Primal Reboot – Week 1

I am doing another Primal Challenge with a few friends.  Summer, counter-intuitively, always means weight gain for me.  Why?  Because even though we are outside more and get more exercise in, we are also biking to the brewery or to lunches consisting of famous Iowa tenderloins and hand-cut fries.  Even a 2-hour bike ride stands no chance against a couple of drinks and nachos.

We started the Challenge on Monday.  My main goals for the challenge are:  1) No alcohol for 21 days, 2) Meditate for at least 10 mins daily, and 3) Walk outside for at least 30 mins daily.  You may think  that these are not exactly “stretch” goals for someone who is pretty healthy.  But, trust me, they are!  Between working full-time, teaching yoga part-time, prepping for the classes, sleeping, eating, continuing my movement education, etc., my days get really full.  I have not been doing a good job of prioritizing the behaviors that I preach in my yoga classes.  Also, I’ve fallen into the habit of having 1-2 drinks each night.  So that is what I’m mainly tackling this go-around.

I have been doing really well so far!  No drinks for 7 days means my stomach is flatter (less bloated), and my sleep quality has VASTLY improved.  While I do not drink copious of alcohol and rarely ever get drunk, I know that alcohol really affects hormone levels (it’s pro-estrogenic), thus negatively affecting your risk of breast cancer.  It also saps my evening productivity something fierce!  I listened to a podcast with James Swanwick, and his experience going alcohol-free really made me question the innocuousness of my habit.  For some additional information on the effects of alcohol, check out this post written by James.

Prioritizing walking and meditation has also made me re-vamp my morning routine.  While I would love to read articles online for an hour each morning while drinking my coffee, instead, I drink one coffee, hop in the shower, go for a walk, and then meditate, and then eat breakfast and then go to work.  If I don’t take care of these two goals in the morning, the day escapes me.

Walking in the morning as the sun comes up is a beautiful way to start the day.  I love hearing the wind in the trees and watching the light slowly illuminate the neighborhood.  It’s also a good test of my proprioceptive skills, and I have to be cautious of ancient sidewalks dipping and rising unexpectedly.

And meditation.  Wow.  Lately I have been feeling more calm, less reactive, and more joyful.  Is it the meditation?  Is it because work is not really stressful right now? Is it because I am teaching more (which I love)?  Is it because I am sleeping better?  That’s the problem with changing multiple behaviors at the same time. I don’t have a control group.🙂  I think it’s the meditation though – it trains me to take that second breath before reacting which gives me time to observe my instinctual response and reflect on whether it’s really necessary.  What story am I telling myself that is causing me to get fired up?  Is there another reasonable story that will help me maintain my equanimity?  Oh, I still get fired up, but at least now I am more aware of it, and it’s a *slightly* more conscious reaction.

There you have it, Primal Reboot Week 1.  If you are interested in learning more about the Primal Challenge, check out this link, or hit me up in the comments with questions.

Hope you have a fabulous Sunday and can get out and enjoy the crisp sunshine and crackling leaves.

Take care,


Posted in Health & Fitness, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Paleo | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga Tune Up® Workshops

I’m offering a series of Yoga Tune Up® workshops at Indigo in September/October.  Details can be found on my Teaching Schedule page:

I would love to share this unique teaching style with you!  In my normal, every-day corporate life, I see so many people struggling with tension, stress, anxiety, and dis-embodiment.  If you are tired of dealing with these issues, please, please come check out one of my classes and discover what a little bit of self-care can do for your mind and body.

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Meditation – Hlo Style

I’ve been dabbling in meditation off and on for the past four years or so.  Over that time frame I have discovered and rediscovered some things that I really love and that seem to work for me.  I think that all of us humans are different, though, so the style of meditation that really floats my boat may do nothing for you. But here is what I’ve found works for the best for me.  Try some of these out, and let me know what you think in the comments!

The simplest form of meditation is focusing on your breath – breathe in/belly rise, breathe out/belly fall.  This is a very relaxing form of meditation, but when it’s self-directed (e.g. Heather is telling Heather to breathe in and breathe out), Heather gets distracted and starts thinking about brushing her teeth or which Moleskin she is going to buy next or how dirty the floor is.

And that is why I am a big fan of led meditations.  And fortunately with the advent of computers and smart phones and apps, there is a plethora of options to choose from.  Here are some links to my current meditation tool-set.

  1.  Dharma Ocean 10 Points Meditation.  This somatic (body-based) meditation focuses your mind on different parts of the body.  It helps keep my attention focused, while at the same time allowing me to consciously relax tension that I am unconsciously holding.
  2. Yoga Nidra.  I LOVE yoga nidra.  This is the thing that sparked my interest in yoga 5-6 years ago.  With this style of meditation, the mind’s awareness is drawn methodically through different areas of the body in an almost hypnotic fashion.  I love to listen to this type of meditation before I go to sleep.  Here is a link to a couple of different yoga nidras:
    3. Google “Yoga Nidra,” and I bet almost anyone you find will be delightful.
  3. Insight Timer.   This is an amazing free app that has a TON of different meditations.  You can search for a specific type (yoga nidra, loving-kindness, etc.), or you can scroll through and look for ones that sound interesting.  It has meditations of several different lengths, so if you only have 5 minutes, scroll for 10 seconds, sit or lay down, and meditate for 5 minutes.  There are a lot of led meditations by British people, and that accent just really does it for me.😉  The app also gives you the ability to connect with others meditating in your area, which forms a nice, non-intrusive meditation community.
  4. Design of the Body podcast.  For ~30 mins, Dr. Donna Embree  walks you through a meditation where you breathe up from the earth, drawing energy through all your chakras, balancing then and tuning in to your body’s “dashboard.”  This meditation is a little bit “woo-woo,” but when I do it (usually while taking a walk), I feel more centered and grounded. If you listen to this one, try to have an open mind and let go of judgement, and I think you will enjoy it.
  5. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
    1. Body Scan – 32 minute version.
    2. Body Scan – 20 minutes version.
  6. 8 Minute Meditation Guide.  This is the first book I bought on meditation.  If you do not want to go the “led” route, this book will teach you several different forms of mediation which you are encouraged to practice for just 8 minutes a day for a week.  My personal favorites are loving-kindness and body scan, but I got value from all of them.

Obviously I really love body-based meditations.  :)

Hopefully you found this information helpful. If you get on Insight Timer, look me up, so we can support each other in our meditation practice.

Take care, and have a fabulous Labor Day!  Thanks for reading!

Posted in Health & Fitness, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Uncategorized, Yoga | 1 Comment

The Great Work of My Life

Why am I here?  Why did I incorporate into this body, this family, in the time, in this place?  How can I best use my skills, abilities, knowledge and idiosyncranies to serve humankind?  What will light my fire and keep it burning?  For what am I willing to be “used up?”

Are these questions you have ever asked yourself?  They are questions I have been struggling with answering for the past few years.  Tired of thinking myself in circles, I met with a psychologist/yoga therapist to get some outside feedback. I needed some help getting out of my head.  As I explained my quest to her, she informed me that I was looking for my dharma (aka sacred duty).

This was a word I had encountered briefly in the past, but I never really knew what it was.  Based on her recommendation, I read The Great Work of Your Life: A guide for the journey to your true calling by Stephen Cope.  It is a beautiful, beautiful book that provides lots of guidance (some of it divine) about finding your calling and purpose.

I won’t write a review of the book, except to say it’s really good and you should read it post haste.🙂  But I do want to highlight some of the passages that especially struck me (I love the word “passage” to refer to sections of a book – gateways to expanded thought!).  Page numbers are taken from the 2015 Bantam Books Trade Paperback Edition.

  1. Page xviii (Introduction). Regarding writing his books, Stephen says that “It seems that it was the effort required to bring them forth itself that saved me.”  Having written his books did nothing for him – it was putting that work into writing them that was truly satisfying.  DOING the work (not necessarily the end product) is the important thing.
  2. Page xxiv – “People actually feel happiest and most fulfilled when meeting the challenge of their dharma in the world, when bringing highly concentrated effort to some compelling activity for which they have a true calling.”
  3. Page 11 – “It increasingly begins to dawn on her that in order to find the next expression of dharma she is going to have to take a leap of some kind.”  Page 38 – “…Dharma always involves, at some point, a leap off a cliff in the dark.”
  4. Page 16 – “Success and failure in the eyes of the world are not your concern. “Better to fail at your dharma than to succeed at the dharma of someone else,” he says.”” The “he” in that sentence is Krishna (aka God).  Smart guy.
  5. Page 32 – “We have a responsibility to The Gift.  The Gift is God in disguise.”
  6. Page 36 – “Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference.”
  7. Page 42 – “We only know who we are by trying on various versions of ourselves.”
  8. Page 44 – “”Be resolutely and faithfully what you are,” said Thoreau – not who you think you should be.”
  9. Page 46 – An explanation of Indra’s Net.  We are all jewels on an interconnected web, shining forth onto others and reflecting all the other jewels in the net.  “The action of each individual soul holds together the entire net.  Small and large at the same time.”
  10. Page 47 – “Our actions in expression of our dharma…are infinitely important….They create the world.”
  11. Page 56 – “Careful attunement to dharma will demand that we reinvent ourselves periodically throughout life.”
  12. Page 62 – “…(ambivalence, it turns out, is an unavoidable companion in the search for a new dharma).”
  13. Page 64 – “Each of us feels some aspect of the world’s suffering acutely. It tears at our hearts.”  “This little corner of the world is ours to transform.  This little corner of the world is ours to save.”

Well, I will stop at Lucky 13. This covers my highlights from the first 1/4 of the book.  I will write more starting with The Second Pillar:  “Do It Full Out!”

What do you think your dharma is?  Have you found it?  If so, how?



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Woo Boy – And… It’s almost September

Holy cow. August is almost over.  Where did it go??  What happened to Summer?  Will life continue to fly by like this?

Ok, I’ll get you up to speed on the important stuff.

  •  I went to the Yoga Tune Up® Breath & Bliss in L.A.  It was a 3 day intensive all about down regulating the nervous system, primarily by stimulating the vagus nerve.  The class BLEW MY MIND and opened my eyes to the variety of ways we can manipulate our structure and mind into calming the #$% down!  This information is so direly needed by EVERYONE.  I’ve been incorporating the savasana techniques into all my classes, and I ordered a box of Corgeous balls, so that I’m ready to launch a weekly class devoted solely to down regulation.  It’s going to be soooooo lovely.  When I get approval for the class, I’ll add it to my schedule here on the blog, so you know where to find me.   Here is a quick tip to try out tonight:  Lay on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor.  Wedge a yoga block or pillow under your sacrum (when the head is lower than the heart, the vagus nerve slows down the heart rate).  On your inhale, feel your belly swell, on the exhale, let the belly fall to the spine and hum as your breath leaves the body.  The humming also stimulates the vagus nerve, further transporting you to the Rest & Digest mode.
  • My dad had a heart attack.  That was two weeks of lots of good and lots of bad.  Dad recovered amazingly well, and we had a tremendously supportive network of nurses, doctors, family and friends that helped carry us through. We needed every bit of love, as we traveled back and forth to the hospital and tried to manage work and stress and uncertainty and heartache.
  • While visiting a book store close to the hospital, I discovered the beautiful book, “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living” by Krista Tippett.  I picked the book up because it was on display, and I was drawn by the simple yellow and white cover and the direct title.  I had never heard of Krista Tippett before.  I am so glad I randomly picked up the book. It is beautifully written. I have a hard time putting it down.
  • But I did put it down – to read another amazing, life-changing book, “The Great Work of Your Life:  A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling” by Stephen Cope.  I recently started to see a therapist to help identify my true purpose is life. Why did the Universe or God or The Source or my Witness self, put me in this body in this family, in this life?  My therapist informed me that this “purpose” is called dharma, and she recommended this book.  I blazed through it in about 2 weeks.  The book is riddled with highlights and notes, and I really feel as if I need to read it several more times. Stop reading this blog post and go read it right now!! Tell me what you think.
  • Dharma.  Wow.  That’s a big topic that’s been consuming a lot of time and mental energy. I have some ideas, some inklings, some wishes, some hopes, LOTS of fears, and lots of thinking to do. More to come on that.

And that’s about it. I’ve been altering my yoga teaching to be more Yoga Tune Up® focused, and I’ve had a couple of new students come to my 5:30AM class as a result.  I love teaching it and seeing people all chilled out and more embodied by the time they leave. I just really love it!  I’m hoping to add more classes and/or workshops in the next few months.

I think that about brings you up to speed. Each one of the points above really deserves its own blog post, but it’s 6:20, and I need to finish prepping for my class tomorrow, take a walk and then practice my new obsession, somatic meditation!

I hope you are doing well, and I will talk to you soon!


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Summer in Iowa

How do you know it’s summer in Iowa?  Well, I just spent 30 minutes cutting up kale, zucchini, summer squash, potatoes, onions, and watermelon.  Tim is grilling the potatoes and onions (check me out on Instagram for picture proof), and the rest of the menagerie is going into the fridge for eatin’ later on.  We joined a CSA this summer, and several batches of wilted greens and shriveled squash has taught me that if I don’t cut up the veggies IMMEDIATELY, they are a lost cause.

It’s amazing that I am actually accomplishing anything today.  We returned home from Fort Collins, Co last night around 8:30PM, so today is our recup day. Does everyone need a recup day after vacation, or is that just me?  Regardless, I did some Heather self-care today to prepare myself for my strenuous one-day work week tomorrow.  Self-care for me looks like rolling out my abdominals with the Corgeous ball, taking an epsom salt bath, and listening to the Design of the Body podcast whilst walking along Duck Creek.  Oh, and shopping online.🙂  We didn’t get to do much shopping in Ft Collins, so I made up for it once I got home.

If you are like me, you are always interested in what other people are buying, so I will fill you in on the details.  For the past several months I have been looking for a wristlet that will fit the essentials – cards, ID, phone, chapstick, pen, and keys.  My sister-in-law introduced to me to Haiku. I really like their designs and their philosophy, so I ordered the Stride wristlet. I will let you know what I think once I receive it and put it through its paces. I know you are on pins and needles.

I’m going to another Yoga Tune Up® class next week – Breath and Bliss, taught by Jill Miller.  We are supposed to bring our own yoga mats, but I don’t want to travel with my full size Manduka (although I totally love it), so I bought the travel version. It’s so light and thin that you can fold it up!  Hopefully it works well.

I also bought 3 different versions of wire-free bras. I love underwires, but some experts say they can cause a variety of issues, so I am widening my horizons and checking out some wire-free bras from Wacoal.  You can find a TON of wire-free options at Kohl’s and Target, but I tried on TEN different ones today, and they all gave me wide, pointy boobs.  Boo to wide, pointy boobs.  Wacoal bras are pricey, but they last forever, and they give a great shape.  Hopefully that hold true for their non-underwire versions.

That is my day back.  Riveting, isn’t it!?

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How is that for a descriptive title??

I don’t have much to say, or more to the point, I don’t have time to say much right at this moment (I usually have plenty to say given enough time!); however, I wanted to pop in and say hello.  I’ve made some changes to the site and changed the domain name of this blog to  I wanted to make a post and make sure everything works as it should and that people who signed up for email alerts when I make a post still get those and that everything works correctly.  So let me know if you do get the email! If I hear from no one, I will assume I have broken everything, and  I will beg my husband to fix it post haste.

I hope you have a lovely 4th of July weekend, and thanks for tuning in to!  I promise to write more often and to write about super interesting stuff shortly.

Take care my beautiful friends!

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My First Trip to Kripalu

I am 5 days returned from my first trip to Kripalu.  My purpose of going there was two-fold.  Firstly, my friend Angela said it’s an amazing place, and anyone I have talked to who has gone there has echoed that sentiment.  Secondly, of late I have become enamored with Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls, and I discovered that the creator of the balls was going to be teaching a seven-day certification class.  I didn’t really know much about Yoga Tune Up (outside of what I had learned via their blogs and the weekly YouTube videos), but I figured it would be a good chance to check out Kripalu whilst also increasing my yoga knowledge. I assumed (erringly I found out) that since the class was going to be held at a retreat center, it would be a relaxing experience with plenty o’ time for reflection, massages, energy treatments, and just general relaxation.

I was disabused of this notion the first evening of class, during which we were provided with the manual for the class, along with the homework assignments.  Yes! Homework.  And AssignmentSSS not just Assignment.  We are told that we would be expected to do 1-2 hours of homework each night.  All of us looked at each other with wide-eyed confusion.  What were we in for??

Now that it’s all over, I can look back on the initial days philosophically, but at the time, I was, to put it bluntly, rather pissed and overwhelmed.  Each night we needed to read and post on 3 blogs and write 3 context grids for poses we learned that day (the grids consisted of breaking down the pose into what it does, how it does it (using muscle names/direction of movements/actions, etc.), what other poses it’s good for, and what it’s good for in daily life).  Later in the week we also needed to prepare 4 to 10 minute sequences and present them to the other students and teachers of the class.  It was overwhelming.

BUT.  But, while it was very overwhelming and stressful and not at all what I was expecting, it was also a really unusual, amazing, edifying experience. I learned SO MUCH in those 7 days.  I learned actual anatomy! I learned that I still stick out my ribs and jut my head forward although I am ALWAYS trying to not do that!  I learned that I use a ton of repeat words in my teaching.  I learned that it’s important to have fellow teachers watch you teach and provide feedback.  I learned that sitting in a sauna for 10 minutes with conditioner in your hair makes your hair look amazing.  I learned that I’m scared of Jill Miller. I learned that everyone is riddled by FEAR, including myself (but I already knew that last part).  I learned that I don’t like to be gone from Tim for 10 days.

I learned that I’m a bit of a loner.  Several of the other students paired up and worked on homework together, but I preferred to blaze through it, hazarding guesses instead of spending time talking through it with fellow students and/or the teacher’s assistants.  I just wanted to get it done and go to bed.  Looking back, I realized that I could have learned so much more by being more patient and open-minded.  I’m always in a rush to get to the NEXT THING even if the current thing is pretty great.  Now that I am friends with most of my fellow students on Facebook and Instagram, I’ve learned more about them and have come to realize what amazing and experienced people they are!  I wish I had taken more time to discover that while I was with them in person.

On a positive note, however, I tried hard to live up to my sankalpa for the week:  I am serenely fearless.  I spoke up in class more than I wanted to. I went skinny dipping in 50 degree water.  I befriended a beautiful yogi at the airport (I assumed she was on her way to Kripalu, and she was).  I took walks by myself around the beautiful grounds of Kripalu.  I taught 3 short sequences in front of professional yogis.  I touched a friend when he broke down.  I sent Reiki energy to the people around me who broke down in tears in class (which happened every morning).

It was a very intense week – emotionally, mentally, and physically.  It was not what I was expecting, but I am so happy that I did it. I’m still processing the experience and trying to figure out how to move forward – trying to figure out how what I learned fits into what I want to teach and how I want to teach and if I should teach and if so, where and how.  The week may have brought up more questions than it answered, but I think it moved me down the path closer to discovering why I am here and what gifts I have to share with this world while I am here. Even if I eventually realize that I am not meant to teach, at least that is another discovery that I have made – one more stone that I over-turned.

Now I want to return to Kripalu for a TRUE yoga retreat. I want to wake up whenever my eyes naturally float open, walk down to the lake, take a dip (clothing optional!), sit in the sauna to warm up, go to yoga, eat a delicious breakfast in a silent room, sit outside and stare at the mountains and imagine riding the mists, eat some more good food, do some more yoga, get my energy body re-situated, attend a seminar taught by an enlightened soul, do some more yoga, chat with amazing interesting people, and then go to bed for a blissful sleep.

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New Website!

Hola!  This is note to the 7 peeps who actually read my blog.  The Timbits has set up a new website for me using my very own real name. You can now find me posting at  Please go over and check out the site and subscribe to the email updates.  I’m going to start posting more in the future, so you can look forward to more regular witty witticisms from me.

Thanks for reading!!

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Grumpiness and Not Following Your Own Advice

I don’t know why.  I don’t know if it’s the season or work or life or my ego or my diet or my exercise regime or my supplements, or my decrease in caffeine, but for some reason I’ve been feeling rather “meh” lately.  I will have days where I feel happy and motivated, but lately I have more days where I feel lost and don’t know where to begin.  I have things that I *think* I want to do, such as read one of the books on my  mammoth book list, practice meditation, go to yoga class, research vacation options, color in an adult coloring book, start the Great American Novel, paint a picture of Lucent, figure out a great material with which to make the BEST YOGA TANKS EVER, plan a retreat at Kripalu, input all my yoga income and expenses, move to Boulder, start a yoga book/video club, etc.  However, when I have a free hour or two, instead I find myself sitting on the couch in my pajamas and watching Seinfeld or Community.

I don’t understand why it is so difficult to do the things that I think I want to do!  Maybe I am just getting overwhelmed with options – too many things to do in too little time means I just resign myself to doing nothing.  Or maybe work is stressing me out, and so in my downtime, I elect to just vegetate.  Or maybe I’m just lazy and scared and don’t want to attempt to create anything because it means I cannot fail.

What is really odd is that this period of despondency is punctuated with periods of lucidity.  For a few days, I was waking up at 4:30 AM, drinking some warm lemon water, and then meditating with this  for 20 minutes.  I was starting to notice that I was becoming more aware of the present moment, which was very interesting, and I liked it.  But then I would be attacked by another bad mood where I really didn’t want to go into work. I hated everyone and just wanted to lay in bed and watch Gilmore Girls all day.  Why can’t I sustain the good stuff?

I also have been eating gluten with almost abandon.  I don’t know what it is. I know it’s not good for me, and that it makes me emotional and weird, but I keep eating it.  I just feel a little off kilter. Maybe it’s just the change in seasons. Maybe it’s a stressful fall with lots of changes.  Maybe it’s just a natural ebb in the waves of life.  I feel as if I know what I need to do to make myself feel better, I just need to figure out how to make myself do it!!

On a positive note, I leveraged my emotional wobbliness into a really good yoga class!  Since I’ve been feeling moody lately, I did a little research and found a Yoga to Balance Your Mood sequence in one of my YTT books. I used it during my Gentle Hatha class on Saturday, and everyone loved it.  I heard at least 1 audible sigh of relaxation at the end of the class. I wove in some of my own stuff too. I began the class with a seated meditation and asked the students to note how they felt in the meditation.  Then I told them that we would do another meditation at the end of the class and asked them to compare the two. I told them that the whole purpose of yoga is to calm the body enough that it can sit quietly in meditation, so I wanted to test out that theory.  Everyone said that their meditation was easier at the end, and they felt more focused.  I just absolutely love it when people are happy, relaxed, and excited when they leave my class.

So now I need to take some of my own medicine and do the sequence.  I just have a really hard time finding a good quite, solitary place to practice at home. I guess it means we need to buy a new house. Maybe that would make me happy.😉

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