Rest In Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh

“Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.”

Rest In Peace Thich Nhat Hanh
October 11, 1926 – January 22, 2022

Thay, Rest in Peace, gentle soul and beloved teacher. 🙏🏽 Thich Nhat Hanh was my first Buddhist teacher. This picture of “Peace is Every Step” is the actual book I bought in the late 70’s when I first began studying Buddhism. I’ve been practicing his meditations for over 40 years.

I’m grateful I was able to meditate listening to his “Mindful Breathing” track on Insight Timer today. His voice is such a sweet vibration in my ears and heart. I’m grateful for his peaceful, gentle impact he’s had in my life. 🙏🏽📿

#repost • @thichnhathanh

The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism announces that our beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has passed away peacefully at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at 00:00hrs on 22nd January, 2022, at the age of 95. We invite our global spiritual family to take a few moments to be still, to come back to our mindful breathing, as we together hold Thay in our hearts in peace and loving gratitude for all he has offered the world.

More official news will be coming shortly.

Reflecting on Freedom – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

My perspective on what freedom means to me today, comes from the lens of a first generation Asian American woman, born in 1964 to immigrants from the Philippines. Beyond my history lesson about civil rights, voting rights, and being inspired by Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, I thought about how I have personally been impacted by the actions, words, and sacrifices Martin Luther King, Jr. made, and am reminded that the actions each of us make can create a ripple effect beyond our imaginations.

Our words and actions matter.

MLK, Jr. paved the way for ethnically diverse peoples to be seen, noticed, and to take our place in the front seats of American life. To avoid being redundant about so many other commentaries about experiences of prejudice and racism, I reflected on my most recent reaction to Asian Americans on the big screen.

I was struck by a sense of relatability and belonging watching two recent movies: Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings and Spiderman – No Way Home. Simu Liu, played Shang-Chi, the first Asian superhero in a Marvel movie along with his badass supporting actresses Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, and Michelle Yeoh (she’s been one of my idols since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.) To see Simu Liu play the superhero in a blockbuster struck me as momentous and made my heart swell up with pride thinking about how many other Asians might also feel inspired by the possibility of “making it big” and how seeing someone who looks like “my people” effects a sense of confidence and pride.

I wondered why it felt so significant and I realized it was because my personal experience of prejudice as a child created a background tape of thinking I was “less than”, inferior, not good enough. Acknowledging that made me feel sad and it reminded me that it matters how a group of people are routinely portrayed in movies or books or plays.

Then, I watched the latest Spiderman, with filipino Jacob Batalon playing Spiderman’s best friend, Ned Leeds, and, I found myself perk up with attention when I heard tagalog being spoken by Ned’s lola (which means grandma in tagalog, the main dialect spoken in the Philippines.) When was the last time I watched a blockbuster American movie and one of the main characters was filipino or spoke tagalog? I never have. It was a first, and it felt significant. It was like I thought “Ned and his lola look like my family and they’re speaking the language of my people…how cool is that!”

What does any of this have to do with freedom?

When someone has experienced oppression or prejudice, it can make you feel embarrassed about who you are, about the color of your skin, about the slant of your eyes, about the type of food you eat, about how you speak; it can rob you of the freedom to love and accept your unique physical existence and the culture you were born into.

Seeing someone that looks like you, larger than life and portrayed in a positive light can make you feel good about yourself, where you came from, and what you look like. It can disrupt the negative self-talk. It can offer a sense of hope that progress is being made, there there is a place for people of all colors on the big stage. It’s significant because historically Asians have not been given the lead roles in American movies, and that can make a difference in the how minorities perceive themselves.

The double-whammy of being a minority and a woman.

I recall my excitement when Lucy Liu was one of Charlie’s Angels, and when Disney created Mulan. Why was I excited? Because it was something fresh, something new, something that gave me validation that Asian women deserve a place at the table, to be seen bigger than life. As a generalization, it can be hard for Asian women to break out of the oppression of their own culture, where many of us were raised to be seen, but, not heard. I can just hear the backlash right now as I write these words. It’s uncomfortable for me to write this, because I was raised not to “air our dirty laundry.” And, yet over the years I’ve developed my truth-telling muscle, to choose what feels right versus hiding out of fear.

The path to freedom can feel awkward, and if it feels like the right thing to do, sit with the discomfort and do the thing anyway.

It’s a double-whammy when you experience racism by others as well as being oppressed by your own family or your own culture. This is the ugly truth which can be hard to admit.

The first way out of feeling trapped, is to see and confront what is holding you back.

This is where mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have made a difference in my life. I am not confined by what has happened to me or what is expected of me.

Cultivate awareness. Pay attention to the signals in your body telling you when you feel constrained. Make choices which make you feel at ease and free when you breathe. Develop your inner wisdom and intuition. Trust yourself.

Create time and space to journal and sit with these questions:

  • Who am I, separate from what others expect me to be?
  • Who am I, separate from what others say about me?
  • How do I feel in my body and mind when I imaging myself free and happy?
  • How will I encourage others to experience freedom in their lives?

Get still to gain clarity, to listen, to pay attention. See where you are in this present moment, know where you want to go, take action steps to get from here to there.

Lastly, to share what I’ve learned from my own path towards freedom:

1) the journey might zig and zag, go forwards or backwards, and that’s okay. pay attention. recalibrate as needed. keep sight of your intentions. stay the course.

2) relax instead of fighting for your freedom; the “others” are not creating your suffering, your resistance creates the struggle.

Easier said than done. When emotions like anger or pent-up frustration accompany feeling oppressed, it can be easy to explode when trying to break free from undesirable, stifling circumstances. I know, firsthand. And, it just doesn’t end well to react from a place of hatred, violence, or harmful behavior you would regret. And, if you do lose it, forgive yourself for being human, and commit to doing better next time.

“When you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

Have you seen a Chinese finger puzzle? It’s a toy where you insert your index fingers and the more you pull and resist, the tighter the grip, and the harder it becomes to escape.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched and protested peacefully. If you react with anger, resentment, and hatred, does that align with who you want to be, and how you see yourself when you feel free and happy?

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, reflect on what freedom means to you? And, pay it forward. Be of service and contribute to the pursuit of freedom and happiness for all.

Note: If you are physically being hurt, abused, trapped, defend and protect yourself. Do your best to free yourself from the situation. Take self-defense classes. Make yourself strong. Knee them in the balls. Stomp them on the top of their feet. Ask for help. For domestic violence: https://www.thehotline.org/

Friday 12/31 8-930am PST VIRTUAL Intention Setting Workshop

“The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.” – Gary Zukav

Join me for a popup Intention Setting Workshop this FRIDAY December 31st 8-930am PST via ZOOM.

Click here to register for this online class via zoom.

Grab your journal, pen and yoga mat as I lead you through vinyasa yoga, journal prompts, and meditation to set intentions to lead your life with purpose and mindfulness. Format is roughly 45 minutes vinyasa yoga, and 45 minutes intention setting exercise and meditation.

This is a free offering.  Donations are welcome.  Options to donate here.  

I look forward to this workshop with you!  

May you be well.  May you be happy. May you be safe and healthy.  Wishing you the best, always!

Smiles and Blessings,
Amelia (aka Yogamama Meels)

Winter Solstice Meditation Script

During this shortest day of the year, and December full moon, enjoy this guided meditation to embrace the experience of darkness, to step away from external distractions, connect within, and release what no longer serves you. Release, empty out, and create space for freedom from suffering. Below is a short version of my Winter Solstice Guided Meditation Script.

Click here to listen to this meditation on my podcast.

Feel free to use this script to offer your own meditation. Please give credit as Meditation Script by Amelia Andaleon, http://spirituallyfityoga.com. Thank you!


Winter Solstice Guided Meditation Script (short version)

Welcome to this Winter Solstice Meditation to release what no longer serves you.

Make yourself comfortable. Take a seat or lay down. Make the room as dark and quiet as possible. As an option, light one candle. If you are seated, make sure the soles of your feet touch the ground. If you are laying down, consider placing a cushion behind your knees to release any tension in your lower back. Being intentional in creating this time and space with purpose and loving-kindness is an important step in signaling to your body and brain that you are ready to meditate and receive the benefits of this practice of self-care.

Take five, slow deep breaths and observe how you are experiencing each inhale and exhale.

[allow space for silence]

Open your eyes and notice the darkness and light in your room. Notice the contrast between bright and dim. Observe without criticism or judgment. Breathe.

[allow space for silence]

If it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes and notice the bright and dim spots with your eyes closed. Observe with curiosity, no criticism, no judgment. Breathe.

[allow space for silence]

Welcome the darkness of this winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Observe your thoughts about this time of year, noticing as a way to check-in with yourself. No criticism, no judgment. Breathe.

[allow space for silence]

Shift your focus within, to notice what sensations and thoughts are present in this moment. Shift away from bright, shiny objects, away from external distractions or influences. Move towards the darkness to allow time to see yourself, notice yourself, and allow this opportunity to listen to the whispers and messages arising in this space. Breathe.

[allow space for silence]

Ask yourself “What do you want me to pay attention to right now?” Listen. Breathe.

[allow space for silence]

Take five slow deep breaths. Scan the body. Do you notice any tension in the body? If you notice any tension, send your attention and breath to that body part and tell yourself “It’s okay to relax. I give you permission to let go.” Take your time. Relax the whole body.

[allow space for silence]

Observe and notice, how do you feel? What is present in this moment? Ask yourself “Is there a pattern or habit or cause of suffering I am ready to let go of right now?” Listen. Breathe.

[allow space for silence]

Create your affirmations:

“I let go of _________________.”

Repeat this out loud 3 times, whisper it 3 times, repeat it silently 3 times.

Breathe deep. Observe and notice this experience of letting go.

[allow space for silence]

Repeat this three times out loud or silently:

“I release what no longer serves me, I release it into the darkness of this winter solstice. I create space for ease and welcome freedom from suffering.”

Continue in silent meditation for as long or as short as you wish. Receive this time to be with your experience, as it is, allowing whatever feelings or thoughts to arise, and integrate freedom and ease into your body, mind, and life.

[allow space for silence]

Place your hands on your heart and take five slow, deep breaths and press love, warmth and compassion into your whole being. Acknowledge and thank yourself for this time and space to release what no longer serves you. Namaste.

[end with bells or silence]


Winter Wellness Workshop at Just Be Yoga – Danville, CA

❄️ Join me Sunday December 12th 4-6pm for my Winter Wellness Workshop at the beautiful Just Be Yoga studio in Danville, CA. 

Relax in candlelit ambience with yin yoga, guided meditation, yoga nidra, reiki, and sound healing. Receive a custom essential oil blend created by yours truly, and, savor unctious chocolate. Pamper yourself with this two hours of self care for your soul. Bring a friend. Only a few spots left!

Book at myjustbeyoga.com/events. Just a few spots left!

About Amelia Andaleon

For those of you that don’t know me, I am a Certified Yin Yoga teacher through Bernie Clark, Certified Master of Wisdom and Meditation through davidji , Certified Reiki 1 and 2 Healer, and an Essential Oils Educator. I love to share the various tools, techniques and healing modalities I personally have benefitted from, and share them in my special workshops, events and retreats.

I look forward to sharing this special, relaxing healing session with you! 🙏🏽💓

Namaste,
Amelia

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

November and December tend to be busy times in my life, not just because of the holidays but, also because my family is full of Sagittarius birthdays, including mine. 🙂 When life feels hectic and cluttered, I pause and gather up my tools to destress and focus: breathe, meditation, yoga, nature walks, and filling my mind with thoughts and teachings which promote calm and clarity. My wise friend on my nightstand, “The Four Agreements”, reminds me how to rewire my brain to clear the clutter and create space for joy and ease.

“In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.”

Introduction from “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

I recently completed a series of episodes on my Spiritually Fit Yoga podcast reflecting on The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, including a meditation with affirmations to facilitate creating the habit to incorporate these agreements as a code of conduct.

I highly recommend reading the entire book and listen to each of my podcast episodes. Notice what shifts occur when you bring these four agreements into the forefront of your thinking. Repeat these meditations often. I’m curious how these agreements impact your life! Drop a comment below.

Spiritually Fit Yoga podcast episodes on The Four Agreements


Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holiday Salad: Wilted Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Seeds Recipe (From Rebar – Victoria, B.C.)

During the holidays I attempt to include dishes which are both indulgent and healthy. I first savored this Wilted Spinach Salad at one of my favorite restaurants, Rebar, in downtown Victoria, British Columbia. And, I was delighted to find the recipe in the Rebar cookbook.

From an ayurvedic point of view, during fall and winter seasons, raw salads are not recommended as they are harder to digest during these cooler seasons. This wilted salad slightly warms the spinach with the deliciously warm balsamic dressing.

I found the following recipe here at this website. My only embellishment is adding pomegranate seeds for a pop for holiday color and burst of tangy juiciness! Enjoy!

From: https://undertheteacozy.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/wilted-spinach-salad/

Wilted Spinach Salad
with olives, feta, and garlic-balsamic vinaigrette

From Rebar

Ingredients:
Vinaigrette-
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tsp honey
1 1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp cracked pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or grapeseed oil)

Salad-
1 lb spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and julienned
1 red onion, finely julienned
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 pine nuts, TOASTED (yes it makes a difference! watch so you don’t burn them)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

OPTIONAL: sprinkle with pomegranate seeds

Prepare and enjoy!
Thoroughly combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking all the while. Correct seasoning to taste. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Combine spinach, olives, peppers and onions in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, heat dressing over medium heat in a small pot. When it begins to simmer, remove from the heat and drizzle over the salad while tossing with a pair of tongs. Gently mix in the fresh mint and garnish with pine nuts and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

November Full Moon Release Ritual – Mantra and Affirmations

Photo Credit: Rami Ammoun, Instagram @rami_astro

Join me for a free Yoga and Meditation class on Insight Timer on Saturday November 20, 2021 8-9am PST/11am-12pm EST. Click here to join.

The latest partial lunar eclipse came around like a celebrity or ancient sage, because the last time it occurred was 500 years ago.  Click here to learn more: what is a partial lunar eclipse?

Do you place more importance on infrequent events than valuing everyday routines?  It’s a little humorous thinking about me getting excited about another load of laundry (YAAY!) or schlepping my daughter to one more school function, and, yet, I can imagine in the future I might reflect on wishing I appreciated all of these ordinary moments like precious jewels of memories.

Consider noticing the charmed moments in your every day life. 

Every full moon is an opportunity to release what no longer serves you.


Full Moon Ritual

  • Meditate on what no longer serves you.
  • Write it down on a piece of paper.
  • Burn it, shred it, flush it – mindfully dispose of the paper, the words, the energy of what you are releasing, until the paper has burned to ashes or has completely transformed into unrecognizable pieces.
  • Repeat the mantra below and/or repeat one or all of the following affirmations. Repeat them aloud. Repeat until you feel a lightness, and, really really let go of attachment to holding on to what no longer serves you.
  • Take some time to receive and allow the fullness of the moon to amplify your release.
  • Journal if you’re moved to write and reflect.

Full Moon Release Mantra

Agnimeele Purohitam.

sounds like Og-knee Me-Lay Puro Hee-Tom, (roll the “r” in Puro)

Translation: “I surrender to the fire of transformation.”

  • Repeat out loud 3 times, whisper 3 times, then silently 3 times.

Full Moon Release Affirmations

  • “I release you.”
  • “I let you go.”
  • “I loosen my grip on you.”
  • “I vow to stop using you as an excuse.”
  • “I give myself permission to give you up.”
  • “I cast you out and take back my power.”

Feel free to share your experience after completing your own full moon ritual. Leave a comment below or DM at instagram @spirituallyfityoga. May you feel allow the opportunity to welcome a freedom from what no longer serves you. Namaste.


This full moon release ritual and affirmations are inspired by my meditation teacher, davidji. Thank you davidji for your inspiration. I am grateful to be trained as a Certified Master of Wisdom and Meditation. More about his meditation teacher training here.


Feed Your Soul…and Your Belly (Easy Tomato Basil Soup with Pesto)

Hot bowl of Tomato Basil Soup with Pesto

One of the most important and effective forms of self-care is the one that I often skip when I feel busy, overwhelmed, or tired: cooking a homemade meal.

I confess, sometimes the most challenging part of cooking is grocery shopping, it’s not my favorite activity and I’m making peace with it. It’s nothing new to plan ahead and prepare your shopping list and yet it’s a mindfulness habit I am cultivating. Even with cooking, setting an intention can ease my suffering and bring ease to shopping. For those of you who LOVE to shop, you may not relate to my struggle, but, for those of you who dread getting groceries, I know you can feel my pain! LOL

So…a few weeks ago, my daughter and I had a lunch date at Urban Plates and we fell in love with their Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Pesto. She requested we get it more often so I set an intention to make it at home. I found this recipe for a Urban Plates mock tomato basil soup:

https://pjputerbaugh.blogspot.com/2016/12/mock-urban-plates-roasted-tomato-soup.html

Since we were stopping at Trader Joe’s I bought the ingredients using all TJ products then I modified the recipe accordingly, and it turned out delicious! Yum!

Mission accomplished! I had a list, one-stop shopping was easeful, cooking the soup was so fast and simple it barely felt like I was cooking. And, yet, the house was filling up with the aromatic smells of the onion and garlic then the sweet tang of the simmering tomato soup. This semi-homemade recipe was such a great recipe for my daughter to learn. The soup was delicious and was enjoyed for a few days including for my hubby and daughter’s lunches easily stored in a thermos.

This recipe can easily be adapted to be gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or made with a meat broth.

TOMATO BASIL SOUP WITH PESTO

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 jars TJ’s Giotto’s Organic Marinara Sauce 
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 can TJ’s light coconut milk  
  • 4 cups TJs organic veggie or chicken broth
  • 1 small can TJs organic tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • for garnish:  swirl of TJs pesto sauce if desired

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15ish minutes

Serves: 8

1. Saute the onion till soft in a large pot with garlic and olive oil.  Add marinara sauce,  coconut milk, tomato paste, and broth and stir well.

3. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5-10 minutes. (original recipe suggests 5-10 minutes but, I simmered it for about 15 minutes until it thickened a bit.)

4. Blend in a processor (optional) 

Serving suggestions:

  • Swirl of pesto is optional but, I recommend it.
  • Croutons on top upon serving.
  • A grilled cheese sandwich would make this a classic comfort food meal.

Notes:

  • I modified the recipe to use the full tetra pack of broth which is 4 cups, the original recipe calls for 3 cups.
  • Since they discontinued the 28 oz. Tuscano Marinara sauce in the can, I substituted with the Organic Marinara Sauce in the glass jar which is 25 oz.  
  • Because I find myself throwing out the remaining tomato paste in those small cans, instead of using 2 tablespoons I tried using the whole can and it gave it a nice rich tomatoey flavor.  
  • The original recipe calls for light coconut milk in another brand but, I was in a one-stop shopping mode so it was TJ’s all the way!  Next time I’d probably opt for full fat coconut milk. It was yummy with light too,
  • Both of TJs pestos are yummy.  Try the vegetarian TJ’s Genovese pesto or TJ’s Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto. 
  • Because I made this gluten-free I skipped the croutons but, served with TJ’s Organic Naan Crackers which my fam loved.  TJs has Cheese and Garlic croutons which would give a nice texture to this soup.
  • I used a hand-blender but, in my opinion, it didn’t really need it. If you skip the last “blend in a processor step” I suggest smashing and mincing the garlic and make sure the onions and garlic are softened and cooked well.

Why don’t you practice some mindful coziness today! A steamy bowl of soup, hot cuppa tea, wrap up in a plush blanket in your flannel PJs and a gripping novel.

What else can you do to create some mindful coziness?

Enjoy!  Happy Cooking! Share any of your variations. Leave comments below.

Cheers to Mindful Coziness!!

Amelia Andaleon

Yoga Hike – Saturday Nov. 6, 2022

A few spots are left for the next Yoga Hike with me in the East Bay! Limited space for these special outings to connect with body, mind, nature, and community. Details and online registration here.

These pics were from the October Yoga Hike on a crisp fall day after a steep hike to a sweet yoga platform. These outings are roughly 3-3.5 hours roundtrip including the hike, yoga, BYO breakfast, and more exploring the trails, views, flora, and fauna. To quote one regular Yoga Hike student when she reflected on her typical Saturday mornings sleeping in: “I feel invigorated and so accomplished and it’s not even noon! Let me know when you do the next one…I’m in!”


I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

-Frank Lloyd Wright