Mindset: The Battle Between the Conscious and Unconscious Mind

Program Yourself Into a Growth Mindset

  • Why is it that when it comes to trusting the universe we immediately put parameters on what is possible?
  • Why is it that accepting yourself as an infinite being of light is so hard for us to believe? 
  • Why is it that we feel we must consciously understand the magnificence of the unknown in order for it to work in our favor? 

Why is it so hard for us to let go and trust without a need to understand or figure it all out?

Unconsciously we are moving and performing tasks all the time with zero thought behind them. Our motor skills are busy working away so our conscious mind can think about a hundred different things. Even though we work between the conscious and unconscious daily, it seems there is a part of us that believes we have to understand everything in order for it to be possible for us. 

Our conscious mind likes to make sense of our environment. It likes to see the line between step A and step B. It likes to know right from wrong, and it likes problem-solving. The unconscious mind isn’t concerned with any of that; its only concern is supporting the beliefs and narratives programmed into it. 

When you are looking to grow your mindset it is important to take a close look at the relationship between your conscious and unconscious mind. Both play a role in how you see your life and both have insight into where your work will be. 

Seeing Isn’t Always Believing

There’s a scene in the second Matrix movie, Matrix Reloaded, where Neo and Councilor Hamann are talking. The councilor is describing the machines that keep them alive in Zion that he knows nothing about. He understands he doesn’t need to know how they work in order for them to work. He then says, “I have absolutely no idea how you are able to do some of the things you do, but I believe there’s a reason for that as well.” I have always loved this scene because it reminds me that I don’t need to know how everything works, I just need to know that it works. Like plumbing or electricity. I trust these things to work in my life and I don’t put energy into trying to figure them out. It’s a knowing. 

Your conscious mind needs to learn to let go of trying to figure it all out. It needs to connect with your inner knowing so you can find happiness and begin to reprogram the negative unconscious patterns into healthy ones so you can get where you want to be. 

This feels impossible at first, but others have done it, and you can too.

Conscious Thought vs. Unconscious Thought

We are always taking in and processing our environment. We use our lens on reality to determine what is necessary information and what we can discard. Your conscious thoughts narrate to you what your unconscious mind is programmed to feel. Or rather, your unconscious mind is using a lifetime of experiences based on early developmental programming to make decisions. 

This is why change and growth can be so hard. 

You can want to change and have every intention to change, but until you are aware of the unconscious programming behind your decision-making, you won’t change. 

Think of a friend you know really well. You know all their patterns and you can easily see how they get in their own way. Now let’s suppose you know their mom, and she’s the same as your friend. You can see how or why they adapted certain unhealthy or healthy programming. It was unconsciously passed down to them. So when someone says “you’re just like your mom” you can begin to see how or why that happens. 

If you have been conditioned to some negative or destructive patterns in your unconscious mind and you are ready to explore the root cause, you better be ready to do some work. 

Your thoughts and feelings are going to lie to you to keep you safe based on old programming. And if you want to move beyond that programming you have to be ready to step outside your normal decision-making skills and start to create new pathways in your brain that support this new way of thinking. 

This is how you move into a growth mindset. It is the difference between saying, “That’s just who I am” and “I can do better.”

Once you begin this process your unconscious will, over time, start to adapt to this new conscious way of thinking and you will no longer be trapped in your old narrative. 

The Conscious Dreamer

If I were to ask you…

  • What do you want out of life? 
  • What do you want to see and experience? 
  • What kind of job do you want? 
  • What kind of relationships do you desire? 
  • Where do you want to live?

Your conscious mind would start dreaming up all kinds of things and you would start to feel the joy and gratitude of having those things. It feels good! Dreaming is fun. But then If I asked, why aren’t you doing those things? Your conscious mind would move from dreamland to the analytical mind. It would start to tell you all the reasons why it wasn’t possible for you and you would be pulled back into those limiting patterns programmed into you from your childhood. 

  • What if you decided to allow yourself to not know how or why, but stay in the dream state? Remember it’s that conscious need to know everything that slows you down and gets in your way. 
  • What if you just decided that what you wanted was the truth for you and started acting from it? 
  • What if you started to accept your needs as worthy and true without your inner critic judging you or trying to dictate how it will happen?

Unconscious Servant

All of your unconscious thoughts are programs that run on the information you feed them. You become a slave to these programs until you start consciously taking your power back. You get to create your reality and your unconscious mind will become a servant to the new programs you feed it. 

All that you want and desire can be true for you when you decide to work through and rebuild your unconscious mind. 

Trying to create a new narrative takes work because you can’t plan everything out. All you can do is learn to sidestep the old programming by paying attention to the feelings and triggers associated with it. 

Every time you have a great idea that is silenced by the unconscious telling you it’s stupid, you are present at this crossroad. You can continue to belittle yourself and the things you want or you can stop yourself and start inputting a new narrative. 

You don’t need to know how it all works, the universe is way too big for us to understand. The moment you start to play out the same stories in your head about why or why not something is possible for you, you leave the field of the infinite. 

A Record of The Past Does Not Need to Determine Your Future

Up until now, you have made decisions based on your past experiences. Some of these experiences were so traumatic that you relive them constantly and your unconscious mind keeps them handy in order to protect you and keep you alive. 

For example, when you are meeting new people you probably have some fear of rejection coming from your unconscious mind. This fear might not make any sense, and everyone else is probably feeling it on some level too, but fear is stronger than logic, and your unconscious mind is there to protect you from the rejection you felt as a child. 

A simple (not easy) way to look at consciously reprogramming this fear would be to allow yourself to imagine the desired result and use those emotions to feel something different than fear. The unconscious will slowly begin to view the scenario of meeting new people as safe or fun. 

Feel Your Emotions

We are emotional beings. It is important to put emotion behind what we want to feel. Like attracts like. So if you are always thinking the worst then that is what the unconscious is programming you to believe and experience. 

Your mindset is all about what you believe is true for you. 

As you decide to grow your mindset you will inevitably be faced with old programs that must be transformed for you to make new decisions. You must learn to stay focused on the end result and use emotions you want to relate to. 

Your unconscious mind is going to fight for its survival, so this may feel like a tug-of-war. Like you’re lying to yourself, but that’s where trust comes in. Just keep focusing on where you want to be and know that it is true for you. Like a baby throwing a tantrum, it will calm down and see you are no longer interested in going along with and rewarding bad behavior. 

Take Action

You’ve probably already noticed some of your limiting belief patterns and have asked yourself, “why do I always do that?” It’s your unconscious mind running the show, and it is outdated, and time for change. 

The best tool I have to help me through the hard times when the inner child in me is acting out and resisting change is to breathe. Consciously staying focused on what results I want, I calm my body and mind with some slow mindful breaths. Inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 4 seconds. 

The longer I work on my own programming the fewer tantrums I see. I have developed an entire 4-week course to help others do the same so you can move from a fixed to a growth mindset with Breath Mindset. 

Come join me and together we can identify and reprogram your unconscious mind into the conscious reality you seek. 

Is Too Much Social Media Putting Your Nervous System on High Alert?

It Might be Time to Take a Stimuli Break. Here’s How.

The Internet has brought the world into our homes and has inundated us with a constant thread of news to absorb or ignore. Social media platforms have become a hub of information designed to fit our personal lens on reality. With the average of 3 hours a day spent on these platforms, one must question if this constant dopamine drip is a healthy activity or a complete waste of time.

It’s so easy when you have 15 minutes to spare to just open the apps and see what’s happening with your friends and family. It’s fun watching all the kids grow up and having cherished family moments. It’s nice to see friends sharing adventures and all the pets they love. As you mindlessly scroll you begin to drown out the ads that pop up in between every third post you see. But they must be having some sort of affect on your brain chemistry. Ad after ad sprinkled in with family and friends you get to appreciate from afar. Nothing too close, nothing too real, nothing to sincerely and honestly engage with. 

It’s safe to judge and like from your couch while your brain feels scattered and your concentration dwindles. 

Nervous System on High Alert!

This constant stream of stimuli has a direct affect on your nervous system. And as we are becoming more and more programmed by our devices to feel that immediate dopamine high, we are allowing side effects to creep in. Things like…

  • Spending more and more time on social media.
  • A quick 15-minute check-in turns into an hour-long scroll.
  • Jumping from one social media account to the next out of boredom.

Today we can’t focus on one thing too long without looking for a new distraction, and this causes stress. And stress creates unhealthy pathways in your nervous system. 

Stress and the Nervous System

We are all wired differently based on a variety of things from our past and our general demeanor, so these stress patterns will look different for everyone. 

Stress enters our body as a result of our natural (and programmed) reactions to… 

  • How safe you feel
  • Your sense of belonging
  • Your sense of Identity
  • How well you create or state personal boundaries

Social media platforms are a great place to express yourself with easy access to quotes and memes and images that can easily be shared. But only when someone feels safe to do so and this comes as a result of how our needs were met or not met during our developmental years. 

When threatened, our body goes into a fight or flight state, and our stress skyrockets! When this sympathetic side of your nervous system is triggered you might find yourself easily frustrated, annoyed, and irritated by what you see online. 

When you post something you might feel anxious or overstimulated by the responses. Or you may find yourself completely frozen in what to do in life so you use social media as a numbing agent to avoid responsibility and keep you in a procrastination mill. 

These are all emergency responses caused by trauma in the body. In our busy modern world, we are becoming more and more accustomed to living in a continuous state of stress.

We need to allow our nervous system time to find balance. 

It’s time to push against our social media habits and use our time and energy towards the pursuit of becoming a more present and calm human. 

It’s time to take a break from social media. 

Taking time to step away from the constant momentum of social platforms is challenging because self-care doesn’t come with any instant rewards. It takes time to slow down and tune in to what you need. 

For the next seven days instead of continually checking your phone, challenge yourself to take a break. It’s a great way to find out if you have an addiction and a refreshing way to identify where some self-care is needed. 

Here are 3 tips to help you break the habit for seven days and unplug.

Create a Goal

We are so programmed to mindlessly check our social accounts that we may find ourselves on an hour-long drone without even realizing it. That’s why it is practical to create a goal for your social media break. Make it simple and write it out where you can see it. Consider things like…

When I feel the urge to check social media I will…

  • Go for a walk
  • Pick up an old hobby
  • Write out the grocery list
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Call a friend
  • Read

Depending on how much time you find yourself on social media it is a good idea to have a list of things to do instead to keep your mind productive. Try things that keep the phone out of your hands to avoid any accidental peeking.

Delete the Apps!

Okay before you freak out, I’m not suggesting deleting your accounts, just remove the app from sight. Create steps between you and the platform. If Instagram isn’t on your phone then you have to log into your computer to get into your account, and who checks Instagram on their computer? 

At the end of the week, you can simply re-download the app and sign back in. (If you decide you want to.) 

At the very least, turn off all notifications for the week. Set yourself up for success by removing those beeps, buzzes, and flashy notifications. 

Announce the Break

This is helpful because you are openly letting others know of your intent. You can include things that let your support group know that you need their help. Encourage them to reach out to share news or go for a walk. It’s always nice to share your challenges and successes with others, and a break from social media is no different. 

Find Your Breath

Taking a break from the socials helps you to be more present in your life and breathwork is a great way to help you engage in the moment. It’s simple and effective. 

As part of your seven-day detox, I invite you to try breathwork. In my online course, Breath Mindset,  I have students do breathwork 3 times a day, every day for one month. 

  • 5 minutes of energizing breathwork in the morning.
  • 5 minutes of balancing breathwork in the afternoon.
  • 5 minutes of calming breathwork in the evening.

By doing 15 minutes of breathwork a day you start to create a more balanced nervous system and the brain fog seems to dissipate into clarity. 

If you are interested in learning more about breathwork, reach out! I have a ton of resources and it’s a great way to set your phone down and stay present in the moment. 

Breathe in Nature Ends with a Trip to Mason Lake

Come Explore a Variety of What You’ve Been Missing!

It’s hard to believe Summer is coming to an end. The kids are heading back to school, Fall routines are taking flight, and just like that, there is a hint of Autumn in the air. It seems like just yesterday we gathered for the first Breathe in Nature adventure back in April. Yet, here we are, arriving for our final adventure of the season. A variety of experiences and high elevations await us for this last and most challenging of hikes. 

Last March when I was first putting Breathe in Nature together I had no idea the impact it would have on the participants, the instructors, or myself. I learned a lot about planning an event outside in the questionable weather of a PNW spring. I didn’t consider people getting sick, and I jumped in without a backup plan. 

Lucky for me, everything and everyone was as delighted as myself just to be in communion with other humans for the first time in over two years. Every event came with its own set of challenges. From heavy rainfall, unexpected last-minute location changes, and even an army of mosquitos! Despite all that it couldn’t break the spirit of this crew. 

It seemed that every adventure came at the right time and attracted exactly who needed to be there. 

Every meetup since April has been building in length and/or elevation, all leading to this final variety pack of experiences that will guide us through an all-day affair. 

Here’s what to expect…

Foraging with a Pro

Mason Lake will be a journey through all the highlights. As we start out on this 7-mile hike we will reflect back to the first time we met in April. It was freezing and wet, but all came to enjoy Alissa Allen and her expert advice on foraging. We even went home with a guidebook and warmed our tummies with some fresh needle soup. 

Although Alissa won’t be joining us for this final retreat, her knowledge will carry on as we talk about foraging mushrooms! What to look for in early fall and when and where to forage. 

Gong Immersion

Jill Mattern was up next in what was supposed to be an outdoor gong bath under the full moon. The forecast had other plans that led to a last-minute indoor move that ended up being a cozy way to let go and open up to the sounds of the gong. Jill stepped in again in June after Jess got sick for another last-minute swap which led me to believe that Jill is one of those amazing humans who can adapt on a dime. And this time it was as intended, and set in the great outdoors.

Both gong experiences were soothing, and on our way up to the Lake On Sunday, Sept. 11th Jill will delight us once more with the sweet sounds of her gong as we take a break to refresh our bodies and minds before moving into the steep switchbacks leading to our destination. 

Photography in Nature

As we trek up the high elevations of the day we will revisit the tips and techniques presented by Matthew Brashears. Using the panoramic views of the climb we will take our time (and preserve our energy) stopping to take photos as we check off some of our favorite perspectives from that educational adventure.

Glacier Dip

Once we crest the high rocky peaks we will begin the descent into the cooler side of the mountain as we walk through lush green lands to arrive at Mason Lake. This stunning lake is surrounded by trees that offer privacy and an inviting atmosphere to jump on in and cool off after a long sweaty incline to get there. 

Lynar Deluca will be there to guide you through another cool dip if you choose. Helping to push you past your limiting perspective and safely guide you out of your comfort zone, Lynar offers great support to help you feel safe in the chilly glacier waters. 

Don’t forget your suits! And yes there will be a private changing station.

Nature Journaling

The amazing Jessica Winters was supposed to join us for a day of nature journaling that never came to pass. That darn covid had other plans for Jessica and the series was forced to move forward without this adventure. 

As we spend time soaking in the sun at Mason Lake there will be an opportunity to pull out your journal and get creative. Drawing, writing, or just reflecting on the day. This is your time to do as you will and you can bet Jess will be back next year to delight us with her wisdom. 

Breathwork, Lunch, and Closure

Breathwork is a huge part of this series and something we’ve done in conjunction with each outing. This will be no different. Along the route, we will practice a variety of breath practices to keep us moving and focused.

Once at the Lake we will do some dynamic circular breathwork to clear our minds and open our hearts. This will prepare you for the chilly water should you decide to get in for a spell. After which we will enjoy our lunches, good conversation, and amazing scenery before making the long haul back down the mountain. 

Here we will close the series for the year. Having a wealth of information to grow from and new friends to cherish. 

If you are interested in joining us there is still time! Here is the link with all the information. We will meet at the trailhead at 8am to beat the crowds, and plan on spending the whole day on the mountain. Returning to our cars, and life around 4pm.

This is a great way to see what you’ve been missing and get an idea of what is in store for Breathe in Nature 2.0 coming next spring. 

See you on the mountain!

The Beginningless Circle of Life and Breath

Birth, Life, Death, and Rebirth

There are few things that happen in life that are so impactful that you remember every detail of the event. Those moments that quite literally take your breath away, when time stands still and every sensation in your body feel heightened and alive. These are the moments that often change who you are. From recalling a collective moment in history to the birth of a child, or the moment you realize you’re in love. These events all have one thing in common: your breath. 

This past Monday I was busying myself with creating another YouTube video for my business. I was fiddling with the lights, setting up my backdrop, writing notes to look at just off camera, and practicing the routine. It was pretty mundane. All the while I’m focusing my thoughts on the importance of staying consistent with my business and fighting off my inner demons of doubt.

I barely even took note when the text came in, too busy in my own little world to slow down, I merely flicked the text off to the side to read later.

Finally, after 90 minutes of prep, I was ready to begin filming. I pulled my phone out to put it on silent and froze. 

Before even reading the text, the sender’s name was enough. 

My friend’s 3-year battle with cancer was over. My breath rose to my chest, and the fight against my tears began. 

Suddenly nothing else mattered. Instead of filming, I sat and allowed myself time to cry. I cried for my own selfish loss of a friend. I cried for her husband who had kept so positive during the whole cancer journey. I cried for her two young boys who would grow up without their Mom. I cried for her mom who had just lost a child, for her sister who had lost her best friend. I cried for our community to which she had given so much.

I remember every detail of the moment. 

When my phone beeped for a second time I didn’t hesitate to jump, expecting another detail into this beautiful human’s passing. What I got was unexpected. 

Another friend shared the birth of her perfect baby boy. Again my breath jumped high into my throat, and I had to work for a few minutes to bring it back into my belly so I could handle the wave of high and low emotions flowing through my body. 

Breathwork is the flow of the eternal

Breath is our constant companion in life. Here from our first breath and traveling in direct relation to our emotions until our parting exhale. 

In the matter of one hour, the breath of one departed and was replaced into the life of another. And so continues the beginningless circle of life. 

In Buddhism the Wheel of Samsara (which is a huge amount of theory that I have little knowledge of) speaks of the continual flowing. Moving on, from one moment to the next, including from one life to the next. 

Yoga philosophy says “samsara is the energy that keeps us trapped in human existence – experiencing birth, life, death, rebirth, and so on.” 

Breath is Beginningless

You and I are breathing the same breath today as our ancestors breathed before us. 

  • The intelligence Steve Jobs exhaled out is available for you to breathe in. 
  • The heart Mother Teresa exhaled into the world is here for you to breathe in.
  • The courage Martin Luther King Jr. exhaled to his people you can choose to inhale into your life.
  • The leadership Nelson Mandela exhaled out is waiting for you to inhale in.
  • The compassion Jane Goodall shows for all life is welcoming you to inhale it deeply into your being. 

Whatever you are breathing out into the world is here for others to breathe in. It is a beginningless circle of who and what we are. 

It connects and divides us. 

And in the big moments that change our lives, it is what we hold onto just so we can make it through. 

Your breath is in an ever-changing flow of inhales and exhales, of receiving in and offering out. You are part of the flow, and when the dance that is your life ends another will be waiting in the wings to start their own. And so the dance continues. 

The beginningless circle, Samsara, the wheel of life. 

Breath and your life

Prana is breath. Your life force. 

  • Every breath you have is directly connected to the thoughts you think. 
  • The thoughts you think play a huge role in how you view the world. 
  • How you view the world determines so much of the emotions you connect to
  • Learning how to control your breath helps bring focus onto what you want in your life. 

With so much emotion running through my nervous system this week it was vital for me to dip into my toolbox of breathing techniques and find balance when I wanted to curl up and cry. 

Continuing to sit with my breath in my daily practice became super challenging when all I wanted to do was run from my thoughts. But my commitment to a healthier mind and outlook kept me showing up and ultimately helped me feel the flow I needed for peace. 

My dear and beautiful friend is not lost to us. She is here for us to breathe in her love for community. She is there for me whenever I need the courage to stand up for what is right. She stands with me whenever I feel doubt and offers me her breath of confidence.

And as for the new baby boy with his blank slate of experiences and emotions. With every inhale he is taking in the same breath as his ancestors, guiding him from the past so he may step into a future dance that is waiting for him to embrace and continue the dance we are all swirling in. 

From our first breaths to our last, we circle through the dance of life, and we will be here again and again in many different forms in the beginningless circle of life and breath.

If you are going through grief or are hurting in any way, know that those you hold dear are always available to you. You can breathe in the best parts of who they were and carry that into your life and your experience. The cycle is never-ending and we are all just walking each other home. 

Breathwork for Depression and Anxiety Relief 

Which is the best breathing practice for you?

Have you ever found yourself spiraling into a bout of depression? Or found your head spinning out of control about one thousand things you have zero control over? It’s a normal Tuesday afternoon and suddenly you find yourself paralyzed with negative mind-chatter preventing you from being of any use to yourself or others. 

It’s so draining!!! But you can’t stop. The stories in your head are locking you into another spell of self-doubt and pity and you can’t find your way off this runaway train. 

There is a way to help, and you already have full access to it; it’s your breath. The trick is learning the right ways to utilize it for your best outcomes. 

Breathwork is amazing because it works for everybody. However, not all breathing patterns are right for everybody. 

There are literally hundreds of breathing patterns and ways to manipulate this very natural flow of energy. The best breath practice for you will vary and most likely change over time. As a general guide, there are 3 things you should look at when you decide to use breathwork as a way to relieve the stress factor associated with depression and anxiety. 

  1. Identifying your triggers
  2. Identifying your personal coping mechanisms
  3. Identifying what breathing practices feel most innately supportive to your nervous system

Taking a close look at these 3 things can help you find a starting point that will set you up for success in your breathing practices. The harder part is continuously showing up daily to do the breathwork. Breathwork is similar to meditation as it is developed over time and the more you show up, especially on the days you’d rather not, the closer you come to breaking barriers in your life that have previously held you back and kept you stuck.

Identifying your triggers

Triggers are those things in our environment that send our brains into survival mode. When you are having an emotional reaction to something or someone that feels out of your control or induces a strong desire to harm yourself or others you’re being triggered. If you have been through any trauma, then you understand how any reminder of that event triggers an emotional reaction that feels like you are experiencing the event all over again. 

As you start to identify your triggers you need to ask yourself if something is truly a trigger or if you are just uncomfortable, which would fall more under the lines of comfort zone barriers. Verywellmind.com has a great article that takes a closer look at triggers and what they mean that I found helpful. 

Not only will identifying your triggers be helpful for your personal growth, it is also the first step in narrowing the breath practices best suited for you. How you cope with these triggers is the next identifier to narrow even more. 

Identifying your personal coping mechanisms

Throughout your life, you have learned different strategies to help protect yourself when you sense danger. When your triggers signal the alarm your brain immediately starts putting things into play designed to keep you safe. Often these mechanisms are outdated and end up holding you back from growth. In turn, you end up full of unnecessary anxiety or become depressed. 

Survival mode looks different for everyone so it’s important to get to know how you cope. 

When you feel triggers do you…

  • Get angry and start moving into an aggressive state? 
  • Get frustrated and feel completely overwhelmed?
  • Fall into self-loathing and allow the thoughts of worthlessness to set in?
  • Feel hopeless and fall into destructive behavior?
  • Put on a happy face and bury all the pain until you feel like you might burst?
  • Feel victimized and look for someone else to blame?

Odds are you do one or many of these things. Other less common coping mechanisms might look like…

  • Netflix binging
  • Over or under eating
  • Procrastination
  • Excessive cleaning
  • Not getting out of bed

There are a ton of reasons we resort back to our patterns, and it stems from our reptilian brain working in survival mode. Becoming aware of how you cope when things feel out of control will give you a starting line for your breath journey. 

Breathwork is designed to support you

To simplify, when you get triggered your emotional center either rises to a head spin of thoughts and you get anxious, or you collapse, and start self-isolating, resulting in a more depressed outlook. 

When you invite breathwork to the table as a healthy way to cope and break free from these patterns, you will find that what works best for a more anxious system is different than what works best for a depressed system. Gauging on where you currently stand will be helpful. 

  • Do you hang out more in the fight or flight realm? 
  • Or the rest and recover realm?

Let’s take a look at both.

Fight or Flight

If you are someone who is easily anxious then we are talking about the Sympathetic Nervous System, or your fight or flight response system. The better place to start breathing is with more relaxed patterns. These calming practices help to guide your nervous system out of chaos and into a more relaxed or balanced state. 

For instance, if you are someone who copes by getting angry or gets overly anxious, then a more calming breath practice like 4-7-8 or 5×5 breathing would be more productive practice than something like circular breathing or breath of fire where you are consciously speeding up your breath. 

Allowing your exhales to be longer than your inhales slows down the mind and brings you out of panic and into balance. Balancing breathwork is always a great go-to when feeling triggers. Equal parts of inhales and exhales help both sides of the spectrum find balance. 5×5 breathing or 3-part breathing are both great starting points. 

Rest & Recover

The other side of this coin is those who carry a more depressed nervous system and lean towards the rest and recover or Parasympathetic Nervous System. Those who lose all energy when triggered. More active breathwork that brings the energy up will be the more effective way to start. Breathwork that activates the system like bellows breath that uses your stomach as a way to pump air quickly in and out, as well as more holotropic practices that double your breathing rate. Practice breathwork that really drives up your body’s energy and activates your nervous system. 

Bringing your energy levels up is going to be an important part of breaking patterns. You want to activate the heart by increasing the air and blood flow moving through it. This helps release feelings of lethargy. 

Breathwork is about learning how to live a healthy life by utilizing the power of your breath. Something we all have access to and with practice can more actively control. 

Any mindfulness practice comes with a certain amount of allowance. If you want change, you have to do something different, and this is where people get stuck. 

This is not an overnight pill out of anxiety or depression. Breathwork is a tool to add to your box to keep you mentally sound when you feel triggered and find yourself prone to certain unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

When you are interested in learning more and want a breath coach to keep you accountable, then check out Breath Mindset, my 4-week online breath course designed to help you breathe into a life you love. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable with a Glacier Dip at Mount Rainier

Experience the Transformative Power of a Cold Plunge with Lynar DeLuca

When was the last time you treated yourself to a day at Mount Rainier? The lustrous mountain that can be seen from almost all points of King County. We live so close, yet can go years without a visit. Join Lynar DeLuca of The Breath Academy, and myself, for a day of exploring the Naches Loop Trail with an added Glacier dip down at Dewey Lake. A day that won’t soon be forgotten. 

There is a reason that this is one of the most popular trails on Mount Rainer: 

  • The stunning views
  • The light elevation gain
  • Wildflowers galore
  • Easily accessible

Every time I find myself here I am captured by the beauty of Tahoma. A stunning reminder of this place we call home and a humbling reminder of how small we really are. 

When you join us on Sunday, August 14th, you too will experience this stunning hike, as well as the added bonus of a trip down to Dewey Lake.

Dewey Lake

This is the most challenging part of the trail and almost doubles the length of the hike from 3.2 to 6 miles in total. The added elevation gain keeps most explorers from traveling down. 

Not us! 

This is the fun part, not to mention the cooling-off part. 

Because we will be starting early, to beat the crowds and enjoy the peaceful morning, we will miss the midday heat. That being said, the trail does have some stretches of full sunshine. Proper sun protection should be considered as well as sturdy hiking shoes for the descent, and climb from the Lake. The summer sun also brings one other element…

Mosquitos!

Lynar and I decided to do a trial run of the event this past week and found to our chagrin that the lake hosted an abundance of tiny (and not so tiny) bloodsuckers. This did not stop us from enjoying our time at the lake, but it did put a damper on our breathwork. Because of this we strongly recommend a mosquito hood for protection as well as lightweight long sleeves and long pant attire. 

Time To Take The Plunge!

Once at the lake the fun begins! Well, I mean besides the army of mosquitos. The hot August sun has warmed this lake, but the melting snow keeps it at a refreshingly cool temp.

Here in this scenic retreat, you will be guided through some circular breathwork. Preparing your mind and body for the refreshing, cold glacier waters.

The breathwork will help to calm your nerves as your adrenaline begins to rise. After which you will have an opportunity to get your suits on, (yes, there will be a private changing space), and take a horse stance with us in the shallow end. As your feet take in the cold your mind will settle into focus. 

Now you are ready to take the plunge. 

Lynar is a 200-hr Certified Yoga Teacher and Breath Coach who has a passion for cold exposure and sharing its incredible benefits with other people. She has been practicing cold dips since moving to Washington almost 15 years ago and has been practicing breathwork for 5 years. Various breath practices have helped her relieve stress and anxiety, while cold exposure has helped her push past the limits of what the mind thinks is possible. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! And your opportunity to get comfortable being uncomfortable. During your 2 minutes submerged in the lake, Lynar and I will be with you the whole time. Breathing, humming, focusing, and guiding you through. Allowing you the time and space to find your inner stillness and come out stronger on the other side. 

After everyone has had an opportunity to feel the power of the cold, we will dry off, get dressed and head back up to the main trail to be rewarded by panoramic views of the mountain. Together we will enjoy some snacks and good conversation before finishing off the loop and heading home. 

Breathe in Nature

If you are looking for something fun to do this August and want to stretch yourself in a powerful way then this is the adventure for you!

This is the 5th installment of the Breathe in Nature series and one that all the members have been looking forward to. There are only a few spots remaining and we would love for you to join us. 

Read more about Breathe in Nature here and join us before it’s too late.

30 Seconds to Better Confidence 

Simple Shifts that can lead to big changes

The biggest breakthrough in your life comes when you are feeling confident. It’s impossible to accomplish greatness when your confidence is low. It’s those times when you are not questioning and second guessing yourself that you start seeing all the blessings flow into your life. Why is that? What factors determine where your confidence is?

Most people struggle in this area, and it’s easy to understand why:

  • Economic uncertainty
  • Rising gas prices
  • Inflation

With so much uncertainty it’s easy to feel like our lives are spinning out of control. When things seem to be spiraling downward it can really shake your confidence.

All of these things happening in the world are very real and it’s no wonder collectively we are struggling. Why then do some people seem to thrive despite all the turmoil surrounding them?

It’s challenging to stay confident and self-assured when your outer world feels like a dumpster fire. But only if you are putting your faith in the outer world.

If you are stuck on the never ending roller coaster of outer world tragedy then you will never achieve true confidence. By harnessing the true power and confidence you hold inside, you will be able to turn on your confidence when you need it most. 

Making the Confidence Shift

Shifting your confidence takes work. We have spent years piling on many layers about who and what we are. We learn what is and isn’t okay from our parents, siblings, teachers, and community. Heck, I was told I had chicken legs by a kid in school whose name I can’t even remember! Yet it affected me so deeply that I didn’t show my legs for decades, and still brush off any compliment I’ve gotten about them as someone just being kind. Talk about a confidence buster. I have many I continue to work through.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to start making the shift…

  • What are you doing that hijacks your confidence?
    • Gossiping
    • Watching the news
    • Scrolling social media
  • Do you ever find your mind wandering to all the possible negative outcomes?
    • Failure
    • Regret
    • Loss
  • Do you get caught up in the “What if’s” of life?
    • What if this doesn’t work out
    • What if they laugh at me
    • What if I lose everything

The good news is, if you’re thinking these thoughts it’s because you can see more for yourself than you currently have. You understand that some faith is required to take the next step and with faith comes confidence. 

Confidence > Doubt

When you are ready to step into a more fulfilled experience you are bound to be faced with all kinds of emotions. A battle begins to take place between confidence and doubt. And the one that wins is the one you feed. 

Anything worthwhile is going to bring up uncertainty because it’s outside your comfort zone and that’s a good thing. It shows that you do have confidence and on some level are toying with the idea of stepping into the unknown. 

This should bring up questions! The challenge is listening to how you answer those questions. Do you lean towards doubt? Or towards success?

So much of your success comes from the confidence you put behind your work. Asking questions is a great way to see where your confidence is so you can begin to navigate it towards growth. 

And you can do this in 30 seconds or less by focusing on these 3 things.

  1. Pay attention to your self-narrative

Begin to notice the stories you are playing in your head throughout the day. Notice your role in those stories. 

  • Are you a victim?
  • Are you kind?
  • Do you see yourself winning or losing?
  • How do you view others around you? As friend or foe?

How you see the world is how you see yourself

Your perspective on the things in your life shapes how you approach life. If you believe people are looking to hurt you or rip you off then that is what you will see. Likewise, if you see the universe as abundant that is what you will see. 

If you are feeling low on your confidence, take a look around and start to rewrite these stories. Catch yourself in the middle of a self-sabotaging narrative and ask yourself, “Is this helping me or hurting me?” And adjust it accordingly. Write yourself into a world that is supportive of you and you will begin to see evidence of that.

  1. Focus on what you’re good at

When looking to build your confidence it’s best to focus on what you already know you’re good at. Too often when faced with big challenges we start to focus on all the reasons why this is hard or why you can never be, have, or do whatever it is. Instead…

turn your focus toward the things you know you can do. 

When I opened my first business I was paralyzed by the taxes. I was certain I was going to mess everything up and end up owing my life in fees. I was so focused on it that other aspects of my business were taking a back seat and I found myself angry and thinking this isn’t what I want to do! Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to. I could pay someone to do my taxes, and it was well worth it too. Not only did I know that my finances were being taken care of, but I didn’t have to stress, cry, and lose sleep over it. It allowed me space to focus on what I am really great at: sales, people, relationships. The things I knew I had down and the things that brought me joy and reminded me why I went into business for myself in the first place. 

Whatever you are working on it is essential to keep your head in the right mindset. When you are feeling good confidence will pour out of you.

So what are you really good at?

  1. Step away from negative conversation

When you engage in gossip or join the “This place sucks” crowd, you are fertilizing your brain for judgment. For no reason you feel superior, placing yourself and your life as much more worthy than that of another. 

This type of toxic behavior keeps you stuck in the energy of entitlement. Idle conversation is for those idle of mind. If you want to be more confident then it is imperative that you start walking away from toxic conversations. 

We have all done it; finding ourselves steeped in the good tea and enjoying it. Maybe even passing the tea along to another because it was so good. 

If this is you, the first step is to recognize it and then learn to keep your mouth shut when it is not your business to tell. Like all things, this is a practice, but the sooner you adopt it the sooner your inner confidence will shine. 

Confidence Comes from Within

Believe it or not, just talking yourself up, or setting out to achieve a new goal instantly boosts your confidence. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Focus on what makes you great, and start moving with that in mind. 

Even if it feels odd at first, the quickest way to build your confidence is to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. 

Life will continue to come at you with curveballs and unexpected adventures. It is up to how you choose to meet these inevitable outer circumstances that will determine a lot of how you see yourself in the world. 

A tool I use is breathwork. And in my 4-week online course, Breath Mindset, we dive into using your breath to build a better mindset and with it confidence to go boldly in the directions of your dreams. 

Going Against the Flow with Viloma Pranayama

Change Your Mental Patterns by Changing Your Breath Patterns

Pranayama is the yogi way of saying breath control. It comes from the root words prana, meaning life force or energy source, and yama, meaning to control. Put the two together and you get life energy control. It is also well established that your breath is the bridge between your inner and outer world. As we continue to link this further we begin to understand that if breath is your life energy that you can control and it moves between your internal world and your external world, then essentially you have the power to expand your prana to make purposeful changes in your life. 

Breathwork has become very popular these days, which is super cool, but it’s more than just learning how to manipulate the breath in different ways. 

Pranayama Breathwork is about enhancing your health, changing your energy levels, and finding balance in your mind. 

Viloma pranayama

Viloma means to go against the natural flow. This is a basic breathing technique designed to help you expand the breath cavity. It is done by interrupting the natural flow of breath consciously to cultivate control and awareness of being. 

Deliberate pauses are inserted into each round of breath. Not only does this technique help you to take deeper fuller breath, it also helps bring your mind into focus. Whenever you hold your breath, even for a second, your mind becomes hyper aware and all other thoughts take a back seat. These deliberate pauses put micro amounts of stress on the body to prepare you for more dynamic pranayama techniques. Many of which entail longer periods of breath retention and holds. 

This practice sets a solid foundation for your breathing practice. 

Any time you consciously manipulate your natural breathing pattern you need to be aware of potential side effects. Those who have hypertension or heart disease for instance, shouldn’t hold their pause in a Viloma practice for more than a second or two. If you have epilepsy, are pregnant, or have any health concern that demands attention, you should check with your health care provider before doing any breath holds longer than two to three seconds. 

As we go through the practice below, know that for our purposes here we will not be asking you to practice holds longer than 3 seconds. 

How to Practise Viloma Pranayama

Viloma Pranayama has three versions or stages. Each one builds upon the last. What makes Viloma unique is that the three versions can be done in one session as you build through the stages, or it can be practiced as three separate techniques. 

The three versions are…

  1. Viloma 1- Breath is interrupted on the inhalation
  2. Viloma 2 – Breath is interrupted on the exhalation
  3. Viloma 3 – The breath is interrupted on both the inhalation and the exhalation

Three-Part-Breathing is a helpful and simple technique to understand and have some practice in before attempting Viloma pranayama. The basics of 3-part-breathing is simply inhaling through your nose into your belly, out through your ribcage, and up into your chest. Then exhaling out the chest, through the ribcage, and emptying through the belly. Like an elevator, 

Inhale – Belly, Ribcage, Chest

Exhale – Chest, Ribcage, Belly

You can watch my youtube video here

Viloma 1

In the first stage, the breath is interrupted during the inhalation followed by a long smooth continuous exhalation. This is where I like to incorporate 3-part-breathing because it helps identify markers for the pause, or interruption. Basically, you will breathe into the belly, pause, breathe through the ribcage, pause, and up into the chest, pause, and then exhale slowly. 

Stage 1 builds tension during the inhalation while allowing you to get a full deep breath. After this tension has been built both your mind and body enjoy a nice release on the exhalation. 

As you practice Viloma 1 you will increase your lung capacity while training your body to let go of tension. Everyday micro decisions build small amounts of tension, and in life there are times when it is helpful to pause and recognize what’s happening in the body. This technique helps you let go of that tension before you hit a boiling point. It is a mental rehearsal in letting go. 

Let’s try it.

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your focus to the tip of your nose. 
  • Begin noticing the natural flow of breath moving in and out through your nose. 
  • After a couple rounds start consciously dividing your breath into 3 parts.
    • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, and chest.
    • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • Once comfortable with this division we begin by inhaling for 3 seconds into the belly about one-third of your capacity and pausing for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling for 3 seconds as you consciously widen through your ribcage bringing yourself to two-thirds of your breath capacity, then pause again for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now fill up completely as we expand out into our chest with full lungs for 3 seconds and pause one last time, 1-2 seconds more.
  • Then release on one smooth exhale — slow and steady for 9 seconds. 
  • Do 5 – 10 rounds.

While it is important to fill up to your full lung capacity, it is equally important to not add undue stress by creating strain in your shoulders, back, or throat. As you notice your body through this practice see that you are not feeling tight in your head and that your body is relaxed. 

Viloma 2

The second stage of Viloma is done in the same way but the interruption comes on the exhalation. Beginning with a nice steady inhale and letting air in 3 parts on the exhale. 

As you move into this stage take time to notice how you feel changing the point of tension from the inhalation to the exhalation. During this stage you get to enjoy the sensations of a nice full deep breath in. It is in the exhale that you mentally experience the response to releasing tension in a controlled manner. Here again it relates to life. Noting the importance of cautiously and slowly letting go of tension. Sometimes under stress we tend to react without thinking, and Viloma 2 reminds us to slowly release tension in a mindful manner. 

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath. 
  • Notice any tension still remaining in the body after Viloma 1, and continue to release it with every exhale.
  • Return to 3-part breathing
  • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, chest.
  • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • After a couple nourishing rounds take one long steady inhalation for a full 9 seconds, allowing your lungs to fill completely.
  • Now exhale out of your chest for 3 seconds, allowing about a third of your breath to go. As your chest drops, keep conscious that your ribcage is still lifted and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Exhale another third of air from your ribcage for 3 seconds and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now let the final third of air go completely as your navel naturally hugs back towards your spine and naturally hold until the body feels called to the next long smooth inhalation.
  • Repeat 5-10 rounds.

Be cautious that you are making this an unhurried process. Keep the rest of your body loose while maintaining stillness. With practice, Viloma 2 will increase breath capacity while managing mental tension, allowing you to be more responsive instead of reactive.

Viloma 3

By the third stage you should be feeling a deep connection and control over the flow of your breath. Your breathing should resonate deep into your belly and your body should feel relaxed. Once this is true for you, you will be ready to move into stage 3. Viloma 3 is revitalizing! You will interrupt the breath on both the inhalation and the exhalation, maintaining control over the entire breath cycle. Filling up in 3 parts with a pause, and exhaling in 3 parts with a pause.

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath.
  • Do a couple rounds of long steady inhales and exhales.
  • Begin the third stage on an inhale, deep into the belly for 3 seconds, and pause for another 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling up into your ribcage for 3 seconds, and pausing once more for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of your breath will move into your chest for 3 seconds bringing you to a full breath. You will hold here at the top for 1-2 seconds.
  • Begin to exhale out from your chest for 3 seconds and about a third of the way through your breath. Hold here, keeping your sternum up for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue exhaling out the ribcage for another third of your breath and hold once again for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of breath leaves your body in the final 3 seconds of the round. This time followed by a longer hold. Unforced but pleasantly empty of air until your body naturally inhales into the next wave of breath.
  • Continue for 5-10 rounds.

Another way to look at Viloma 3 is like a ladder where your breath is moving up and down like steps. It could also be helpful to take a natural inhale and exhale between each round.

With each round the breath capacity develops and with practice the pause and hold times can become longer. This slows the breath and the mind, helping you to open up to the subtlety of your body and navigate through thoughts in your head with more clarity and focus. 

Putting it all together

Now you should have a pretty good understanding of the three stages of Viloma pranayama. Check out my YouTube Channel for more information.

Looking to Achieve Big Dreams? Better Check Your Mindset

Put Your Attitude to the Test

If you are on the path towards a big dream, you better take a deep look at your mindset and adjust your attitude accordingly. The secret to achieving those big goals is all about putting your attitude to the test. 

Whenever you are looking to try something new there will always be subtle obstacles that show up in your path. Every time you go after another goal more challenges come up. It’s these repeating patterns and challenges that conflict with your good intentions and always seem to stand in the way of your success.

You will always be presented with tests in life no matter what you decide to do. Some are obvious, some more subtle, but all happen as a result of an intention you put out into the universe. 

Let’s say you are starting a new career and it’s exciting and ready to jump in. Things start out going really well until setbacks arise as you are faced with new information. This new challenge brings up old patterns and suddenly things feel a bit hazy. This gray area is where so many of us fail. 

We begin to see the haze as a sign that we really aren’t clear about what we’re doing, when in reality it might just be a sign that it’s time to practice patience.

Life will always test you when you set an intention and start taking steps towards a new goal.

Every time you set out on a path it will be met with a test. When you are working on something new it requires you to step outside your comfort zone and that requires vulnerability and trust. You will have to work through some limiting beliefs that have kept you comfortable, and you should. Good goals should always be used to help stretch you to be better. 

Our beliefs can be very powerful and your brain is always trying to protect you so you will have to prove to your brain that you are ready for adversity. 

I like to think of these tests as the end boss in a video game. I played a lot of Zelda in my youth and before you leveled up you had to face a mean, and usually super large, bad, end boss. It was like all the creatures in that level took steroids and morphed into this end boss. 

  • It took skill. Which is what the level prepared you for
  • It took perseverance. Like going head-to-head with the end boss for days!!!
  • It took patience. Because it’s so frustrating to watch this monster steal my energy hearts over and over and over again.
  • It took concentration. Knowing where and when to jump, hide, and fight.
  • It took stamina. Being ready to come back and fight again and again until you figured it out.

The glory of beating an end boss is so rewarding. The music, the autoplay of Link and Zelda reuniting, the reward of beating a monster you weren’t sure how to defeat. 

This is how I sometimes think of my business. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds, but I remember that I set out with a mission, and knew there would be setbacks along the way. 

Sometimes things are going great and you’re growing and building, and other times you need to learn, and grow, and have patience as you build your dream. 

It’s important to remember that sometimes growth doesn’t look like growth. Sometimes growth looks like figuring out a limiting belief that you must overcome. 

The trajectory on the path to your dream isn’t going to be a straight line. Being prepared for setbacks is part of the test that will push you forward. 

The best thing you can do in these moments is to adjust your attitude. Your attitude is the only thing you are 100% responsible for. 

When things seem impossible and all your worries and fears are staring you down it’s your attitude that will carry you forward. 

That’s it.

If you are able to keep your attitude in the direction of your dreams, everything else will catch up. It’s up to you to project out to the universe how you want to feel. 

When you want something you’ve never had before you must intend it first. Take a moment right now and feel and how you want to feel when you achieve your dream. Because once the experience has happened in your thoughts the universe starts rearranging to help you receive it in reality. If you spend most of your day seeing lack, feeling lack, and experiencing lack then that is what the universe will continue to show you. This is why your attitude is everything. 

Even as you begin to work on a new dream or goal and are being tested you have to know that you know that you know that’s it’s coming to you. There is always something to be thankful for and gratitude is the quickest way to move your thoughts from lack to grace. 

The Path of Least Resistance

The universe is always arranging itself to work with the path of least resistance. This is to not disrupt the natural order of things. You are constantly telling the universe what you want by the emotions you emit. 

Energy connects with energy so when you want something you’ve never had before you need to find a way to project a matching energy. When challenges come up and obstacles are in your way it’s the universe testing your new energy, seeing if you’re ready to move out of your old comfort zone to get to that goal. 

When a challenge comes up and you throw in the towel (I’m totally guilty of this) the universe says, “Okay, cool, you don’t really want that dream job, person, adventure.” But, when you meet this new resistance with a feeling of faith or growth then your attitude starts to adjust and your mindset is strengthened on the path to your goal.

The path of least resistance begins to move in the direction of your dreams and things start working in your favor when you believe in what you’re doing and can see these tests as part of the practice to level up.

The more you resist these tests the longer you’re stuck fighting that obstacle. 

The universe wants to deliver and it always is. If you’re not seeing the results you want then it’s time to look at your attitude. 

We have become so comfortable in our small little minds that we forget that there is a universe out there constantly showing us exactly what we continually think about. 

Unwavering Faith

Humans have over 6,000 thoughts per day! And many of the studies online suggest that 80% of those thoughts are negative. Once you become aware of your attitude and how many negative thoughts you have on a daily basis it can feel alarming! You might start getting frustrated about all the negative output in your mind. 

It’s okay. You are now aware of the power of your attitude, and you are now able to start redirecting those thoughts with the practice of gratitude. Small minds play the victim, but you don’t. You are focusing on how you want to feel. And the more you feel empowered, capable, and worthy the more faith you begin to have in your future. 

You actually start seeing your goals manifest and it begins to feel right. The universe is more aligned to your new attitude and the path of least resistance flows in your favor. 

It takes work. But it’s the best kind of work you can do. 

Mindset Work

Working on bettering your mind is always worth your time. Becoming aware of your thoughts is powerful and can help you to unlock the doors to your success faster once you accept where you currently are in your present reality. Not playing the blame game or feeling sorry for yourself, but owning your experience, then you can use that to start to redirect your focus on where you want to go. You can take steps to correct your attitude to reflect how you want to feel. This will begin a compound effect that helps you to act in a way that invites in the energy in alignment with your goal. 

But that is a blog for another time. 

Breath Mindset

So much of life is out of your control, and there is always going to be a reason to give up and go back to your comfort zone. Your attitude is one of those awesome things you get to control, so use that power wisely. 

When you need an attitude adjustment, turn to your breath. Every breath pattern you have is associated with a set of emotions and emotional reactions, so use your breath to calm your nervous system. Then you will have more space to allow your energy and thoughts to travel in a more positive way that will only benefit your growth and happiness. 

Looking for some breathing techniques to help check your attitude? Here are a few, “When Life Moves You Out of Alignment, Take a Step Back and Breathe”

Welcome to the Fantastic World of Nature Journaling with Jessica Winters

Prompts, Benefits, and Joys of Enjoying a Deeper Connection with Your Surroundings

Nature Journaling is a fun and engaging activity that has the potential to strengthen your connection to nature. It is simply the practice of using nature as your muse. A journal dedicated to recording your observations, thoughts, and feelings about what you see in nature. There is no right or wrong way to journal making this activity uniquely your own.

The benefits of time spent in nature are many, and journaling is a way to capture those feelings. The practice of taking time to appreciate the details of the experience not only calms the mind but gives you a deeper understanding of the world around you. 

Little insights add up, and as your recognition of different plants and animals improves so will your understanding of the land you stand on. 

Think of your last visit with nature. What stands out to you? 

  • Morning light shone through the trees to illuminate the forest floor.
  • Two Squirrels arguing over an afternoon treat.
  • The timeless serenity of a glacier lake.
  • Birds singing messages to each other.
  • A decaying log hosting hundreds of tiny orange mushrooms.
  • The roaring sound of a waterfall silencing the world around it.
  • The Cascading snow top mountains.

Nature journaling is a way to recall the subtle observations of these moments that might otherwise be lost. Moments that inspire you and offer a door to creativity or be used as an ongoing scientific adventure that records facts of the date and time taken. The possibilities are endless.

Journaling while in nature is also a reminder to slow down and enjoy the scenery. It’s so easy to forget the beautiful setting we are anchored in and get lost in the aerobic activity of hiking. This mindful activity reminds us to slow down and tune in to the wonderful world around us. 

All journals are essentially an extension of who you are and how you see and interact with the world around you. No two journals will be alike because we all observe from our own perspectives. 

How to Begin

Journalling is about insights and exploring your connection to the world. For some people that might mean drawing, and for others, it might mean writing. You might be more of a tree identifier and I might be more of a mushroom seeker. Nature journaling captures what you see. It’s a way to combine the benefits we get mentally from being in nature and from journaling. 

There is no “how-to” when it comes to this mindful activity because there are so many routes a person can take. Don’t overthink it, just start with what feels most natural to you. 

Here are some ideas to help get your senses to sharpen on the right path for you.

When you’re out on your next nature adventure pay close attention to your observations. 

  • What stands out for you?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • What do you smell?
  • What sounds do you hear?
  • Do you tend to notice critters? Or are you more interested in plants?
  • Are you more of an observer? Or are you a textile seeker?

Starting to note what you are attracted to can make this exercise more inviting and keep you active on the journey. Another way to get started is to think about how you will journal. Here are some ideas if you’re still feeling stuck.

  • Sketching what you see
  • Writing poetry about how the scenery makes you feel
  • Pressing leaves and flowers for data
  • Lists of animals observed
  • Drawings of wild berries 
  • Noticing patterns in the scenery
  • What to forage and when. 

Any way you decide to begin is perfect. It might shift and move as you grow in the practice and that’s perfect too. 

On Sunday, July 10th the Amazing Jessica Winters is going to be guiding a Nature Journaling class as part of Breathe in Nature

The event starts early so we can beat the heat and the crowds as we gather at Lake Desire at 8am. We will start with a short hike and find a place to settle in and breathe in nature: Connecting you to your surroundings and opening your five senses. After which Jessica will take the lead and guide you with queues to help your creative juices flow. 

About Jess

Today, certified by NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute for Wilderness First Aid, Jessica enjoys educating in many ways. As a  yoga teacher, offering wilderness yoga retreats and leading motivational and inspirational mountaineering experiences.

Combining her two loves, yoga and mountaineering, has been life-changing for Jessica. She is a natural-born teacher so sharing these two paths has brought passion to her life. 

Jessica launched her own business, Wilderness Adventure Yoga, and hasn’t looked back since. She is a great organizer of professionals so she can host retreats through places like Alaska and the Grand Canyon.

Journaling in Nature has brought great insight and richness to Jessica’s wilderness adventures. In 2007 she completed the Triple Crown of mountaineering having hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental divide trail. Her journals of these adventures keep them not only close to the heart but also intertwined into the details. With thousands of miles logged in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains here in Washington as well as across Iceland, and submitted both Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro. 

Jessica has formed her own relationship with her journals as well as the nature that surrounds her and she is still excited about all that this journey uncovers along the way. 

You do not want to miss this unique opportunity to meet Jessica and hear her story as you begin to dive into your own nature journaling experience. 

Ready to sign up? Head over to Breathe in Nature for all the details.