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.
If 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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.”
“Intention is the commitment to your desires.”
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…
Now 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.
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.
The Body Karma Healing Model & PEACE Approach
“You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.”
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.”
Yoga philosophy holds that our essential nature is that of divineness. The 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.
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.
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.
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 disconnect, 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 “Diet Drama.” The characteristics of which are:
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