Category Archives: Work

How to fall out of the self-improvement trap

I love words that seem to sing what they’re about. I often find these words in other languages, including Sanskrit, the language of yoga. One of my favorite Sanskrit words is svādhyāya. Svādhyāya is translated into “self-study”, or “self-inquiry”.

Perhaps I like this word because I ROCK at self-improvement.

One of my former company’s core values was “continuous self-improvement” and boy, did I get it. I eagerly attended training and participated in programs, with a pure intention to hear people’s ideas about how I could improve myself. I was told—especially at performance review time—where I wasn’t up to snuff, where I could grow (hopefully as kindly as possible). As a manager, I delivered this feedback (hopefully as kindly as possible) too.

It shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve been a self-help book fanatic.

That’s not to say that I took what I read lock, stock, and barrel: certain ideas made me cringe, or didn’t seem to apply to me. I chose a few things that resonated with me, and let the rest go. This, I believed, was a healthy way to create my own system of self-improvement: one that fit my particular goals, strengths and weaknesses, and limitations like, say, the number of hours in the day I had left to do this work!

I’ve also seen a few therapists, and have even participated in a therapy group about Self.

I joined the group because I connected with the therapist’s initial presentation: I felt like he accurately described some of my struggles. I learned a lot from others in the group too; by the time I left, I had a well-organized, tab-delimited and labeled blue binder filled with tools and techniques to use in various challenging mental and emotional circumstances.

If there was a technique I could use to improve myself, it was at my fingertips.

If something I tried helped me, I’d continue to use it (sometimes after an ample trial period, but not always). If I’m honest, I’d often get overwhelmed with all the possibilities–which would leave me scrapping it all, because choosing added more stress and I had other shit to get done. Even if you take away ONE thing per book, training, or appointment, if you’re addicted to such things like I was, you’ll quickly develop quite a repertoire.

Years later, I put some of these tools and techniques to work helping others.

I left my corporate job and became a Mind-body Wellness Consultant. I started using the tools I’d amassed for myself to help my clients with many conditions. The conditions I most I love working with are ones I’d had some personal experience with, such as: stress, poor sleep, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and body image. I also found that like me, many of my clients have access to too many tools, or too many similar tools, which either don’t work for them, or which they fail to use. Then I noticed something else that was true both me and my clients:

Our best-intentioned health pursuits can actually be unhealthy.

If someone has lots of tools they like, the inclination I’ve seen is to try and throw all of them at “the problem.” Thus, people become more stressed out because of all the health-related activities they have to do every day.

  • “I have to get myself through rush hour to squeak into my yoga class with a minute to spare!”
  • “I need to find time to make these recipes for the week, so I can eat healthy!”
  • “I should fit in X days of cardio, X days of strength-training, and I have to meditate for 30 minutes too.”
  • “I’m tracking every ounce of food I ingest, regardless of where I am.”

The truth is, I used to be that person driving like a madwoman to get to the 6:30 pm power yoga class, because I left work later than I wanted to and traffic sucked. Nothing like rushing around, cursing other drivers and then…. “OMMMMMMM…!”

It just doesn’t happen like this, folks.

In fact this is the very kind of behavior that increases stress, anxiety, insomnia and tension in all of the hours that you’re not “doing” your health & wellness routine (and let’s face it, that’s a lot of time). And if you haven’t noticed by now, health-related “self-improvement” techniques like these don’t tend to become sustainable routines, either!

That’s because even though the mind thinks it is, the body knows that this kind of behavior isn’t healthy. No matter how smart you are, your body is smarter than your mind.

This is also the reason you can skip breakfast, eat a great salad for lunch, followed by a healthy dinner, and then binge your whole pantry empty in the evening. Your body knows deep down that it wanted that breakfast, and that the tasteless salad you multi-tasked while working at your desk at 2 pm isn’t really nourishing you because truthfully, you find salad 90% disgusting (the 10% dressing of course, is another matter!). You didn’t take any breaks through your day. Heck, you barely took full breath, and you didn’t notice that the posture you assumed at your desk was garbage; so now add a chiropractor to your list of “to do’s” to help your aching back.

As I saw more clients and studied myself more, I realized I’d made a crucial error:

Svādhyāya and “self-study” does NOT mean automatically leaping on the “self-improvement” train.

Of course you have to recognize areas for improvement before you can make any changes. But I certainly got waylaid by our culture’s ideas about GETTING.BETTER.FASTER. It’s no wonder, since these ideas are reinforced not only in workplaces but also in typical routes to improve health. These were two environments I lived and breathed, and dare I say, thrived in. Living in the question isn’t a place of comfort; not like DOING something is.

Svādhyāya isn’t about adding anything, per se. It’s about NOTICING what’s happening in your mind-body system, so that you can discover who you are. How you get triggered. How you behave when under stress. What you do, what you don’t do. How you think. How you feel. Only when you spend some time here, in this realm of curiosity, can you learn to start making timely decisions that are more aligned with your best interest. It’s mindfulness of the Self.

Although I had been exposed in my initial yoga teacher training, I’d forgotten the most important component of true svādhyāya, which is CURIOSITY. Curiosity is no easy task. It’s what remains when we temporarily let go of that addiction called JUDGMENT. That’s where the real challenge is. But when we can put judgement aside, when we can say things like “huh, I didn’t realize that!”, or “isn’t that interesting?” about what comes up in our thoughts, about how we feel, or how we behave, it can be quite educational.

Svādhyāya itself IS the best technique for living. No fixing required.

What would it feel like if we stopped beating ourselves up?

I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend and coaching peer. She and I basically swapped stories of how we “screwed up” something. For her, it was a typo in a survey she sent out; for me, it was the wrong date of a new program I’m offering in June.

What I thoroughly enjoyed about this conversation was that we were both very light-hearted about it. “Oops!” and “oh well, stuff happens” was pretty much the attitude we collectively embraced.

Now that’s not to say that we weren’t taking responsibility for what we’d done (or hadn’t done). In fact for me, I knew it was pretty ironic that I messed up the date for a MINDFULNESS class! I’d quadruple checked things, as did she. But sometimes you can look at your own work for hours without seeing mistakes, and at some point, that work simply needs to be released into the world.

I used to live by the idea that if I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t a good person. A mistake like that would have had me beating myself up for hours–if not days–afterwards. It would have me wondering “how could that possibly happen?” It would have me worried about my “reputation”, such as it was.

How often do we judge ourselves for being human? For making mistakes that have to happen once in awhile, because you know, no one’s perfect?

I advise both myself and others this way:

If you make a mistake, you have the mistake to deal with.

Now if you add a layer of judgment on top of that (e.g. “I’m so stupid what’s wrong with me?”)

And then any / all the subsequent thoughts that grow from a negative thought like the previous one,

You’ve just piled yet more s**t on top of yourself that you’ll have to dig out of, eventually. Its like building a layer cake–but much less tasty. And the more you do it, the stronger the tendency becomes!

So don’t pile it on. Don’t do it. Just don’t!

Step carefully away from the judgment. Own the mistake, fix it if you can, recognize any contributing factors that might help with “next time”, and then move on.

Remember that you’re so much more than your little faux pas!

Modeling the Way for Your Employees, Bosses, & Clients

A few years back I worked for a high-tech company, and one of the very common phrases you’d hear is “model the way”. This meant more than “lead by example”; it meant that people who worked there–at all levels of the organization–should exemplify the core values (i.e. the “way”) in their words and deeds. First let me state that this primarily is a necessary (and good) thing.

And it works out great…as long as one is internally aligned with those values–or more importantly, how they’re being carried out in the fabric of the company’s culture.

When one is not (or no longer) aligned, things like this may happen:

    1. The person tries their hardest to fit into the expected model; others sense this person’s lack of authenticity and therefore, don’t get the benefit of authentic modeling; the person acting in-authentically may begin to suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally.
    2. The person remains authentic by flat-out dismissing the expectation of modeling and the model itself; others are confused about what is expected of them because they see different things; the person being true to themselves may feel frustrated, ostracized, and criticized, which may again lead to suffering in various forms.

I’m sure there are other possible permutations, but you get the idea. It’s hardly a win-win situation.

If one is not in alignment with the actual culture of their company (vs. its stated values), it’s likely they’ll suffer to some extent. Oftentimes such mis-alignments initially seem manageable, until one day the suffering (and health status) of the individual clearly shows they’re not.

In companies small to large, it’s ideal when the corporate values that help meet business goals are integrated into our mind-body system and are authentically reflected out to our employees, bosses, and/or clients.

In fact, it’s this very integration and reflection that makes one professionally successful.

And, I’ll argue that it should never come at the expense of our health!

A Tried-and-True Human Value System

Sometimes, when we start to feel misaligned with how our workplace’s core values are reflected in the corporate culture, it is because they are in conflict with what I’ll call “human core values”.

A nice way to stay connected to our human core values is to use something that may initially sound a bit “woo”: the Chakra system.

Many people believe in a subtle system of energy that flows throughout our system in two primary “roads”, called nadis. (There are actually three major nadis, but for now we’ll stay with these two.)  One begins at the base of the spine on the left side, and spirals up the torso, weaving right and left, toward the left nostril and eye. The other begins on the right, and spirals up to the right nostril and eye. The points at which these nadis cross are called Chakras, and there are seven. To stay with the road analogy, think of Chakras as rotaries or roundabouts.

Chakras are assigned different colors and symbols, and each serves the neighborhood it’s located in: in other words, each is responsible for particular physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our well-being.

A “balanced” mind-body system means that energy is moving freely up and down through all seven Chakras.

If there’s a blockage in the energy, it’s like traffic that gets stuck in the circle; issues related to that chakra may manifest. In our road systems, we know that if there are two rotaries close by, traffic stuck in may cause back ups in the other. As such, we often will have multi-chakra issues.

Whether you believe in the existence of chakras or not, the chakra model is an interesting model for determining how aligned you are in body, mind, and spirit with the culture of your workplace.

And once you have some knowledge about where the mis-alignments are, you are better equipped to change yourself, your position, or influence your company’s culture to align better with people.

Because ultimately, good companies know that it’s their PEOPLE who are the most important asset!

Want to know how closely your work life / culture aligns with your human core values, in the context of the chakra model?

Download the worksheet to help you assess & identify specific areas where you might get stuck.

“Dig One Well”

I’ve been studying the Yoga Sūtras with a mentor / teacher for 46 weeks now. Along the way I have learned a lot about what I’ll call “advice for living” that’s packed into each neatly stated line. There have been some weeks where I was SO ready to move on; there have been other weeks where I couldn’t seem to get enough about what Patañjali was communicating, because I could relate so much.

What’s a Sūtra?

In case you’re not familiar with Patañjali and the Yoga Sūtras: essentially the Sūtras are the documented curriculum of yoga practice. (“Yoga” here meaning a system for living, not just the physical practice we in the West tend to obsess over. In fact, this yoga is much more about the mind than anything else!)

Before the Sūtras, yoga was passed along from teacher to student orally. Sūtra means thread, which is appropriate–each line in the Yoga Sūtras has multiple meanings and levels of depth that (I believe) can only really be grasped from that connection with a trained teacher. If you pick up different translations of the Sūtras, and put them side-by-side (as I’ve seen many people do), it is potentially pretty confusing. So what we’re doing in my class is studying “one way”–or one interpretation. The idea being that after we have an understanding like this, then we can look at others because we’ll have a consistent context on which to base the additional insights.

A Sūtra That Hits Home

Today I’d like to share a bit about a Sūtra that has really spoken to me. It’s Chapter 1 Sūtra 32:


Here are some translations:

  • “If one can select an appropriate means to steady the mind and practice this, whatever the provocations, the interruptions cannot take root.” (T.K.V. Desikachar)
  • “To avoid them, [we must] commit to the practice of a single principle.” (Frans Moors)
  • “For that purpose of counteracting them practice one principle.” (Paul Harvey)
  • “The practice of concentration on a single subject [or the use of one technique] is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments.” (Sri Swami Satchidananda)

Sūtra 1.32 refers to the prior Sūtra, in which life’s inevitable difficulties may become obstacles (that’s the “them” part in the definitions above). I’ll digress a little here: to know whether a difficulty has become an obstacle (in other words, that one is “stuck”), we would observe these symptoms:

  • “mental discomfort
  • negative thinking
  • the inability to be at ease in different body postures, and
  • difficulty in controlling one’s breath” (T.K.V. Desikachar)

I don’t know about you, but yeah, I’ve experienced those!

The way my teacher explains Sūtra 1.32 is to “dig one well”. In other words, focus on one thing. In this context it’s about a yoga practice, but it also has a wider implication for “doing life”.

How this shows up in my life

Prioritizing (Even Positive) “To Do’s”

Many people come to me wanting to “fix” everything that’s wrong about their health or their habits at once. What I see happen in these cases is that the person becomes quite overwhelmed. I fondly recall a client who was feeling stressed out about all the things she had to do in a day. She was very determined to be a healthier, brighter being. We listed out the ~15 things that she had on her daily “to do” list. (Please note that like many of us, she had a full time job that required at least 8 hours of her daily time, excluding a commute each way in Austin traffic!) No wonder she was overwhelmed. Focusing on one thing from her initial list immediately made things much lighter and easier.

Dealing with Chronic Pain

As some of you know, starting in December 2014 I started having pain in my sacrum and right hip. It was relentless, and it would change from day to day. As you might expect, I went on a quest to find out what was wrong with me. In other words, I was eager to get a diagnosis that I might then be able to work with to address the cause of the problem. My mentor at the time observed that I was doing all sorts of things, and for sure, I did many of them at once to try and alleviate the (now) chronic pain that seemed to be affecting every area of my life. It seemed reasonable, and I went almost 2 whole years before that “diagnosis” came. The diagnosis made it easier to focus on treatments for sure, but I wonder now: what if I were to have listened to her? What would have happened if, instead of running around to all sorts of Western doctors and Eastern healers, I had stuck with one practice? I would have saved lots of time and money and energy for sure…and maybe had more peace of mind while dealing with the pain. Would I still have narrowed down what the cause was? I’m still up in the air on this. 🙂

Growing a Successful Business

I’m currently enjoying a read of The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. At the same time, I’ve started working with a business coach to redefine (or rather, to define!) my business model. The business coach talks a lot about “being in alignment”, and what this (and the book) has highlighted for me is that I’ve moved from a corporate job in technology to entrepreneurship in health & wellness (I can finally say that I am in fact, an entrepreneur!). But–I have not clearly defined my business model, and thus I cannot accurately determine whether an opportunity, option, or idea that presents itself is in my (and my business’) best interest / in alignment. As a result, I’m teaching public classes at 3 gym locations, a studio, doing privates, giving workshops / talks (both in multiple locations), offering online programs, seeing clients in my own practice for coaching and Reiki and yoga, trying to get a corporate health gig, etc. As a result my days are very scattered, I’m driving all over the place, and I’m putting energy into all sorts of “random” things! I have not “dug one well” in my business; I’m tired and am not feeling like I’m living up to my full potential.

A related business example is the pretty famous “ONE Thing“. They ask, “what ONE thing (could I do that) would make all other things (on my list) unnecessary?”. Sounds like one well to me!

Final Thoughts

At least since I’ve been free to set my own schedule, I’ve not done especially well with focus. And I’m seeing how this particular Sūtra is so relevant to various aspects of my life. I feel as though I’m in a period of transition: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe wholeheartedly that my new mantra of “dig one well” will help me create a life of more ease and joy!

Where in your life do you need to “dig one well?”

My Yoga Origin Story*

34664951_s1. How did you start yoga? Why do you still practice? How has your practice changed?

I started yoga with my “Journey into Power” Baron Baptiste DVD, and by going to a small group class with my colleague Renee. At the time (1999 or so), I worked at a start up software company as a Technical Writer. Like most beginners, yoga was exercise to me: it was about my body becoming more flexible. (I didn’t even have the “strength” bit in mind back then!) I still remember the first time the instructor led “eagle arms”. I remember looking at Renee in horror and her putting her thumb to her nose and waving her other fingers at me, while all twisted up, a smile on her face. I still practice because I feel better when I do. (One of my teachers passed along what her teacher used to say: “practice yoga on the days you want to feel good.”) My practice is much less intensely physical, and much more breath- and mentally-focused—I practice movements and breathing patterns that hold my attention, help me stay out of (a newly developed chronic pain condition), and feel more at ease.

2. Why do you teach yoga? Why did you start and why do you stay? How has your teaching evolved?

I teach yoga because it makes me feel good, and I love making other people feel better too. I started teaching because I discovered a different person underneath the one I thought I was (in the corporate world), and I liked her much better! She seemed much less uptight, a little more relaxed, a little more confident and dare I say “goofy”.  I have also always loved movement (I used to dance a lot), and when I added the breath it was just so calming. Why I stay is a good question, because in many ways yoga systematically dismantled my life, and has made some things harder. I stay because I can’t imagine going back to that other world. I feel like I’m doing something meaningful with my life now. I know something I didn’t know before, and there’s no going back! My teaching has evolved the way my personal practice and training have. Always compassionate but even more gentle, therapeutic, and mind-focused now. I study way more philosophy (e.g. Yoga Sutras, the Gita, etc.) now; these have captured my attention and interest and sometimes I feel better just reading about yogic concepts.

stretching_in_yoga_class3. What do you know to be true about yoga and what could this mean? How has yoga impacted your life in ways large and small?

What’s true about yoga is you get what you put into it. For years I had the tools (including a pain-free, mobile body!) but didn’t use them. I’m not sure whether it was laziness, forgetfulness, or simply a disbelief that they would work for me. I remember seeing all these healthy yogis and wondering why I didn’t “get it” (especially the spiritual stuff). I liked the physical aspect, but I knew there was something more and I suppose my mind/heart just weren’t ready for it. I think we all let things in on our own time. Yoga totally ruined my life. Said more positively it completely and utterly transformed it, and I’ve no doubt that it will continue to. Sometimes the uncertainty is what’s scary. Yoga has changed my location, career, name, mindset about health, eating habits, relationships, the ways I speak to myself, how I sleep, what “balance” looks like, what “health” means to me, and so on. It shows me daily where I fall short, giving me opportunities to be kinder to myself and/or make different decisions.

Note: This blog was prompted by a blog from Kate Connell Potts at You & The Yoga Mat, so props to her for making me consider these questions!

Influence Your Body, Influence Others: Body Language for Leaders

I had the pleasure of speaking with members of the North Austin Influencers Group about body language. It’s been awhile since I’ve presented to a more corporate / entrepreneurial audience so truth is I was a bit nervous. Which was actually FANTASTIC, because it gave me a perfect opportunity to practice what I was preaching: a completely different way of exploring body language that was mostly rooted in yogic philosophy and my training as a (therapeutic) yoga instructor!

My audience was interactive, open, and willing to try something new. I received several complements after the talk, which was very nice to hear since I had put a lot of work into doing something different yet accessible on the topic. In the preliminary exercise I had attendees write down a word to describe the last person they spoke to and what it was about their body language communicated that this–the man I had been talking to wrote “confident”, because my “back was straight/chest out w/ smile”. 🙂

For those of your who missed it or are just curious, here is a (free) link to the talk. Obviously it is not interactive and I said a few things differently, but you’ll get the point I hope!

Kali Patrick Graduates Yoga Teacher Training Program with Focus in Therapeutic Yoga

500HourHathaYY200HoursAustin, TX, October 27, 2015: Kali Patrick of A Journey Into Health announced today that she has successfully completed Module 1 of locally-owned Yoga Yoga’s Yoga Therapy Training Program. According to the Yoga Yoga web site, this “Yoga Therapy in Practice” module includes “… applied practice and hands-on workshops in:

  • Mobilizing the spine to relieve chronic issues such as lower back pain, shoulder impingement & neck injuries
  • Holistically addressing sports injuries, headaches, insomnia, anxiety &depression
  • Addressing imbalances of the endocrine system such as diabetes & thyroid disorder
  • Building mobility & strength to relieve arthritis & osteoporosis
  • Adjusting practices for digestive conditions such as IBS & GERD
  • Understanding the benefits and side-effects of common medications
  • Supporting clients experiencing PTSD & addiction
  • Calming the body & mind through stress reduction techniques, lifestyle changes, Ayurveda [an Eastern, holistic system of medicine] & functional pranayama [breathing techniques]
  • Effectively communicating with students in individual & group settings
  • Assessing complex conditions using advanced intake & teaching methods
  • Adapting & modifying for students in gentle practices, including chair yoga, yoga for seniors, restorative yoga & deep relaxation”

Additionally this training serves as a completion of Kali’s 500-hour Hatha Yoga certification; by reaching an additional milestone–reaching 1000+ hours of teaching group yoga classes–she has also officially earned Yoga Alliance’s E-RYT® designation*.

Kali offers privates in therapeutic yoga, healing Reiki sessions & training, as well as Eating Psychology and self-care coaching as part of A Journey Into Health. She is currently based in North Austin, Texas.

*The yoga therapy components of my instruction are based on this training, and are not derived from my status as an RYT/E-RYT with Yoga Alliance Registry.

A Corporate Getaway – How Yoga and Meditation Super Charge Your Team


Note: This is a guest post from Aliza Unterberg. Some of you know I worked in a corporate environment for over 15 years, and that I love to travel! Although I haven’t personally visited this place (yet), please consider it (or something like it) if you are in a position to influence your corporation’s sponsored health activities. Remember, your employees’ health and happiness affects everything they do!

You know that feeling when you come home after a full day of work then instead of doing all of your errands you just want to crash? You are in a constant need of a massage and fatigue just takes over you? Is there too much stress in your life? How do you get rid of these issues?

The short answer is to relax your body, but what does that entail? Many people suggest exercise in the morning in order to get the juices flowing to energize you. But if you’re anything like me, you would rather hit the snooze button and sleep for that extra half an hour before starting your day. Starting to move your body seems scary because committing to a routine of exercises seems daunting. Luckily for you there is a way that you can improve yourself while not having an overbearing workout.

Chances are that you are not the only one at work who feels this way. There must be at least a few colleagues at your place of work who know EXACTLY what you are going through. What you and your colleagues need is a corporate yoga retreat. Not only will it jump start you on becoming healthier but it is a bonding experience that you can share with people like you. In addition, it is much easier to start working out when you have a support group. Whether it is one or 20 people joining you, the fact that others are challenged just like you will motivate you and in turn you will motivate them as well.

A yoga retreat will take you away from work for a few days so you will have the time to really let loose and learn to take care of those issues that link to stress both physically and mentally. At the retreat you will learn key elements in how to control your body and mind, at least as a starter set.

How can yoga help me? I’m glad you asked. By practicing yoga you are creating an environment for your body where you improve your circulation and balance, strengthen and stretch the spine and legs amongst other parts of our body, learning to breathe correctly, and more.

Good circulation is a key ingredient to feeling better. By sitting at a desk all day your blood isn’t getting proper circulation. Similar to sitting on a 12-hour plane ride without moving, your body will become sore and uncomfortable. Yoga offers positions that by doing them even as a beginner will improve circulation to problem areas. Good circulation and balance can ease those back and leg aches from sitting at your desk. Similarly, strengthening the spine and legs are for those hunched in front of their computer screens for hours at a time. Many people don’t realize that by the lack of posture you are seriously damaging your neck and back. Yoga will work on posture and by strengthening these areas you wont feel the need to get that massage after every day of work.

Now I know what you are probably thinking, “I know how to breathe, yoga can’t help me there.” Right?! You are right and you are wrong. True you are a living being and are only like that because of breathing. However, by controlling your breathing you can sufficiently lessen stress and tension as well as improving bodily movements.

When it comes to practicing yoga, similar to other exercises you can start small. Doing a few poses each morning will have an affect on you sooner than you think. From there you grow and strengthen yourself and you’ll find that the more you do physically the better you will feel mentally.

This seems like a lot to take in and it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Yoga is an extraordinary practice with endless benefits. That is why a retreat is a perfect place to start (or to you yogis out there to continue). This experience will immerse you into the beautiful culture of the Zen and give you the proper jumpstart you need to do it on your own at home.

One such place to do this is the Samahita Retreat on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. There you can relax, meditate, and even explore the rest of the island. Koh Samui is a tropical paradise that you must see at least once in your lifetime, so why not for a reason such as your health? Whoever said not to mix business with pleasure, obviously never did yoga.

About Aliza

Aliza Unterberg is a design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. One
of her biggest passions and guilty pleasures is to travel the world and learn more about it.

Ring ring ring, the Universe is calling!

Last weekend, my boyfriend’s Aunt mentioned she was doing yoga therapy and told me she heard that yoga was about more than just physical postures. I was horrified when I realized I could no longer rattle off all 8 limbs of yoga. This motivated me to go back to my yoga philosophy and study. (I was relieved to find that I just blanked on some and OF COURSE I still incorporate many into my teachings and my practice. Still, it’s good to refresh!) As part of reviewing my Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training notes, I found a little blue index card on which I’d written: “SIGN FROM ABOVE see/hear 3x”.

Universe: “Bring more of your study back to yoga.”(1)

The next day I was asked to take over a yoga class at a new facility because their best instructor had to give it up. I took this instructor’s class the following day and she was AMAZING, incorporating all things yoga in a fun and energetic way. I learned in talking with her that the class would be another large group of dedicated students who are all physically active and fit, which is not the audience I’ve typically served. While hot power yoga is and has been more my personal practice and style, the idea of taking over for this instructor was (and is) terrifying.

Universe: “I’m challenging you to become a stronger, more confident yoga instructor.” (2)

The day after that, I got a request to sub a yoga class at a nearby gym for every Wednesday night in July and a couple nights in August, which was originally in conflict with my “6 weeks to relaxation” offering.

Universe: “Share more and more yoga.”(3)

Now, all this local, in-person yoga teaching isn’t directly in line with my “plan” of building a virtual client base for yoga, meditation, and eating psychology. However, I feel like these opportunities are banging down my door, and that perhaps the Universe is calling me to re-focus on yoga. I decided to continue my studies, and am enjoying going back through my Kripalu yoga training materials and reading a book about Swami Kripalu’s life; I am going forward with the new teaching gig, although I’m still working through some of the fear. I decided I’d regret not trying more than I’d regret trying and failing. And, I moved the time of my relaxation program back 30 minutes so I can still offer that while subbing more classes.

I’ve noticed more over the past few years that whether it’s the beginning or ending of a relationship or a job, there are often 3 things I see or hear that can serve as guidance for me when I don’t override my intuition with “clever” thoughts. I’m going to dance with the energy that’s coming into my life this time. What’s the worst that could happen?

Can you think of a time when the Universe was calling (or warning) you? Did you notice? Did you listen? I’d love to hear your story!

Upcoming Workshop Announcement!

Mind-Body Nutrition for Busy People:
Explore 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Food & Your Body

When: Sunday, June 8, 2014 1-4 pm

Where: Broadstone Crossing Apartments (Common Room)
12430 Metric Blvd, Austin TX 78758

  • Spend too much time & energy on what’s wrong with your body?
  • Tried everything when it comes to losing weight & keeping it off?
  • Know what you should eat, but just can’t find the time?
  • Challenged by unwanted, emotionally-based eating habits?

. . .Or, just curious about what mind-body nutrition can do for you?

Join Kali Patrick as she leads you through an informative journey into 5 new, practical, & time-saving approaches to help you improve your eating habits, reduce your stress, make peace with your body, and become more of the person you were truly meant to be!

In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn:

  • The physiological effects of stress on metabolism & calorie burning
  • How to naturally modulate your appetite through eating rhythm
  • The profound impact of the cephalic phase digestive response
  • Ways to overcome toxic beliefs about food & body that limit weight loss potential
  • Mind-body techniques for overcoming body image challenges

You’ll also receive informative handouts & recommendations for further reading.

Cost: $30 pre-registration*, $40 at the door

Call 617.699.2389 or email info (at) ajourneyintohealth (dot) com to reserve your space.
*Due to the interactive nature of the workshop, space is limited to 12 & pre-registration is recommended.

About Kali Patrick, Mind-body Wellness Consultant at A Journey Into Health:

Kali integrates eating psychology, nutrition, yoga, meditation, Ayurveda & Reiki to help busy people improve their overall health & wellness. Her prior experience working in high-tech corporations taught her not only how to facilitate informative & fun group discussions, but also helped her understand how our fast-paced, stress-based culture makes it easy to develop unwanted eating habits & difficult to make time to care for ourselves, even when we want to.

For more information about Kali, visit