Matrika

Mind-Body Coaching for Women with Sharon Fennimore, MA

March 31, 2014
by Sharon
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Private Sessions

Private sessions offer personalized instruction and mentoring at your convenience. If you would like to explore the possibility of working with me privately, either for yourself or for a small group that you organize, please schedule a free 30-minute consultation.  I only accept a small number of private yoga and meditation clients and want to make sure that we are an excellent fit before we begin work together.  In working together privately, I dedicate a significant amount of resources of time and expertise to you.  After our consultation, I will provide information on payment options and scheduling.

45-Minute Distance Sessions (Phone, SKYPE or recordings)

3-session package $300
6-session package $540
10-session package $850

60-Minute In-Person Sessions (at my choice of studio location for one person)

3-session package $375
6-session package $720
10-session package $1,000

Shared sessions, private groups, corporate accounts and other types of private arrangements are all priced individually and based on a variety of factors.  When I travel to your location I charge my hourly professional rate for travel time in addition to session time.  Please schedule a consultation to discuss your group’s needs.  I am delighted to create a proposal for working together.

 

February 26, 2014
by Sharon
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6-Week Course in Meditation and Buddhist Philosophy

footprint_001Four Noble Truths

Space is limited for this transformative distance learning opportunity!

REGISTER TODAY

 Do you want to improve the quality of your health on your own time, at your own pace and in the comfort of your home, office or local coffee shop?

Do you need an affordable meditation program that doesn’t require you to also pay for transportation, childcare, meals and housing?

Are you looking for new inspiration and meaning for your existing practice?  Are you a yoga or meditation teacher that wants to incorporate more meditation in your own practice and your teaching?

This course is for yoga and meditation students of all levels who want to know more about Buddhism and wish to learn metta meditation techniques to either start or refresh a daily meditation practice.  This is an intellectual, personal and shared journey into meditation practices that are inspired by insights related to the Four Noble Truths.  These are secular practices that can be incorporated into even the most busy lifestyle.

Course Description

In this six-week online course, we will explore the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism through Phillip Moffitt’s book, “Dancingtangka with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering.”  The course includes guided required reading of this text and instruction in a variety of mindful meditations that help build compassion and insight. 

Your tuition includes access to the online course module which includes a reading guide for the core text and instruction in mindfulness meditation techniques.  You can access this course 24/7 and download audio guided meditations to use at your convenience.  In addition, there will be four audio guides, one for each of the Four Noble Truths that will include a talk on that week’s Noble Truth from the reading and a guided meditation.  You will also be invited to a private Facebook group for interactive discussion about the book, themes of the course, meditation and core concepts introduced in the course.

The next course begins on March 14, 2014.  Space is limited to allow for personalized attention and group interaction.  Read course details and register online TODAY so you don’t miss out.  The price for this 6-week meditation and philosophy course is $75.  There are no refunds, but you can receive one free distance phone or SKYPE session with Sharon if you decide to drop the course before March 21, 201.  E-mail Sharon if you decide the course isn’t working for you: sharon@yogamatrika.com.

This course is for you if:

  • You want to feel less anxiety, stress and depression
  • You want to learn more about fundamental concepts in Buddhism
  • You need a flexible program that allows you to work at your convenience
  • You wish to increase your capacity for compassion

This course is for yoga and meditation students of all levels who want to know more about Buddhism and wish to learn metta meditation techniques to either start or refresh a daily meditation practice.  This is an intellectual, personal and shared journey into meditation practices that are inspired by insights related to the Four Noble Truths.  These are secular practices that can be incorporated into even the most busy lifestyle.

Dr. Dean Ornish has described the core textbook for this online course as, “…a profound book about the relationship between happiness and suffering.  It is filled with wisdom about how to live a more effective and satisfying life.  I recommend it for anyone who is struggling with change in their lives.” (From the back cover)

BONUS

*FREE Introduction to Meditation Audio Guide Workshop (online) [VALUE $30]
*FREE Invitation to Mindful Month Course (online) [VALUE $50]
*COUPON for a 25% discount on a 3-session Private Coaching Package with Sharon [Value $87.50]

BONUS value of over $160!

February 16, 2014
by Sharon
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Cheerful Books

“I’m not happy, I’m cheerful.  There’s a difference.  A happy woman has no cares at all.  A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.”

~Beverly Sills

I’ve got to be honest……this winter has been rough.  Between shoveling and ice and school cancellations and snow days and trying to drive on dangerously slippery roads, it’s been hard to stay cheerful.  Quite understandably, my children have cabin fever and long for the days when shooting hoops outdoors for hours and frolicking on somewhat dangerous playground equipment is possible.

gnome readingOn my own, left with enough chai tea, good books, yarn and a yoga mat, I can survive for quite a while through a snowy winter.  But, the addition of having to keep two wee ones occupied and not go insane with cabin fever makes it really difficult to truly release into winter.  I can’t really dive into a juicy novel for hours of uninterrupted joy.  Imagine my great delight at finding these two books that offer little treats in doses that even I can explore in short periods!

The first book is titled, All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours and is by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.  Read a page or two about the drinking games of the  poets of the Orchid Pavilion from China in 353 CE, the nothing that happened at Ray Johnson’s meetings of the New York Correspondence School, the history of the afternoon nap, the method for placing a tablecloth in the Elizabethan era, or the challenges that faced nude models at the Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris in 1868.  No matter where you open this little volume, you find a treasure of creativity, experience and ways that humans have passed the time of their lives all around the globe.

The second book is titled, The Sweetness of Life and is by Francoise Heritier. I’m sure that if a gnome could read, it would read this magical little volume.  In it, the author simply lists delightful experiences of being alive.  Many are singular events of memorable joy, some are the daily cheer of simply experiencing the little things in life and some are banal and made sweet by the author’s own recollection of them.  From “….being invited to the country by friends you are fond of and discovering that the ocean lies just beyond their house (34)” to “…picturing Earth rushing through space under your body lying flat in a meadow covered with daisies (53)” to “…having an intimate conversation with a Siamese cat or a Brittany spaniel (15)” this book of thoughts and ideas can easily be enjoyed in just a minute and is a beautiful reminder of all that life has to offer us if we only remind ourselves that it is beautiful.  That THIS moment is magnificent and memorable.

I hope that you find these books as soothing and inspiring as I have.  Choose to be cheerful dear reader!  Even as you shovel, the earth around the bulbs is starting to loosen and warm.  Soon we will be given a ticket to the magnificent jewels of the crocus poking up at us through the frozen earth and the tulips and daffodils aren’t that far behind!  I hear the song birds in the early morning hours and they are chanting of the warmth of the sun that isn’t that far behind their arrival.

Posted by Sharon Fennimore, a yoga and meditation instructor and personal coach and advisor based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

February 16, 2014
by Sharon
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Skeleton Part of Endocrine System?

“You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a Veal Orloff.  But you can do something very good with a sow’s ear.”
~Julia Child

So, according to this blog post about the work of Gerard Karsenty, our bones produce a protein that impacts the health of our endocrine system.  Amazing!

 

February 9, 2014
by Sharon
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Monsters, Shadows and Bad Dreams

monster in closetAlthough we associate fear of something in the closet, a monster having taken residence under our bed, shadows in the shape of snakes and the dreaded bad dream as afflictions of children and young ones too new to be able to apply logic to fantasy, when we are being honest, adults struggle with sleep and the role of sleep in their lives.  We try to fall asleep, but that chronic ache in our shoulder is suddenly a symphony of pain and no matter how we move we can’t get comfortable.  Our bodies are exhausted, but we lie down and immediately our mind is an Olympic quality racer and we can’t even trace the tracks.  Essentially, the monster that has taken residence under the bed may no longer be some slimy, toe biting, one eyed, baby napper…….it’s that car insurance bill that slipped behind the desk, that last e-mail you read at work before you shut down for the night that caused fear and loathing, the dreams you had to climb the mountain and now you wonder if your car is going to start or how you are going to both fill that same car with gas and feed your children……..and poems you want to read and a new color you wanted to add to your painting and all the flavors of ice cream you haven’t tried yet and how you are going to get to the beach and wondering if you remembered to take the clothes out of the drier or sign the permission slip or, for that matter, lock the door.  Did you remember to lock the door?  Forget the door, is your alarm set?

If you have children in your life, whether a parent, an aunt, a neighbor, a babysitter or teacher, one of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to help them center and find calm around falling asleep.  This is a learned skill and one that they can carry with them for their whole life.  As a matter of fact, creating a ritual of centering and time to reflect, hope and be calm before sleep may benefit your own health and well-being in surprising ways.

In Deepak Chopra’s book, “The Book of Secrets” the second secret is that “You are not in the world; the world is in you (21).”  He secretsargues that there is no way to prove the existence of an outside world and that, for all anyone knows, the entire outside world could be a dream (20-21).  ”When I’m in bed having a dream, I see a world of events just as vivid as the waking world…But when I open my eyes in the morning, I know that these vivid events were all produced inside my head.  I’d never make the mistake of falling for this trick because I already assume that dreams aren’t real (20-21).”  When we learn how to open to a calm space before sleep, we prepare for a more creative, abundant and satisfying dream life.  This spills into our waking life as we apply the same creative principles to our movement and appreciation of space, time and relationships during the daytime.

cooperCooper Edens has written and illustrated two beautiful little books that are perfect for adults and for reading and exploring with wee ones right before sleep.  One is titled, “If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow.”  The other is titled, “If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Add One More Star to the Night.”  Suggestions for dealing with fears include, “If your eyeglasses wear out….put them on your back and call them your wings.”  and “If your elephant forgets…perhaps your aardvark knows the answer.”  Yes, ridiculous, but soothing and joyful and just what you, need to send the concerns of the day off to rest so you can too.

Another beautiful resource is a book of simple visualizations for children by Maureen Garth titled, “Starbright: Meditations for cooper 2Children.”  I’m not embarrassed to share that I personally find these to be incredibly helpful to read and visualize before I go to sleep.  There are most definitely “adult” techniques that are not necessarily more complex, but use our ability as adults to locate sensation in the body in a deeper way or actively release tension and I do not suggest that this is the best resource for adult relaxation and visualization, but it is a resource that you can use with children that will benefit you as the facilitator in ways you may or may not be able to predict.  In the Introduction, the author teaches you a basic starting meditation that you use in the same way for all meditation sessions using the book.  Basically, you create a garden and then, you choose one of the individual meditations to continue your garden journey.  For example, “The Clouds” meditation on page 65 begins with:

“As you enter your garden, you become aware of the softness of the air caressing your cheeks, and the warmth of the sun on your body.  Look around and you can see the trees and plants all sharing the same earth happily with the flowers and the animals.  The sky is a deep shade of blue although it is also very bright and clear.  The golden sun is high in the heavens warming the earth and all of the earth’s creatures.”

My whole body relaxed just typing that paragraph!  Isn’t it just so SWEET?  Before I do the meditation, my older child likes to read buddha bedtimea story from the book, “Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire” by Dharmachari Nagaraja.  Here dear reader, I’ve got to be honest with you.  I don’t get the attraction to these stories.  But, I simply can’t deny that both of my children (ages 2 and 7) listen to them intently and I can visually see them relax.  So, I guess the attraction is that they work for children and that means good things for the parents who previously had to go 20-rounds of “But I’m not tired….my foot feels squished….I need a drink of water….these pajamas are itchy…” and now only have to read a remarkably boring story that somehow manages to lull a wee one into a state of creative calm.  A calm child sweet before dreaming is a relaxed parent.

joyful mindFor adults, I would also like to suggest that how you wake up changes how you perceive your sleep.  My phone is my alarm clock and this is dangerous.  As soon as I wake up, I also see how many Facebook Messenger chats I’ve received, new e-mail messages and I am tempted to check Facebook and the weather too.  Instead, what I do is read a Lojong slogan and commentary by Pema Chodron from her book, “Always Maintain a Joyful Mind.”  This is the best way to make meditation practice a part of your morning.  It takes less than two minutes to read the slogan and the commentary and during my morning I keep returning to it.  Sometimes I return to it through the day and the slogan provides a thread of awareness from my waking self through the day.  So many of my students and clients desire to wake up earlier and make yoga and meditation a part of their day.  But, for most of us, we are barely getting the rest we need to begin with and we simply can’t dedicate even 20-minutes to contemplative practice or energy work as the day starts.  For parents of young children, there is literally no time between that early morning cry for food, a fresh diaper or a cuddle and when the day must begin.  But, a nursing mom or father can read a slogan while feeding a baby in bed and carry that contemplation into the care of the infant and through the day.  We all have two minutes, a few of us even have five minutes.  This is my absolute favorite resource for making contemplation and the energy of meditation practice a reality no matter how pressed for time I am.

February 2, 2014
by Sharon
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Is your PERIOD a SENTENCE?

Is your Period a Sentence

Fertility and Reproductive Health Coaching

 

Your menstrual cycle is unique and I provide individually designed programs that support your optimum reproductive health.  Whether you are trying to conceive, hoping to avoid pregnancy or if you are looking to tame symptoms that are reducing your quality of life, we will work together to bring your moon cycles into harmony with your creativity, intelligence and vitality.

Believe it or not, within six-months, you can be pain free and enjoying predictable periods.  Not only can we reduce your period-related pain and discomfort, you will find at the end of your program that you have a map for taking advantage of the various energies of your moon cycle.  You will know when you are most fertile, turned-on, tuned-in, creative and energetic and when you are most supported with an inward focus and nourishing activities.  Not only will your health improve, but your whole quality of life will evolve for the better as you find yourself more efficient, aware, responsive and confident.

With my six-month coaching program, you will feel completely understood and supported as we work towards radically reducing your symptoms, identifying patterns in your unique cycle and using proven techniques for meeting your personal wellness goals.  Although the transformation you experience will be radical, the work is gentle.  No strict diets or severe lifestyle changes.  We work from where you are and then take you where you want to go.

I know that you may feel right now that it is impossible to even imagine not being in pain or having regular menstrual cycles.  But, I KNOW that it is not only possible, but it is your right to enjoy a healthy, beautiful and pain free menstrual cycle.  I’m so sure that I can help you that I offer a 100% money back guarantee.  Start today with a FREE evaluation and a guided meditation so you can reduce your stress level immediately.  There is no obligation to work with me.

My Story

I’ve been there.  As a teenager, my doctor prescribed birth control pills to “help” correct my irregular and incredibly painful menstrual cycles.  But, taking synthetic hormones so early in my life and for so many years backfired.  By my early twenties I had cervical abnormalities that lead to painful biopsies and was experiencing large ovarian cysts.  Each doctor I would see would say that by taking birth control pills I was already doing what was “best” for my “condition”.  Finally, I had an ovarian cyst that was so large you could feel it through my abdominal wall and a doctor suggested that I have surgery as soon as possible to remove it.

No one ever asked me about my stress level, diet, sleeping patterns, satisfaction in my relationships or how I envisioned reproductive health or how my symptoms impacted my sexuality or ability to be creative and joyful in other areas of my life.  I just kept checking off the boxes “irregular periods” on the forms.

But surgery?  Surgery seemed so drastic that I woke up and started asking around.  In whispered conversations in the ladies room in my office building I heard about an amazing acupuncturist who might be able to help.  And help she did!  Within 4-weeks the cyst that was the size of a tangerine was no longer identifiable on an ultrasound.  The surgeon made me go back for a second ultrasound because she couldn’t believe that a cyst that gigantic had just disappeared.  I am sure that the acupuncture and herbs that I took were helpful, but what I believe to have changed my life forever were the conversations that I had with my acupuncturist.  Was I happy in my marriage?  Did I like my job?  What was I eating for breakfast?  How was my quality of sleep?  And each week, she would suggest that I add a little something new and delicious to my diet—-pumpkin seeds?  Walnuts? Why, yes, I like pumpkin seeds and walnuts!  I could eat more of those.  Try wheat grass?  Why not?  I’ve been pumping synthetic hormones through my body and organs and brain for the better part of 15-years.  Why not wheat grass?

Ovarian cysts–gone forever.  I re-defined what a “regular” cycle was based on my own beautiful body and connection to the earth and rhythms of the moon, oceans and earth itself.  Knowing when I ovulated helped me design a work and study schedule that respected my most creative periods.  When I was more inward focused I knew better than to schedule big presentations or force multiple-deadlines.  And, although many intelligent doctors said it would never be possible to conceive a baby naturally, I had two beautiful children.

 

Imagine

Imagine what it would be like to be liberated from painful periods, heavy bleeding, bloating, moodiness, cysts, infections and irregular cycles that keep you guessing.

Imagine what it would be like to know exactly when you are most fertile and creative.

Imagine what it would be like to look forward to your period.

 

Holistic Approach

Step One: Start Where you are

We start with where you are: your reproductive health as you experience it right now.  I take the time to really listen to your experiences, symptoms, hopes and how you envision what a healthy menstrual cycle looks like for you.  I offer some very simple to implement nutritional advice and teach you how to chart your menstrual cycle, be aware of fertility and ovulation signs and teach you some ways to relieve stress, tension in the body and address specific symptoms (for example: headaches, cramps, back and breast pain).

Step Two: Now We Know What We Know

After you take a couple of months to chart your cycles using my methods, then we have some information to work with.  This information will help you communicate more clearly with your doctors.  For example, just checking off the “irregular periods” box doesn’t help your doctor as much as you saying, “I only ovulate every 40-days.”  You may also notice things that are energy related, but within your control.  For example, you may see that you ovulate on day 20 of your cycle for 3-months in a row, but in the 4th month you have a really stressful presentation on the 20th day of your cycle and you don’t ovulate that month until day 22.  In this stage, we have real information to work with and create goals for working with this information so that we can see change over time.

Step Three: Making Change

Now that we know specific information about your cycle, we can use that information to implement changes at the right times to support you in creating a healthy menstrual cycle and optimum fertility.  Fertility isn’t just about making a baby, it is about growing into your most creative, juicy and sexy self!

Step Four: Optimum Reproductive Health

In the final stage of the coaching program, you find that you are experiencing a great reduction in pain and discomfort.  Your cycles are not only predictable, but you look forward to their arrival.  You marvel at how beautiful you feel around your ovulation and schedule time to be alone and quiet when you approach your time of bleeding.  You see the wisdom in your blood.

Begin Today

The first step towards optimum reproductive health and fertility is filling out this new client form so that I can provide you with a FREE initial consultation and evaluation.  Your response is completely confidential.  Within 48-hours of submitting your new client form, I will send you a personalized e-mail with a link to a FREE 10-minute guided meditation so that you can start to reduce your stress level today.  I will let you know if I feel that my coaching program is right for you and suggest a plan of action based on your symptoms and goals.  The price of your program will depend on the number of sessions that we determine is appropriate for maximum benefit.  Programs range from 3-9 months and payment plans are available to meet your needs.

Pain free and regular periods are priceless!  This is an investment in your health and well-being that will improve every area of your life.  You know how much you’ve already spent on doctors, diets, tests, medications, sick days, missed vacations……….instead of spending money on “something” this coaching program is an investment in YOU and you deserve it!

I believe in you.  I believe that you can feel better and have a pain free and higher quality of life.  I know it is possible for you.

 

January 17, 2014
by Sharon
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Mittens

Today, my dear friend Cosy gifted me a pair of mittens that she knit for me.  They are amazing.  She is a simply genius fiber artist and the wool she used is her own handspun and uniquely dyed in the colors of an early spring woods.  I am nothing short of in love with these duel jewels.

Then, tonight, as I was doing dishes, I noticed that it was snowing fast outside.  Big flakes.

And, somehow, the combination of the quiet of the night, the fast and intense snowfall and having received mittens all brought me to a very special memory.  I was home from college on a winter break.  One night I went to a coffee shop on Forbes Avenue (that no longer exists) and I waited while a friend closed up after his shift at work.  Although this was easily twenty-years ago (more?), I was brought back to the evening and the way that the bleach water from the mop filled the air with something stale while the smell of espresso beans hung in the atmosphere and the Rolling Stones were playing on the sound system.  I was young.  I was also incredibly in love.

After my friend closed up the coffee shop we walked together back to his house.  It was freezing cold and there were huge snowflakes falling.  I remember thinking to myself that the moment could not be any more perfect between my love, my youth, and the beauty of that snow falling.  Now, you might be wondering where the mittens come in?  You see, I was wearing mittens and I took off a mitten so that I could hold my friends’ hand.  We walked in almost perfect silence, hand in hand, as the snow landed on our noses and foreheads and covered the top of our hats.  Mittens. Snow. Love.  It was so safe and so comfortable and the potential of the whole night just rolled out before us along that snowy urban path.

When I close my eyes and I wear my new mittens, far more beautiful mittens than those I wore in the memory, I can feel the beauty of that night.  I can feel the presence of my dear friend and the energy of all the love I had in my heart for him. And, just for a moment, in this moment, I am that young woman with her dreams all exposed with the snow falling on her nose–vulnerable, safe, confident and mindful that even though the experience would pass that the memory would serve as a jewel-toned gem for the rest of her life.

And, it is.

Thanks for the walk in the snow and for holding my hand.  Thanks for the beautiful mittens.

January 7, 2014
by Sharon
1 Comment

Animal Three: Squirrel

Squirrel AudubonSquirrels.

I only know of one contemporary profession of squirrel admiration and that is The Squirrel in Our Window website by KPF Digital about a little squirrel baby in his Brooklyn, NY window.  One of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read was by Bill Adler called “Outwitting Squirrels”.  But, in general, we watch these spectacular rodents run from one backyard to the next and never really wonder about the lives of the squirrels.  One of my top ten favorite squirrels of all time is the one that plays the saxophone (or is it a pipe?) in George Harrison’s “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You Video”.