Morning Yoga & Meditation Practices

While I must admit that I am usually a morning person, jumping out of bed with the readiness to get in some movement and get my day started, I’m not always that way. Like any other person in the world, I have my days (or weeks) where jumping out of bed just isn’t an easy task. Thankfully, I know that my morning yoga and meditation practices help keep me grounded and start my day on the right foot so I’m better able to pull myself out of bed to stay consistent.

Currently, I’ve been in one of those seasons where mornings aren’t the easiest and I am digging in deep and evaluating what’s changed and how I can get back to my morning person type of self. With that said, I was inspired to share some morning yoga and meditation practices that are the PERFECT way to get the blood flowing and start your day from a place of positivity and intention.

Morning Meditation – 10-minute meditation to start the day

10-minute Morning Yoga for Beginners ☀️ Daily Yoga Sequence to Start Your Morning

Gentle Morning Yoga Practice – 15-minute easy morning yoga practice

Morning Gratitude Practice – 30 minute Gratitude Morning Slow Flow

If you’re looking to make meditation a part of your morning routine, might I suggest downloading my 30-Day Meditation Habit Tracker? This 30-day Meditation Habit Tracker is going to help you build the habit and really feel the benefits of a regular meditation practice. Even better, I’m making this practice even easier for you by providing you with a suggested daily meditation!

How do you find connection to yourself?

Before we get to answering the question of how to find connection to yourself, I think it’s important we actually talk about what it feels like when we’re disconnected vs what it feels like to be connected. 

Disconnection can feel like your head is spinning; like you’re constantly stressed out and overwhelmed; like you don’t have control of your emotions; like you’re out of touch with your own needs (mentally, physically, and emotionally), and like you’re standing on an island all by yourself.

The opposite is feeling connected;  like you can handle the stress that life throws your way (note – this is not a lack of stress); like you can have conversations with yourself to know what you need (mentally, physically, emotionally); like you can control your reactions and emotions, and like you’re home in your own body. 

Of course, these feelings of connection and disconnection can look a little different for each of us. You may find other ways to express how it feels when you’re connected to yourself, your soul, and your needs but you should find many (if not most or all) of those sensations to be true when you’re in a place of connection and disconnection. 

Now the question becomes, how do you find connection to yourself? I’ve discovered the 5 Components of Connection which have proven to me to be key to my self-connection time and time again. 

The 5 Components of Connection and Why They Are Important

Meditation

Meditation is the practice of single-pointed focus which helps train the mind to redirect our thoughts, not simply turn off the monkey mind. A consistent meditation practice helps reduce stress and anxiety, improves memory and focus, enhances self-awareness, and so many other wonderful benefits for the mind and body.

Mindful Movement

Mindful movement allows you to connect deeper with your physical body by tuning into how it feels each day and then meeting your body where it’s at. Some days that may look like a fiery, strength training vinyasa practice, while another day it may look like a calming restorative practice and walk outside.

Self-Care

Self-care isn’t just some popular trend to help sell bath bombs and massage packages (though those things can be great). Self-care is essential. As cliche as it sounds, you can’t pour from an empty cup so you have to take time for yourself to fill it up.

Journaling

Journaling is a proven tool for reducing stress and helps you tap into hidden emotions, patterns, and belief systems. When you’re able to stay present in your journaling practice, it’s like lifting off the veil of who you are at your core.

Community

When you’re feeling disconnected from yourself, it’s so easy to fall into feelings of loneliness and isolation. Community is an important component to cheer you on, support you, and lift you up.

I have an announcement (and a major tease)! I’ve been busy working on a 28-day program to help you reconnect by making time for the most important person in your life – YOU. 

We’ll build a sustainable practice over the course of 28 days using my 5 components of connection – meditation, mindful movement, self-care, journaling, and community.

Prepare to finish the 28 days feeling more in-tune with yourself, how you’re feeling every day, and what you need, while also being less stressed and overwhelmed, and feeling more peace and calm.

This course won’t be released for a few weeks, but get on the waitlist to find out as soon as it’s available.

How to Create a Daily Meditation Habit 

I remember hearing people talk about how they meditated every day, how it always made them feel so good, but whenever I tried it, I thought I was doing it wrong. My monkey mind was going crazy, I couldn’t get my thoughts to stop, and so my practice was extremely intermittent. At a time when my anxiety was some of the worst, it had ever been my therapist suggested I try meditation. We knew yoga was a huge help, but what about some devoted time to sit in stillness. I was skeptical but also open to anything that could maybe help so I committed to the practice; I committed to a daily meditation habit. 

I’m not going to say it was always easy and I’m definitely not going to tell you that the monkey mind is going to stop just because you’re wanting to meditate or even do start meditating every day. In fact, the monkey mind is PART of the process of meditation. It’s a part of building the awareness, of noticing that your mind has wandered off, and then choosing to bring it back to your breath and to the present moment at hand. 

Did you know that it only takes meditating 8-12 minutes per day to see improved focus and concentration, reduced anxiety and stress, and so many more benefits!? 

When I started showing up on my cushion every day consistently, I started feeling it for myself. I felt my anxiety start to come back down or when my anxiety would heighten, I could get myself back to baseline easier and quicker when I had been meditating regularly. I was hooked. 

But sometimes just getting started is the hardest part and I want to make it really easy for you. I want to help you make the commitment, to show up on your cushion, to have a guided meditation right at your fingertips, and then to see the habit come together and then don’t break the chain! And I’m going to help you with this 30-Day Meditation Habit Tracker

This 30-day Meditation Habit Tracker is going to help you build your daily meditation habit so you can feel the benefits of a regular meditation practice. I’ve even included a daily suggested meditation. All you need to do is find your comfortable meditation position. 

Are you ready to start your 30-day meditation journey with me? Grab your free 30-day meditation habit tracker below. I can’t wait to hear how this helps you!

You can find more great FREEBIES here. Who doesn’t love free?


How to be be more present

Today I’m really excited because we’re going to talk about ways to be more present in our lives. 

It sounds like such a simple idea but I think when it comes to practice, it’s one that’s hard to put into play. We have so many distractions in our lives these days and while I very much believe technology is a huge factor, that’s not the only thing to blame. Our schedules are packed and making time for ourselves seems to be a lost art. I’m hoping that with this conversation (and definitely check out this episode of The Soul Connection podcast) we’ll learn to make that a bigger priority. 

So today we’re talking about 9 ways to be more present in your life.  You may find that you do some of these or none of these (but I’m guessing if you’re here and you follow me, you’re hopefully doing at least some of them), but I’m hoping you find something new you can try or add into your life on a more regular basis. Being present in our lives allows us to be more present with ourselves, in our jobs, and when we’re interacting with those we love most. 

How to be more present in your life

Meditation 

When it comes to our meditation practice, this is something that we’re constantly practicing. Meditation is the practice of coming back to our present moment. It’s not uncommon for our mind to wander off while we’re meditating but the goal is to become aware of that and then simply return to the moment at hand.

Put your phone down 

I wrote a post on my old blog about a day when I was working at a coffee shop and watched a group of teenagers sitting on couches together and every single one of them was looking down at their phones. I’ve also been in many situations where everyone at the table has their phone on the table, whether face up or down. I challenge myself to keep my phone in my purse or coat pocket and instead be in the moment of my life and the people I’m with. Sometimes this means I don’t get as many photos, but I like to think the memories are deeper because I was able to experience them not from behind a camera. 

Focus on one thing at a time 

I’ll admit that this one is particularly hard for me. I’m a chronic multi-tasker and I spent most of my life, up until a few years ago, thinking this was something to celebrate. I’m no longer sure that it is. I have a hard time just watching TV shows as I’m often also on my computer or phone. Movies are next to impossible unless I’m at a theater as I usually find myself pausing them to get up and do other things and need more breaks. But this carries over into other areas of our lives too. Food becomes more fulfilling when we’re just eating and noticing the deliciousness of what we’re eating and how it’s making us feel, instead of sitting in front of a TV while eating. I’m not saying I’m great at this, but it is another thing I’d like to work on. 

Get in nature 

It’s so easy to get grounded so quickly when in nature. I love to get out on a walk and since it’s something my dog also really enjoys, it’s something that I prioritize. Sometimes I will listen to a podcast, audiobook, or music but sometimes I just listen to the sounds of nature while I walk. I find myself immediately ground back into my body and breathe a little easier after a walk outside. You could also just sit outside in your backyard, in a park, or even put your feet on the Earth (preferably bare feet), or work in your garden. However you enjoy getting in nature, give it a try and notice how it makes you more present.

Listen to your body/mind/soul 

Learning to have conversations with yourself about how you’re feeling requires being really in-tune, aware, and present with yourself. If this feels like a foreign concept, keep practicing. It takes time, but it’s such a beautiful thing when you start to get the hang of it and it becomes easier and easier the more you do it. You can start practicing this with my Mindful Movement Class Calendar. It helps teach you to tap into how your body is feeling each day and choose your movement for the day based on how you’re feeling. 

Release distractions 

This may seem like a duplicate of putting your phone down and in some ways it is, but it also deserves its own point because it’s actually so much more than that. We have so many distractions in our everyday lives that sometimes it can be hard to focus on the thing in front of us. For example, I recently took a Yoga Breath Coaching course. It was a 12-day intensive. I couldn’t attend the sessions live because I was working my day job, but since it was not a self-paced course and I needed to ensure I had everything done at the end of the 12 days to submit my exams, final project, and graduate, I needed to stay on top of everything in a timely manner. I would work my day job and then spend my evenings reviewing what I missed earlier in the day. It was a lot of screen time and I was so easily distracted at the end of the day until I found the way that was a game-changer for my focus…I’d hop on my stationary bike and watch the sessions. I found this was such a great way to focus because I couldn’t be distracted by emails, texts, or other notifications because I was busy moving my legs on the bike so my mind was available to fully focus on the sessions. I started calling these my “Bike + Learn” sessions and they were a game-changer for me.

Movement 

Obviously, I’m a huge fan of movement which is a great way to get really present with yourself. Whether you’re choosing to walk, run, lift weights, or take a yoga class, you have to be really present with your body to ensure you don’t get injured. These practices also often become a practice of mindfulness and presence in and of themselves. For me, teaching yoga really requires me to be so present because I’m focusing on how to safely guide my students into and out of various postures and help them have the best class they can. I’ve noticed that when I get distracted in my teaching, that’s when I get my left and right confused and stumble on my words.

Journaling 

Reflecting on your day, expressing gratitude, or letting your subconscious take over in your journal practice requires you to get really present, and often, the more present you can be in and throughout your day, the easier it becomes to reflect on your gratitude or what you were feeling at different moments because you were actually in them.

Feel your feelings 

This means ALL of them – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Instead of trying to diminish the feelings we are having and trying to judge them as being “too much” or “bad” – can you sit with them and FEEL them? 

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are things that I have personally put into play in my own life and found to be really beneficial. It is my hope that something on this list resonates with you to try for yourself. But I also want to know if there are things that didn’t make my list that you have found to be helpful to be more present in your life? Come chat with me on Instagram @iamkatiearnold and let me know how you are able to be more present in your life!

ways to be more present

Tips to Start Journaling

Journaling has really become my thing. I still remember many years when I wanted to get into journaling but didn’t know where to start. It felt intimidating but at the same time, I felt silly. I didn’t want to just write in my journal as I did as a pre-teen in a very “Dear Diary” kind of way. (Though honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your vibe!)  People often ask me how to get started journaling and the tips that I share with them are the same tips I share with you today on how to start journaling. 

Start with 5-10 minutes

You don’t need to set aside a crazy amount of time to journal each day. Like I say when you’re looking to start a meditation habit, start small and we can build from there. Set a timer for 5 minutes and I think you’ll be surprised that once you start writing, time flies by quickly!

Use prompts to get you started

I know that freewriting can feel a bit intimidating. The blank page is just staring back at you and suddenly it feels like you forgot how to write and use words. I love to use journal prompts to get myself started. Those prompts can be specific to something you’re trying to work through, a simple gratitude practice, or just something random. I find that the prompts are just the catalyst to get you writing and from there you can find a flow and just go where your soul is taking you. I have my free journal prompts for when you’re stressed out that can be a great place to start. 

Get a new journal + pens you love

Can you tell that I was the student who loved the start of the school year because it meant fresh pens and new journals? Because I totally was. I still love to get some new pens and notebooks when mine run out. When you’re excited by your new journal, you’ll be excited to write in it too! I just got the Noted by Post It pens and I’m loving them! 

Don’t worry about it being perfect

When you’re journaling, the point isn’t to be grammatically correct or have perfect spelling, the point is to just let your mind go and write. Don’t worry about your handwriting being legible or anything else that may be trying to hold you back. See if you can just let yourself get into the flow and don’t get held up. I promise, your old high school English teacher won’t be reading this. 

Make a commitment to consistency

What helps me the most with a practice like journaling is to be consistent so I find it helpful to make a commitment to myself to do my journaling at the same time every day. For me, this looks like an evening gratitude practice every night. If I find myself wanting to journal on something else or something more, I don’t hold myself back from that, but I do make sure I spend a few minutes journaling on my gratitude from the day before I go to sleep. There’s a reason why these daily 5-minute journals are such a hit with people, they help you fall into a consistent habit.  

Let it be fun

Seriously! Have fun with it! If journaling doesn’t resonate with you, that’s fine, but if you can let it be fun then maybe you’ll find a new self-care practice that sticks! 

Pair it with another practice

One trick for creating new habits suggests habit stacking, which essentially means stacking the new thing you want to become a habit with something you already do consistently. For example, you brush your teeth twice a day, so maybe you stack brushing your teeth in the morning with the new habit you’re trying to add. The Soul Connection podcast is another great example. We’re stacking journaling with our meditation practice. 

I hope you find these tips to start journaling helpful and I’m excited to hear what tips help you the most to get into your own journaling practice.

Do you enjoy journaling? What are some tips that helped you start journaling? 

This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything from clicking on those links, I do receive a small commission. Thank you for the support of my business. 

How to Make a Vision Board

‘Tis the season for taking some time to reflect on the past year and start to set up your new goals for the year ahead. (Psst – if you haven’t already, grab your free journal prompts for the end of the year here.) While I’m a huge proponent of not needing the start of a new year, new month, or new week to make changes in your life, I do fully understand that looking at those things can feel like a fresh slate and an opportunity to clearly draw the line to implementing change. One of my favorite ways to make goals and dreams and put them into something I can visualize is by making a vision board and today I’m going to show you how to make a vision board of your own. 

Vision boards are just that – the opportunity to put a vision to those dreams and goals that you have set out for your life. They are the visual representation of that in which you’re trying to manifest, call in, and work towards. They often help us finally realize that what we want is within our reach and possible because we look at them every single day. 

I’ve been making vision boards for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’ve kept many of my vision boards from years past because it’s such a beautiful way for me to reflect on where I used to be and how far I’ve come. So today, I want to help guide you through the process of how to make a vision board so as you work through all of your goals for the upcoming year, you can take the next step to make them a reality. 

How to Make a Vision Board

What kind of vision board will you make?

A physical vision board – think sitting down with old magazines and cutting out the photos, words, and graphics that call to you and represent those dreams?

A digital vision board – one that can live as the background of your phone or computer screen. Instead of cutting out images from magazines, you’ll scour the internet for the same.

Maybe you make both! (This is usually what I do.)

What are your goals?

Before you get started actually making it, you have to know what the goals are that you’re hoping to make happen, right? So take the time to do that. Complete my end-of-year journal prompts, spend some time working through what you’re wanting out of your next life chapter, and put them down on paper. This isn’t just helpful for our vision boarding process, but it will help you in actually making them happen.

Find your images!

Whether you’re taking the digital or physical route, take the time to find your images. Remember that your images don’t have the be the EXACT thing you’re wanting to call in, but they’re something that represents to you, that which you’re hoping to make happen. As an example, if I’m looking to run a marathon in the year to come, I may find a photo of a runner’s finisher medal or the logo for the race I’m signed up for. This process can take a little time, so let it be fun!

Put it all together!

It’s time to take all of your images and words and goals and create your vision board. Break out the scissors and glue sticks for your physical board or hit up a program like Canva (they have a free version!) to create your vision board. I show you in the video below how to easily do it on Canva!

Make your dreams a reality!

Now’s the really fun part! Now is when we get to start manifesting all of those beautiful goals and dreams and making them our real lives. Put your vision board in a place where you can look at it every single day as a gentle reminder of what you’re working toward. 

I have a disclaimer. It’s okay if your goals and dreams change mid-year. It’s okay if you go through this vision boarding process many times a year or if you prefer to do it on your birthday or some other date that feels like a fresh start to you. This is your life, your one-and-only life and you get to set the rules for how it looks and you get to call in whatever you want to call in. Don’t let my processes and my way of doing things be the thing to make you think this is the one and only way – it’s not. Go live your best and most beautiful life. I’m cheering you on!

Benefits of Yoga and Using Yoga for Stress Relief

It’s safe to say, I am obsessed with yoga. The obsession began about 13 years ago when I was practicing in my dining room (turned music room, turned yoga studio) with PDF pose guides and audio instruction, and would fall asleep on the floor during savasana every single time. I would soon learn that one of my greatest tools was using yoga for stress relief.

There were many seasons of my yoga practice that would follow and all looked so different. There were seasons of heated vinyasa yoga, seasons of mostly restorative yoga, seasons where I made time for all styles, seasons where I practiced daily, and seasons where I forgot about my yoga mat. But the fact is that I always came back to this practice because it made me feel SO GOOD. And even better, it was also good FOR ME.

Why yoga? Why am I so obsessed with this practice? What about yoga is so good for you…let’s dive in.

Benefits of Yoga

  • Yoga improves your balance, flexibility, and strength
  • Yoga relaxes you and may help you sleep better
  • Yoga can help improve your mood
  • Yoga is great for stress management
  • Yoga is good for heart health and cardiovascular abilities
  • Yoga can help improve self-esteem
  • Yoga may improve bone health
  • Yoga can promote better body awareness and improve your posture
  • Yoga can help with burn-out

And we’re really just getting started…and we can dive deeper into those benefits on another day. 

If you haven’t quite found your yoga obsession yet, that’s okay. I invite you to check out one of the (many) yoga classes I have on YouTube to start introducing you to the practice. If you’re feeling stressed out, I would highly encourage you to check out the Yoga for Stress Relief class below or this Stress-Less Restorative Yoga class. This gentle + restorative combination yoga class will help you release the stress and tension you may be holding onto in your physical body, but especially in your shoulders and hips. 

Yoga for Stress Relief

Yoga for Creativity

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling my creativity return. I’ve felt my mindset shift to brighter places. I’ve felt more connected to myself and more present in my life. And I’ve seen the ideas flow out of my mind with ease, ready to be shaped and molded like clay on a potter’s wheel. Being creative has always been a part of me so when I’ve had periods where words just didn’t flow, ideas didn’t come, and my imagination didn’t seem to be working, it was hard. Sometimes we need that push to get things going again. Like a shot of espresso for our creative tendencies, that’s exactly what I want this yoga for creativity class to be for you. 

Yoga to Spark Creativity

This class is all about sparking your creativity. Through this class, we will do what is called a Moon Flow or Moon Salutation, and we will move from the front of our mats to the back, and then back and forth, again and again. Notice how this class allows you to start to pull your creativity out of hiding and allow it to flourish in this space on your mat. I then invite you to take that creativity off your mat and into your life. Let this class be your reminder that yoga exists far beyond the space on our mats.

And while we’re on it, another great way to spark your creativity is to take a break, to re-set, even if it’s in the middle of your day. If I’m feeling the stress of my workday and struggling to come up with new and creative ideas for my job, I know I need a break and I’ll go meditate for a few minutes or take my dog for a walk to get out in nature. The movement and quieting of incoming information is usually just what I need to come back feeling more inspired. I did this even when I worked in an office vs working from home. Instead, I’d shut my office door or go out to my car and take a short meditation break. 

Give this short yoga practice a try and notice how that time for yourself is just what you need to see the creativity return to mind.

4 Yoga Practices to Cultivate Gratitude

Tis the season to talk about gratitude and spend time each day thanking God, your Angels, the Universe, or whatever higher power you believe for the abundance that is brought into your life on a daily. Whether you take a few moments each day to just sit in that gratitude and say “thank you” or write out gratitude in your journal before bed each night, I fully believe in these practices to welcome in more positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions. As Abraham Hicks often says, “like attracts like.” That’s why today I want to share 4 yoga practices to cultivate gratitude. Whether you’re looking for a slow flow, restorative, or gentle class, a guided meditation, or some combination of them all, these are the practices to help bring more gratitude into your day. For today and every day. And right from your own home.

Restorative Yoga for Gratitude

This is your Restorative Yoga for Gratitude class. In this super gentle, restorative class, we’re going to rest, relax, and cultivate a strong sense of gratitude in our mind, body, and soul. This is a great class to turn to whenever you’re feeling low on gratitude or even when you want to grow your gratitude.

Gratitude Vinyasa Flow – Under 30-minute vinyasa yoga class

This is your Gratitude Vinyasa Yoga Flow class. We will build a sense of gratitude in your physical body and for your physical body with this 25-minute vinyasa yoga class.

Gentle Yoga for Gratitude – 25-minute gentle yoga class

This is your Gentle Yoga for Gratitude class. In this super gentle yoga class, we’ll cultivate a sense of gratitude within our entire physical body. Prepare for a mix of active stretching and supported postures.

Morning Gratitude Practice – 30 minute Gratitude Morning Slow Flow

This is your Gratitude Morning Slow Flow class. We are going to start our days from a place of gratitude and positivity that you can carry with you for the rest of your day.

Let’s welcome these feelings of gratitude on our yoga mats that we can then carry off our mats and into our lives.

Stress-Less Restorative Yoga Practice

Have you been feeling stressed out lately? Has the weight of the world, life, or even just current circumstances been weighing on your shoulders? Have you been struggling to find the time to rest and refill your own cup? Have the needs of others felt like they’re more important than your own personal needs? Oh, my friend, I’ve been there too. Many times. What do I turn to in these moments? A stress-less restorative yoga class like this. Honestly.

Even as I write this, I’m in a season of life where I’ve found myself trying to be greater support to others in my life. I want to be clear, this isn’t a bad thing but when it does become troublesome is when we allow it to be at the detriment to ourselves. When we start to put others’ needs, wants, and desires before our own. When we forget to take some moments for ourselves to rest, recover, and rejuvenate. 

This is where restorative yoga comes into play to help support your very being. Restorative yoga is proven to relax both the mind and body, calm the nervous system, improve sleep and overall well-being. Sounds like just the thing your body needs in this season, doesn’t it? Mine too.

Restorative yoga is a super gentle yoga practice that uses props to help hold the body in various poses. In a restorative yoga class, you won’t usually feel an active stretch, but the force of gravity is giving a gentle opening to the body. If practicing in a yoga studio where you may have access to a greater selection of yoga props that could look like using bolsters, blocks, straps, cushions, blankets, and eye pillows. When we’re practicing at home, I’m aware that many may not have access to a slew of options, so in this class, we’re keeping it simple. All you need is 1 blanket. I know you have that at home. This blanket doesn’t need to be a fancy “yoga blanket” so just go grab the throw blanket off the couch, roll out your mat, and I’ll meet you there. Plan to feel more calm, relaxed, and at ease after this stress-less restorative yoga class.

Stress Less Restorative Yoga

Pro-tip: After completing your yoga practice, grab your journal and spend some time journaling through these journal prompts. Journaling when you’re feeling stressed out is another great way to tap into your body and mind, and begin to work through that stressor. Trust me, don’t just push it down. That’s never helpful in the long run. 😉