Love and the magic of Impermanence

The magic of impermanence: The beauty of the day is disrupted by nightfall. The beauty of the night is disrupted by sunrise. Neither day nor night would be as beautiful as they are without the other.

At this time last year I felt depleted from lack of sleep, injuries, dealing with tantrums, and other misfortunes; I felt I gave and gave my attention and energy without taking anything back for myself, except perhaps for a limited schedule of teaching, writing & working out.

Circumstances did not change much over time; however, yoga and meditation allowed me to see what I couldn’t see before – that all I need to do to change my life was to change my perspective.

It’s exactly one year later, and though I still feel physically depleted from a lack of sleep and an injury-prone body, I am able to renew my energy emotionally.

By choosing my words more wisely and by re-writing the story from a different perspective, I can take action from an empowered, humble, and grateful way of of being.

According to The Refined Woman Kat Harris, list your circumstances, with 3 different beginnings:

  • “I have to” (reactive)
  • “I choose to” (proactive)
  • “I have the privilege to” (equanimous)

Through this powerful tool, we can find love in any circumstance. We can also figure out what’s a priority for us.

I used to get upset about the boys waking me up at night – sometimes 2 to 3 times a night. Most days I would get no more than 4 hrs of sleep, and I’d wake up a mombie zombie. This has been going on for about 4.5 years now.

Then one night, I realized that this is it. This is life. This precious time might be the last time they come to me to cuddle. I need them just as much as they need me, even in the wee hours of the morning. And whatever, my body has gotten used to the lack of sleep and the amount of coffee I drink.

  • I changed “I have to get up to put them back to sleep in their own bed” to
  • “I choose to do my duty without being cranky pants” and finally,
  • “I have the privilege of having a beautiful home furnished with more than one bed”

I used to get annoyed when they would wrap their arms around my neck and swing on it like monkeys. I had to do physical therapy just to undo the tension they created! Sometimes, the two of them, from across the room, would run to me and tackle me down to the floor, with the combined force of about 80 lbs of pure boy.

All they want is to show their love and wrestle. They want to play, have fun, and spend quality time together – precious time that will never happen again, not in the same way.

  • I changed, “I have to teach them not to knock me over” to
  • “I choose to handle this with grace and understanding” and finally,
  • “I have the privilege to show my kids just how much I love them by doing things they love to do”

I would get annoyed about the whining, crying, and tantrums of two toddlers. And I can do so, showing less frustration, less reaction than I used to. I will find ways to calm myself down or endure the demands of my little “bosses”.

  • I changed, “I have to discipline these guys” to
  • “I choose to walk away until they calm themselves” and finally,
  • “I have the privilege to teach… isn’t that the job I chose?”

After all, temporary discomfort is a small price to pay for their love. The way they run to me at pickup, with enthusiasm and joy, followed by a big hug and kiss. The way the little one crawls up to me on the bed and pins me down to give me a big kiss good night, “I love you, mommy.” The way the big one asks me to hold his hand and “never let go until the sun comes up”.

The sweet, innocent, unconditional love is real. And these moments will pass, too.

In a few years, they will be teenagers and likely won’t want to talk to me nor cuddle. They will probably rebel against me or ignore me at best. They will likely not want to hold hands nor give kisses; they will probably want me to stay out of sight for fear of embarrassment. I have no idea what I will do then, but I will probably have to practice equanimity to deal with puberty – a very tamasic (dark, ignorant, and lazy) phase of life. I will cross that bridge when it comes. And I will have to trust that their love for me is there, even when they don’t show it as much – just as my parents did for me and just as my grandparents did for them.

“How beautiful is it to live in a world where nothing lasts forever. We must learn to fall in love with the love inside us, only then every moment living will be worth dying for.” – R.M. Drake

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out all the ladies in this wonderful group—#therefinedcollective

Kat, The Refined Woman //
Brynn Watkins //
Yvette Jain //
Lauren Scruggs //
Jackie Viramontez //

3 Genius Ways Busy Parents Can Work Meditation Into Their Daily Routine

Meditation is about creating a pause, a break in the chaos of our day, to help us refocus our mind and keep calm in the midst of everyday busyness.

As a mom of two boys (2 and 4 years old), I find it’s no easy feat to schedule time on the calendar to sit down and meditate for 20 minutes each day like I used to do. Tasks pop up unexpectedly and eat any perceived downtime. I feel like I have to multitask my meditation practice just so I can fit it into the day. Furthermore, it seems like a luxury to take time for myself, be still, and do “nothing.”

Sound familiar, parents? I’ve found three simple ways to integrate meditation into my day.

  1. While pushing the stroller.

Getting two kids into a double stroller can be stressful at times (hello, tantrums!), so while I push them in their stroller on their way to drop off at school, I listen to a guided meditation with the earphones in ONE ear. (The other ear is free to listen to cars, construction and other sounds I should be aware of). It’s a great way to get centered in the morning.

2. During nap time.

When my little one naps, I take 2 to 3 minutes to practice trataka, a practice of concentration and focus using the eyes. I’ll find an object of focus—a flower if I’m outside or a candle flame if I’m indoors. First, I see the object in relation to the space around it. Then I see it as a whole, by itself. After that, I focus on each detail of the object, one-by-one. Then I see it again as a whole and finally, in relation to the space around it.

3. When putting my kids to bed.

I have a hard time putting my kids to bed. Does anyone else feel me? They are very sweet, and all they want to do is cuddle, but they won’t go to sleep without me pinned down in between them on the floor. It takes them about 20 minutes to fall asleep, so I use that time to practice yoga nidra—lying completely still and playing dead until they fall asleep. (Perhaps some of you already practice corpse pose without knowing it!)

Yoga is about embracing duality, right? So if you have trouble making time to meditate, try these quick, easy and creative ways to multitask—er, integrate—yoga into your life.

I’m absolutely Honored and Humbled to write for Red Tricycle!!! This post can also be found on their website! Check out Red Tricycle for various topics including parenting, things to do for children, and events.

(Red Tricycle added the “Genius” part of the title – thank you! Namaste.)

How We Saved the Day for my Son’s Superhero Birthday Party

My older son, Arjun’s third birthday was coming up, and I knew he wanted to invite all of his friends to the party. There was one little problem—sometimes my little man gets shy in large crowds.

I wanted Arjun to feel loved and supported by his peers who, like him, were obsessed with superheroes. I decided they could all collectively save the day, and make Arjun feel special on his birthday while have a lot of fun doing so!

After all, who wouldn’t feel super cool flying down a zip line dressed in his favorite superhero cape?! So, how does one create a community of superheroes?

    I happen to like online invites like Paperless Post: green, quick and easy to use. They have templates you can use or you can create your own.
    Call parents and caregivers and ask which are their kids’ favorite superheroes.
    I ended up making 30 capes, personalized with each child’s name and favorite superhero logo or image. (Yes, this takes time and effort.) I promise, the look on each kid’s face (as well as their parents’) when they see their capes is well worth it!
    Take lots pictures of your caped-crusading kiddos.
    Make thank you e-cards using photos from party. Again, doing so online is green, quick and easy.

(I’m honored that this blog was also posted in on Red Tricycle!)

All photos on this blog post credit: Yvette Jain

Navigating the Family

The holidays tend to bring all sorts of emotions to the surface. Whether we consider family as the group of people we were born into, that we married into, that we were hired into, or one we created ourselves (friends), navigating the family and relationships, in general, takes some skill.

Some of us have small families with maybe just one person to relate, while some of us have large families with lots of personalities. We are close with some members, not so close with others.

Still, for all of us, we are at the center of our family. What everyone has in common is us. When conflict arises, it’s important to understand ourselves, manage our actions, rise above your own tendencies, and find equanimity with everything else that’s beyond our control. That’s not so easy, right?!

It allows us to have mindful responses, not emotional reactions, to any circumstance. It helps us to respond to everything and everyone in a neutral way and to stay open to all experiences. It’s an important skill to practice because in any given moment, “the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy”, as my teacher Yogi Charu would say.

Equanimity in Relationships: How do you deal with people?

“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” (Yoga Sutras 1.33)

It would be one dimensional to say that a person falls into one single category. I think the reality is that we all fluctuate among each of these states all the time — some of us just like to hang out in one state longer than another.

Patanjali reminds us that there is a Yogic way of approaching all people, no matter what behaviors and attitudes they may be exhibiting at the moment.

More loosely translated, your mind will be calmer if you show:

  • Friendliness towards the Happy
  • Compassion or Support for the Unhappy
  • Delight or Goodwill for the Virtuous
  • Disregard, Neutrality, Tolerance, or Acceptance for the Non-Virtuous (aka the Difficult ones)

In other words, to cultivate equanimity, we strive to respond with right action when encountering any “type” of attitude or behavior. The universe sends souls our way to help us overcome our issues (to test us) and at the same time sends us tools (meditation, yoga) to overcome them (through insight and self reflection).

Patanjali’s advice:

With a happy person, be friendly. Be able to share in another person’s happiness or good fortune, instead of being jealous or trying to destroy their joy through negative words or actions. Jealousy doesn’t hurt the happy person, rather it robs you of your own peace of mind.

With someone unhappy or upset, offer assistance. If she needs space, then leave her alone after letting her know you will be there for her when she is ready. Instead of taking pleasure in seeing someone else suffer, remember how it felt when it happened to you. By doing that, you will retain the peace of your own mind. “Through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you.”— The Dalai Lama

With a virtuous person, offer goodwill. Appreciate and be open to inspiration by knowing such greatness is possible.

With difficult people, develop neutrality. Not everyone will be aligned to our values, some people may oppose them. At some point in our lives perhaps we said or did something hurtful to someone else. The best way to keep the mind calm is to be indifferent to that person. Acting in a way that is neutral does not mean approving of bad behavior. It means tapping into your own inner strength, patience, and forgiveness.

“Those who have achieved mental discipline regard everything – stones and gold, friends and foes – equally. They are not motivated by personal ambition and keep to themselves in a peaceful frame of mind.” (Bhagavad Gita 6.8-10) This is not always easy, so meditation is one tool that can help us to cultivate equanimity.

If you need immediate calm, try a mantra or repetition of a word or phrase. You become what you believe, and what you tell yourself, so you will do. So the next time you find yourself being irritated, simply close your eyes, and repeat:

(Inhale) LET

(Exhale) GO

Repeat 10, 20, 100 times until you are at peace.

And if, after many hours of eating, drinking, and chatting with your family, you can’t remember the 4 actions, simply return to this thought:


Each person we encounter, including those in our families, is a teacher incognito, and every circumstance is an opportunity for growth.

Why not use that chance to ask – What can I do to make this holiday special for my family and for myself? The answer just might navigate you towards true north – a higher learning and a higher purpose.

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out all the ladies in this wonderful group—#therefinedcollective

Kat, The Refined Woman //
Brynn Watkins //
Yvette Jain //
Corie Clark //

Layers of Emotion: Courage & Vulnerability

Layers. Like an onion, we are made up of so many layers: the physical, the energetic, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual.

The outer layer is our personality – what we share to the world. And while there are many layers that add up to the sum of our being, two stand out in the emotional space for me right now – courage and vulnerability.

Courage is following my heart and intuition despite what the rational mind suggests. It is believing in the over all good, despite being hurt from the temporary bad, and believing that even if things are not ideal now, that things will improve with time. It is connecting to my heart and spirit with or without the support of others.

But before finding courage, one must dig deep within, face vulnerability.

Vulnerability is to accept, acknowledge, and learn to deal with the ugly truth. For me, it is to be human and have human reactions to things I can’t control. To keep still and be quiet when the other is enraged (that’s a new one for me!). To be OK with not knowing what to do. And to let go of what I must.

Sometimes the only thing I can do is look for a balance between being tough and tender, firm and loving. To present structure with empathy, grounding and ease. In parenting, marriage, and all relationships.

To understand vulnerability is to understand courage and vice versa. To understand all the layers that make us who we are is to understand ourselves.

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out all the ladies in this wonderful group—#therefinedcollective

Kat, The Refined Woman //
Julien Garman //
Jackie Viramontez //
Brynn Watkins //
Yvette Jain //

Fear Not

School: Lesson –> Test

Life: Test –> Lesson

Fear Not: Smoke. Misfortune. Destruction. Difficult circumstances – if we can bear them, if we can learn from them – can make us excellent in all that we do.

We cannot find fortune without enduring misfortune. We reap the benefits of our own hard work.

Your face your fear. You don’t run away. You don’t wish them away. You don’t give it to somebody else to deal with. You get to the bottom of it. You do the difficult things. And only then will you learn just how indestructible your spirit is.

Life is a test. If you face fear and you deal with it, you will pass. If you don’t, you will forever live in fear.

Carbon under a lot of pressure and heat becomes a diamond. In fertile soil, a seed is planted and needs sunlight and water to grow. We, too, under pressure, need information and nourishment in order to thrive.

So let’s face the negative parts of our personality, face the difficult circumstances of our lives, and face all our fears with courage, grace, and integrity. Fortune and peace of mind will surely follow.

What are you made of?

Challenges, Commitment and Warrior 3

Sometimes, the most difficult challenges can bring purpose and meaning in our lives.

Parenting, for example: The lack of sleep. The endless chores. Did I mention tantrums? And sometimes the lack of support. (Hats off to you single moms with multiples! I don’t know how you do.)

When faced with a challenge, the willingness to be patient, committed and persevere shows the greatness in us.

One of the hardest things to do is be present with equanimity. It’s so easy to give up and we are always ready to do so. It’s so hard to stick with it when we know we are walking into more poop.

Can we say to ourselves: “As long as I have life in me, I’m showing up because it gives me meaning and purpose. I’m committed to hit the goal.”? … Then aim well warrior, keep calm, and let the arrow fly!

Create True and Lasting Happiness Through Devotional Journaling and Meditation

Wouldn’t it be great to create true and lasting happiness? It’s possible. And you can even hold it in the palms of your hands. All you need is to be present. How?

At the end of every day, think back of the best moment of your day. Make a mental note. Better yet, jot it down in a journal. Then thank the universe for that moment. If you do this every day with love and devotion, you can create true and lasting happiness for yourself.

You are not seeking happiness but rather reliving the feeling you’ve already experienced. You were fully present in a particular moment and fully enjoyed it. And while you can’t relive that moment (it’s gone), you can (trick your brain and) relive the feeling of that moment and share your happiness with others around you.

So when you have a bad day, week, year.. and you feel you are down down in the darkest moments, you can save yourself with your own hands – just by opening a journal filled with happy moments you’ve documented.

I started this practice 5 years ago, when I was pregnant with my older son, Arjun. My intention was to create a “daily yoga practice” off the mat, so I could fully commit to it no matter how much my body would change. Journaling my happy thoughts of the day was the best thing I could think of – a devotional practice for myself and a treasure for my kids, who can enjoy reading them when they grow up.

Of course I documented all the milestones, typical of first-time moms, and I also recorded spontaneous, fun, everyday moments and how I felt about them with as many of the little details as I could remember with my pregnant / post partum / mommy brain. Five years of memories including:

  • My surprise when I saw their heart beat on the sonogram
  • The sweet scent of my boys as newborns
  • The joy I felt when they first said “mama”
  • Yoga practice with “assists” in my living room
  • Their hugs and kisses at bedtime

Once a year, I write “my special Christmas wish” card to each of them for them to read when they can do so, and one day so they can share in my happiness, too.

I’ll admit I feared that I would forget these experiences after some time passes, especially when life is not as joyful. And you know what? I was right! As much as I love my boys, I find motherhood, parenting to be SO hard, harder than any one-handed handstand scorpion. This practice also served as therapy. Post partum hormones, a debilitated body, very little sleep sustained for months at a time, and dealing with daily tantrums is enough to make anyone go crazy. These little bits of joy can save someone from falling into depression.

Ready to try it? I encourage you to try every day (or as often as you can) to really reap the benefits. Write about whatever makes you happy – any topic or mashup of topics.

Here we go:

  1. Every night, just before bed, pick up a pen and journal the happiest (or at least calmest) part of your day and how it made you feel. I prefer either blank or simply lined notebooks, nothing too fancy.
  2. Thank the universe for life, meditate on your happy moment, and take in the feeling of happiness as you lie in bed, right before you go to sleep.

Did you know…

When we go to sleep, the window between our conscious mind and our subconscious mind is open? It is in the subconscious mind where we can connect to the universe. What the conscious mind dwells on seeps into the subconscious mind and is reflected into the universe. This, in turn, boomerangs into our lives. This window opens about 5 minutes just before we fall asleep.

What we feed into our subconscious seeps into our daily lives.

Why not feed it happy feelings? This practice, one day at a time, can create true and lasting happiness.

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out all the ladies in this wonderful group—#therefinedcollective

Kat, The Refined Woman
Brynn Watkins
Yvette Jain
Sarah Shreves

Creating Family Traditions: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

One of the challenges about not being religious and marrying into a different culture is that you lose some of the traditions you grow up with. That’s why it’s important to build your own, no matter what background you come from.

Every Christmas, my parents, sister, aunts and uncles and their kids would get together and celebrate the holiday with meals together. A designated family member would make their “specialty” dish. My aunt makes a great macaroni salad and my dad can make pretty much anything.

Now, having a family of my own, I want to continue that family tradition in a way that is meaningful and delicious by bringing something different to the table.

I first tasted lemon ricotta pancakes when my husband and I had our baby moon in Hawaii. This recipe is my recreation of that. So far, so good; kids and adults alike seem to be satisfied. The pancakes have been such a popular request that it has become our Saturday morning ritual!

The best part of this ritual is that my children and I make it together. Arjun loves to name all of the ingredients and guide us through the recipe. Aarav love to crack, beat, and pour the eggs into the bowl. Each take turns stirring the batter until it is smooth. My husband loves to eat it. 🙂

Taking on a ritual, a consistent practice of spending quality time together doing something you and your family enjoy, creates a lifetime of memories for all. I’m curious to know – what are some of your family traditions?

Try the recipe for yourself and let me know what you think!



6 egg yolks
8 tbsp butter, melted
2 cups (16oz) ricotta cheese
2 lemons, juice and zested
1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups flour
6 egg whites, whipped to a soft peak


Mix all ingredients well, fold in the whipped egg whites
Rest in refrigerator for 1 hour before cooking
Cook in non-stick skillet over medium high heat

Self Care Staycation to Japan in Only a Subway Ride Away

For us moms, a vacation is very necessary, but many of us don’t have the time, money, nor childcare resources to physically get away. So why not use our imagination and immerse ourselves in a staycation using a little creativity? It won’t cost much to mentally get away while tending to our daily responsibilities.

Recently, I have had this obsession to visit Japan. I long to visit the temples of Kyoto, eat sushi, and see cherry blossoms. Here’s how I created my staycation:

  1. Drink Japanese Sencha tea while looking at hashtag #Japan on
  2. Instagram
  3. Make origami with my kids
  4. Eat sushi at a local restaurant
  5. Immerse myself in a travel guide to Japan
  6. Took the subway to the Japanese Pond and Hill Garden in Brooklyn (sans kids)

At the garden, I took a leisurely walk, stared at every detail of the cherry blossom trees, found a quiet and comfortable place to sit still, and meditate. I sat peacefully, watching the sunlight flicker off the water in the pond and tickle the leaves on the trees. I felt the soft gentle breeze brush my hair. I was truly grateful for the chance to connect with nature and enjoy that perfect moment.

As moms, we often sacrifice our own sense of self and happiness to be available for others. Yet we need to take care of ourselves because we cannot give what we do not have. We need to nurture ourselves and cultivate peace within so that we can give that to our families.

It doesn’t cost much or take too much time to fulfill your needs if you use your creativity and imagination. And if you happen to live in New York City, “Japan” is only a cup of tea and subway ride away.

If you happen to live in NYC, here are some ideas for your next Japanese Staycation! One of the benefits about living in NYC is that the resources you need to create an amazing “getaway” is right in your neighborhood!


  1. Check out kabuki dance, samurai martial arts, taiko drumming, and of course, cherry blossoms at peak bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri – this weekend!!

Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – 150 Eastern Parkway & 900 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

Admission: $30 adults/$25 seniors and students/Free children under 12 and BBG members

2. Witness a “secret” Japanese Traditional Tea Ceremony

Globus Washitsu

889 Broadway, NYC 10003

between 19th & 20th Street (ring Bell PHC)

by appointment only

3. Listen to a lecture by George Takei at BAM

Actor and social justice activist George Takei brings his uncanny eloquence and signature wit to BAM. Takei shares the story of his family’s forced internment during World War IIas well as his rise to celebrity as a sci-fi icon, his journey as social media mega power, and his passionate fight for LGBTQ rights and marriage equality in America – empowering others to beat the odds and make a difference.

Monday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House – 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn

Admission: $35 – $75

4. Try Omakase ( a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef) at Sushi of Gari 46. You won’t be disappointed.

347 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036 (Bet. 8th & 9th Ave.)


Monday to Friday from 12pm to 2:15pm


Monday to Sunday from 5:00pm to 10:45pm

Tel: 212-957-0046

5. Can you say SPAAAAHHH?! Rest and Rejuvenate at the Mandarin Oriental (ok, it’s not exclusively Japanese, but the treatments are pretty awesome!) The Thai Yoga Journey is a favorite among my friends! (Perhaps an early Mother’s Day treat for yourself?!)

“Enveloped in a haven of serenity, you quickly forget that you are in the heart of a bustling city. The Spa’s tranquil, meditative setting allows you to embark on a personalized journey toward relaxation.

The Thai Yoga Journey, a retreat in the custom-designed Thai Yoga Suite, begins with a luxurious foot ritual using authentic Thai herbal poultices. Following the foot ritual, your therapist will perform our distinctive Thai Yoga Massage, which uses stretching and compression massage techniques in a series of assisted yoga postures to encourage a free ow of energy and a more balanced meditative state. The experience continues with an herbal bath in our deep Japanese-style soaking tub, giving the body time to integrate the full effects of the massage. Your therapist will perform a cool down session with a cold compress for the forehead, scalp and face. A cool foot massage will bring the experience full circle. Enjoy a refreshing Lemongrass Cooler at the conclusion of this dynamic physical experience.”

Tel: 212-805-8880


Spa Hours: 10am – 9pm (Daily)

Enjoy your staycation!!!!