6 Coaching Tips to Create Happiness

I can say from direct experience in my own life and from working with so many life coaching clients, that these are the biggest obstacles to our happiness:

1) Being Overworked
2) Stress/Anxiety
3) Perceived Pressures (abstract & mind created – not enough time, family expectations, societal pressure, etc.)

These experiences become obstacles to our happiness because they create:

1) Fear
2) Life Imbalances
2) Lack of Fulfillment
3) Health Issues – Physical/Fatigue/Insomnia
4) Dysfunctional Relationships

Here are 6 tips that I have found to be helpful in transmuting these obstacles and thus create real change in our lives:

1) Increased Self-Care/12:12 Rule

Ensure you are engaging at least a few times a week in some sort of practice that is just for you that helps you to release pressure, stress, and anxiety. For example: yoga, meditation, running, eating well, and sleeping more and better.  If you can’t figure out how to get to find the time for this enlist an accountability partner – a friend, coach, mentor or trainer.  Someone who does this well.

There is a rule called the 12:12 Rule.  12 Hours of Input = 12 Hours of Output.  If we have 24 hours in a day, allow yourself to be fed and nourished in 12 of them, thus your output is productive and impassioned.  For input, sleep is part of the 12 hours and the other 4 are for self-care/fun/passion. For output, you have 12 hours of energy expenditure to the human experience as service.  If you do your inner work than those 12 hours of output are servicing by doing something you really enjoy (to the effect that it almost seems like 12 more hours of input, catch my drift?) Learn what you are passionate about!

2) Prioritization

Speaking of passion. We have lost our sense of priorities and what is important to us.

What’s important to you these days?  I have clients write their eulogies. What do you want to be known for in your life? At the end of the day what is most important? Are you fulfilling your dreams? Are you wasting time in fear and all the perceived pressures of life and expectations? Are you living your life?

Each week set aside priorities that move you toward fulfilling your goals and your soul’s purpose.

3) Organization & Understanding Time Suckers

With most my life coaching clients, I help them create structure. We create schedules of their week so that they can take back their time and empower themselves to be more in control of their lives vs their distractions like “time suckers”.  Time suckers are things we perceive to be important, but in actuality they may not be like Instagram & Facebook. I’m not saying these aren’t powerful marketing/promotional and social tools, but we all know that one post can lead to several hours of time lost. When we create schedules, we can allot how much time goes into our priorities first and then see where we are losing time or becoming inefficient.

4) Taking Back Control & Time

There are three work scenarios that I hear time and time again from people who overwork.

1) I stay late at work because I feel like I have to (regardless of whether there is work for me).  If I stay longer the perception is I work harder.
2) I have work to do, but I get distracted at work by conversations, food, and time suckers. I don’t get my work done. I must stay late.
3) There is just too much work and not enough man power.

We need to learn to empower ourselves to be productive, work efficiently, speak up and create healthy boundaries so that we are doing the work we get paid for.  This is healthy for you and best for your employer.   The fact is, we need to be more in control of our time and perceived perceptions of pressure and stress.  All of these scenarios are changeable if you are willing to accept responsibility.  And when we take back our power, many things in our lives shift.

5) Understanding Your Value & Self Worth

Many clients that I work with have an inherent self-worth issue. This is an epidemic in our society.  We are caught in the program loop of “lack” and “not enough”.  We have been spoon fed this idea that we don’t have the power to create what we desire in our lives.

Human beings were gifted with the Spark of the Divine (the Creator) thus we have the ability to Create! We need to understand that it is our birth right to summon this energy and use this to create what our Soul desires and to express our passions, gifts and talents.

6) Understanding your Gifts, Passions and Soul’s Desire

Based on the previous, if we can let go of these ideas of lack and not enough, we can jump the hurdle of fears and limited perceptions that keep us small.  We need to do the inner work to understand what are heart and soul is desiring based on what our passions, gifts and talents are.  Without this knowledge we get caught up in the mind’s perceptions that may not reflect the True Self.

Honoring the True Self is the Key to Being Happy!

I hope you find these tips helpful. As a mentor coach, there are so many tools in our tool box that can catalyze real change. We act as your accountability partner to keep you on track and empower you to shift your perceptions and overcome your shadows and blind spots. Ultimately, its about creating the understanding that the power to create anything is within you and you hold the key to your happiness.


7 Practices to Keep You Grounded This Fall

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I have been the staff writer for YogaWorks Teacher Training Department for the last several years. This was my recently published article as “YogaWorks” for Yoganonymous.

As we enter the Fall season, it is important to understand how this seasonal change affects our body-mind.

As we learn in our Yoga practice, Prakriti, or Nature, is a mirror for us to understand our greater Selves.

Looking toward nature, Autumn is Vata season in Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga. The Vata dosha is characterized by words such as cool, light, dry, mobile, changeable, rough, and airy. We witness these changes in nature – leaves changing color, cooler air, dry leaves falling from trees, wind picking things up and swishing them around.

For the body-mind we see a similar transition. The elements of the Vata dosha are air and space. For people who have this dosha, like me (and many yoga teachers), we may feel spacey, air-headed, forgetful and ungrounded. When our Vata is really out of balance we can feel worried, anxious, and overwhelmed. We may experience nervousness, fear, restlessness and light sleep.

There are also wonderful gifts that this season brings and a balanced Vata can experience. In order to receive these benefits, Vata dosha types need tools to get balanced, connected and present. When Vata people are in balance, they can be flexible, creative, joyful, and excitable. They love to embark in new ventures. This is a great time for visioning, change, transition and movement. Here are some ways to get grounded and balanced to enjoy the Fall season to its fullest!

Grounding practices for Body-Mind-Spirit:

1. Meditation – Create environments for yourself that are less sensory and more nurturing. Being in nature is very helpful to calm the mind and nervous system. Meditation can create spaciousness and harmony.

2. Yoga – Some yoga poses are very grounding such as forward folds, or standing poses that focus on the legs and feet. Practice longer holds with longer exhales. Also, practice longer cool downs during this season, adding shoulder stand and restoratives to balance the nervous system.

3. Breathwork–Practice the breathing technique called Nadi Shodana or Alternate Nostril Breathing for balancing both hemispheres of the brain. And, use extended exhales which can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and balance restlessness.

4. Warm Seasonal Foods/Drinks – The body gravitates toward warm, cooked, earthy foods and warmer teas/drinks. Fall colors come from nature’s trees and foods. These foods contain the nutrients we need to support the body’s immune system during this season. We consume root vegetables like turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, and greens. In Ayurveda, ghee, or clarified butter, is recommended to use in cooking for its healthy fat and oils.

5. Oils – Keeping the skin moist is important during this dry season. It’s recommended to use sesame and almond oil after a warm shower. Some people will oil up before their shower and follow up with a hot shower and rinse in cold water stimulating the lymphatic system.

6. Journal – Spend quiet time with yourself to journal, get organized and move ideas out of the head and onto paper. This can help you keep the mind focused and productive for 2015.

7. Create/Learn New Things – Get creative and embark on new projects. This is a great time of year to experience change, vision and experience that transformational energy. It’s back to school time. There is a sense of momentum that is great for learning new things.

These are just some tools that can help you during this transitional season. Enjoy the momentum of this creative season, nurture yourself and create some visions for yourself that you can take into the New Year.

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Overcoming Obstacles: Finding Gratitude in Deep Stillness

Written by Nicole Doherty – published for Yoganonymous

Whenever we are faced with obstacles on our journey, they are actually amazing opportunities in disguise to create stillness, to go within and to find gratitude for all things.

With every obstacle that arises we have a chance to see the shadowy parts of ourselves that lay hidden beneath the surface. The fluctuations of the mind, the ego, and external forces create a landmine of distractions that can keep us from going deep within to listen to our soul. We all know how easy it is, when faced with obstacles to judge and to move outside of our alignment toward self-destructive, punishing behaviors and thoughts of our wrongdoing. Or we can distract ourselves outwardly by socializing, searching for people to rally around our ‘being right’, or help those who are troubled so that we can forget about our own issues.

As described by the ancient philosophies, the truth is that the way to harness our power is to create stillness. In stillness we magnify our power by listening to silence. Silence gives us a glimpse of the free, unconditionally loving spirit within. It strengthens our intuition, which is our ability to see the inner world, in contrast to using our eyes to interpret the ever-changing outer world. Creating stillness is what most of us need and what most of us despise. Stillness can be perceived as uncomfortable, frightful, lazy and lonely.

Let’s not forget that we are spiritual beings living in a human body and not the other way around. The love for others and ourselves originates from our connection to Source energy.

“You are not a troubled guest on this Earth, you are not an accident amidst other accidents, you were invited from another and greater night than the one from which you have just emerged.” ~David Whyte

In the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, (1.14) it is written, “control over the mind’s fluctuations comes from persevering practice and non-attachment”. These two guiding concepts of Abhyasa (consistent practice) and Vairagya (non-attachment) help us to find meditation. Although they seem like opposites, effort and surrender, they work as compliments to find this peace within. Peace does not come without practice.

For me, the most effective way to design a practice is to create a sacred space right next to my bed. This way before I start my day, or before I go to bed, I have no excuse, but to stop at my altar. I have adorned my altar with many representations of beauty, people, deities, rocks, stones, crystals, scents and elements of nature. I now have a meditation cushion to curb my excuses that it’s just not comfortable.

I also have slowed down significantly to find prayers of gratitude before my daily rituals like eating, yoga, or healing sessions to tap into my Source energy for guidance and love. If the mind is heavily distracted I learned through the Law of Attraction to acknowledge all of the things that I am grateful for through stream of consciousness. This will turn my attention away from negative thought patterns and will line me up with Source energy. From Source, I can more easily drop into meditation.

For my meditations, especially if I am restless, I turn to wise meditation teachers to steer my silence through their guided meditations. Some of my favorite teachers are Deepak Chopra, Rod Stryker, Richard Freeman and Jeddah Mali.

On a final note about those feelings of discomfort, I want to share an analogy that I love from a Shaman I trained with in Peru.

Imagine for the first time you have just stepped onto an airplane.  Bad weather appears outside. The plane gets bumpy and is jolted. Major fear arises. You think are going to die. You reach for the barf bag in the seat in front of you and get sick. The second time you get on the plane, you feel the jolt and you know what is causing it and the feeling of sickness may have dissipated. After several plane rides you know the territory and you feel more safe. Now, you can fall asleep on the plane with no effort. You completely trust and surrender that you are in good hands. 

The next time you sit down, remember that everything that’s new has its obstacles and that’s what provides the biggest growth. Sit with your fear and send it love.

This year has been one of the most challenging years of my life, with the biggest obstacles and it has also the most expansive on all levels of my being.  Finding my meditation practice has transformed my life.

In pure love, light and joy, may you find peace this holiday season and find meditation in all your days to come.

Photo Cred:

Origionally Published at Yoganonymous

Great Spirits Have Always Encountered Violent Opposition from Mediocre Minds_Einstein3

What Are We Resisting?

by Nicole Doherty, Certified Yoga Teacher

Resistance. As yoga teachers we talk a lot about this subject in class. Letting go of your resistance. Surrendering to your practice. Relinquishing the mind. The dictionary defines resistance as “the opposition offered by one thing to another.” What is it that we are opposing and what can we gain as a result of our practice?

  1. Stress vs. Calm: The amount of stress that we undergo as a culture is killing us. Literally. So getting on the mat offers a great opportunity to release this bound up energy and move it through the system. In most yoga classes we give you a decent cool down and a Savasana that offers the nervous system a much-needed break. Your body moves into the parasympathetic system of restoration and relaxation, when your body is literally being healed.
  2. Mental Chaos vs. Meditation: In our society we are bombarded with stimulus that pulls us in every direction. Between cars, traffic, computers, cell phones, etc. our brain is on overload. Time in a yoga class is a technology holiday and a chance to shut off. There is no way to get a hold of you, cell phones off. The brain can take rest and move into meditation.
  3. Unconscious vs. Conscious Thoughts: This is one of my personal favorites and why yoga became my life path. When we are running around all day, we’re not really listening. We are in a mode of reactivity and mostly unconscious behavior. But on the mat, once we slow down a bit, we get the gift of observation. We start to feel the mind-body-soul connection. We hear the little voices in our heads and we can observe our thoughts. Our thoughts become our actions, so we start to understand the importance of becoming conscious of them.

We tend to be in a state of resistance and opposition often. Resistance is a state of being. Contrast is what offers us choice and helps us to form our preferences. So when you enter into resistance and you are asked to surrender begin to observe what you are holding onto, attaching to and preventing yourself from experiencing that could bring you more happiness and sustained joy.

Feel free to comment on this article below and let me know what it is that you feel you resist and what the opposite state of being has brought into your life.