Messages from the Sick Bed

I basically lost the whole month of April 2016. I got the flu at the beginning of the month and then it went down hill from there. I got the flu that then turned into bacterial bronchitis and then into a double ear infection. For someone who never gets sick, it was so bizarre to me. I had a fever on and off for over 10 days where I would drench the sheets with my sweat. I could not breathe and coughed constantly to the point that I pulled muscles in my body due to the coughing. All and all it took 3 different antibiotics, prednisone, codeine cough medicine, and an inhaler to finally get my body to start to heal and recover. I spent about 20 days in bed. I would get up occasionally but was too sick and weak to be out of the bed. This was by far the longest and sickest I had ever been in my life. So I knew this was much more than a physical issue. There was a lot for me to learn from my “sick bed.”

The biggest take-away from my illness is how illness can alter your identity. When I was sick, I could only see myself as sick, weak, and a victim. I would often cry and feel helpless and out of control. Everything that was important to me no longer mattered. All that consumed me was how I was feeling in that very moment. My husband, yoga, my business did not matter. The only thing that mattered was being well. What I was doing was saying “something is wrong and needs to be fixed now.” I, of course,  live by the motto and constantly coach people that, “there is nothing wrong and nothing to fix.” So this was completely the opposite of how I live my life.

After about 10 days, I started to realize that this illness was more than my body saying it is time to slow down or we are going to do it for you. I realized this was an opportunity to learn a lot like any other challenge I have faced. At that point, I stopped resisting what was and started to open myself up to the messages I was meant to receive. The first was very loud and clear, “I can not be of service to others if I do not make myself a priority.” I have heard this more than one hundred times from family, friends, and mentors. Now I believe it to be my truth.

Another realization was that being sick for so long affects how you see yourself. When sick for a period of time, you feel like a different person or an alien has taken over your body. You do not feel like you. I have a deeper understanding of this and so much empathy and compassion for people with chronic pain and chronic or life-threatening illnesses. I am very aware that I dealt with this for only 3 weeks compared to people who have life-long illnesses. Nevertheless, I believe that your identity can be significantly impacted by an illness/injury.

Finally, the amount of gratitude I have for my life is immense. I am typically a grateful person who feels blessed everyday to be alive. Since being sick, I feel even more grateful for my life and my health. It is as if I am seeing the world differently. I guess I am because I am different. Taking a walk, going to the beach, being able to sleep restfully are all things I am grateful for. This illness has made my heart grow ten-fold. Every time I think of everything I am grateful for, I can feel my heart in my chest and I start to tear up. In yoga, we call it being “Lit Up” because you are beaming with energy and joy. If I had not been as sick as I was, I would not feel as grateful and lit up as I do now.

So from the mud grows the lotus flower. Cliche, I know, but oh so true.

Accepting All of It

Like most people, I have struggled with accepting myself, especially my body. Although I have never been formally diagnosed with an eating disorder, I definitely have had one. In a nutshell, my mind was typically consumed with thoughts about what to eat, what not to eat, how many calories was in something, how many grams of fat, what the proportions of my butt, thighs, stomach were, etc. Nothing was ever good enough and there was always something that had to be fixed and it usually had to do with ME.

So as is usually the case with me, I decided that I was going to fix this. I read books, did workshops, and worked on it in psychotherapy. However, nothing really ever changed. Notably, the more I got involved in yoga, the more accepting I became of myself in general. I noticed that, when I was feeling negative about myself, I just let it be and allowed myself to be right where I was. Nothing to change. Nothing to fix. I think the bigger change came when I started practicing meditation, particularly mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being right here, right now and not trying to get anywhere or change anything. It is about being fully aware. The combination of a daily yoga and meditation practice allowed me to be aware of my thoughts and be okay with whatever was showing up. Eventually this started to carry over into my thoughts about my body and food. I noticed less emotional reactivity around those areas.

The other day I decided to get on the scale (which I typically do not do) and saw that I am currently weighing the most I have in over 15 years. I am 10-15 lbs bigger than my typical body weight. I have gone up almost a size in my pants due to the extra weight in my booty and legs. Although I am not freaking out trying to lose weight, I keep telling myself that I should be upset and trying to fix this. I notice these thoughts and I just accept them. I don’t have to do anything about them. So here is the irony- I am finally “happy” with my body and now my mind is telling me something is wrong with that.

My “Ah Ha” is that my mind wants to look for what is not working to make it better. We all have this negativity bias. We can try to fix it or we can notice it and accept it. I choose the practice of Acceptance. ACCEPTING ALL OF IT!



30 Days to Staying the Course

30 days ago I made a commitment to myself that I would practice yoga in the studio (at the Power Yoga Tribe) for 30 days straight. It’s not like I have never done this before. In the past, I have practiced for more than 30 days in a row but this was different.  I had been leading so many trainings throughout the summer that I had felt that my yoga practice had fallen to the wayside. I typically practice 5-7 days a week and I was practicing only 3-4 days a week. I wanted to recommit to the physical practice of yoga to see what would unfold.

Well, at first it felt great to be on my mat, moving energy and sweating out lots of toxins. It was very interesting how everyday became an exploration into what my body felt like and how the poses felt in my body. I had also started a run/walk program 3x a week about 45 days ago so my body was experiencing different sensations on different days. I noticed how I was interpreting these sensations and always trying to “figure out” what was creating the sensation (or what I was calling “pain”). Because my body felt different everyday, my yoga practice was different everyday. Some days I modified when I felt my body was wanting that and other days I amplified and played with expanding my practice to new places. It was amazing how present I became in my practice. My body told me what practice to have, not my mind or my ego. Interestingly, this morning when I went to do my run/walk, I chose to walk the whole time because my hip felt misaligned. That was the first time I modified my practice off the mat…total breakthrough in acceptance of my body.

I think the biggest lesson was the commitment I made to myself and how I was able to stay the course. At times, I definitely did not want to practice and I would feel so agitated in my mind. Other times, I was completely bored. However, everyday, I showed up for myself and I accepted whoever was there. Sometimes I was in child’s pose and other times I was floating into handstands. All of it didn’t matter. So what if I was in child’s pose or handstands. None of it mattered. It just was what it was in a given moment and all of it could change in an instant. My yoga practice did not define me anymore. It was just yoga. Isn’t it amazing how much meaning we give everything in our lives when it is all neutral really?

These past 30 days was one of the biggest gifts I have given to myself. I feel an immense sense of freedom knowing that I can make whatever I want out of any given moment. It is really always up to me how I experience life.




Day 15

Today is Day 15 of a 30-Day Personal In-Studio Yoga Challenge. In the past, I have practiced yoga daily for several weeks on end without a break. More recently, because I was leading trainings and retreats, I had less time to practice. At the end of September, I decided to recommit to my yoga practice by practicing asana everyday in the studio (Power Yoga Tribe) for 30 days.

This journey has been incredible so far. Just like so many other 30 & 40 Day Programs, there have been days where I felt like I could do anything, and practices where I could barely bend over. It is amazing to me how present I become when I practice everyday. It’s like my practice is there to tell me what is going on with my body, mind and spirit. It is a gauge to how I am feeling physically, mentally and emotionally. It is the experience of yoga doing me instead of me doing yoga. Yoga is telling me what is best for my body in any given moment. Amazingly at the end of most practices, everything seems to be reset back to a balanced state of wholeness and completeness.

Practicing yoga daily has also become a practice in mindfulness. It allows me to focus on my breath and my body sensations as well as my emotions and thoughts. I become the witness observer of what is going on for me on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realms. I basically practice “choiceless awareness” by noticing all of it and not judging it. That is the whole other piece of mindfulness- acceptance. So as I become aware of my thoughts in practice, I don’t judge them. I just allow them to be as they are and I to be exactly as I am, and I return to the point of focus which is my breath or physical sensations.

Overall, in the past 15 days I have become more present and mindful on and off the mat. I notice when I am bored, agitated, excited, and joyful and all of it is totally okay. I have found that combining a daily asana practice with a daily meditation practice has allowed more mindfulness, clarity, and balance. Excited to see what the next 15 days will bring.


What the F#@* Just Happened?

Many of you are aware that I just led a retreat in Bozeman, MT with Tanda Cook, ND (Women’s Empowerment Retreat 9/12- 9/16/15). Words can not describe what I witnessed and was a part of over those 5 miraculous days. The phrase, “What the F#@* Just Happened” came out of that retreat and it is a testament to what is possible when you are open and willing.

I saw and participated in women giving up their negative beliefs about themselves, food, and their relationships with their significant others. I literally saw people physically transform by releasing stress from their bodies. There were so many take-aways from this amazing experience. One of the greatest awareness was that you become empowered when you empower others. Women in community are incredibly powerful. I witnessed so much vulnerability and openness in community. Transformation happened because the women in this group were willing to look at themselves in an authentic way because they felt loved, supported, and completely accepted by the other women. Because we are all mirrors of each other, everyone was transformed by each person’s growth. By leading people in this way, Tanda and I let go of a ton of self-limiting beliefs and created plans to go Big with our work.

In looking back on the experience, it reminded me of the book “The Red Tent.” It is a story about women’s relationships during biblical times (women’s circles). This retreat incorporated food, animals (horses, goats, chickens, turkeys), earth, yoga and meditation. By getting back to a place where you connected to the earth also allowed everyone to connect deeper with themselves and with each other. Furthermore, a community was formed in these 5 days; a community of authenticity, mindfulness & possibility.

It was clear that by the end of the retreat each one of us stepped into our Greatness in our own way by letting go of negative belief systems and standing in openness and possibility. Oftentimes, when we let go of something and stood in our awesomeness, someone would said “What the F#@* just Happened?” It reminds me of Possibility!

I am inspired that each of the participants allowed Tanda and I to lead them closer to their Greatness. I am blessed to be able to do this as my life’s work.

Looking forward to the next retreats in Bozeman, MT (Couple’s Retreat- 4/22- 4/27/16) & Empowered Women’s Retreat- 5/27- 6/1).

Details at:

Consider joining us…it is life-altering (and a ton of fun) :)


My Life of Passion, Possibility & Service

I feel so much clarity that I had to share this.

I know “why I am here,” if you will.

Today as I was meditating and praying, I felt an intense opening in my heart center and a ton of gratitude started to pour in. I felt so much gratitude and connection towards my family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and just about everyone and everything. In this state of gratitude, it became clear how very blessed I am.

I get to live in a passionate way every day. Teaching possibility and life in a way that can empower people to step into their Greatness is absolutely incredible. I have always set out to “help” people. What I now realize is that people have their own inner resources and I can guide them to accessing them more. I do it through teaching, leading programs and retreats, yoga counseling, and really just connecting with people on a daily basis. I have termed it “teaching yoga at the gas station.” It is my life’s work to take yoga off the mat and into people’s everyday lives.

I am here to live in passion & possibility and guide people to live in their passions & possibilities. I am alive when I am in service doing this. It is not always comfortable but that is living. If I want to guide people to face their fears and take action, then I have to do the same. It keeps me accountable. It is an incredible journey and I feel blessed to be able to do what I love everyday. I hope you are in creation of your best life!

So if you are looking for more of this in your life, connect with me on Facebook. There is always information at

This website is in the process of being updated. Stay tuned for Personal 1:1 Retreats with me in Florida as well as retreats in Bozeman, Montana & Nicaragua in 2016.

With Clarity comes Expansion!


Perfection in the Present Moment

Recently I have become aware of the meaning I give to my body and what it looks like. For as long as I can remember, I have not liked how my body looked. Nothing was ever good enough. I was either too big, too skinny, not enough muscle, too much muscle, too big of an ass, too small of an ass, etc. I constantly felt like my body was not good enough.

I found ways of feeling good about my body through running, weight lifting, and eventually yoga. I was able to see my body as strong, flexible, and capable of things I never knew were possible. This definitely made me feel more positive about my body and about myself. However, the feeling of my body not being enough was still there. I would beat my body up instead of treat it with compassion and love. Even if I was exhausted, sick or in pain, I would still work out and not listen to my body asking for a rest. Because if I didn’t, then I felt guilt, shame, and even fear. So although I had a more positive attitude about my body, the underlying issues were still there.

Yoga has brought more acceptance into my life in a huge way. It has allowed me to be more authentic and aware of myself. The negative thoughts about eating and body image were becoming more and more apparent. I learned to witness the thoughts and feelings without getting caught up into them (another awesome thing yoga and meditation brought into my life). So last night when I returned home from leading a yoga training, I was sitting on the couch looking at my body. I noticed the roundness of my belly, the curves of my hips and thighs and I was completely detached from it. I was admiring what the shapes looked like. I asked myself, “who said this is supposed to be different?” Why is a straight line more attractive than a curvy line? I started to realize it was all about not accepting and appreciating what was in the present moment. Why are our bodies supposed to be something other than what they are right now? Of course, there are images in our society as to what is viewed as beautiful and not beautiful but remember that is totally culture-dependent. I was so blown away by this “Ah Ha” moment that all those thoughts are just thoughts based on other people’s agreements and not my own. More importantly, I do not have to keep believing those thoughts and there is nothing I need to change about my body or the present moment.

As I sat and looked at my body, I think I was really seeing it for the first time through the eyes of love and not fear and it was mind-blowing. I had never seen this body before. In the past, I was not seeing what was presently before me and I had only seen my body through what others said it was supposed to look like. As I get more and more clarity, I can see that there really isn’t anything to fix and that everything is absolutely perfect in the present moment.

I Am Happy…Now What?

The other day I woke up and I liked myself. All of myself. What I looked like, who I was, what I did for a living. I was content. I was living in Joy. It was the oddest feeling ever. There was nothing to fix, nothing to cover up, or change. Now what? Really now what?

I realized that the reason so many people stay unhappy is because it is uncomfortable giving up the identity of being sick, depressed, the victim, what have you. Once you are no longer miserable, who are you, what do you focus on, what do you talk about? For as long as I can remember, I have always looked at the calorie content on everything I ate. I constantly thought about what I ate and what I was going to eat. I was obsessed with staying “thin” and what I believed was the perfect Christen. Well, lately I have been doing this thing called- Intuitive Eating and it has made a huge difference in my life. I eat what I want when I want and I listen to my body. It was super uncomfortable but I kept doing it because I am all about stepping out of the comfort zone. The other day I realized that I did not hate my body and it was weird because it was a new feeling. The craziest thing is that I am weighing about 10lbs. more than I typically allow myself to weigh and I have never been happier with myself. For me, I was ready to give up the identity of the calorie counter, the depriver, the thin one so that I could live in joy. It was not comfortable at first but it was worth it to feel the ease I experience now around myself and my body.

If you are feeling stuck, it is only because of you. That is the good news because only you can get yourself unstuck. Ask yourself…how is your unhappiness or current situation serving you? It might be how you get attention, or how you view yourself. What would life be like without this situation? Being happy, content, and in joy is a different feeling. If you are willing to step out of the comfort zone and stay in the discomfort of the newness, then you might find that there is a whole new world waiting for you.

Clouds Do Not Put Out the Sun…But I Do!

In the “Course In Miracles,” there is a saying, “the clouds do not put out the sun.” It basically means that the sun is always there but sometimes we just can’t see it. Today I heard Deepak Chopra say that grace is always there but we don’t always see it. It is so true. For the longest time, I believed I lived in scarcity. However, when I started to do some work on abundance, I was able to see abundance all around me- the leaves on the trees, the lizards sunning themselves, the sand and seashells on the beach, etc. The list goes on and on. The more I focused on abundance, the more I kept seeing it all around me and more abundance started to flow into my life. It is amazing how what you focus on, you give energy to, and you bring more of that into your life. Overall, I have been tapping into the natural flow of life, not trying to hard, living from my gut/intuition instead of my head. It has been wonderful to experience presence, peace and a lot more joy.

I realized the other day that I am living my best life. I am creating my life and doing what I love to do everyday. I am traveling to some pretty awesome places, including Montana and the Galapagos islands. My relationship with my husband is more authentic and loving than I ever thought possible. And you know what? It felt weird to realize all of this. My first thought was, “I don’t deserve all of this.” As I became more mindful of my thoughts, I started to see how many negative beliefs I had about myself and abundance, and how much more comfortable I was with those thoughts. Negativity and negative thoughts are just a habit. It is stepping out of my comfort zone to feel deserving of abundance.

Joyful living is available to us all of the time; it is really our natural state of being.  However, most of us do not believe this. It is a different experience for most of us to focus on what is working and how good life is. I realized that the only thing that blocks abundance in my life is me! So although the sun is always there, if I get in the way then, I am blocking the sun from entering my life. The sun can be anything from a new job opportunity, relationship, or a new way of being/ living.

Think about it…how often do you block the sun from entering your life? What are your beliefs about abundance and joyful living? Are those thoughts comfortable or uncomfortable? How do you get in your own way? Once we are aware, then we can make choices on how we want to more forward.

Namaste :)

Women’s Empowerment Retreat with the Yoga Shrink (9/12- 9/16/15)

I am so excited about my upcoming Women’s Empowerment Retreat in Bozeman, Montana with Dr. Tanda Cook this September. I was thinking about the many reasons why I love leading transformational/personal development retreats. I am so grateful that I get to explore the world and share new experiences with like-minded people. I love the sense of connectedness and community I experience when I lead these programs. People show up so open and willing and the friendships that are formed are unlike anything I have ever experienced or witnessed. So the reason I facilitate these retreats is because I am committed to guiding people to step into their natural Greatness. I have seen it time and time again during programs like, PYT’s 30 Day Digital Yoga Challenge, 40 Days to Personal Revolution, our 200 Hr. Teacher Training Program as well as Yoga Shrink Retreats. Participants are able to let go of their self-limiting beliefs and step into their natural state of Perfection. The best part of it is that I never laugh more than I do when I lead one of these programs. Learning to laugh at ourselves and our crazy thoughts is so beneficial. Why take yourself, life, or anything for that matter so seriously?

If you are looking to spend some time exploring your Greatness with a group of powerful women on a ranch in Bozeman, Montana where you will eat fresh, local, organic food, engage in daily yoga and meditation as well as have time to connect with yourself, nature, and some amazing women, then sign up now and join us.

As a former retreat participant stated, “Christen’s retreats are the best! What’s better than a mix of learning about yourself and laughing uncontrollably” (Kate L.- has been to 2 retreats with Christen).

For more details on the Women’s Empowerment Retreat in Bozeman, Montana (9/12- 9/16/15), go to: