🌷FREE PRIVATE YOGA SESSIONS FOR YOU IF WHO LOST YOUR HOME IN THE FIRE🌷
I opened up my schedule to share what I love most. Yoga and Mindfulness practice feeds my soul and connects me to my core and the universe.
I love private yoga session. Click the link below to read more.
I am no stranger to grief and loss. The tragedy of the wildfires that changed all of our lives up here in beautiful Santa Rosa keeps walking around with us like we are wearing a different and unfamiliar layer of clothes. We are living with the sadness and we know we need to move on.
I want to share my 30 years of yoga and yoga therapy practice with you.
My family belongs to the "lucky" ones, our home and neighborhood survived the fire but the strain of the evacuation and fear are still hanging on.
FOR THE ONES WHO LOST EVERYTHING I AM OFFERING FREE💗PRIVATE YOGA SESSIONS IN MY HOME STUDIO. PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE - YOGA IS A HEALING TOOL FOR LIFE.
For everyone else, if you are new to yoga, give it a try. I support you on your path. If you are already a student, please keep it in your life!
I have different packaged available. Talk to me if you have questions.
If you like to gift someone with Private Yoga Session, I have gift certificates available.
💡click below for more information or to book your session.
"I don't shine if you don't shine!"
Magic in the shower is part of a wonderful collection from my treasure chest.
We all need tools to fill up our cup.
If you are raising a child with special needs learning to pause will be your survival tool for the rest of your life.
Magic Moments help me stay sane in the extraordinary challenge of raising my daughter.
If you're dealing with the overwhelm from daily life, or with loss and grief you must learn to pause and make yourself a priority again and again.
I'm no stranger to loss.
It was a hot summer day in August of 1990. We had moved to the United States from Germany a year before.
At 8:15 pm on August eights my daughter Sarina was born four months early, weighing only one pound and fifteen ounces. She barely had a chance to live through the night. Everything changed drastically for me. My world fell apart.
As a mother raising a child with severe health challenges my personal time collapsed into caring for her. The dream I was holding to have a happy family with four healthy kids in tow shattered.
I had to create a new way of living.
Losing ourselves happens in any devastating experience we're going through. Tragedy takes over our lives, and we leave ourselves behind. As we grieve our loss, when everything falls apart, we need to slowly find our way back to create meaning and joy in the life we do have.
When my daughter, now twenty-eight moved back home about a year ago because her independent living program failed to support her, I was immediately in a crisis. The empty nest I had been working really hard for was full again. My newfound freedom to teach yoga, write my book and spend undisturbed time with my husband had to be put on hold. Again.
Sarina was without a day structure and besides her strong wish to be independent, she does not self-monitor herself. She cannot manage her day alone. Someone needs to hold things together for her or her life falls apart.
Living with her as a special adult doubled the challenges I faced when she was a child.
We had moved to a new city, my husband suffered from PTSS, and I became the 24/7 caretaker once more. Without friends or family or any support established it brought me to my knees. I was so exhausted, dark thoughts had an easy way to enter my mind; I wanted to give up. My daughter's limitations became mine.
After all the tears were cried, I got up and remembered:
If the thought of getting through the next hour feels unbearable, I can try to get through the next minute. Sometimes to pause for a breath or two saved me from giving up.
My magic moments are my survival tool.
To create tiny islands that belong to me and to me alone is why I thrive and have the strength to move on. To get up after I fall. They are like stars in the sky. They help me shine, energized my body, mind, and spirit when the demands feel unbearable.
We need to have time to feel ourselves.
It's critical to not fall into victim mode. Victim mode kills the next step we could be doing to save ourselves.
To breath, be mindful and to slow down is a lifesaver for me. I have learned, that I need to love myself enough to not let my obstacles run the show. My magic moments help me do just that.
To P a u s e is my mantra. And little moments, that aren't little are my survival tools. They belong to me like the breath I take. They help me to honor the part of my life not connected to be a mother. And, they give me the energy to be the mother my daughter needs and deserves.
In the pause
Here is my # 1 pause:
Magic in the Shower
-PDF for printing is attached below
Instead, to continue to think of the million things on my to-list or my despair I step into my to-be list
once the water is turned on. I love to wash away the stories my body and mind cling to. I step into my senses and into the present moment on the spot. Water is a great metaphor to help me do that. It hasn't failed me. The success is in my smile.
🚿 Stand facing the shower head and allow the water to run down directly onto the back of the neck. Focus on feeling the water on your back for a few moments.
⭐️ Let your shoulders drop
⭐️ Let go of everything else you might be holding on to by relaxing
your hands and your grip
⭐️ Take three deep breaths - feel yourself breath
⭐️ Listen to the water
⭐️ Feel it touch your skin. Feel the temperature of the water
⭐️ Smell the aroma of the soap
⭐️ close your eyes and feel. Cry or sing or smile.
Become super aware of everything you are feeling and experiencing at that moment. No judgment needed. Just being present!
Take this peaceful moment with you on your day.
💡 I believe in visualization. When challenged during the day, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and visualize this moment.
It's a charm you own.
Pause - Please!
🌷"I DON'T SHINE IF YOU DON'T SHINE!"
PS: You can skip knowing that but don't skip your charm. We have seven main energy centers in our body called Chakras. Another one worth understanding is an energy center right where the neck meets the head. It's called the Cerebellum Chakra. When this energy center is strong, it manifests as feeling in touch and inspired by our dreams. It lets us access our soul contract. Connects us to our intuitive voice.
PPS: I love to hear from you. Do you experience Magic in the Shower? Or have little moments that help you keep your cup full? Share them with me!
Is a writer and Yoga teacher/therapist BDY/EY, C-IAYT. With roots in Germany she now lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Rosa, CA. She is the mother of a micro preemie girl and shares her healing journey in her blogs and teachings. She offers her transformational Yoga and Mindfulness lessons in workshops and private sessions. Her newly developed transformational program for special moms like her now has a dedicated private Facebook group you can join: https://bit.ly/2Oa0T60
Connect with her here:
NEWSLETTER: Sign up here
This is a reflection I shared on Facebook about the poster I created a year ago.
the message is what I am reflecting upon...
- the body is just one of the many parts that make us human...
- flexibility is not just a shape of the body, it is much more a quality
of the mind. -
For me it's much more connected to:
- where to give - where to take.
- say yes or say no. etc.
- to be adaptable not holding a grudge E.g.
All of the opposites (triggers) that keep knocking on our door daily.
I have been after this kind of flexibility all of my life. It taught me to notice and be fiercely aware when I get stuck. It's our human conditioning that it happens.
Triggers are everywhere. I could tell you about 20 of mine on the spot😆. Perhaps I am diving into this later😏.
Here is what I learn as I go:
1. my noticing it is the first step to get unstuck. Noticing with curiosity not defeat and blame.
2. choosing something different, like from a different view, different mindset, not from an old habit. That is the work we need to do... it is difficult. That means "bending" so I don't break to me.
3. Step three is the life challenge we have: making this a way of life
I am on this journey with you... as a yogi, I can offer this:
When you notice you are stuck:
💡remember to notice your breath
💡take refugee in a moment of pause
💡give yourself some flexibility around the helpless feeling of being
💡 look for a different angle...
💡 choose a different approach
I promise you this works!
It is a practice... we are not suddenly enlightened and never get stuck again....LOL... But the reaction to being stuck can change...one trigger at a time.
Happily unstuck in this moment ... Manuela
"I DON'T SHINE IF YOU DON'T SHINE".
Sarina's world was brutally rocked out of shape when the wildfires broke out on our hill.
Just like ours.
The "only" difference? Sarina lives with the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
She deals with challenges differently.
Her emotions can lock her up inside her own world. Her interaction with others is often challenged. How could she deal with a life-threatening event like this?
It was this picture, this grief she showed but couldn't express, that kept pushing me to write about this experience. In order to help her, I needed her to open up and be able to talk about what's hunting her. It was the enormity of this immensely difficult time that the story grew big and bigger. I divided it into three parts.
Part one is here.
If you are reading this and are caught under the impression that autistic people don't feel emotions, let me help you understand why this is wrong. It's my deepest hope to shine a light on the way how my daughter lives her life and how deeply she feels. I burn to learn everything I can about Sarina as much as I burn to heighten the awareness of people who cross her path on how to be with her. Any small act of kindness, or guidance and making her feel included means the world to her.
Sarina is highly sensitive, compassionate and vulnerable. Time has a different meaning to her. She processes things very slow, she cannot be rushed. Her actions get very chaotic when under pressure or when she tries to be fast. A threatening reality when faced with a burning hill behind you.
Sarina was born in Cincinnati, Ohio at 24 weeks. Weighing 1'15", she did spend the first 6 months of her life in the NICU trying to survive. Her differences stem from this early birth. There is really not one label that fits her. Autism Spectrum next to Sensory Processing Disorder is just one part of who she is.
At our home, we frequently say:
"Think outside. No box needed."
That's really what it takes to understand each other. Not just the people who are different.
Sarina is part of the high functioning population who is very capable but cannot live alone. She speaks two languages fluently. She is intelligent and hungry for knowledge. Since 3 months she is enrolled in a special college track at Santa Rosa Junior College. Planning for a career in Social Justice. The college has become her sanctuary. Finally, a place where she is seen and challenged. It's the eye level relationship that people like Sarina crave. The college does an amazing job offering just that.
But she is also very distractable and absentminded. Following directions is hard for her - for many reasons. Not processing the spoken word like we do is just one of them. Words or sentences spoken to fast get lost. Having a mind that cannot concentrate and constantly bombards you with a library worth of information doesn't help the process of paying attention to what's in front of you.
She has a big zest for life. She wants what we all want: She yearns to belong, have a partner, have friends and a meaningful career.
But she needs someone who helps her hold it all together. Daily life is challenging when your drum has a different beat than most people around you.
Right now and for the last eight months I have been holding that space. Supporting her growth, helping her along. Before, she lived in a supported living arrangement in Germany for a couple of years. Yet the lack of academic possibilities made us search for another solution back in the U.S. were she has lived most of her life.
When we learned about this special college program we moved to Santa Rosa, California and she moved back in with us. It was meant to be a temporary hop back into the nest. A new supported living program was also planned to open here. Sadly we just learned that it did not get licensed. We lost that opportunity.
My nest will be full for a while longer. A demanding job for me and my husband and a challenge for Sarina as well.
I believe that there is a bigger plan.
I know I'm made for this. When the challenges become all-consuming, like when dealing with the extra fear of losing our home, I remember: I will not let my crown slip. I will not break by this challenge. There is more for me to learn. There must be a bigger plan. When I am close to falling down I pick myself up again. It happens that the never-ending need my daughter has become too heavy to carry. I have to go back to my tools. When I remember to pause, remember to breathe and tap into my source I gain strength and support because I am not doing this alone.
I do this for myself. I do it for my daughter. I do it for every mother, every parent raising a special child. And in terms for everyone who deals with extraordinary challenges. My tools can be yours. We special moms are not meant to break. We are meant to hold the torch out in front of our children to lighten their path and at the same time igniting our own light. We are meant to brighten the sky with all the stars that have been denied by society to right to shine. Can you imagine how bright the sky can be if we help our children star to shine?
I can. I see it every day.
It's my mission to gather all the tools I use to help me keep my dream alive and carry my crown high while supporting Sarina to live up to hers.
Sarina teaches me to not get stuck in assumptions: there is not one correct way to show our feelings. Emotions and how we live with them come in many shapes. It takes a willingness to be fresh, to drop our expectations and become super curious about who is in front of us. I am learning this every single day.
Sarina feels deeply. But her communication of what she feels is often either off or on. "Off" is the harder one to deal with. What to do when I can't reach her? "On" happens when she tends to be obsessed with something. But she can be guided out of the "on" phase a bit easier.
People on the spectrum often feel more intense then we do. Often hidden from our view. Especially when Sarina withdraws behind a veil of silence for no apparent reason it's patience and surrender that keep us afloat. It's that place we as Neuro Typicals (NT) cannot go. When I run because we are late she might be sitting in self-talk not able to move.
"I have to sort out what's happening on my own terms first", is how Sarina explains this. "I cannot respond to you, my neurons don't understand. It's when I am on overload when it's too loud, too busy, too much everything that I need to give myself a break".
It's not natural for her to share her feelings the way its second nature for most of us. We all know someone who "ticks" a little different. I choose to be an open book. I am gifted with a strong sense of connection and sharing with others. I am committed to speak and live by my truth. What if this is not a concept you understand?
Sarina get's caught in her own inner-world experience. In times of crisis or challenges, this has been the biggest struggle of living with her. When she is withdrawn her ability to follow through with what needs to be done is jeopardized. Discernment is not a skill she has. She can get hooked on a task and cannot stop. She cannot handle being interrupted well. Even if she wants to be adaptable her brain is wired differently. From wanting something to putting it into action she needs to walk through a labyrinth first.
Living with Sarina requires time. Time to ask questions. To listen. To explain. It requires immense patience. And most of all big love governed by an open mind to help her put into words what she feels. Or filter out what others don't need to know. TMI (too much information) can be our daily bread. And on the other ends sits NEI (not enough information), equality daunting.
It requires the trust and faith that I'm not doing it all alone. Life might not flow the way we have envisioned it but I now know there is divine timing that supports us. We are meant to fulfill our lives plan but we have to be able to step back, again and again, to surrender to the flow. To pause and breathe. And breathe again. The flow of the breath is our lifeline. Whenever we stop and harden our hearts we cut ourselves off that flow. I know how that feels.
My biggest spiritual lesson?
We need to step out of our storyline.
Pause and listen to the whispers of truth that already reside in our hearts. We cannot hear them when we carry an armor of resistance around with us.
For the last 27 years, I have observed my daughter. It's a daily practice trying to understand how she feels and how life looks from her perspective. I have learned everything I know about her in the magic moments of being truly present to her. In the stillness and gentleness of the p a u s e. I feel lucky. Lucky I have learned the gift of being a listener.
I am an observer by trade. It's the gift of practicing and teaching yoga that helps me to channel my daughter's hidden world out into the open so she too can belong. It's a big hurt for a parent of a special child to feel their loneliness. Not being understood. Not to belong.
I have learned, that we as the parents are not enough. We are in desperate need to create the famous "it takes a village" for her. Especially since Sarina is an only child, our blood family is on the other side of the ocean and we are new to this town. I am on my way to create this village for her and for us.
Understanding my daughter continues to challenge me to drop labels. There is no such thing for her. She guides the way on being open to everything that appears on our path.
And there is immense grace needed that I do forgive myself when I fail. My daughter holds everything for me. She is my biggest teacher and my biggest challenge. No one can trigger me like her. I am a temperamental being, by nature fast and wild. When I lose it with her it breaks my heart. It's her who in those moments can reach out to me saying: "Mschen*, it's o.k. I do understand."
*Sarina created the name "Mschen" for me.
That's magic right in front of me.
My daily yoga and mindfulness practice moves my self-reflection and self-love off the mat and into my daily life. It's a lifesaver for me. Spending enough time in nature especially by visiting and hugging my trees fills me up. It grounds and uplifts me. I know this is my path. My body, my soul, my spirit are all in awe when I dive into the beauty around me.
The power of those trees was also present and supported me when the devastation my neighbors and my city had to endure by those fires was nacked right in front of me.
In my yoga world, it is the "I bend so I don't break" that stands true for me. It's not just a flexibility of the body, by far not. It is the flexibility in our minds that help us to stand up after the fall.
I am on a lifelong quest to understand how Sarina experiences the world. The question: "If you had one day in your life to be someone else, who would you like to be?", I can answer on the spot.
"I would love to live in my daughter's body."
I wish every day I could feel her feelings, the hidden ones in particular. Does she feel her feet on the ground? "Of course", she says when I ask her. But observing her on the yoga mat gives me a different answer. Standing on one foot is impossible without support, standing on both still looks like she is on shaky ground. She absolutely fits the image of "she has her head in the clouds.
We love to quote Rumi:
"Your head is the ladder; bring your head down under your feet”.
The experience of the two weeks after the fire broke out when we were evacuated and fear was bigger than life humbled me. When I wasn't able to be the bridge for Sarina. I was on foreign terrain with myself, lost in fear and despair. Not being able to help her consumed my nights.
The hugs when we cried together without the answers to her fears helped us to build our bridge together and move through our despair to the other side.
Look here for part two coming up next!