Healing and Self Care

Yogini Mata :: Yoga Mother :: Many Meanings

I believe a fundamental part of self discovery & healing is exploring the meaning of the word “mother” in the personal lexicon. In sanskrit, the word “mata” means mother. Mother is a word that has numerous meanings and connotations. It is a word that may be cherished, adored or contended with but is rarely a word that invokes a sense of indifference. We all have feelings about Mother.

What is your relationship to the word Mother? To your mother? As a mother or father? To mother earth? To other sources of love and nourishment?

As someone may have suggested to you at some time, perhaps in your weekly yoga class, there is an abundant well of energy with in you and all around you- there is not doubt about it. I believe tapping into this energy begins with knowing you deserve to be nourished, filled with love, joy and intuition- the qualities a mother gives to her child. Having a challenging relationship with my own mother as a child, I’ve struggled with believing I’m worthy of being nurtured and cared for. That struggle has made it difficult to not only receive love from others, but also acted as a obstacle in loving and caring for myself. I know many woman, many of my friends, students and teachers experience a similar struggle. As yogis and yoginis we must heal. We must. If we don’t heal, all the energy in the universe may be at our feet and if we can touch it, take it in and hold it in our arms, heart and mind, what good is all that energy anyway?

What I suggest you do, a practice that has opened my heart and ability to love myself and receive love, is to practice self care and self appreciation so you can learn to use the abundance of energy with in you and around you to do great things… Or mundane things that make you happy and whole. Self care practices have become particularly important to me as a new mom. I know I have to love myself and care for myself so I can love my most beloved wholeheartedly. I know he deserves that. To begin the Yogini Mata practice, care for yourself. Below is a ritual I offer to you. Make it your own. Many more suggestions of self care will be offered in the Yogini Mata Blog.

Warming the heart. A traditional Ayurvedic practice I learned from Swamini Mayatitanda (Mother Maya) of the Wise Earth School. Place both hands over your heart, on the left/middle part of your chest. Feel your life pulse, your life energy, your prana. Feel the beat of your heart in your hands and the warmth of your hands on your heart. Make a loving statement towards your self acknowledging your worth and beauty. With loving pressure make gentle circular movements over the heart. The skin will move over the muscle tissue, the muscle will massage the bone. The bone will absorb warmth that will infuse the heart with warmth. 300 circles. With loving intentions. Warm your heart and increase heart energy. Before yoga practice. After yoga practice. When you are feeling alone, scared, vulnerable or tired. A simple self-love hug you can practice many times a day, virtually anywhere. If someone gives you a funny look while you are warming your heart, invite them to join you or quietly send love and compassion to them. You always have choices.

Yogini Mata

Yogini Mata Heart Hug

Begin by seeing the end.

prayer earthAlthough I’ve had many good fortunes in life, I frequently have “stumbled” upon them or opened a gate to a path leading to an unknown destination that happened to be the land of opportunity for my life’s current endeavor. Not to say I’ve lofted through life so far without working hard, thinking smart or  planning but because of the good fortune I’ve had, atleast in part,  it seemed to me there was no need to work much harder, think even smarter, and plan more completely than I already was. When one door closed, the next opened. And that seemed to work.
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Strength – what the hell is it?

strengthRecently I made the affirmation to contemplate authentic strength thinking I needed it to make some adjustments in my life. I thought about the notion of strength, meditated and looked around with curious wide eyes. I noticed examples of what I considered to be authentic strength, in people, in communities, in organizations that are doing what many believe is impossible or at least improbable. My observations and contemplations lead me to this conclusion: true strength the kind that allows you to transcend boundaries and be more that you ever thought you could be requires surrender + grace + inspiration + willingness. And if that is strength, is strength really “strong” in the Webster Dictionary sense or is strength more about being flexible, porous, and accepting? Wondering…

Consider this…


“I learn by going where I have to go.” Theodore Roethke, American Poet

Recently I went through a very difficult time. You must relate. My view of both inner and outer landscapes during that time appeared dark and erily barren. Desolate. My mind felt useless- in fact I was convinced it was not working, my heart ached and reached for… what? I do not know. My soul felt dusty and to repair my spirit seemed daunting- an insurmountable task that I knew was necessary to go on. I spent hours, days, nights wondering aimlessly how would I do this? I am not sure how I made it through this time. I could not re-write the recipe or re-trace the map that lead me out of darkness and desolation. But I do know the qualities I developed through years of  yoga practice and meditation and the simple intention to live a mindful life rose to the surface, or should I say went to task deep within, via a yellow submarine.  The culmination of collected qualities along with a handful of shredded yet existent faith granted emotions living  just beneath my skin to be 1) acknowledged and 2) felt. Once acknowledged and felt, the emotions; fear, sadness, anxiety, insecurity, anger had no place with me. I finally took time and felt them and surrendered to all that they were. It hurt, it was messy, it was uncomfortably vulnerable and unfamiliar. When the storm passed, prohibitive emotions no longer had power or a place to fester. And what was left was clear space inside me, around me, for me. Pure potential. This space could be filled, or not filled with whatever I choose. What a different place from where I began. Had I not gone there- to that painful place I would not have come out the other side; with less tiresome heaviness, less wasted energy and more understanding, acceptance and joy. I went where I had to go.

I learned by going where I had to go.

Where do you have to go?