On today’s blog we are so excited to have Deanna Alvarez share her insights and tips. Deanna is a Yogini, Doula, Birth Educator and a Women’s Life Coach. To get to know her and her work better, visit her site: thewomanway.com.
Deanna’s work in Women’s Spirituality is rooted in her life’s path and practices in yoga, mentoring, sacred sexuality, holistic pregnancy and birth, attachment parenting, teachings, stories and practices of the divine feminine, connection and belonging to oneself, to the earth and to community.
Read below our amazing interview with Deanna:
(SE) What does Mindfulness mean to you?
(DA) Mindfulness is living an attentive life that’s heartfelt and meaningful. It’s when I pause and recognize I am the weaver of my body, mind and heart into my everyday words and actions.
(SE) What tools do you think are essential for living mindfully?
(DA) An open mind and heart are essential. Meditation, breath and yoga practices, access to contemplative activities like being in nature, journalling, music, dance, art and women’s spiritual circles are all essential tools for living mindfully.
(SE) Do you have a mindfulness practice, if so, what does it look like?
(DA) My mindfulness practices center around the cycles of nature and the essence of my womanhood. I greet the sun with silence, breath, listening, herbal tea and a nourishing smoothie and I end the day with silence, breath, listening and gratitude. I honor the cycles of the moon as well as my own feminine cycles and the insights they offer my heart of my emotional and soulful worlds. Seasonally I retreat to listen deeply and reflect on the shifts within me throughout the year as each season represents and affects different aspects of my inner world and the challenges and growth my soul is experiencing.
(SE) When did this practice begin?
(DA) These practices I began about 25 years ago and have evolved into more cyclical practices in the last 12 years.
(SE) How did you get started?
(DA) I was concerned with some neurological issues I had growing up and heard how yoga helps the nervous system. I found an Indian teacher where i was living in Colombia in the early 90s, when yoga was very obscure there at the time. A friend of mine and I would practice in my living room the poses, breathing and mudras I learned from the teacher and a book I bought from him. As my love and appreciation for yoga grew this spilled over into a deeper reverence for nature and her cycles, including the cycles of womanhood. And with the birth of my first child I was simply blown away by the creative life force of a woman’s body and its effect on her mind and spirit. I’ve been delving into the interconnection of these magical wonders ever since!
(SE) What has this practice done for you as a person?
(DA) I feel that my spirit has grown into my human body from these practices. I love and appreciate myself and hold deep reverence for the source of my being, both as a human and as a woman. I have softened the boundaries around my heart and learned to love who I am and others while embracing the disconnected parts of myself that fall into judgement, anger, disappointment, loneliness and whatever else lurks in the darkness. I’ve learned humility, to laugh more and to become more present with others and self-aware when I head into the shadows of my being. And I’ve learned that the learning continues and to be a more teachable person.
(SE) What advice would you give to someone who would like to incorporate a mindfulness practice into their daily routine but cannot find the time or the headspace?
(DA) Don’t worry about the time. If you take showers pause while the water falls over your head and imagine you are wiping the slate of your heart clean for the new day. If you prepare food then add a teaspoon of love to your meal and if you eat take a breath before you do and offer gratitude to the source of your food, chewing carefully and savoring your bites. If you interact with other humans look into their eyes when you are talking and listen with all your heart. As you fall asleep at night think of 3 things you are grateful for from your day then watch your breaths without changing them like you would count sheep!
(SE) Is there a particular practice you would recommend to cultivate mindfulness?
(DA) Breath awareness while you sit comfortably or walk in nature. Listen, really listen to the sounds of nature: the whistle of the wind, the movement of the leaves, the songs of the birds, and what people are saying when they talk to you. Do nothing else but listen attentively.
(SE) you list three, everyday things that we can do to stay in the present and live a mindful life?
(DA) Ask yourself this living question: how am I being present right now in this very moment? You can’t help but respond by living presence.
Listen without judgement and take a breath before responding
Be authentic with your feelings
(SE) Do you offer any type of mindfulness training? If so, can you provide details?
(DA) I teach mindfulness practices for women’s issues around motherhood, partnership, sexuality, work and soul purpose through my work as a Women’s Holistic Life Coach. I teach yoga classes and workshops locally and globally as an Anusara Yoga teacher and Women’s Yoga teacher. I also teach mindfulness for motherhood and the changing partner dynamic through birth classes and my postpartum support circles in the South Miami area.
(SE) Are you currently working on anything you would like to share with the Soulful Essence community?
(DA) I offer workshops for women in yoga called Feminine Power Yoga where I teach them how to relate to their feminine cycles in very powerful ways, bringing the power of mindfulness to each phase so we grow into our bodies with more wisdom and awareness, in love and deep connection to our soul’s journey on the planet.
See my website for updates www.TheWomanWay.com or write me if you would like to offer these to your community.
(SE) Is there anything else you would like to share?
(DA) The essence of who you are is soulful, how you express that is your unique gift to the world … mindfulness is a tool to that realization.
Thank you Deanna for the wonderful opportunity to talk to you about mindfulness. We appreciate all you are doing for women spirituality!
Be sure to visit Deanna’s site for more information!
What did you think about our conversation with Deanna? Did you take anything new? Drop a comment below we would love to hear! And don’t forget, to get the scoop on all our blogs, sign up for the newsletter!