Yoga and writing

April 28th, 2020

published in the Republican May 2020

For me, yoga and writing, my two passions, have always been interconnected.  They both have similar patterns.  For example, they can ground and relax you.  More importantly, both practices teach you to be mindful.

Both writing and yoga have similar traits, such as relaxation, precision and mindfulness.  The two practices require warming up.  For example, sun salutations are a great way to begin a yoga discipline, while brainstorming is a great way to get your writing juices flowing.

Both disciplines require you to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to focus on your poses, breathing and words.  Yoga and writing have made me more mindful of my movements, actions and speech.  Precision is very important because in yoga having good alignment is critical for having a safe practice.  In writing, it is important to be sure you are using the right words from grammar to spelling.

Both disciplines require patience and practice to achieve the end goal.  They both have given me much joy in my personal life while helping me succeed in my professional life as a writer and yoga teacher.

Writing therapy

April 13th, 2020

published in the Republican April 2020

Fifteen years ago, I began writing my column, sharing my personal experiences while giving insight into disability issues.  My hope is to empower and inspire people to live their best lives.

I have always believed in the power of writing therapy ever since I was a young girl.  I always kept a journal writing down my wishes and frustrations.  It was a way to destress while turning the page to start fresh every day.  Writing therapy has been proven to improve memory.  It can also be very healing for people who experience a traumatic event to write about what happened and how they felt.  Writing therapy has been shown to help people with anxiety, depression, grief, chronic illnesses, substance abuse, eating disorders, communication skills and low self esteem.

Starting a journal can be done with pen and paper or at a computer.  I prefer to use my iPad.  Each week you should set a goal when you want to write.  I always like to do it at the end of the day.

There are five steps to keep in mind while writing.  The first and second steps are to decide what you want to write about and review.  The third step is to investigate your thoughts and feelings.  The next step is to set a time limit, which is very helpful when you want to relieve stress and let things go.  The final step is to reread what you wrote and be refreshed for the next day.


April 5th, 2020

published in the Republican April 2020

With everything going on in the world, it is very common to feel anxious, especially with the overwhelming news circulating around to make things more confusing. 

Anxiety can also be dangerous for our health, both physically and mentally.  The symptoms are nervousness, feeling tense and panicky.  It can cause rapid heart rate, rapid breathing and trembling.  Many people have difficulty focusing or sleeping.

I have learned many ways to deal with anxiety from my spiritual teacher Gabrielle Bernstein.  One tool I use daily is called the choose again method.  It has three steps, starting with acknowledging the fearful or negative thought.  The second step is to forgive the thought.  The last step is to choose a positive, loving thought.

I also depend on breathing exercises.  For example, taking a deep breath and releasing all of the tension from the exhale.  Another good exercise is placing your hand over your heart and focusing on your heartbeat, filling you with love.

Meditation is a part of my daily life.  I like to practice visual meditation, where you focus on an object, leading you to be calm and peaceful.  You can also repeat a mantra, such as I am safe, and I am healthy.  My favorite one is love, peace and happiness.


March 30th, 2020

published in the Republican April 2020

We are living during a time of anxiety, nervousness and helplessness.  Many of us are being told to stay home while practicing social distancing.  With all the news, it is hard to find happiness and laughter.

A doctor in India, Madan Kataria, developed a system known as laughter yoga. It is a way to release tension and allow us to enjoy a simple laugh.  The belief is that a voluntary laugh has many psychological benefits.  It has been proven to improve your attitude while improving your health and quality of life.

Laughter yoga consists of warming up and clapping while chanting an affirmation, followed by breathing exercises.  Yoga poses are done in a silly and playful manner with laughter.

Laughter yoga is found in 53 countries, with 5,000 laughter yoga clubs around the world.  Of those, two hundred are in the United States.

Twenty minutes of laughter is recommended to fully receive the psychological benefit.  Everybody can laugh with techniques from comedy and jokes.

Laughter can also be contagious when done in a group.  Laughter yoga combines breathing exercises with laughter exercises that oxidates our bodies and brains to make us healthier and more energetic.

Coping with crisis

March 17th, 2020

published in the Republican 3/2020

Today we are dealing with a health crisis across the country that is impacting our daily living.  The coronavirus is forcing schools to be closed, restaurants and bars are closing with only offering takeout and restrictions have been placed on crowd sizes. Many stores and malls are closing with only grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations remaining open.

Many events from sports to entertainment are being cancelled.  We are being told to avoid crowds and practice social distancing.  Unfortunately, this is also causing panic from overbuying to over worrying. 

I have even noticed my own anxiety level rising and I am finding ways to cope with what is happening in our nation.  The first step is not to become obsessed with reading everything from the Internet to the news.  It is best to get information from trustworthy sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.  It is also a good idea to take a break from social media posts regarding the virus.  I find ways to practice safety from washing my hands to practicing social distancing and talking to the doctor.

There are many fun activities that can reduce stress.  A few of my favorites are meditation, yoga, going for a walk, reading a book or working on a creative project.  More importantly, you should keep a positive attitude by remembering the mantra, “I am safe, I am healthy and I am happy.”


March 10th, 2020

published in the Republican 3/2020

Stress can be very damaging to the body and mind.  It can cause physical and emotional symptoms.

Many studies have found that doing yoga in the morning and evening can minimize stress and increase productiveness.  Yoga empowers us to findhappiness, mindfulness and self-compassion. 

Many stress relief techniques include controlled breathing, meditation, physical movements and mental imagery.  There are many positive effects of yoga.  It can reduce anxiety and help with sleeping.  It can also improve many medical conditions such as high blood pressure.

Physically, yoga can help you with reducing muscle tension while increasing flexibility.  Yoga can also be used as a spiritual tool to improve your well-being.

The purpose of yoga is to see your mind and body as one.  There are many ways you can use yoga in your daily life, such as breathing techniques to calm and focus yourself.  Meditation is another big part of the yoga practice because it teaches you how to connect with yourself and the universe.  It also teaches you to be mindful while loving yourself and those around you.

Yoga has always been a big part of my daily life because it keeps me focused on my purpose and passion while keeping me in a spiritual balance.

Holiday spirit

December 17th, 2019

Published in the Republican 2019

During this time of year, it can often be very easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas.  The practice of yoga can help us count our blessings while understanding the values of Christmas.

The first value is peace on Earth, the idea of ending wars.  But it can also mean cultivating peace through yoga, such as stillness of our bodies, a peaceful mind.  By practicing meditation and non-violence, we can find peace within the world and ourselves.  The idea is that the more peaceful we are with ourselves, the more peace we can send into the world.

The second value is goodwill towards mankind.  This is achieved through practicing karma yoga.  This is being of service by bringing compassion, love and happiness to other people.  Along with karma yoga, there is also the idea of giving and receiving.  Every gift that is given should represent the joy and love of the season.  It is the thought that counts, not the actual gift.  When you give in love, you will receive that love back.

Santa Claus should not be considered a commercial gimmick, but rather a character that represents universal love.  Santa Claus empowers childhood beliefs, such as wonder, possibilities and unlimited love.  He also encourages the idea of caring for others and ourselves.  Christmas should not be viewed as a time for receiving presents.  Instead, embrace the true love of the holiday.

Holiday season

December 17th, 2019

Published in the Republican 2019

The holiday season is a time to enjoy the company of loved ones, rituals and traditions.  Yoga trains us to deal with the change of seasons and the stress of the holidays.  For example, winter signals a time to slow down with fewer daylight hours and colder temperatures.

To deal with the change of seasons and the holidays, we become aware of the need for more meditation and distressing yoga poses.  It is important to listen to our minds and bodies in order to increase our energy level while giving ourselves the self-care that we need.

Even though the holidays are a time to celebrate, eat and exchange gifts, yoga reminds us to be mindful.  One important aspect to remember is to take time to rest and conserve our energy levels.  Always take the time to sit in silence to be in the present moment.  By doing this, we are reminding ourselves what is important in life.  Most importantly, practicing karma yoga, the act of servicing others, is the true meaning of the holiday season.

I have always believed in treating others with love in the same manner as we want to be treated.  This includes how to treat people, giving gifts and being respectful.

SSI proposed changes

October 15th, 2019

Published in the Republican October 2019

Today, in order to retain SSI benefits, a person usually cannot have more than $2000 in their name. The US. House of Representatives is looking to increase that amount with a bill that will raise the limit to $10,000 for single recipients and $20,000 for couples.  It would also increase of income a person can make.  The bill will also repeal penalties for marriage and receiving any kind of assistance from family members.

Many people feel that the time has come to update the SSI program that has been the same since 1972.  Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan said, “This issue is one that I have heard about directly from autism advocates and families in our district, particularly parents preparing for children with disabilities to transition into adulthood.”

The bill updates the old SSI program using common sense logic to help people with disabilities and their families.  It will give people more opportunities with access to having more money and more control over their own life.  No matter what, no law should dictate our social lives such as getting married.  It definitely should not hinder exploring employment opportunities.


October 13th, 2019

printed in the Republican October 2019

This past summer, my mother came in contact
with a family whose daughter has the same hand
deformity as she does, called symbrachydactly. It is a
congenital abnormality characterized by missing
limbs, hands or feet. In many cases bones are
missing along with fingers or toes. The hand may
have small stumps of soft tissue where fingers would
be. The cause is unknown, but could be caused by a
loss of blood supply in the development of the arm or
foot during pregnancy. Generally, children born with
symbrachydactly are able to adapt to their physical limitations and experience a full life. The limb
differences occur in 30,000 to 40,000 births.

In Michigan, a family formed a nonprofit
organization to raise awareness and celebrate
children born with symbrachydactly. The Lucky Fin is
dedicated to being a parent support network, and
provides medical resources and education on limb
differences. It also holds events and provides
financial support for children to attend specialized
camps and provide prosthetics.

My mother has always taught me to be
independent and not let my disabilities get in the way
of what I want in life. She has always not let her own
deformity stop her from being successful in her own