Module 1: The BKH Fundamentals

Greetings Gorgeous,

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Yep, I’m talking to you! See that BIG smile of mine? It comes from knowing that together we can get you feeling fabulous through the healing power of yoga.

I’m not talking about the false, fleeting feeling good from losing a few pounds on a diet, toning up with the latest wild workout or getting lots of attention for your appearance. I’m talking the kind of inside out beauty and well-being that comes from being authentically you, courageously living your unique life. No matter your size, shape or weight, you can feel at home and empowered in your body which is great not only for you, but for the world at large.

Welcome to the Body Karma Healing (BKH herein) Foundations eCourse which includes my essential philosophy and practices to bring you back to PEACE: Peaceful body image, Eating and exercise Alignment, and Creative Expression so you may live and enjoy life to the fullest. If this is your first time here, click my pic to learn more about me and feel free to join my e-list

I offer this course by gift economy so it’s available to all. So many women struggle with body image issues which impacts all areas of life yet there’s a lack of soulful, sustainable solutions. Gift economy means you give what you can based on gratitude and in alignment with your financial circumstances.

You can share through the PayPal button below and/or at the end of each module. Buttons are set up at varying amounts to match your felt sense of the energy exchange. If you want to do a larger amount, simply make multiple transactions. You can do one BIG give for the whole course or a little something along the way for each module. If you can’t, or simply don’t feel called to give, no problem. %30 of monies earned go to the Akron Peace Project or one of my favorite environmental advocacy organizations: Surfrider, Sea Shepherd’s or Sierra Club


Offerings



GreatGroupPics2If you’d like to experience the course with additional guidance one-to-one or in a BKH Journey Circle (on-line group), simply contact me for opportunities.

Now, a few things before we dive in. First off, be sure you’ve read the site’s terms and conditions. By using this site you agree to them whether you’ve read these or not. Secondly, while I offer this resource openly, I own the intellectual property. Please respect the material for use by you personally and direct others to the site to access it for themselves. If you’re a yoga teacher and feel inspired to share this signature program with others, contact me about training to become a BKH Tribe Guide.

Next, the format of this course is simply a set of landing pages as the modules. In each page you’ll find links to additional content such as audio recordings, videos and PDF files. If you find glitches, please tell me about them. Everything is a work in progress!

You’ll notice I use a very casual approach. I like to imagine I’m talking straight to you. Take this offering as you will. It is simply my truth informed by personal and professional experiences. By no means do I claim to have it all figured out! BKH is just one interpretation of the path of yoga, of life. It’s designed and intended to inspire peace with your body to empower your life.

inspire

verb  in·spire   \in-ˈspī(-ə)r\

To affect or guide, initiate action, draw forth or elicit. To stimulate energies or reverence.

To inhale; to breathe life into.

I use the term “guru” in my branding to teach the true meaning of the word. Guru means “darkness to light.” The role of a guru is to lead you back to the “sadguru” or true teacher within. Any teacher, guide, mentor, etc. is in your life to help you remember and trust the wisdom you already have within.

The most powerful person on your healing path is you.

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It is my greatest hope that BKH inspires you to heal deeply. Deeply enough to fully experience and enjoy your unique life. Enough to live your dreams. Enough to dispel the notion that it’s “normal” to be dissatisfied with your body, your life, or “normal” to merely survive day to day. Let’s heal enough to THRIVE! Life is beautiful, rich, open and authentic when out from under the weight of body battles. They’ll still ups and downs, but you can throw your arms up and enjoy the ride instead of being tormented. No matter your current experience, may BKH serve you in knowing the peace and personal power that is possible for you, for all.

Here’s some tips for using this resource:

Be prepared: Below you’ll find a supply list that has directions for setting up your sacred space. Be sure to have your things and that you have a place to be alone and focused when coming to this work.

Participate fully: Throughout this course you’ll find Practice Points. These are places for you to pause and embody the work. Most of us are trained to multitask. We’re used to being only partially present. Rather than just reading through, engage with all you have. I encourage you to write with pen and paper. Use your journals, sketch book and art supplies. Print off and use the materials tactilely. Do the practices and activities mindfully. Don’t rush yourself, this is important…YOU are important.

Stay with what triggers you: Sure, we all love to be inspired but I invite you to attend to what pushes your buttons throughout this course as well as in your life. Yoga philosophy holds that everything is a sacred mirror. Working with what we want to avoid and leaning into what’s uncomfortable reveals our shadow, that which lies in our unconscious that keeps us stuck. More on this to come.

Cultivate self-compassion: The very first teaching of yoga is ahimsa. Most often explained as non-violence, the word truly means “compassionate awareness.” Consider that to keep from acting in violence you must take a step back (internally) from the situation and simply be aware of it. See it for what it is free of a story line. Compassion simply means “to be with.” Non-violence is the result of this empathic, conscious awareness which must start with ourselves.

“Self-observation is the highest form of spiritual practice.”

-Swami Kripalu

Finally, I want to share my Intentions and Affirmations for BKH. We’ll be working on yours throughout this course so these are an example and they also further set the stage for our work together. Now let’s begin! You’ll need a few things for your journey. Here’s the Soul Supplies List. You can still get rolling with Part One even if you don’t have all these yet.

Part One: Awareness & Acceptance

Often when we want to change, grow, heal, etc. we start moving towards where we want to be before truly accepting where we are. This is one BIG reason we find ourselves in the same place no matter how hard we work. Jumping to action before having a full awareness and genuine acceptance of where you currently are is akin to entering a destination in a GPS without the system knowing your exact starting location. How can you possibly get where you want to go if you’re not fully grounded in your present position? 

“Acceptance makes fertile soil for the seeds of change.”

-Steve Maraboli

I know this sounds crazy, especially when it comes to body image. You’re likely thinking, “Ya right lady! I can’t accept this body! It’s awful and if I accept it, it will never change.” or something along those lines. I get that! Acceptance is scary but its also where authentic, sustainable change begins. You’ll come to feel this for yourself, trust the process.

“When you don’t want to be where you are, you create suffering for yourself. Change happens through acceptance, kindness, and relaxation-not resistance, warfare, and fights.”

-Geneen Roth

Practice Point:

Girlonpath-mnt

Click pic to print BKH Discovery Application

Print and complete (skipping the 1st page) my Discovery Session Application by clicking this pic. This will help you deepen your awareness of your current relationships with body, food and your life’s purpose. Take your time. Allow for plenty of reflection. Really be with where you’ve been; it holds great wisdom. Afterwards, journal any emotions and insights. Write the following affirmations on a sheet of paper adding some of your own if called to. State them aloud 3 times then leave them with your completed application out in the moonlight for one night. Burn them the next morning with a forgiving heart. 

“I accept and understand my past experiences. I was doing the best I could and it was enough.”

“I accept my present experience. I am doing the best I can and it is enough.”

“I am whole, worthy and deserving of health and happiness.”

“I am open to continued learning, growing and healing.”

“All the life I’ve lived matters and has wisdom I will carry forward consciously.”

Part Two: Inspiration & Intention

Sit comfortably with your Creation Journal. Take a look at this link and come back: BKH Inspirations

This is the truth of yoga illustrated in the rights of the chakras. Can you imagine the freedom of really feeling this way and living from here? How would your life be different? What would you be empowered to create, to change, to be, to experience, to let go of, to receive? Notice for a moment how it felt for you to read these words. Do you believe them? What did you feel in your heart? Perhaps lightness, heaviness, fear, joy, or sadness. What sensations did you have in your body? Maybe a shift in the breath, pulse, or muscle tension. What thoughts came up? Take note of your experience: body, mind and soul. 

Practice Point: 

ChakraRightsJournalPic

Start your Creation Journal now. Copy the chakra rights one by one in the first person at the beginning of your journal. Use the corresponding chakra colors. As you do so, pause to state each of them aloud then close your eyes to tune in and feel any inner reactions or resonance before moving on to the next. Journal about your experience in the following pages once completed. Once through that step create your OWN life manifesto! Feel free to share it with me…someone…anyone! We always seem to share our complaints and frustrations, how about sharing our hope, dreams, vision?

How was that? You may be wondering what these statements have to do with body image. I promise you’ll come to understand this in ways that enhance your entire life. 

“The relationship to our bodies is our first one and therefore the foundation of ourselves.”

-Marcia Germaine Hutchinson, Ed.D, body image expert

Now let’s really embody these. Here’s the first of my signature BKH PEACE Practices: The BKH Chakra Soul-U-tation. May this powerful combination of mantras and mudras (hand postures) help you reclaim your basic human rights for a light and lovely life. BKH Chakra Soul-U-tation

Practice Point:

You looked over my intentions, now let’s discover and set yours! Download a copy of The BKH Creation Page for this next step, setting your own Empowered Intentions:BKH Creation Page

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.”

-Rumi

“Intention is the commitment to your desires.”

-Unknown

Get settled in your sacred space with your Creation Page ready to write on. Watch my Empowered Intentions Video to guide you in the first step of “I want.”

Repeat the process with the other 3 sections on the sheet. Once completed, flip this over and write each of the 12 statements out as intentions and affirmations that start with the following phrases as they make sense and are true for each unique statement:

I belive I deserve…

I bravely release…

I can and will…

I agree to receive… 

VisionBoard1Now take all this goodness and make a Vision Board! Use magazine clippings, glitter, paint and other art medium to create a BIG image of your most magnificent life. Take your time, turn on some of your favorite music and go for it. Here’s some songs I find super inspiring for this phase of the work. Something Better by Troubadours of Divine Bliss-Click HERE. Maybe you’ll even see me in this video (wink, wink). Also Manifest by Zach-Click HERE. These amazing artists are friends of mine and are people that courageously shine their light in the world. Check out all of their music!

Part Three: Intro to YOGA & The Body Karma Healing Model

Now that you’re rooted in awareness and acceptance and have clear intentions for your journey, let’s learn the basics of yoga and the BKH Model so you’re all set to practice and reclaim your power.

Read over this page on the site About Healing & Yoga  

Be sure to click off to the link on the chakras and review that blog series. The rest of our modules go more in depth into the chakras. Journal your questions and any insights that arise as you look over the info. Share what you like with your Journey Circle, in our one-to-one coaching or with other sacred guides in your life.

Practice Point:

Grab your 3-ring binder and print each of the following documents. I suggest putting them in page protectors. Make several copies of the PEACE Pages since you’ll be using them daily. 

BKH Model

 BKH PEACE Principles

BKH PEACE Pages-Full Color & Directions

BKH PEACE Pages Basic Format

BKH Sadhana Starter: Body Image Clearing

BKH PHAT Practice Guide

The Body Karma Healing Model & PEACE Approach

“You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.”  

-Carl Jung

Turn to The Body Karma Healing Model image in your binder for reference as you read the following information. Have your Creation Journal nearby for writing about emotions and thoughts that arise as you read. 

“I feel FAT…I am FAT.” What do these statements mean to you? How often do you feel this way? Do you say it or notice the women around you lamenting their physical self? Through both my personal and professional experience I’ve come to understand this statement to be about so much more than weight, size and cellulite. I’ve come to hear the deeper meaning via my journey and sharing in this healing process with lots of other women.

I believe what I call “The FAT Experience,” is an expression of soul suffering.  It’s the way we experience feeling trapped, stuck, contained, controlled in our lives. It’s a symptom of not living as our fullest selves therefore our life force (prana) gets trapped. This model summarizes this dynamic and my approach to remedy it. Bolded words call attention to the different images and their meanings. Here’s the BIG breakdown.

“It is through the body that you realize you are a spark of Divinity.”

-BKS Iyengar

Yoga philosophy holds that our essential nature is that of divineness. TheBKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-IATsun(2x2) word Atman means “spark of the Divine.” This is the True Self which is illustrated in the top left spark. The most fundamental mantra of the yogic tradition is “so hum” which means “I am” or “I am that” referencing this teaching.

BKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-IAFcloud(2x2)The experience of being uncomfortable in our bodies regardless of size, weight or shape, is due to Forgetting Atman Temporarily. We express this by saying, “I feel FAT” or “I am FAT” or some variation of self-judgement. 

Let’s face it, life’s not all sunshine and rainbows right? We experience pain here on earth and it’s natural to want to pull away from those sensations. Since the body is what we feel everything through, it’s natural to want to contract from it when hurting, for the soul to disconnect from soma (the physical).

Often clients will say, “But I’ve had a pretty good life, no major traumas or hardships.” You don’t need to have been abused or teased to feel uneasy in your body. Forgetting our light and pulling back is part of the process of spiritual evolution. Everyone struggles with this on some level, at some time, in their own unique way.

BKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-SPIRAL(4.5x4)It’s actually an ongoing process, a spiral that moves both up and down much like the flow of prana, a.k.a life force energy, moves down from Source (God as you understand him, her, it, them) via the path of manifestation and back up through the path of liberation. More on this in later modules.

BKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-LOGO(2x2)We spiral up from the lower chakras into the higher vibrational states of the upper ones, then back down again to dig deeper into your samskaras, and then back up. Think of it as a dance, kind of a 2 steps forward, 1 step back kind of thing except it’s not so linear. This is illustrated by the figure 8 in my logo and by the subtle yellow spiral behind the triangles. The infinity sign also symbolizes the 8 limbs of yoga and the interconnectedness of everything. Interconnectedness is one of the many aspects of karma. 

This disconneBKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-BODY(2x2)ct, or forgetting, happens unconsciously as a form of self-preservation. It’s a sacred survival mechanism actually. It’s how we know to protect ourselves before we awaken. It’s not a place we’re meant to stay however because it sends us spiraling energetically downward creating the sense of heaviness shown here as the grey energy around the figure. This is the vibration of fear rather than love. When this happens the three main aspects of the self; body, mind, soul, become imbalanced. Instead of a harmonious democracy, the “vritti” mind (aka inner critic/worrier) takes over oppressing body and soul. This is illustrated by the big head and stormy mind on our stick figure.

We understandably take on a different persona to protect the soul from further hurt. This is called the ego or False Self as it’s named in the cloud on the lower left side. We literally take on a new identity of “I am FAT” defining ourselves externally instead of by our essence.

We begin to live in “The FAT Experience” described more below, which in the least causes disordered eating and poor self-esteem. At it’s worst, it drives full blown eating disorders and other self-harming, self-sabotaging habits.

I call the changes to the food relationship due to The FAT Experience “DietBKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-DDcloud(2x2) Drama.” The characteristics of which are:

  • yo-yo dieting

  • food/body/exercise preoccupation/obsession including with “healthy eating”

  • restrictive eating due to fear of gaining weight

  • mindless eating, imbalanced eating, overeating, bingeing

  • over-(compulsive/addictive) exercise or under-exercise

  • frequent and drastic weight and energy fluctuations

  • distrust or ignorance of basic body cues of hunger and fullness

  • feeling out of control around food

  • “getting rid” of what’s been eaten ie. purging through exercise, self-induced vomiting, laxatives etc. NOTE: these don’t work and they damage your body

In this state the body seems like the enemy. How can we meet our body’s needs effectively if we are out of touch and constantly trying to change them? Body image is the foundation to the relationship with food and movement. It is the first relationship we form as a soul in the world.

Body image challenges can be somewhat subtle or what I call “problematic.”  This is what’sBKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-triangleBOT(4.5x4) most common among American woman. Though only an estimated 1-3% of women in the US have actual eating disorders, you can hardly find a place in our culture where body image issues and food focus are not ever present. There’s even a psychological term “normative discontent” referring to body dissatisfaction being just something that is. Disturbing right?! I don’t think this is normal or OK at all.

This dissatisfaction is related to the emotional distress of disconnection and can easily evolve or cycle into distortion which is Painful Body Image. At this intensity the perception of the body, of the self as a whole, and even other areas of life, are distorted. One is unable to see the body, themselves as they truly are…love. Distortion at this fundamental level can inhibit clarity in all other areas of life including what we really want and need, what our passion is, what we are here to do as an embodied soul which is our Divine Dharma, our life’s purpose. If The FAT Experience is controlled through Diet Drama this depresses the energy of the anxiety containing it instead of allowing it to flow through and be released.

BKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-DDsun(2x2)Connection to love, what we love and the reality that we are love helps, us cultivate the courage to face our fears. In my humble opinion karma and dharma are really what the path of yoga is all about. Karma means many things to many people. In BKH I mean it to be the definitions of interconnectedness, action and service. I teach that the path of yoga helps us:

#1. Remember we’re awesome.

#2. That we are here to have fun (a.k.a. follow your bliss)

 #3. That we are here to be of service.

I find that if you work on the first two, the third will inevitably flow.

Note that body image is a fluid experience. One moment you may feel fine, the next you can become wildly uncomfortable in your skin. This is due to energy as illustrated above by the grey shape around the stick figure. Emotions are energy, life force is energy, ideas, dreams, and desires are energy which takes us into more on the triangles in the model.

A downward pointing triangle is symbolic of the divine feminine energy, also referred to as the “tha” of hatha yoga or Shakti. The upward triangle represents the divine masculine, the “ha” or Shiva. These forces need to be balanced to feel peaceful, vibrant, heaIthy and to be empowered in creating the life you desire.

The divine feminine in our culture, to this day and age, continues to be feared because it is flowing, often chaotic and incredibly powerful. Painful body image is a result of resisting our Shakti. Liberating Shakti is essential to realizing our full potential for peace, joy, health and service.

When Shakti is free, Shiva can work to cultivate the attributes in the topBKH_Logo-2015_Model_r2-triangleTOP(4.5x4) triangle: clarity, creativity, calm and contentment. More on these sacred energies in modules 3 and 4.

Yoga is designed to do just that and the BKH PEACE Approach does so by simplifying this ancient path into 3 limbs and through specialized practices that address the roots of these issues. See that HERE if not already reviewed in the the Healing & Yoga section.

In addition to FAT representing Forgetting Atman Temporarily, it also represents how being aligned with ego instead of Atman makes us feel which is Fearful, Anxious and Tense. Fearful because that’s what the ego is; a fear-based version of ourselves. Ego gets it’s sense of worth from the outside; body, possessions, money, status, etc.. We become insecure about who we are causing anxiety about preserving our identity. The soul is still there trying to come back into play but it’s nervous about opening back up to the fullness of life. A tension builds up between the false and true self. It can often feel as if there’s a war going on inside, the heart battling the mind and the body caught in the crossfire.

So how do we heal it? First and foremost, we connect. We let ourselves Feel All Truth. That’s right, another fat acronym! To summarize, think of it as a map…The FAT Map. We are starting somewhere we don’t want to be, have clear directions on how to get, in this case, back home.

We feel Fearful, Anxious and Tense,

when we Forget Atman Temporarily,

which is healed by Feeling All Truth.

Yoga connects us to the now, to what truly is. It’s clears the veil of fear and illusion. I know there’s a lot of information here so let’s begin to wrap up this first go round. Here’s your OM work until the next module.

Practice Point:

Review and journal about The PEACE Principles. Don’t feel pressured to do them all right away. They are principles that we’ll work into throughout the course. Just explore them now, and look at where you are with each of these ideas.

Next, work with the PEACE Pages throughout your day. At first use the detailed one with the instructions. The page instructs you to start your day connecting deeply to yourself including starting a “sadhana.” Sadhana means daily spiritual practice. Start with at least The Body Image Clearing and the Charka Soul-U-tation. If you already have a yoga practice, by all means continue with that too. We’ll get more into postures in Module 2. Lastly, you can begin to work with The PHAT Practice meditation as part of your sadhana and any time you feel FAT.

Thanks for taking the journey to body peace. It benefits you and the world. Remember, if this inspired you and you’re able to, share a little something.


Offerings



Always feel free to connect and share about your experience. Namaste beautiful!

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