Browsing Tag

Manifestation Yoga

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Retreats/Workshops, travel

How To Manifest Under The Tuscan Sun With Jen Pastiloff.

October 15, 2016

First, discover Jennifer Pastiloff accidentally. This is after the boyfriend leaves, after the mom gets cancer, and after you start asking Is this all there is? Let her crack you open in a crowded Manhattan yoga studio, show her your broken heart, read to her your list of fears, and let her place a hand on your knee and lean in closer. You will sit like that for awhile, with her hand on your knee and all of your tears puddling on the mat. The woman next to you will place a hand on your back, someone will offer you a box of tissues, you’ll hear a voice nearby say It’s ok, I got you. You’ll find that this is what Jennifer creates: space to be heard, space to listen.

Fallinloveable. She’ll say in her deep and raw voice, That’s what you are. Fuck yeah. Completely Fallinloveable. She says it in a way that makes you believe it too. It happens just like that. Then, you laugh through the tears, something Jennifer calls “letting the snot fly”, and the feeling of connectedness will cocoon itself around you.

Months later, you might forget how fallinloveable you are and you’ll scroll through Jennifer’s Instagram feed searching for a reminder. She will be there telling you not to be an asshole, especially to yourself. She will post pictures of her retreat in Italy and you will sit at your desk every lunch period swiping over images of people laughing, drinking wine, and dancing. The pictures alone ignite something inside of you, you will call it hope. You decide to go despite a full-time job with little vacation time and your lack of money. Listen, because this part is important: start with willingness, even if you don’t know how you will ever get the time off of work or the money in the bank, begin with willingness to believe in possibility, willingness to be transformed. Trust me. The rest will take care of itself.

Then, something like this will happen:

You will arrive in a van filled with strangers. Driving down a narrow, dusty road in the Tuscan countryside, you’ll find yourself equal parts nervous and excited. As you pull up to the sprawling villa, all of you will promptly and unanimously decide that none of the photos do it justice. Jennifer will meet you in the main room outside of the kitchen and insist that you take a tour right that minute. Go. Drop all of your heavy bags and follow her.

In fact, that’s pretty much good life advice: Drop the heavy shit weighing you down and let Jennifer Pastiloff show you how to stand in awe and wonder.

You’ll find one perfect-for-napping-writing-and-manifesting-nook after another, a large, dimly lit wine cellar, a gym, and several uniquely beautiful bedrooms with wooden windows that open to postcard-worthy views. You can even see the rolling Tuscan hills from the bathrooms. Take a minute to really see all of the beauty and notice how even the air smells different, fresher, full of hope. Consider this practice because Jennifer will ask you to hunt for beauty all week. She won’t ask you to take yourself too seriously or even yoga for that matter. Actually, least of all yoga. But. She will ask you to listen, to say yes, to sit in your discomfort, and to sit in the discomfort of others. This is the work, she’ll say, not turning away from someone’s pain, from their vulnerability.

You will remember the box of tissues at your feet in the crowded Manhattan yoga studio, the warmth of a stranger’s hand on your heaving back. You will watch Jennifer untie knots in your new friends and you know what you will do? Put a hand on their back, hand them tissues, and tell them I got you. I got you.

This is what Jennifer creates: space. Safe, open space. She asks you only to bring your willingness and a journal. Then, she listens. She listens with no agenda and no judgement. This is why it all works. Because we all begin listening to one another simply to hear, to understand, to say I got you, I got you. Don’t get me wrong, there is as much laughter as there is crying, as many heartfelt secrets being shared as there are dirty jokes, for every long, beautiful hour of quiet, there is another of loud, magical conversation around the dinner table, there is as much dancing as there is … well, there is a lot of dancing.

So, if you are wondering if you should go, just go. You don’t need to go looking for transformation, you don’t need to be sad or lost or grieving to go. You, right now where you are, can be delighted with your life, you may be filled to the brink with gratitude. Go. Share it. Show up with what you have wherever you are and let Jennifer greet you at the door, take you by the hand, and say How unbelievable is this? You won’t know whether she is talking about the view or her hand in yours or this moment in your life and it won’t really matter anyway.

Go. I got you. We all do.

 

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Lexi Weber is a writer, certified health coach, and newbie World traveler. Currently, she is writing at home in Annapolis, Maryland, but she always has her suitcase packed and ready to go. You can find pictures of her latest travels and smoothie bowls on her Instagram account @_lexiweber_ and read more of her writing at lexiweber.com.

 

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany June 17-24, 2016 by clicking the photo above. Please send an email to retreats@jenniferpastiloff.com letting us know why you would like to attend.

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany June 17-24, 2016 by clicking the photo above and putting down a non-refundable deposit. Please send an email to retreats@jenniferpastiloff.com letting us know why you would like to attend.

 

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 9-16, 2016. Please send an email to retreats@jenniferpastiloff.com letting us know why you want to attend. Click the photo above to put down your non-refundable deposit.

Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 9-16, 2016. Please send an email to retreats@jenniferpastiloff.com letting us know why you want to attend. Click the photo above to put down your non-refundable deposit.

Guest Posts, Manifestation Workshops, Women

Women Are Hurting.

March 31, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Jen Pastiloff & The Hunt For Beauty.

There’s something I can’t get off my mind; it’s been nagging.

A couple months ago, Jen Pastiloff came to town.  She’s the wunderkind behind the online home for great essays, Manifest Station, and a yoga/writing workshop phenom.  I first came to know Jen through her site when she published my essay about Paris, ‘Things That Didn’t Happen,’ which now appears in the Caitlin Press anthology This Place a Stranger, about women traveling solo.

All this is a long-winded introduction to the fact that Jen asked me to attend her yoga workshop here in Vancouver, BC, when she came to town earlier this year at Semperviva Yoga, and, reluctantly, I went.  (Jen knew getting me out of my house was like pulling teeth, but she kept at me.)  Despite a background in dance, I’ve never been a yoga enthusiast, and I’m also an atheist, and morbidly shy, and the whole spiritual thing makes me roll my eyes.  I slid down the wall at the back of the room, gamely played along to the limits of my creaky old body, and kept my eyes and ears open.

And, folks, a bunch of things happened.

She calls the workshop, after all, “On Being Human.”

But the transformative thing, the thing that hasn’t gone away, was this:

Women are hurting. Continue Reading…

Friendship, Guest Posts, I Have Done Love, Inspiration, Video, Women

To Have a Friend Like This: On Friendship, The Holocaust & Survival.

March 18, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Jen Pastiloff.

Hi guys, Jen Pastiloff here. I don’t post my own stuff too often these days, but these videos, holy Wow, mother of all cups of coffee. Please do yourself a favor and take a few moments and watch these videos. Please. One of these women is a Holocaust survivor. Their friendship is so utterly inspiring to me that it brought me to my knees. I want to have that kind of love. It’s an honor to the guest speaker again here at Canyon Ranch. What a great honor and privilege. Thanks for watching and sharing these videos. May we all listen more. May we all pay attention to the stories inside of us and inside of others, because, do not be fooled, we ALL have one to tell. Listen. This is beauty hunting.

Heartwarming. A must watch video on friendship!

Continue Reading…

And So It Is, Guest Posts, Jen Pastiloff

Share Your Manifesto.

September 28, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-blackBy Jen Pastiloff.

Hello from Canyon Ranch in The Berkshires of Massachusetts, where I’m the guest speaker this week!photo

My workshop in NYC at Pure Yoga was so beautiful yesterday. I did an exercise where everyone wrote their manifestos and spoke them aloud. I promised to post a segment on my site where people could post their manifestos so here it is. This is my manifesto that I wrote quite a few months back. Add yours in the comment section. I cannot wait to read them all! And yes, I think I will be back in NYC to do another workshop in March! Continue Reading…

Anonymous, Eating Disorders/Healing, healing

I Am Afraid of Getting Better: A 21 Year Old On Having Anorexia.

August 13, 2014

Anonymous

I am afraid of getting better.

What kind of illogical statement is that? I wrote that down the other day in my journal at one of Jen’s workshops in England, and kind of baulked at what it even meant.  I know that I don’t want to continue the way I am, I definitely don’t want to get worse, but I am scared of getting better.

What is the other option? Is there even another option?

For the past three years I have been battling with anorexia.

I can’t really believe I just wrote that down.  I don’t think I have ever actually written that sentence down before.

I’ve never had a happy relationship with my body.  I always felt like I was too podgy.  I was the girl who used to forge her Mum’s signature to miss out on swimming lessons because of a persistent ‘ear infection’.  Really, I just didn’t want to put on my swimming costume and have to suck my stomach in, sit up really straight, and not put my legs all the way down when I sat down so they didn’t expand to look twice their normal size.  The thing is, I know looking back at photos of myself, and remembering the other girls at school, that I wasn’t actually big at all. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Yoga

Things Don’t Happen To You- They Happen For You.

July 29, 2014

By Karen Salmansohn.

If you want to be happy, you have to embrace your Karma and Dharma! If you don’t know how, here’s a helpful Legos analogy  - inspired from my Yoga Teacher Training at Ishta Yoga! Read on…

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My 3 ½ year old son Ari has a passion for Legos – even bigger than his passion for pizza. I know this -  because when Ari’s busy with his Legos, not even pizza can pry him away.

Although Ari loves building Lego structures from boxed sets, he gets an even bigger kick out of taking huge scoopfuls of old Legos (which we keep in plastic buckets) then building the pieces into “One-of-A-Kind Creations.” I call Ari a Master Builder – a term swiped from the most recent Lego movie to describe someone who’s innovative – who thinks outside of the (Lego) box.

So – what’s this have to do with Karma and Dharma? An interesting synchronicity united these concepts for me this week.

On Monday, I started yoga teacher training at the amazing Ishta Yoga. It’s a 5 week intensive program  - which starts daily at 8am. As a result, my normal morning ritual with my son Ari is now disrupted.  No more waking up and leisurely dancing to fun music. I now have to be at Ishta on the mat by 8am.

Every day this week as I made my early departure, my son Ari made it clear that he was not a happy camper about my new yoga camp schedule.  Come Thursday morning, Ari was in total tears. In my efforts to calm him, I came up with a quirky Lego analogy – a playful metaphor I thought would help Ari to embrace going with the flow of this surprise change in our morning routine.

karma

“Life is like a scoopful of Legos,” I told Ari. “You never know what pieces you’re going to get handed to you – but whatever pieces life gives you in a day – it’s up to you to make something really awesome with these pieces.”

“For example,” I continued, “in today’s scoopful of a morning, I’m not taking you to school – but your favorite babysitter Belinda is.  You didn’t get the “mommy morning piece” today – but you did get the “Belinda morning piece” – and you can make something cool out of that piece. Each day you get all kinds of assorted pieces. You might not get all the pieces you want. You might even get some pieces you totally do not want.  But you are the Master Builder of your day! It’s up to you to take the pieces you are given  – and make a happy, beautiful day out of these pieces!”

My son Ari contemplated this. “So, I’m the Master Builder of my day?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, encouraged by his question. “Yes, you are the Master Builder of your day!”

Ari’s tears at that moment vanished. I’m not sure if it’s because he understood my Lego analogy. I admit it’s quite possible that I had simply distracted him with the mention of Legos, Legos, Legos! No matter.  When I was done with this Lego analogy, Ari was done with his crying.

Sigh. Relief.

Later that day in yoga teacher training,  the inspiring Alan Finger spoke to our class about Karma and Dharma –their differences -  and how they relate.

“Karma is the situation you are born into.  Dharma is how you choose to act on what you are given   – your free will in how you choose to deal with your Karma.” Alan explained. “In Tantric philosophy, Karma is why you’re here. You’re here in order to work out the seeds of action you carry within you for this lifetime.”

What Alan said reminded me of the Lego analogy I’d given Ari that morning. Karma represents the random scoopful of Legos you are born with at the start of your life. There will be some pieces you’re born with which are totally terrific. And there will be some pieces you might not know what the heck to do with. And there will be some pieces you truly wish you were born with – but are completely missing from your particular scoopful of Life Legos.  It’s up to you to build something awesome out of the “Life Lego Pieces” you were given. And Dharma represents your “Free Will Choice “ in how and what you choose to build out of your particular “Lego Inheritance.”

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Alan went on to explain how “Vidya” is the clarity you are meant to achieve so you can see your Karma for what it is – without ego or judgment.  Both yoga and meditation are wonderful at giving you the clarity you need to help you view your “Karmic Fingerprint” without judgment -  as something which makes you unique. Both yoga and meditation help you to go from a “restless mind” to a “still mind” – to help you to clear away your limiting beliefs, your illusions, and your negative habits – all of which limit your day to day awareness.

Basically, both yoga and meditation are great blockage cleansers which allow you take a happier, calmer gaze at that Big Pile of Life Legos which you were given at birth (plus also all those random Lego pieces which keep coming at you each day – which are also part of your Karma).  With the clarity of “Vidya”  you can better see how to build something truly magnificent with your “Life Lego Loot.”

Alan then went on to explain how according to Tantra, whatever life throws your way is worthy of worship and appreciation. Every circumstance has within it the opportunity to work out your Karma.

Meaning?

WRONG Thinking: Life DOES stuff to you.

RIGHT Thinking: Life GIVES stuff to you.

Basically, things don’t happen TO you – they happen FOR you. Every little piece of your life is there for a reason – to be there as something you can use in some way-  to help you to build your beautiful One-Of-A-Kind Life!

Although you might not see it right away,  every “Life Lego Piece” given to you will come in handy at some point – even if you don’t know what the heck to do with this “Life Piece” right away. Eventually you will find something useful for this seemingly random “Life Piece.” Even those “Seemingly Wonky Life Pieces” will come in handy at some point – perhaps even to serve as a powerful foundation for something else to be built upon it!

The more clear you can get (with the help of yoga and meditation) the faster you’ll be at figuring out how to build something truly beautiful with your “Life Lego Loot.”

Your Life Mission According to Karma, Dharma and Legos:

Look at each piece of your life lovingly! Stop whining about the pieces you don’t get.  Get curious about the pieces you’ve been given.  And be patient in your search to find just-the-right pieces to complete the beautiful life you alone are meant to build – your One-of-A-Kind Creation Of A Life. Each day when you awake,  it helps if you do yoga or meditate, so you can get clear on knowing what to do with any random, surprise Lego pieces flung your way – because you will know for certainty in your heart, that you are the Master Builder Of Your Life.

Oh – and I’ll leave you with this awesome quote about Karma to contemplate:

When in the middle of a difficult situation and I can feel myself provoked and the heat of anger rising, I actually say to myself this would not be happening if I didn’t have a karmic debt. And the way I relate to this right now can erase the karmic debt or make the debt deeper. And this type of situation is going to keep manifesting itself in my life until I erase this debt and now is my opportunity. And that is my motivation for being patient in the moment and not responding with my own irritation. -Pema Chödrön

I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about karma and dharma?  Share your personal story! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! his inspirational blog- so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen

Jen and Karen in NYC October 2013.

Karen Salmansohn is an ex-Senior VP award winning ad writer/creative director (at age 27) who left her successful advertising career (having worked as a writer/creative director/image consultant for J. Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, Young + Rubicam, Averett, Free + Ginsberg, MTV, VH-1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Lifetime, E!, CNBC, NBC, Oxygen, Lee Hunt Associates, L’Oreal, Revlon, Avon, Blue Q, etc) to pursue her passion of writing.

She is now a best selling author and book packager with over 1 million books sold – known for creating a new breed of books – “self help for people who would never be caught dead reading self help.” Or: “self help books you can give as a gift — and not get slapped, because they look kinda cool.” Some titles: How to Be Happy Dammit; Prince Harming SyndromeThe Bounce Back Book; – and many more. Journalists call Salmansohn “Deepak Chopra Meets Carrie Bradshaw” because of how she merges empowering psychology/philosophy tips with edgy humor and stylish graphics.

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. She has been featured on Good Morning America, NY Magazine, Oprah.com. Her writing has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day/New Years. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: Seattle, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Miami, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

Send submissions for The Manifest-Station to melissa at jenniferpastiloff dot com.

Video

Video: What Are The Excuses You Are Using To (Not) Make Shit Happen In Your Life?

July 24, 2014


Are Your Excuses Keeping You From Making Shit Happen aka Manifesting?

“I don’t know how. I don’t have enough time. I am too old. I am too tired. I’m not good at it.” Bla bla bla. Excuses, excuses. What are some of yours? Today’s Vlog is on calling bullshit on our excuses. Post your thoughts below and as always, please share. Love, jen.

See you this weekend Seattle. Sunday is sold out but Saturday’s workshop has space. Click here to book. You do NOT have to be a yogi. Just be a human.

The writing/yoga retreat with Emily Rapp in Vermont is sold out but please email jen@thetravelyogi.com to be added to wait list.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

A Pretty Mind Blowing Little Ditty About My Manifestation Retreat.

May 20, 2014

I’m going through a rough patch right now with my broken foot and this made me feel good. Really really good. This was written by Sunny Beeker, an incredible woman who just attended my Mother’s Day Manifestation Retreat in Ojai. I won’t lie- it kind of blew me away. Thanks, Sunny! You should write a book. Not kidding. And thanks to everyone who was there. If I and to break my foot, there is nowhere I would’ve rather been than in the middle of dinner with you at my retreat. Okay, it was just before dinner. But you get my point.

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I had to write about my experience at Jennifer Pastiloff’s Manifestation Retreat in Ojai this past Mothers Day. It was an experience of possibilities, magic, and real human connection. A big dose of what we all need from time to time.

This is what she greeted me with when I walked in the door. There stood THE Jennifer Pastiloff, giving me a hug and saying “Welcome! What’s your name? I just opened this beer, do you need one?” – in her very distinctive, strong voice. It kind of threw me seeing her standing there, the woman who’s writing, adventures and spirit I have admired for so long, just offering to show me to my room. My first thought was – she’s so tiny and then I felt a bit intimidated and a bit in awe. What do I say to her?! Our social media relationship (chatting before the retreat in her FB group) seemed so easy, but now I have to be THAT person. And then she’s handing me her beer! I don’t even like beer! (Yes, Jen, I lied when I said “sure I’d love one.” I never drink beer.). But in that moment, she became a real person and I was able to relax into the experience. And the beer tasted great.

That was the start of my I-have-no-idea-what-to-expect-why-did-I-come-alone weekend at the 2014 Manifesting in Ojai Mothers Day Retreat. And what I walked into was an amazing mixture of women (and a few men) from ALL walks of life and ages, open hearts, vulnerability off the scales, flowing tears, soul baring, singing, laughter, sweating, chatting, eating, wine drinking, star gazing, major a-ha’s, and some heart stopping spontaneous moments that took your breath away. Deep connection, compassion and self expression displayed in its purest form – with total strangers.

Then she broke her foot, our beloved leader. And while she weathered the intense pain and frustration and tears, the air/tone that she set earlier in the day never changed for the rest of us. We all carried on and sent an incredible amount of love Jen’s way, all of us believing that love is a vibrational force – which we knew was all we could do for her. So that’s what we did, let her process and carry on. OK…that was just the first day, if that gives you any indication of how strong the love was flowing.

There was no disappointment, even if you were expecting this to be a “yoga retreat”, which many did (and she has a broken foot!). Even they all said in the end – it was soooo much more. Yes, we did some yoga, but it was what happened in between that was extraordinary. Jen walks the walk she talks and writes about – even on one foot. Being human is every emotion and every experience…and believe me, she did not stay quiet about how she was feeling about her foot. She let us see her process (the very real and human ups and downs) with so much trust and honesty, and in that space I think we all felt safe to share the secret parts of ourselves. It was “Mothers Day” weekend, after all, and all the emotions that brings up. It was amazing to behold. I can’t imagine trying to explain what “a retreat with Jen” is like because I suspect it is different every time. Hate to overuse the word “amazing”, but there is just no other word. Even after, back home, I found it hard to describe what it was like. Oh and did I mention the unbelievable setting in the hills of Ojai, perfect weather, and the hot chef (Culinary Therapist!)-slash-singer/songwriter, Caspar Poyck, who cooked every meal for us and then took us on a food/self exploration in his “cooking class”?!

I came because I was looking for something. Rejunvenation. An intro to yoga. To get away. To treat myself. To be by myself. I’m not exactly sure what…but, something. I remember thinking, as I was eating and laughing my ass off and having the deepest conversations ever in my life with these strangers – Is this the real me or is the real me the one I left at home? Who is this person (me) these people are getting to know, no holds bar? I’ve never felt so present and in the moment – not holding back, not second guessing, not checking out, not wondering what they would think if they only “knew”. Not judging. I felt completely safe to be myself. Jen created a space and forced us, in her way, to let it all go. It was refreshing to simply be myself, surrounded by smart, vulnerable, powerful women (and men) – who give a damn. Because she does. And I carry that with me today.

In a nut shell – it was nothing I expected, but it was everything I needed.

If you follow Jen’s blog etc. – she kinda makes this shit happen. Honest, open, vulnerable, human, kick ass kind of shit.

An experience I will never forget. Grateful – for the leadership, the company, the wine and the memories. Can’t wait to do it AGAIN!”

*****

I’m humbled by what Sunny wrote and what I experienced last weekend. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I hope i see some of you soon at a workshop or retreat. Love to you all, xo jen

Next retreat in Ojai is Labor Day and New Years. Book here. (Labor Day is almost full.)

I also have one workshop in L.A. 5 spots left June 7th. 

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Manifestation Workshops

Manifesting in London is Finally Happening!

December 23, 2013

Beloved UK tribe! It’s happened. I have finally manifested bringing my workshop to London (where my husband is from and my in-laws live.) I am over the moon!! Based on the response of my Facebook fan page this will sell out soon, and as space is limited I suggest that you book now 😉 I will be celebrating my 4th wedding anniversary while we are there.

Click here to book a spot You do NOT need to be “good” at yoga or even a “yogi”.

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Below is directly from the site of Lumi Power Yoga where I will host the workshop.

Who would I be if nobody told me who I was? What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? Questions like this and many more will be sought out and answered in this 3 hour workshop which truly connects the mind and body and soul. This unique experience combines asana, writing, and journaling exercises. All levels are welcome and encouraged. Expect to flow, twist, sweat, sing, write, dance and laugh as you let go of what is no longer serving you and manifest what you want in your life. This workshop is nothing short of a life changing immersion. Bring a friend. Bring your woes. Go beyond your comfort zone. Come see why this workshop sells out in leading studios around the world. Bring a journal, an open heart and a sense of humour.

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer and retreat leader based in Los Angeles. She has a large international following and she travels around the world leading her signature Manifestation Yoga® workshops and retreats. Jen has been featured on Oprah.com, Good Morning America, New York Magazine, The Rumpus, Origin Magazine, as well as many other TV shows and publications. She is also the creator of Karaoke Yoga. You can read her popular blog The Manifest-Station at the themanifeststation.net or join her 26 thousand strong tribe on Facebook or Twitter/instagram @jenpastiloff. She also has a weekly column on Positively Positivewith almost 2 million fans.

“Jennifer is an awesome creature. I was like four planks of wood nailed together
haphazardly before I started with her and she has somehow fashioned rubber from
wood. We’ll, I can touch my toes now anyway. As patient and delightful a teacher
and person you could hope for. She’s deaf as a post though so be prepared for some
confusing discussions whilst in down dog. If she can fix me she can fix anyone.” GARY LIGHTBODY – SNOW PATROL

Don’t miss this unique opportunity – sign up now!

Price: £45

Booking and Payment: At the studio or online (click below!)

https://www.lumipoweryoga.com/events/workshops/manifestation-yoga-workshop-with-jennifer-pastiloff/

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats

Dear 16 Year Old Me.

November 11, 2013

Below is an exercise I do at my retreats. I was so touched by Marika Delan’s letter to her younger self that I had to share here. Marika was the winner of my #5mostbeautifulthings contest & attended my Labor Day Manifestation Retreat as the prize!

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Dear 16 year old me,Let’s not sugar coat it. We aren’t going to live forever, so let’s just get right down to the important stuff.Do I have your attention now?  Because I have secrets for you that can only be learned via a DeLorean in a lightning storm.

Time isn’t waiting for you or me.

You make everything so complicated and you are wasting all these moments, all this time!
Yes, older, wiser you might seem to be a little bitchy,  but you mistake my urgency and passion for harsh reality which you clearly aren’t ready for. I guess that’s why you skirt around it as if it were an ice rink.  You could use a little tough love, in fact, you could use a whole lot of it and thank God you meet some people along the way that love you the hard way.

You don’t even love you yet, but I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. What you don’t understand is you can’t get by without it. You can’t fake this one. It seems indulgent and selfish to you. You think that if you love others it will be enough, but that is an illusion. You won’t know how to love completely until you learn how to love yourself. You’ll want to scream by the time you are my age, you will have heard this so many times, but heed my advice, the sooner you get working on this one, the better.

You are beautiful so stop wasting so much energy hating yourself.
And isn’t a physical thing, although you could stand to take the bangs down an inch or two. Then again it was the 80’s, so the obligatory tower of tease is the only way I found you in this age range as I sifted through yellowed and stuck together photos.  It isn’t your first bad hair and it won’t be your last. (p.s.- never try to color your hair red in your dorm room. Just. Don’t.)

But true beauty isn’t superficial. It goes to the depths. You already know this, you just haven’t learned to dive that deep.  You haven’t learned to internalize this message because you have a checklist of things you think you must become in order to be loved. It’s all bullshit.  You haven’t learned yet that beauty is being what you already are and owning it like one day someone secretly let you watch the time-lapse security footage of God building you. One knit, one purl. One knit. Two purl. The evidence right before your eyes of your creation, of being stitched together with deliberation and care; all in careful preparation for your future as a torch bearer. So it isn’t about your hair and makeup. Next time you look in the mirror, open your still unlined eyes.

You will have to bear witness to both the beauty and the pain one day so take it all in and tuck it away for later. You’ll be sorry that you didn’t write more down (don’t lose those teenage angst-filled journals!)  You will regret that you didn’t use words more often to capture the moments you are having right now so that we can remember them together one day when you are ready. There are a lot of lessons and gifts in those things that you think “ruined” you. Those are the things that made you, but only time will reveal these things to you, so just live while you can where you are.
Learn how to be wherever you are.

Don’t close your heart when it gets crushed—and it will.
Keep loving anyway.

You will be sad beyond words like you were when we were 10, and some days you will pray that you be left to die, but those days will pass and you will know and revel in your aliveness like you did when we were small.
Don’t lose hope while you wait for that day to come. Better yet, don’t wait for that day to come. Go find your happy and hold on to it. Don’t let anyone steal it from you.  It’s already in you, buried beneath all the fear that holds you back. Beneath that pile of dirty laundry are the things that keep you from singing out loud. That keep you hiding in the back row hoping no one will call on you even though you know the answer to the question.

Keep trying to answer the ones you don’t have the answers to, just don’t get hung up when they don’t come easily or they aren’t the ones you had hoped for. The questions will lead you back to where you began and you’ll wonder why you wasted all that time being sad.

You’ll feel life rushing through your veins again when you hear that first heartbeat on the ultrasound, when you hold your flesh and blood in your arms.When you look in their eyes and see their smiles and hear their belly laughs echoing through the halls (yes, you will have children and not end up a cat lady, so dear Diary, you got that one wrong. You got a lot wrong, but that’s ok- that’s part of the gig.)

You’ll feel it when you meet your true love and follow the signs and know without a doubt that the Universe conspired to bring you love when you opened your heart again. He will breathe life and light back into you just when you had started to believe that there’s no such thing as true love.
He will show you there is.

You’ll feel it when all you are bursts forth after having hidden it away for so long.
So don’t hide your light.

It will light the paths of others when their light has grown dim, just as others will light yours when you are sure it’s gone out.  When you finally make it out of darkness you won’t want to spend any more time there. If you keep love at the heart of everything you do, it will follow you wherever you go because time has shown me that it always comes back to us.

Stop being afraid to be who you are and that alone will not only keep you going, but it will allow others the freedom to do the same. Keep that at the core of everything you do and it will never steer you wrong.

The things you think are signs. They are. Don’t ignore them. It’s how you’ll find the love of your life. Look for them. Listen to them. They are words off the page penned by your inner voice. The one that knows why she is here and what she came to do.

Never stop seeking answers.  Your never-ending curiosity will open the next door. Your quest for understanding will lead you to the threshold of your truest essence and therein you will finally see what you could never see before.

If you want others to see it, you will have to take the risk to be yourself. If you don’t take that leap of faith into who you already are, you’ll spend your life as an impostor.  You will spend your life searching for me. You won’t know what you are searching for… but it will be me, the girl, now the woman you left behind.

You won’t be what you are meant to be until you fully embrace who you are right now (it’s what you will still be when you get to be my age, just you wait and see)

Now, go think on that one for 23 years.

And when you come across someone named Jennifer Pastiloff, a crazy wise yogi/writer/teacher/manifestation guru, follow her.  She will help you begin the next chapter in our book of transformations.  She will make you write this letter after losing touch all those years ago. She will help you find me when I thought we were lost forever.

Until we meet again.

Love,

39 year old you

The Layers

By Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.Thank you Jennifer Pastiloff for sharing Stanley Kunitz and so much more with me. Thank G-d,  I am not done with my changes….