

Thats the freedom from releasing the mind habits that have kept us tethered to our pain, our past. We keep recreating the same pain over and over, reliving it. There is no reason for anyone to continue to suffer. Reach out to a friend, a church member, a therapist, a neighbor and begin to ALLOW support into your life. When we fully stop resisting what is, become more present to each moment, remarkable shifts begin to happen. We begin to feel ALIVE! 

  At each of our essentials souls we are divine light, whole , healthy, and integrated. Don't be fooled by what your mind may tell you otherwise! And what was once our wounds now has opened our hearts into their depth of compassion, love and joy. Yes , thats right! The Buddha said," suffering is the path to redemption". Open to it and transcend it. Blessings for a beautiful day! Namaste
Anne Townend-Duffey