Consciousness & Your Gut by Jeff Masters



Jeff_Masters_homepage_bannerSedona Yoga Festival Presenter Jeff Masters offers a deeper understanding of the Gut…  Especially important to know, as we all can relate to the term gut feeling, right?  Thanks, Jeff!

There is a profound relationship that exists between the mind, consciousness, awareness and our Enteric System, aka the Digestive Dystem, aka the ‘Gut Brain.’  The following post unpacks the two way relationship that exists between these powerhouses of our nervous system and how they communicate and influence each other at a profound level.

= Terms To Know =
Before we begin, I have included a few terms that are common to the study of the gastric nervous system (neurogastroenterology).

The Gut
The Gut is a term commonly associated with the digestive system or alimentary canal or tract.  This tract runs from the mouth to the anus and contains the organs of digestion, assimilation and elimination.  For the purposes of this blog entry I will be focusing exclusively on the small intestine, our primary organ of assimilation.

Microbiota: The colony of bacterial microbes.

Bacterial, genetic material taken together as a group.  “Bacterial cells in the human body outnumber human cells 10 to one.”  The Microbiome numbers over 3 million in the gut alone and is suspected to effect many auto-immune diseases and certain cancers. (2)

A neurotransmitter primarily found in the gastrointestinal system (90-95%).  This neurotransmitter regulates intestinal movements and appetite as well as sleep cycles, mood, memory and learning.

The Enteric Nervous System (ENS):
A third division of the Autonomic (Automatic – “Largely Involuntary”) Nervous System, the other two being the Sympathetic (Fight or Flight) and Parasympathetic (Rest and Digest) Divisions.  The Enteric Nervous System is the localized nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract.  It monitors the state of the gastrointestinal system, modulates gastric functions and communicates directly with the Central Nervous System.

The Brain-Gut-Axis:
The two-way communication system that exists between the Central Nervous System and the Enteric Nervous System.

= Consciousness=
Consciousness and emotional states are two aspects of being that are thought to go hand in hand.  Simply stated, if we are conscious then we have the capacity to “feel” or experience emotions.

The current medical and psychological paradigm anchors the experience of consciousness within the central nervous system or “behind our eyes.”  The fluctuations of consciousness, or our thoughts, stimulate the release of certain chemicals which we then, through past experience and conditioning, label as emotions.  These fluctuations may be overtly conscious or even subconscious in nature – whatever their origin, they bring about a condition of the body in which we “feel” a state of emotion.  Current medical thinking suggests that the origin of the stimulation of our emotional state is solely in our mind.

Recent studies, however, are beginning to suggest that the “condition” of other areas of our body have a major impact on our emotional and mental states.  One of the regions of the body receiving a great deal of attention due to its potential impact on our ability to “digest” stress, is the gut.

We can see the connection between our gut and our mind played out in our lives through the impact that stress or anxiety has on our appetite or ability to assimilate food, as well as patterns of elimination (read nausea, constipation or diarrhea).  The popular thinking is that the mind is taking its’ drama out on the gut.  However, this may not be entirely accurate.  The communication between the gut and the brain is a two way street, one from mind -> gut and the other from the gut -> mind.

brain= Mind To Gut =
From the Mind-To-Gut perspective, it is our mental activity that initiates gastrointestinal discomfort.  Under this model, a problem begins with our repeated exposure to stress.  Our mental response to this stress promotes an acidic environment within the intestinal tract, stimulating the release of pro-inflammatory cells which dramatically effects the gut-based neurotransmitter Serotonin.  According to gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the digestive system), Serotonin’s primary purpose in the gut is to promote the movement of food through the intestines as well as stimulating the Vagal Sensory Neurons situated there (important for the sensation of nausea).  Note: the Vagus nerve, or Tenth Cranial Nerve, is the primary nerve associated with the Parasympathetic Nervous System division and it has numerous branches running throughout our body that innervate our cardiorespiratory and digestive systems.

Stimulation of the Vagal neurons within the gut increases the relaxation response of the Parasympathetic Nervous System.  However, if you are feeling stressed out and upset, the volume of the Vagus nerve is turned down.  This communication between the neurotransmitter Serotonin and the Vagus receptors in the gut sends a message to the Central Nervous System via the neurotransmitter “back channel” (completely outside the bounds of the conscious mind space), reporting on the condition of the environment down here.  This communication, once it is parsed by the Central Nervous System, establishes an underlying sensation of well-being if everything is running smoothly or dis-ease if there is a problem.

gut brain= Gut To Mind =
When we begin to consider the impact that the gut can have on our general state of consciousness, we have to understand the nature of consciousness of the communities that are housed there.  The communities I am talking about are the gastrointestinal flora or the microbiota.  Believe it or not, this bacterial community is made up of flora donated to us by our mothers during birth, bacterial hitch-hikers that we pick up from the environment (eating dirt as a child, etc.) and bacteria shared by the individuals around us.  Throughout our life we collect and synthesize this flora, which symbiotically helps us to break down and assimilate nutrients within the digestive system.

From a Gut-To-Mind perspective, the condition or health of this colony has a powerful impact on our mental state and well-being, including the health of our immune system.  The condition of the microbiota boils down the condition of each individual bacteria.

‘How can an individual bacteria contribute to the community which then affects the larger environment of the digestive tract?’  The answer lies in the movements of single celled organisms within their native environment.  These movements have been studied for years and show that these individual microbes are actively, selectively, intelligently responding to stimuli from their environment and intelligently adapting to it.  At the same time, these microbes are communicating with their environment and fellow colonists.  The collective communication of the microbiota signifies the general state of the colony.  At any one time there are three primary states that the colony can be in: Thriving, Surviving or Dying.  Each state creates a specific “group response” that in turn effects the environment of the gut as a whole.

Thriving is a state of overgrowth, an example of this would be Candida or Thrush.  In a Thriving state, the Mircobiota seeks out nutrients – in advanced stages Candida even sends out roots or hyphae which may pry apart the epithelial lining of the intestinal tract (the cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome).

Surviving is a balanced and healthy state within the body.  Surviving, the flora is in a healthy balanced state of equilibrium stimulating, through the release of neurotransmitters, a response of well being to the host.

Dying is a state in which the microbiota are being killed off.  This can occur from the intake of antibiotics, processed foods, environmental toxins, etc.  In a Dying, the flora is in a state of alarm.  This state of alarm, due to chemical signaling, when reported back to the Central Nervous System, has the potential to effect our overall sense of well being.

In each of these states the microbiota are producing chemicals and interacting with their environment.  The state of the environment dictates the levels of neurotransmitters that are released and thus the level of Sympathetic or Parasympathetic nervous system stimulation as well as gut motility and sensations of nausea.  This stimulation has a direct effect on the condition of our conscious awareness – although the influence may be so subtle as to go unnoticed other than registering a general state of unease.

Here we see the first stages of how the collective consciousness or state of the Microbiota begins to influence our consciousness.  The overall state of the colony effects the environment of the gut, the environment of the gut effects the levels of chemicals, neurotransmitters and nutrients assimilated, the levels of neurotransmitters released by the cells lining the gut influence the state of awareness of the Central Nervous System, in turn creating an under current that ripples beneath our conscious thought processes bringing about a specific mood or state of mind.

This new and radical way of looking at the interaction between our mind and gut is even being recognized within the hallowed halls of psychiatric medicine.  A select group of psychiatrists are now not only including their patient’s gastrointestinal history as part of their pre-treatment assessments, but also prescribing rounds of targeted probiotics along with psychotherapy and conventional medication.  Patient feedback and recent clinical trails are just beginning to show that targeted “probiotics could affect the functioning of the human brain.” (6)

How influential is this collective bacterial consciousness?
When looking at the sheer numbers, the effect the microbiota has on our general state of being cannot be ignored.  From a simple genetic perspective, if we were to take an average human being and divide up the entire pool of genetic material into ours and theirs, it would look like this:

1) Native Human Genetic Material: Approx. 20,000 – 25,000 Genes
2) Microbiome Genetic Material: Approx. 3.3 Million Genes (1)

These numbers are staggering.  When one reads this research, a fundamental shift of awareness begins to dawn that we are not necessarily the autonomous island of self-cells as was once thought.  We are in fact a collective of highly specialized and efficient communities that have come together for the sole purpose that is our existence.

= STEWARDSHIP: Taking care of your Microbiota =
Now that we have an idea that our mind-body connection is influenced by our intestinal passengers, what can we do to create an environment that facilitates a healthy, happy relationship?  It so happens that we can do several things to ensure domestic tranquility down under.

Ayurveda, “the science of life,” is a comprehensive, complimentary alternative medicine system that is over 5,000 years old.  In Ayurveda, food is considered to be a powerful medicine.  This perspective makes perfect sense when we realize that everything we take into our body is used to create the tissues that make it up.  To assist our microbiota we should begin by eating foods that are calming and nutritive to our intestinal flora.  Eating foods that “feed” the microbiota is especially important.  Foods that are nutritious to our intestinal flora include high-fiber foods, leafy greens, bananas, onions and even garlic (depending on one’s internal temperament).  A diet low in sugar is also important as unhealthy bacteria seem to thrive on it.  Eating pesticide free, non-Genetically Modified (GMO – the ‘O’ stands for ‘Organism’) Foods, is critical to microbiota health as well as provides the healthy building blocks for our cellular constituents.  Probiotics, good bacterial flora that we eat, are also important to the health of our digestive system.  Each type of probiotic has specific benefits that assist the body, be sure to stay informed as to what you are taking into your body…remember, awareness first!

Antibiotics, necessary in some cases to protect us from unwanted bacterial infections, also do damage to the good bacteria of our gut.  Unfortunately antibiotics are over prescribed, even in cases where they do very little good – such as viral infections.  Overexposure to antibiotics is the most common reason that our gastric flora becomes weakened,  unhealthy and enters into a state of dying.  In this state, even if we are able to break down the foods we have eaten, assimilation becomes difficult.

Adequate sleep is critical to the overall health of our digestive system.  A full, restful sleep cycle allows the body to heal in instances where there is damage to the body, including the to digestive system.  Lack of sleep contributes to greater overall stress levels, inhibiting proper functioning of the stomach and small intestine.  By getting enough quality sleep we decrease stress and increase the efficiency of our digestive system.

Mental Health & Wellness
Even though they don’t have mouths to communicate with us, each of our cells is intrinsically linked to our state of mind.  In fact, our mental and emotional states are broadcast across the ‘entangled’ airwaves of our body, communicating the general condition of the body and mind at all times to all our cells.  The “spooky” truth is that these cells don’t necessarily have to be inside our body or even in close proximity to be impacted by our thoughts or emotions.(4)(5)

Maintaining a healthy positive outlook is like taking a mental probiotic.  Take time each day to become aware of the sensations in your gut and send good vibes to your digestive system.  This can be in the form of creative visualizations (perhaps a happy smiling stomach – like the plush toy above) or mental repetition (i.e. affirmations, mantra etc.).  This can go a long way to not only keeping your flora happy and healthy but also strengthening the lines of communication and awareness between your Central and Enteric Nervous Systems.

The bottom line: our consciousness is not just effected by what’s going on behind our eyes.  There are many influences that are beyond the realm of our awareness, contributions from the microbiota being one.  Research indicates that this body, which we normally associate as just being us, is composed not only of our own ‘Self’ cells but also a whole host of others that contribute to the sensations, chemicals and mental impressions associated with the experience of being alive.  These bacterial colonists not only assist us in nurturing our body but also play a major role in regulating the experience of our mental and emotional states.


1.  Scientific American.  June 2012.  The Ultimate Social Network. Pg. 37 – 43.

2.  The Microbiome.

3.  Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. Micheal Pollan.  May 15, 2013.

4.  Julie Motz, “Everyone an Energy Healer: The Treat V Conference” Santa Fe, NM, Advances: The Journal of Mind-Body Health, vol. 9 (1993).




The day has arrived!! We are just waiting for you!

Time sure does fly quickly when you’re having fun! We are all working hard with stellar smiles on our faces and stars in our eyes as all the angels arrive and congregate to get this festival ready for you to arrive and delight in the experience of your transformation.

As you can see from the schedule above, we have a lot more going on than the festival itself. There are lots of free things for the community to participate in at the Heart Center Vendor Village.

If you are attending the festival, this will be the location that you check-in for registration. To help that process go smoother, we ask that you print out your ticket for easy scanning.

Please bring your yoga mat, your shining faces, an open heart, and a clear mind!


Our Opening Experience  is taking place–THIS EVENING at 6:30 p.m. in the Heart Center Vendor Village. If you haven’t already, please take a look at the beautiful work-of-art that just so happens to be our program, where you will find schedules, maps, local information and helpful guides moving through the festival. To view the program, click here. 


Much like a heart, the Heart Center Vendor Village has a flow and rhythm that moves in and out of the vendor’s huts, registration, John Soderberg’s sculpting studio, the outdoor stage, around a pond and

reaching out to the limbs of free yoga classes, local eats and areas to breathe. Bundle up and get familiar with the yoga community that is already forming around us all to create that beautiful lift and rise of consciousness.



toga isStarting at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, filmmaker Suzanne Bryant presents her film, “YOGA IS a Transformational Journey”  . Through this journey, Suzanne meets the most prominent Yoga Gurus and teachers in the west and travels to India to explore the power of this ancient practice. Along the way she discovers what YOGA IS. Be sure not to miss her Tea Time Fireside chat on Sunday at L’Auberge Cottage from 3:30pm to 5:00 p.m.












Chris Spheeris  will moderate Friday evening where he will show his short film, “Facets of Infinity” that has been ten years in the making. A collection of stills of cacti and succulents folding into mandalas and kaleidoscopes come alive in the perfect setting of Sedona. Be sure not to miss his other offerings, including his inspirational workshop, “All you have to do is Listen” .

Facets of infinity

Yoga and Mysticism for Women by SYF 2014 Presenter, Camilla Nair




Women's gathering

Ever heard that the way to God Consciousness is through the feminine? What this means is that we need to move away from sterile logic and attune more to our inner creative, and intuitional selves. A higher vibration, if you like, of how we are often living our lives. Women generally are great “multi taskers”, and whilst on the practice side this can be great for all concerned, for cultivating deeper spiritual experiences, we generally need to slow down and simplify our lives. Not easy when we may have to care for other family members, as well as go out to work. Women simply coming together can forge not only great friendships, but can actually help us to excrete oxytocin, which is a natural de-stressor.More and more women are realizing that they don’t have to become tougher to begin to turn the tide of change back to the matriarchy. It is a question of balancing the masculine and feminine energy within us, that is the very mechanism for prying open the center channel, where sacred energy often referred to as kundalini, awakens. It is for this that we practice. It is for this that we become aware, and it is for this that we aspire to create more peace and compassion in our lives. It starts with balancing the root chakra and cultivating apana vayu.

Camella will be giving an informative and inspirational talk along with some asanas, on Friday at 3:30 at the Sedona Karate Academy. More information about Camella can be found at:  
Camella at group meeting
Camella was born and raised in Bedford, England. At the age of 17, she began attending yoga classes with her mother. She moved to the United States in 1995, when her first born son was only 8 weeks old.  It was then that she began to deepen her spiritual practice as she became a mother and housewife. She found the teachings she craved in a formal lineage when she began her studies with the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. It was a few years after the birth of her second son that she obtained her Yoga Teachers Certification.


Why Military and Veteran Families Matter by 2014SYF Presenter, Pamela Stokes-Eggleston

veterans yogaThis past weekend, I led a small group of caregivers in a discussion about their wounded service member. As an advisory board member of Tee It Up for the Troops, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the game of golf to heal wounded warriors, I was asked to put together this discussion to talk about my experiences as a Purple Heart spouse and to open the door for healing. The 90-minute session went well over the time allotted, and we had to delay the yoga portion of the session for the next day! The takeaway was something I already know from experience: being a military family caregiver is hard, and being a caregiver to a wounded warrior dealing with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) is harder than you can imagine. The Nation’s focus on the service member and veterans – There are many programs available for service members and numerous organizations that support veterans. Some help with educational scholarships and employment, while others provide direct services such as housing. What we know is that an unhealthy veteran or service member cannot take good care of themselves nor will they be able to financially provide for their family. Alternative options such as yoga offer a mechanism to help the veteran and military service member get healthy. Strides in this area, like the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative and Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, continue to increase. Still, the military family has to be an integral part of the total equation. How the military spouse/parent/caregiver is the glue for the entire military family and military community – If there is no family support for the service member, then he or she have a significantly difficult road ahead. A military spouse has to manage the entire household and if there are children involved, they instantly become a single parent. And if the service member becomes injured with visible and/or invisible wounds like PSTD or TBI, the role of the family member becomes paramount to the outlook of the wounded veteran. Often when this happens, as it did with me, the military family member neglects herself or himself. Military spouses need to care for themselves first: in speeches I’ve delivered I used the airplane oxygen mask analogy – put the mask on yourself first and then on your child – which means that you have to take care of yourself before anyone else in order to be more available for the service member. My Top 3 Things NOT to say to a military spouse or family member So far you may be thinking about military families differently, as I’ve presented some issues to ponder. What follows is a short list of what not to say to military families. This list in no way encompasses the numerous things that have been said to military family members (including me) but these are my top three:

  1. I could never do what you’re doing. How do you do it? Don’t say this. Ever.
  2. You asked for this: you knew what you were getting into when you married him/her. No. I did not know that my husband was going to get wounded in combat. Just don’t say this.
  3. Aren’t you afraid he’ll get hit by an IED or get post-traumatic stress? Of course. Keep this to yourself.

My Top 3 Things you can say to military families There are so many things you can do to help military families, beginning with your compassion, kindness and speech. Here are some examples:

  1.     “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want to help. What do you need?”
  2.  “Let’s go to Starbuck’s.”
  3. “I’m going to the store/mall/post office/Chipotle’s – can I pick up something for you?”

Things to do for military families Still don’t know what to do?  Ask friends, family and coworkers about local service members that are currently deployed or have been wounded. Link up with the families. You will be surprised at how close a military family may live to you.

  1. Bring them to yoga – If you are a yoga teacher, don’t make assumptions about this diverse population. Get educated and trained. And if you are a yoga practitioner, use compassion to help these families by offering to take them to a class with you.
  2. Help with chores – Mow the lawn, wash the car, shovel the snow, cook dinner, you get the idea. Just do it. Once my neighbor found out that my husband was deployed, he used his snow blower in my driveway during a winter storm and mowed my lawn once spring arrived, both without my request. I will always remember his thoughtfulness and generosity.
  3. Offer to babysit – This can take a huge weight off of a military spouse.
  4. Create a military family care package – This is done so much for the service member or veteran, and often the families are left out. If they are your neighbor, find out what they need or like. I like chocolate and lavender soap. J
  5. And lastly…..LISTEN – Lend a compassionate ear without trying to solve their problems. Sometimes military families just need to be heard.

donate_quote Some of my suggestions may be common be common sense as you may have already thought of them, or they may not be your cup of tea, so I encourage you to create your own or volunteer with a military family organization. The truth is that helping a military spouse and family is not difficult at all, as long as you understand their immense contribution to the military and to the nation.   pamela stokes eggleston Pamela Stokes Eggleston has practiced yoga for over a decade and recently completed both her 200-hour yoga teacher training and prenatal yoga training in the Pranakriya Yoga tradition. She is continuing her yoga teacher training through the 500-hour Pranakriya program, and has completed the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans (MYT) Training in 2012 to work with service members and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress. Since 2004, as caregiver and spouse of an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) wounded warrior with post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), she has been a strong and vocal advocate for service members, military spouses and veteran families. Pam is the Founder and CEO of Yoga2Sleep, LLC, ambassador for the Give Back Yoga Foundation, and serves on the support staff of Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans.

Yoga For Lawyers at Sedona Yoga Festival

Yoga for Lawyers

Creative_Wallpaper_Buddha_Bar_-380x304The practice of law is a challenging profession.  Years of intense study of the law, competition and high stakes negotiations combined with long working hours, high burnout, adversarial colleagues, pressures to bill more hours and to exceed expectations.  It takes book-smarts and street-smarts to really succeed; it’s no wonder that most lawyers are Type A perfectionists and life-long overacheivers.  The job demands mental strength, physical health and emotional balance.  Many lawyers develop physical health issues as a result of long hours seated at a computer, not getting enough exercise and overeating or over-drinking in response to stressful conditions at work or socially with colleagues and clients.

How Can Yoga for Lawyers Help?

Yoga for Lawyers is based on the four paths of yoga and the traditional eight-limb yoga ashtanga system, or as the Yogattorneys MCLE material calls it “the four paths, eight limbs and ten fingers” of yoga.  The ten fingers refer to the five yamas and five niyamas that make up the the first and second limbs.  These paths, limbs and fingers are a combination of ethical guidelines, physical poses and mental focusing exercises that all work together to build stronger, healthier attorneys who respond to conflicts and challenges in a more relaxed and resilient manner.

In many ways, the practices of yoga are complimentary to the ethical guidelines that govern attorney behavior.  For example, the practice of Karma Yoga, or yoga through service or action, is in harmony with ER6.1 which is worded strongly to remind attorneys of their duty to be of service through providing pro bono service to worthy causes.

About Yogattorneys

Yogattorneys MCLE classes we under the guidance of the State Bar of Arizona and the Arizona Bar Association will be holding a Yogattorneys workshop in Tucson, Arizona on May 15th.  Classes are a mixture of a lecture on law and yoga, including the similarity of the professional ethics rules and the traditional eight-limbs, yoga instruction and self-study.  MCLE credit may be available for attorneys in other states, as well.  Information is available on the Yogattorneys website.

Lawyers are busy people with busy schedules and billable hour requirements.  But the physical and mental benefits of yoga, alone, make practicing it worth your time.

Benefits of Practice, Extra Incentives for Lawyers

The benefits of yoga practice are well documented and include physical health, strength, flexibility and balance.  Repeated practice generally leads to the development of these qualities in an intangible way, as well. Developing a strong mind, being able to adapt and feeling mentally balanced are all virtues that can be expected from a yoga practice and that are particularly beneficial for attorneys.

Yogattorneys was set up in part to give lawyers even more incentives to try yoga than just the mental and physical ones.  Like, offering continuing education credit and tips on how yoga can make the challenges in law more fun.

There may be financial incentives for lawyers to try yoga, now, as well.  Lawyers should talk to their tax advisors about the amount of  are business travel and education costs they can may be able to “write off” for qualified Yogattorneys classes and MCLE retreats.

Register for the YOGATTORNEYS MCLE Package at SYF2014

 About Trisha Lotzer, JD

f516c5c62b71f2c70c35c3906306d62cTrisha started practicing yoga in law school as a way to stay fit and deal with stress.  She practiced on and off for years until she was diagnosed with PTSD in the wake of 9/11. Now she credits that period of crisis and the healing process that followed for a major breakthrough in her law and yoga practices.  She began to travel the world studying different forms of yoga and mediation practices. She founded Yogattorneys in 2008 after completing her 200 hour yoga teaching training with Ganga White and Tracey Rich.  In 2008 she started the Lotzer Law Group, PC which allows her the flexibility she needs to travel and continue her yoga studies while work with clients around the world.   You can read more about Trisha on her website

This year at #SYF2014, Trisha will be presenting Open For Blissness, a two-part yoga workshop for business owners, yogattorneys and any one else who is interested in finding and combining bliss and business.



Wow!  Here is a wonderful blast from the past…  Silvia Mordini, describes her experience at the inaugural Sedona Yoga Festival last year…  Check out her #SYF2014 offerings at

February 8, 2013. Feels a little bit like the first day at a brand new school. Starting today, I am presenting at the Sedona Yoga Festival to a whole new group of yogis. It is my first time teaching in Arizona (although I’ve taken many a workshop/training here in my Anusara days).

As always before teaching, my thoughts turn to how will I best touch the hearts and minds of my students.  What will they think? Will they understand me? Regardless of your experience, Yoga Teachers still get nervous. I may have over 11,000 hours of teaching experience but today will be my first hour in the teacher’s seat at this first ever Festival!

One of my biggest strengths is my humanness. After leading 15 RYT200 Teacher Trainings, I work hard to keep myself off the pedestal and keep things real. I am imperfect, fallible, sometimes quirky, certainly silly, and a bit earnest when it comes to manifesting happiness. Being born in Ecuador to an Italian father and Ecuadorian mother only adds to my uniqueness.

If you know anyone in Sedona coming to the festival, applaud them! They—like me—are First Penguins. The first penguin is a term coined by the late Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch who offered his last lecture there when he was dying of cancer. Here is one of his key pieces of advice: Be the first penguin.  “I encouraged students to attempt hard things and not to worry about failing…failure is not just acceptable, it’s often essential.”

Pausch rewarded his students who took the biggest risk with a stuffed penguin representing how when a group of penguins takes to the water, one of them has to take the FIRST plunge.  If that penguin survives in the potentially predator filled, dangerous water, then the other penguins follow.

I am grateful to everyone involved with Sedona Yoga Festival. It is heroic to manifest—from nothing—an entire yoga festival, replete with teachers, searchers and healers from all over the world. To every single attendee, presenter, volunteer, and staff, I present you the First Penguin Award!  Thank You Silvia!!!

You are magnificent and your courage to jump into the water not knowing what will happen is inspiring. And that is why I am proud to be involved—even if I am also a bit nervous.

To those who are considering doing something that really scares you this year, be encouraged.  Manifest your biggest dream! The world needs more First Penguins in yoga, in art, in science, in relationships, in life.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia


ABOUT SILVIA MORDINI, Happiness Coach, Yogipreneur, lululemon ambassador, manduka ambassador

Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia.  Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential.  Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted!  Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She is a long-time Experienced Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with over 10,000 hours of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and has been teaching and practicing yoga over the last 15 years after being run over by a car and using it to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia will be leading a Tuscan Adventure in Happiness week long retreat in June 2013 and an Amalfi Coast Wellness Adventure in July 2013 as well as offering her Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica this August 2013. Silvia is currently writing a book about Prescriptions for Happiness and has a popular blog called Loving Your Life, along with producing her “Loving Your Day” videos. 

Connect with Silvia Mordini:

Web: or

Email at

Twitter @alchemytours @inspiredyogagal

Facebook Silvia Mordini (


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