Surviving NOVEMBER

We are at that time of year again…. Hello, NOVEMBER. I don’t know about you, but November often feels like the hardest month of the year to get through for me. It’s cool and windy, often unpredictable, and the darkness is truly setting upon us. For many, November can bring on increased anxiety and moodiness, feelings of powerlessness and terrible restlessness. With all that, we might begin to feel more depleted than typical. So let’s take a look at some November coping tips:

  1. Establish and stick to a routine 

    • Wake up and put yourself to bed at the same time every day

    • Choose similar times each day to consume your meals

    • Find a movement routine that works for how you are feeling

    • This is a good time of year to recommit to any early morning and bedtime practices that you have gotten out of habit with

  2. Choose movement that is nurturing and grounding in nature

    • Slow Flow Yoga 

    • Moderate Walking

    • Hiking

    • Intuitive movement or dance to gentle music

  3. Practice stillness

    • Restorative Yoga

    • Yin Yoga

    • Meditation

    • Brief moments of TRUE rest (this means without screens or noise)

    • Breath work or Pranayama (maybe try some alternate nostril breathing)

    • Try floating in a sensory deprivation tank at Float Harder on Washington Ave in Portland ME

    • Get a massage, facial or some reiki if it’s within your budget

    • Yoga Nidra

  4. Practice grounding hobbies

    • Reading

    • Nature walks

    • Sipping tea by the fire (real or electric)

    • Journaling

    • Poetry

    • Bubble baths with candles

    • Self-Massage

  5. STOP

    • Running around in circles (do one thing at a time)

    • Fretting about to-do lists (choose one small thing each day to accomplish)

    • Cleaning like a chicken with its head cut off (choose one small area to clean each day)

    • Saying yes because you feel like you have to (instead say yes when it feels fun, exciting, interesting, relaxing, enjoyable to you)

  6. Choose foods that are warm and grounding (tis the season for hearty soups and stews)

  7. Find ways to get your Vitamin D

I invite you to be gentle with yourself this season. There is no sense in beating yourself up for not feeling the way you want to feel. It will only make things worse. Try and ask yourself each and every day, “How am I feeling” and “What do I need RIGHT now”. The more we are able to get in touch with these questions, the better suited we will be to effectively support ourselves through difficult times. Remember, feelings are ENERGY. Energy needs to move through us. Emotions need to move through us. Rather than working against your own energy, let your emotions rise and trust that they will fall. If you need a little extra support, reach out to a trusted friend, find a mentor, spiritual guide or therapist to support you.

Much love <3


Breathwork 101 - Anxiety Edition

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

As yogis have known for a long-time, and as science is beginning to “confirm” for the rest of us, the breath has incredibly restorative powers. There is an increasing amount of research supporting the idea that by controlling the breath (or “pranayama” as yogis say), you have the ability to shift the mind state. When we practice pranayama, we are engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a biological mechanism that can calm or soothe us.

Recently, I have been asked by many people that I am working with how to use the breath to reduce anxiety and/or stress. Below, I am listing just a few of my favorites to try if you have been wondering the same.

1 . Square Breathing:

What: Also known as “equal parts breathing” or “box breath”.

How: To begin, find a comfortable seat or space to lie down. Allow your breath to start at its natural rhythm and pace. After a few rounds, you will begin shifting into this practice:

*Inhale for a count of 4

*Hold for a count of 4

*Exhale for a count of 4

*Hold for a count of 4

*Begin again

Some considerations:

*Although I have offered a 4-count breath, you can choose a number that feels sustainable for your body. This could be higher or lower than 4.

*There is no set number of rounds you need to practice. The longer you practice, the more benefits you will receive, although it can be helpful to start small and increase your practice as you feel more comfortable with this work. You might choose 5 rounds to start and see how you feel, increasing as necessary and appropriate.

*Give yourself permission to pause or end the practice at any time.

Why: This style of breathing can invite groundedness into your body, which may help to alleviate or build tolerance to any stress/anxiety you are feeling.

2. Three-Part Yogic Breath

What: Yogis often refer to this as “dirgha” pranayama. The term dirgha means “long” in Sanskrit. This practice involves filling the lungs as much as possible with an emphasis placed on breathing into three parts of your body in a directed and mindful manner. .

How: Choose a comfortable position for your body where your spine can be long.

*Place a hand over your naval and take a slow deep inhale into this area of your body. Feel your belly inflate like a balloon on the inhale, and deflate on the exhale.

*Move your hand 2-3in above your naval (by your ribcage) and breathe now into this area of the body. Feel your ribcage fill and expand on an inhale, and contract on the exhale

*Move your hand to the center of your chest. On an inhale you feel your chest rising and expanding into your hand. As you exhale, the chest lowers.

*Now you combine the three parts. As you breathe in, you feel the breath first fill your naval, then your ribcage, and last your chest. Arriving at the top, sip in a little bit more air to be sure you have filled your lungs completely. As you exhale, you feel breath first leave the chest, then the ribcage, and lastly the naval. At the bottom, contract your abdominal muscles to be sure and remove all air.

*Continue for several rounds until this feels complete.

Why: This practice is said to relax the nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus and concentration, help with insomnia, and more.

3. Alternate Nostril Breathing

What: Yogis call this practice, Nadi Shodhana. Nadi is a sanskrit word for “channel”, “stream” or “flow”. Shodhana is a sanskrit term for “clearing” or “purification”. Therefore, this practice is aimed at clearing and purifying the subtle channels of the mind-body (sometimes referred to as “nerve purifying breath”).

How: Choose a comfortable position for your body (any shape that will allow you to have a long spine). Begin by taking deep slow inhales and exhales into the pelvis. Allow these inhales and exhales to fill the lower abdomen, middle torso and chest (dirgha pranayama). After several rounds of breathing in this manner you may shift into Alternate Nostril Breathing, by following steps below:

*Begin by taking a deep inhale.

*After completion of the inhale, use one of your fingers to block off your right nostril and exhale through the left nostril only.

*Leave your finger where it is and take an inhale through your left nostril.

*Upon reaching the top of your inhale, switch so that a finger is now covering your left nostril and release an exhale out of your right nostril.

*Take an inhale through your right nostril and at the top of the inhale, again switch nostril coverage to the right nostril as you exhale out of your left nostril.

*Continue this breathing pattern (inhaling and exhaling through one nostril and switching) for several rounds or until you begin feeling mental clarity.

*Once you release this breath practice, return breathing to full inhales and exhales again before releasing back into your natural rhythmic breath.

Why: This practice is said to infuse your body with oxygen and reduce any built up toxins. This may help to reduces stress and anxiety, as it is calming and rejuvenating to the nervous system. It is also said to help balance hormones and support balanced respiratory channels and to bring balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, helping to foster mental clarity, alertness and concentration.

Certain pranayama practices may be contraindicated during pregnancy or due to other medical conditions. Please seek medical guidance and support if you are pregnant or managing a medical condition at this time. Although, breathwork practices alone are often not enough to manage chronic anxiety, stress, etc., it is a helpful tool to use in conjunction with other methods or support you may be receiving.


MANY THANKS, and more to come on this topic.