Modern Sacred Circle Podcast, Episode 5: Relationships

What do healthy relationships look and feel like to you?

In this fifth episode of the Modern Sacred Circle, I explore the topic of relationships with fellow yoga teacher and doula, Keya Nkonoki, and women’s coach and healer, Gwen Dittmar. These entrepreneurial moms and I discuss why working with women is so magical, the power and beauty of duality, and what it takes to maintain balance in healthy relationships.

The Modern Sacred Circle podcast was created to provide modern women with the inspiration, tools, and resources to host sacred circles of their own. Hosted by me, Gigi Yogini, each week showcases a sample women’s circle featuring two fabulous female guests who share their unfiltered and uninterrupted thoughts and feelings about a specific topic of the week.

Click here to listen.

The actual experience of recording this podcast was ridiculous. I didn’t have the normal podcast producer that I’m used to and everything that could go wrong, did. Luckily, these ladies and I were having a lot of fun and did our best to create continuity and flow. But I apologize ahead of time if this episode isn’t the same quality as normal. I hope you still enjoy.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, rate and review us on itunes, and please share using the hashtag #ModernSacredCircle.

Modern Sacred Circle Deck of Card

Thank you for purchasing your Modern Sacred Circle deck of cards.

I hope these cards will bring you lots of inspiration and help you host many, many magical circles. Use this deck to help you come up with your three questions for a Modern Sacred Circle.

You can spread out the deck of cards and choose your questions randomly OR you can look through all the questions and find the ones you like the most. You can even lay out the cards and invite your participants to choose. Have fun. Get creative.

Remember, there are lots of ways to host a circle, but here are my suggestions:

MODERN SACRED CIRCLE FORMAT

(Copyright Gigi Yogini / Briana Anderson 2017)

1. Choose a specific day and time.

Start by picking a day and time. Consider picking a date that coincides with a full moon or new moon, a solstice, symbolic date, etc. or any date that is good for you.

2. Create a clean, safe, and comfortable space to gather.

Pick a place that is private, protected, and free from unwanted distractions and interruptions. Make women feel safe to express themselves.

3. Invite women (and invite those women to invite other women).

This is a great opportunity to intentionally build a strong community. When your favorite people invite their favorite people, the potential for powerful connections and lifelong friendships is potent. It will be wonderful whether it’s three women or 13.

4. Consider making the circle donation-based.

Money can be an obstacle for some, so making the gathering donation based can foster positive energy. Instead of money, we can also ask women to bring something for the shared experience including tea, snacks, candles, incense, or flowers.

5. Bless the center of the circle with an altar or offering.

Place objects of significance in the middle of the circle; including crystals, feathers, statues, candles, flowers, a mala necklace, or any special item with symbolic meaning. You may also cleanse/bless your space by smudging with sage, palo santo, etc.

6. Welcome women and share guidelines/agreements.

Remember that confidentiality is key for a safe environment. Another way to honor each woman is to agree to no interrupting or giving advice during shares. Remind each participant of the opportunity for each woman to be heard, witnessed, and seen in her divine essence. No fixing is required. Create agreements that everyone commits to.

7. Ceremonially open the sacred space.

This could be as simple as taking a deep breath together. Other ways include holding hands, chanting together, calling in the light, reading a passage or poem, or doing an invocation or grounding exercise.

8. Ask your first intro question.

The first question is a warm up. Have each woman share her name and answer a question. Sample questions can be found in the green cards of your Modern Sacred Circle deck.

9. Ask a more in-depth question (time limit & timer optional).

The second question is the main body and offers more space for sharing. As facilitator, you can decide whether this is an open ended question or whether you want to enforce a time limit. Sometimes a timer can help limit the women who have the tendency to over share while also stretching the women who find it harder to speak in public. You can choose your main body question from the blue cards of your Modern Sacred Circle deck.

10. Ask a closing question.

After going around the circle with your intro and main body questions, ask a significant closure question. These questions can be found in the purple cards of your Modern Sacred Circle deck.

11. Have a specific, ceremonial closure.

Just as you opened intentionally, finish with a deep breath, poem, or prayer. You can also hold hands, chant together, read a passage or poem, or choose any closing ceremonial exercise of choice.

12. End with lots of connection.

When the circle comes to an official end, leave time and space for women to visit and connect in smaller clusters. Practice and encourage lots of eye contact, hugs, and gratitude for sharing. It’s always a good idea to set a specific time for the next circle.

Take a photo of you using the cards, or your alter, or your group of women and when you share it, use the hashtag #ModernSacredCircle

Studio Wish List

At my studio, a few of my events are by donation. FYI friends…

*BY DONATION* does not mean free.

In the spirit of abundance, the suggested donation is $20 but other donations are also welcome. Some people give more (I’ve found $100 bills in my donation box), some people give less (I also find wads of $1 bills). Some people bring food to the circle (fruits, veggies, nuts, chocolate, etc). Other bring gifts for the space (see suggestions below).

I have loved receiving the variety of beautiful gifts and because people have things I no longer need in their lives, and I have a lot of space to fill, I have created a wish list. Cash is not the only form of payment I am willing to receive. I’m happy to receive other valuable goods. And by *VALUABLE* I mean things that can improve the experience of the circle or the space.

This wish list includes but is not limited to:

– fruit, nuts, chocolate, energy bars
– hanging plants / ivy
– succulents / cactus
– candles & nagchampa incense
– beautiful pillows
– clean baby toys, clothes, books
– musical instruments
– crystals, stones, feathers
– wood carvings, mirrors
– fabrics, tribal rugs
– wooden bowls, straw baskets
– mugs, glasses, dishes
– coffee, tea, beverages
– hangers, organization supplies, storage
– first aid equipment, feminine supplies
– canvases, art n’ craft supplies
– picture frames, artwork
– bathroom or kitchen towels
– soaps, lotions, essential oils

Any questions??

Toot. Toot. Beep. Beep.

Today I’m going to take a moment to toot my own horn. Beep. Beep.

I am a good person. My capacity to love is infinite. I am One with Divine & I see the light in you. I pray for the Highest Good for all. I am always doing my best & I can always do better. I am a great mom & I try to be a good wife. I hold space for my loved ones & strangers to grow in my presence, with my support. I facility opportunities for transformation & always aim for my Truest Self. I am a work in progress & I’m ok with not being perfect.

Thank you for witnessing me. . .

The love of a dog

It’s been two weeks since my 15 year old fur baby took his last breath while lying on my lap. He was the kind of dog who kissed me until the very end.

Zoid was endless love. Pure, authentic, unconditional, furry and slobbery love.

I haven’t allowed myself to write about him just yet because the emotions were initially too intense. And then life kept happening.

I feel like he and his memory deserve so much more attention than a quick post. But time escapes me these days as I juggle the developing twins, getting back to work, and balancing a new chapter of my household.

But I will always remember…

The day Zoid and I first met at Molly’s pet store and introducing him to Dan, Brynn, Sara, Lizzie, and the rest of the Boulder family…

Him sitting at my feet throughout college classes without teachers even knowing…

The hike we took on the day my niece was born…

Thousands of miles of road trips…

Hours of playing fetch…

Thousands of miles of walking, running, hiking in CA & CO mountains…

Him climbing trees and chasing deer…

The way he smiled for photos…

Swimming at the beach and my mom’s pool…

Cuddling on lonely nights or early mornings…

Him licking tears off my face…

How he’d wait to eat until I sat down for dinner…

The way he would greet me when I’d come home from work with his entire butt wagging (not just his tail)…

The way he stayed close to my newborn babies when I brought them home from the hospital…

How he’d patiently let my children crawl all over him…

The way he made eye contact when I pressed my forehead against his…

 

…I will remember all of this and so, so much more.

 

I am endlessly grateful for our time together. His love and loyalty was more than I could have ever asked for.

1959319_10152802568629571_7251075237522173554_nZOID

2002 – 2017


January 2017 Schedule – Viceroy Yoga

Enjoy Complimentary Yoga @ 10am every Saturday & Sunday at the luxury Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica.

These free classes are open to everyone. Please ask the front desk for class location.

Here’s January’s Schedule:

1/1 – Sara
1/7 – Sara
1/8 – Katie
1/14 – Sara
1/15 – Katie
1/21 – Gigi
1/22 – Katie
1/28 – Gigi
1/29 – Katie

The Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica
1819 Ocean Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 260-7500

Valet or Street Parking is available. Limited yoga mats are available so please bring your own. You might also want to bring sunglasses, bathing suit, and sunblock to enjoy the pool after class.

A few of my favorite things…

Pregnancy is an extremely personal experience, yet trillions of women have experienced it. So I wanted to share a few books that I found extremely helpful to me furing my experience as a yoga teacher who got pregnant with twins, and had a seemingly perfect pregnancy until I delivered two months “early.”

Check out these books and see if anything might benefit you, or a woman you know, who is experiencing this life altering miracle of motherhood and pregnancy.

prenatal books

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh
What to Do When You’re Having Two by Natalie Diaz
Multiples Illuminated by Megan Woolsey & Alison Lee
The Premature Baby Book by William Sears
Mama Mala from Ravishing Jewelry

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Holiday Schedule

In addition to my regular classes (although some are canceled for Christmas Eve & NYE) I’ve added some classes to my schedule for the Holidays. I hope you’ll join me!

Tuesday 12/22: 6am @ YW Brentwood – Level 1/2 (55 minutes)
Tuesday 12/22: 7:15am @ YW Brentwood – Level 2/3 (70 minutes)
Tuesday 12/22: 6pm @ YW Westwood – Level 1/2 (85 minutes)

Wednesday 12/23: 12:30pm @YW Montana Ave – Prenatal Level 1 (85 min)

Thursday 12/24: 6am @ YW Brentwood – Level 1/2 (55 minutes)

Saturday 12/26: 12:15pm @YW Montana – Prenatal (85 min)

Sunday 12/27: 6pm @ YW Westwood – YIN (85 min)

Tuesday 12/29: 6am @ YW Brentwood – Level 1/2 (55 minutes)
Tuesday 12/29: 6pm @ YW Westwood – Level 1/2 (85 minutes)

Thursday 12/31: 6am @ YW Brentwood – Level 1/2 (55 minutes)
Thursday 12/31: 8am @ YW Westwood – Level 1/2 (85 minutes)

Sunday 1/3: 6pm @ YW Westwood – YIN (85 min)

3 Reasons Why I Love Harem Pants

3 reasons why I love my new harem pants (or MC Hammer pants) from YogaOutlet:

  1. They’re comfortable beyond belief with lots of room to move and stay cool.
  2. They’re high waisted so I’m worry free about them slipping during practice.
  3. They’re perfect for days when you don’t feel like wearing skin tight spandex. Not every day is a skin tight day. Just sayin’…

 Is it possible to wear them too much? From the studio to the street, these pants are the perfect crossover. They come highly recommended!

Do You Ever Feel Like A Fraud?

I just realized that sometimes I feel like a fraud.

I had the honor of taking Dr. Melody Moore’s workshop at the Off the Mat: Game Changer’s intensive at Yoga Journal LIVE in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ve been familiar with Dr. Moore’s work with the Embody Love Movement and felt compelled to take her workshop entitled: How Yoga Brings Healing to Those Who Struggle with Negative Body Image and Disordered Eating.

We gathered in a circle and after learning more about her journey into the world of yogic healing, we played a getting-to-know-you game.

Standing in a circle, every time Dr. Moore made a statement we agreed with, we were supposed to take a big step into the center of the circle. Even if we wanted to justify the statement or explain our reason for agreeing, we were supposed to stay silent and just step in and out of the circle accordingly.

I told myself to just move from my gut. So when she made a statement, I wouldn’t think twice. I’d either step in or I’d stay put.

At one point, Dr. Moore said:

“As someone who promotes Body Positivity, sometimes I feel like a fraud.”

Before I knew it, I was standing in the center of the circle.

When I stepped back out, I wondered why I felt like a fraud but didn’t give myself enough time to worry about it because she was already onto the next statement. As I stepped into and out of the circle, it was not only a great way to get to know the people in the circle around me, but most of all, I felt like I was really getting to know myself.

After the workshop I had time to reflect, WHY DO I FEEL LIKE A FRAUD?

Immediately, I thought about a moment, just the day before, when I got out of the shower and was changing in front of a full length mirror. I was looking at my bare legs and started to criticize them. They were pale, covered in bruises, scars, veins (even some purple ones that bulged behind my knees), and my thighs looked soft and giggled easily.

THAT’S why I felt like a fraud.

I felt like a fraud because my instinct was to criticize my physical form.

HOWEVER, I am NOT a fraud.

I am not a fraud because even though I had a moment of criticism, I was able to flip it.

After my initial instinct to criticize my legs, I thought to myself:

“Well, these are my legs and they have treated me well. They are strong and they are powerful and I am so grateful for everything they have done for me.”

Then I realized:

Just because sometimes I feel like a fraud, doesn’t mean that I am a fraud.

Just because sometimes I have moments of insecurity, doesn’t mean that I am insecure.

I am a modern human and I have unmistakably human moments. The fact that I can briefly express a negative habit, but then catch myself and turn it into an affirmative opportunity for gratitude, is the best exercise of body positivity that I can think of.

I don’t think body positivity means always loving every part of your body at all times. I think it’s more dynamic than that. Cultivating a positive body image requires a constant learning process. Just as the body is always changing, so will our relationship with it.

So as I give myself a little slack, I ask you to be a little less harsh on yourself too. When you have moments of insecurity or self-criticism, take a deep breath and see if you can turn it around.

Remember, body positivity is a process and takes practice. Luckily there are people like Dr. Moore and others who are here to help.