Developing & Trusting an Inner Voice

We celebrated Indra River’s 4 week birthday this past weekend with a camping trip and yoga gathering at a beautiful farm outside Huntsville, AR. Great people, delicious food and amazing weather. I spent my longest time yet away from Indra — a couple hours where he and Michael walked down to the nearby creek while I practiced in circle next to dear friends. I thought of my boys a few times while they were gone and for the most part stayed present, focused on my breath and overlooking the beautiful gardens in front of me.

Every year I believe more and more in magic. Call it witches and fairytales, spells and curses, none of those things seem “made up” or unrealistic to me anymore. The experiences I have had with the practices of mindfulness and meditation have led me to see the world around me in a different way. The powers we hold in our minds to create, change or destroy the world around us are more impactful than we often recognize. The highlights of my life today have all unfolded through dreams that I intended to manifest. Setting intentions and maintaining positive affirmations until they unfold — sounds like a spell to me.

Our midwife’s assistant, Misty, acknowledged something really special to me about Indra’s birth. She said that she recognized our family’s commitment to doing the hard work and having a blissful experience at the same time. The best way I can describe it:  Our home was filled with flowers in every corner like pure heaven and at the same time I was prepared to go to the deepest depths of suffering. I knew that was where the full experience would be and that is what I wanted. For me, that’s where true joy really lies. Not in the surface of pretty frilly experiences. In the full experience of present life.

There is an inner voice inside all if us that guides us to this place. It is constantly there even though we may not always here it. So how do you connect to it? Pause. Really pause. Clear the noise and listen. Like the cicadas buzzing outside my window right now. Depending on where my mind is, what I am focused on or the noises playing inside my house, I may or may not hear them. And they are there regardless, singing away and inviting me back to a present state. The noises distracting you are often thoughts of worry, fear or doubt. They may be the thoughts of others as well. There is an inner radiance that I feel when I am listening to my own true inner voice. Yoga has taught me to find that sensation and continues to teach me how to connect with it in stronger ways every day.

Last week Jess and I sat on my back deck and reflected on what little Indra has taught me so far. One of the biggest things has been honoring my sensitivity as a woman and a mother. Often society has given me the thought that I need to control my emotions or sensitive nature as a female — that I am naturally “over sensitive”. Indra has shown me what value my sensitivities truly have. I am designed to have them in order to care for children; to mother babies and nurture the world. The more in tune I am with his energy and needs, the faster I see him grow and develop. The more i see the fairytale of our lives unfold. Cultivating sensitivity to the experience of my inner voice is what my life is all about right now. Even through the work and tested moments I would not change a thing.

Feeling magic,

To Feel or Not To Feel: Emotions & Mind Post Birth

The post birth period continues to be just as powerful as what precedes it. Surrounded by a giant energy field of this tiny human, the natural instincts that have risen within me combined with the massive expansion of my heart feels like a powerful drug at times. Indra Riv is developing too fast. He is only three weeks old and I have an intense aversion to the growth and development coupled with ultimate proud parent vibe. Through this experience of absolute bliss there is still dualism present in my mind. My job is to filter out the BS. While I am more confident than I have ever been in my thoughts and decisions, there are still, as always, thoughts contradiction in my mind. In Yoga we call it chitta or mind chatter. A voice that questions my natural instincts and can spark doubt or concern in an otherwise perfect moment. During pregnancy I was given a lot of information that could lead to fear about what these first weeks and months will be like. From expectations of sleep deprivation to postpartum depression, there is no shortage of anticipation that can build around this time in a mother’s life. In an effort to help others sort through these thoughts, I am shining light on my most frequent mind chatter and how I am dealing with it.

– To cry or not to cry

My answer is cry. Always cry. I bawled yesterday (and two more times reflecting on the moment) to the country song that goes, “If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”. That crashed down on my like a ton of bricks. I have heard the song many times before and now as a mother it resonates in a whole new way. There is a strange reaction within people that correlates crying with ‘something is wrong’. My first reaction to someone crying is always Awesome. Someone is connected to their feelings. When Riv cries I do my best to support him. We have not experienced any unreasonable fits of crying. When he is upset, there is a reason. We respond to his needs and then try to hold space for him to process his feelings. If there is one thing I can offer this boy, it is going to be space to process his emotions. Little boys are rarely encouraged to express anger or sadness in our culture. Nor are they as quick to be forgiven for throwing fits like their female peers typically are. My main intention is to raise this boy in an environment where he is free to express himself at his deepest core. Where our whole family can.

– To research or not to research

There have been moments where Michael and I have looked at each other and said, can you quickly Google _______?? But less than I would have imagined before starting this process. It is incredible how much information is available online. Information that can be quite helpful but also harmful. I distinctly remember the first time I stumbled on Scary Mommy dot com. The article that drew me there had something to do with the “realities” of pregnancy and birth — what people won’t tell you, the hard truths, etc. My experience with the site was like diving into a dark pool of drama and swimming in circles for 30min before remembering to come up for a breath of fresh air. There were endless articles of ranting about motherhood covered with a sarcastic entertaining humor that my mouse just wanted to keep clicking on. All topics that appealed to my fear-based ego brain quite intensely at the time.. My advice is read and research when and only what is necessary and work. Let your internal instincts guide as much as you possibly can. We are programed to care for children. If you are healthy and well rested, hormones and internal sensitivities will not let you ignore a true need that a baby in front of you has. Avoid dramatic and non-essential readings or conversations. Things like this will breed chatter in the mind and distract you from what is truly important: The experience in front of you, not the hypothetical one on a computer screen.

– To work or not to work [or] To rest or not to rest

How active should I stay throughout the day? How much work should I start to focus on? All with the intention of serving myself and my family best, there is chatter in my mind to decide which actions to take when. Should I be writing this blog right now instead of connecting with Michael or cuddling the sleeping babe in my lap? For me the answers are clearest when I ask them in the moment, rather than planning my day or week ahead and executing then. As much as possible I am working to keep my schedule relatively free so that I can focus my energy where it is needed now. I can already see shifts in how this little one needs my time and attention. At times this past week Indra has enjoyed staring out the window and practicing tummy time on his own. Then there have been more times in which I know he really needs me — 100% undivided attention me. These cannot be predicted ahead of time and my reaction to them are key. I find the same for investing my own energy. It is more necessary that I decide in the moment whether it is time for my body to be physically active or not. Deciding in the morning when I wake up what kind of activity I am going to be doing at 6pm has not been helpful. Nor is thinking about how quickly I will heal and be ready to do more. My mind has wanted to spend hours planning out how and when I am going to practice yoga. When in reality, if I would just spend those moments either practicing to what extent feels right or being productive with what is needed in that moment, strategic planning of my energy would be completely unnecessary, it would just be unfolding. Continuously ask yourself what is it time for now? The answer is there and that is all that is needed.


Is life totally different?

Are you feeling okay? Can I hold him? Does life feel totally different?

The three questions I’ve gotten the most. Answered in detail below. Even in this socially limited state, connection with others is happening a lot. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love that I have felt from my community. While almost all of my energy is going toward this little man, many moments of connection outside the babe bubble have been priceless for my presence in it.

Are you feeling okay?

I am feeling great. Healing has progressed really well and yes, I am planning to get back on my mat very soon!! Maybe later this week 🙂 I know rest has been a major piece to thank for my progress. Indra is sleeping soundly at night and I am still taking it easy throughout the day. Hands down I know it has been my yoga practice more than anything that has guided my smooth journey into motherhood. My mind and emotions have also been steady. Indra is like a 24-7 meditation companion. Just looking at him makes me want to still my mind and not miss a minute of right now. We joined in on some teacher training sessions back at the studio this weekend! Indra experienced his first group OM outside the womb.

Can I hold him?

No… For the first 40 days Indra River is staying right by my and Michael’s side. Grandparents and a few dear friends may be a brief exception, for their sanity 🙂 I love Yogi Bhajan’s quote;

“He was inside where he was warm, cozy, and well contained. He came out and now he needs that touch, that feeling, that oneness within the nine feet of your aura. You are a modern woman. You want to go to a movie theater. When a child is born, you must stick with him for forty days and for two years you and your husband must keep him near the breast and the chest. That is the most darling God born in innocence to two people who believed in love.”

This time is so precious to me. Mama Bear in me is for sure present. While I appreciate the interest that others have in connecting with and building a relationship with Indra; it is not time yet. Babies are sacred developing humans. Soon enough he will be running around investigating the world and there will be plenty of time for bonding and connecting then. For now he is building his own energy field and learning to trust the world around him from his parent’s arms. Smiles and hellos are most welcome when you see us!

Is life totally different now?

Life feels exactly the same. My intentions are still exactly the same:  Stay connected to my highest self, live life to the fullest and do the best job I can on planet Earth. While the focus has now shifted towards being a Mom and I have new daily tasks that support the life of another, I am still dealing with the exact same challenges:  Stay present in the moment, manage my energy in support of my intentions and be my most authentic self. When I train yoga teachers, we work with the idea that being authentic means what you say, what you think, what you feel and what you do are all in alignment. I still have so many opportunities the develop this within my own life. Indra River is turning out to be the most incredible witness for this. I want so very badly to be the best possible example of authenticity for him. Every day I am identifying more ways to make that happen. Seeing it is always the first step — making the change often takes more courage. I am grateful for this little human that is challenging me now more than ever to step up and be the person that I want to be.

Cheers to navigating new paths of growth and life,


Week 1: Postpartum 101

Indra River has officially been with us for a week. Best week of my life. The healing and integration process has been beautifully intense. This post will likely be enjoyed most by those to whom the postpartum process is near and dear. Also, anyone working through healing of any kind or an interest in early human development.

When I woke up the morning after Indra’s birth (His first name is sticking quite a bit these days.. 🙂 Post on that coming soon!) I had the swift realization that I was officially in full-on rehab mode. This has been my first experience with bodily trauma. Aside from a routine wisdom teeth removal, I have never experienced a surgery, injury or major illness — nothing near the level of post-birth. I had some minor tears (no stitches) and a standard, healthy birth. As my organs return to their normal size and my body sheds excess blood and fluids, I am again left humbled by the birth process.

Healing feels like a dance with rest and rejuvenation. There is definitely a level of pure rest that has been non-negotiable. I felt myself cross the line of too much effort once or twice and for the most part I have been honoring that edge. At the same time there’s still a level of effort necessary to stimulate my body and mind. Meditation, gentle breath-work and a general commitment to staying engaged with Michael and others (while also being present to the babe in my arms) has been key for me. In addition to the following..

The top 4 things supporting my healing process;

  1. Herb baths 2xs/day – first thing in the morning, last thing at night. It is also a really meditative time for me while I focus on feeling comforted and refreshed. Also, for connecting with little man — he loves bath time! I make sure to nurse him at the end so that Michael can take him and give me extra space for self-care rituals. Abhyanga, self oil massage, is a favorite. Just a couple extra minute to braid my hair or put on earrings makes all the difference in the world, too.
  2. Daily tinctures of Nurtured Mother (from Birthsong Botanicals), Chlorophyll and Turmeric. Along with a ton of fluids all day long. All necessary for strong blood, inflammation and hydration. Chanting to myself healing mantas as I consume. I am healing, I am healthy, I am happy.
  3. Breastmilk. It’s magic. Those tears I mentioned, breastmilk almost numbed them. Also, kombu! It’s seaweed — feel free to message me for more info 🙂
  4. Last, Michael’s food. If I could only have one thing from the list, this would be it. Healthy, intentional meals are key. Great news is he’s offering a meal service. If you’re nursing you have to try some of his lactation bars. Amazing.

Everything else on this list can be found at Ozark Natural Foods and/or Terra Tots.

The first few days I was waited on hand and foot just to accomplish the above. Michael was back and forth between the kitchen and bonding with the babe and me. My Mother supported him with cleaning and all other household management. Michael and I have been able to give this little man so much direct love and energy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Indra’s development has been amazing. He is such an awesome little member of our family already. He is sleeping soundly in 5hr+ stretches in the night, solidly nursing throughout the day and clearly communicating with us when he needs something. All this in addition to being supremely healthy, interactive and a sweet cuddler.

The top 3 things most supporting his development right now;

  1. Skin-to-skin Contact. As much of it as possible. He’s either in our arms, laying in our laps or in a Boba wrap on Dad’s chest. He still has yet to wear anything but a cloth diaper and socks. All of these things are helping him stay calm as he feels loved and cared and connected to the world around him 24/7. He is also able to utilize his muscles more throughout the day and build a stronger sensory interaction with the world than he would in a bouncer or swing.
  2. Continuous Communication. We are talking to him all day long about what we’re doing: What the plan is for the day, what we’re doing in the moment, explaining noises he hears.. When we go to pass him off, there’s a clear “Daddy’s going to take you. Ready? 1,2,3 ..” You can watch his body tense up right between 2 and 3 as he prepares for the transfer. It’s so freaking cool. And totally contributing to his comfort level with the world.
  3. Instant Need Fufilment. When he asks for something, he gets it. As quickly as possible. We’re watching his mouth for signs that he’s ready to nurse. Or adjusting him if he’s obviously uncomfortable. It takes a high commitment to presence with him and it’s so important to us that right now he builds that trust in life right now. That he has a basic feeling of ‘I get what I need from the world around me’. There will be a time in which I am interested in teaching him about processing emotions like fear and frustration. Now’s not the time for that. It’s happy baby, happy momma. And it is a beautiful, blissful time.

I have a lot more to share! Including a recap of my experience with the placenta smoothie (yep, I saved it) and I’d like to write a whole post on my emotional and spiritual process of this week. All coming with time. Please share with the mommas you know and keep feedback and thoughts coming! Photos below of Indra River’s documentation process earlier today! He is now official in our man made world.. Pales in comparison to the essence of existance ❤


He’s here!

On Sunday night we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world. As I type this he is nestled at my side sleeping soundly. His cooing sounds are trance-inducing and it is a tough commitment to stare at the screen instead of him. I choose to get this out now because the experience is already starting to fade from my memory in many ways. As I very slowly begin to emerge into our worldly life it feels as if I am stepping out of a river that has fully engulfed me in raw and pure emotion. It has quenched a thirst within me that I did not know existed. I have been fully present with pure love and pure pain at my deepest core for the past five days. I can feel emotions of all kinds rise within me as I start to step out. This experience has been so empowering that I know I can do anything I choose to now. Especially with my new family by my side. With that, I’ll share his official name — finally settled! Indra River Pulfer. He will be known as “Riv” for short. Riv Pulfer. I know I am the first of many who will be (and already are) madly in love with this being  🙂

I was beyond humbled by his birth. In many ways I was so prepared and in others there is just no way I could have been prepared for it. Surrender of a new level was necessary for me. As a yogi, watching sensation in the body is something I do daily. I can see pain and struggle and the reactionary patterns that are tied to it — sometimes I get caught up in the moment and sometimes I am able to stay aware and present with it. Throughout the contractions of birth, insecurities of all kinds swelled within me. While the pain was intense, it was an eventual surrender to the pain and fear that allowed the birth to progress. In the end I found myself making a deal with the universe at my deepest core that I would give in and allow myself to feel supported fully by the universe. Always. In return was given the most priceless gift; the healthiest and most magical baby I have ever met.

A more extended birth story follows for those interested in the process. From anatomical and spiritual perspectives I have a novel to share on this subject. Some day I will write a book. Being the experiential learner that I am, I will likely have a couple more before 🙂 until then, read below and I will share so much more with anyone I interact with intimately. In short, don’t be shy if you are curious or would like to share stories. Birth is a subject that needs to be much more widely expressed and developed within our culture and right now that is something I am incredibly passionate about.

Also feel free to skip to the bottom instead and enjoy the awesome pictures captured by our dearest friend, Jess ❤

Saturday, July 4th

At some point throughout the day I started to experience steady, rhythmic contractions about 8min apart. They felt amazing. While I was 12 days past the 40 week “due date” I had aligned on between my nurse midwife and midwife, I was also 22 days past the standard calculation from my last menstrual cycle. My mind had been going crazy, though my spirit knew everything was exactly as it should be. Needless to say I was thrilled the time had come. I then focused on staying decently active with house chores and ended the evening with Ina May’s recommendation of a bubble bath + glass of wine + sleep. The last two were half way completed..

Sunday AM, July 5th

Around 10am we established that I was in active labor. I was dilated between 4 and 5cm when Maria, Misty and my Mom arrived. Michael had been by my side phenomenally for quite a few hours at this point and my contractions were intensifying. There was now space to take the next steps with this group present. We sat together in our bedroom at first and I settled into my intentions. My main focus was that I find as much softness in my body between contractions and that I stay present enough to explain to the baby what was happening throughout labor. I felt like I had all the support in the world. Maria has been more than a midwife for us the past 9 months; she has been a spiritual guide, caring friend and trusted advisor. Her assistant Misty has always made us feel like we have two midwives. If Maria was out of the room, I never felt like I wasn’t fully covered. They each bring incredible and unique things to the table and having them there together was incredible.

My Mother radiated kindness, love and service to me that day. I needed her and she showed up for me big time. Michael and I’s relationship grew more than I had any idea it would. He continues to amaze me every day, especially as a father, and this home birth experience has elevated our entire family to a new level of bonding that I didn’t realize it would. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

Sunday PM, Jult 5th

Riv entered at 7:56pm after 10 hours of active labor. I hit multiple waves of depletion and exhaustion throughout the day. Mid-afternoon my cervix opened to 9cm and I found myself pressed against a wall of resistance and fear that was tough to break. I spent hours with little progress as I resisted the ultimate vulnerability that was being asked of me. Letting him out seemed terrifying. In the end I found a new place of strength and vitality inside me. I pushed through and as with most things in my life, the rewards have far surpassed the effort of the work.

Riv is an incredible babe fed on massive amounts of love. He is sleeping like a rock, breastfeeding like a boss expressing himself fully while trusting his environment in big ways. I feel stronger and more connected to the world around me than I ever have before. I know this experience will always be with me. i cannot express my gratitude enough for the love and support of our family and friends. I promise to share an awesome little boy with you all in return.

Heart exploding love,

Photographs by Jess Gallegos of Artefact Image Co

Dear Baby

Today is July 2nd, 2015. You’re growing inside my belly and I’m sitting at our dining room table, looking out across our backyard watching a summer storm roll in. Tonight is a full moon and I would love to see you under it.

It has been 10 days since your second due date. The first one was June 12th — if we go off of that, you’ve been developing for 43 weeks now. But that’s a poor attempt at trying to understand the vast magical creation of who you are; which I know we cannot grasp. This has been such an incredible test of patience, as your Daddy and I are both so excited to meet you. We can’t wait to hold you, to kiss you, to look into your eyes and cuddle you. However, once we have that I know we will then just be waiting to learn more about you. We won’t be able to wait to learn your preferences, your passions, your talents. Which we know you will have many of.

There’s no doubt at my core that you are going to be a brilliant, beautiful and powerful person on this planet. The chatter of my mind has all sorts of things to worry about — is it taking to long for you to be born? Will you be healthy? Will I be able to handle the birth? Will you love us? Will you hate us someday?

Though it is quite loud at times, I know the chatter is useless worry. I have gotten pretty good at distinguishing the fear based voices in my head over the past few years. A practice I hope to share with you often.

We have a wonderful midwife, Maria. Her team is really phenomenal, too. You will love them. They have been so supportive of our family, as have many others. Everyone at the studio is so excited to meet you. Along with many other friends who have been so supportive and praying for your safe entry into this world. Your grandparents are thrilled. You grandmother, Robin, grandfather, Mark, and grandfather, Avo, are all chomping at the bit to meet you! Their lives will be filled with joy because of you. And I’m sure you’ve met your grandmother, Kim. I know she will always be watching over you.

Your Daddy loves you so much already. He has been singing and talking to you and plays little games with you just as often as you will entertain him from the womb. He loves pressing his ear up against my belly and hearing your heartbeat. I don’t think there ever has or ever will be a child more loved than you.

I am doing the best I can to be a good Momma already. And I know you’re doing your very best, too. That’s all we can do in this world. My prayer for you is that you are confident in yourself above all else on this planet. That you trust your instincts, value your own internal and external guidance above all else, and soak up all the joy and beauty that this world has to offer. May you be healthy and strong, vibrant and loving, generous and abundant in all that you do. Whatever you life path is, I will be here for you. Nudging you at times to remember who you are and where you came from and most importantly, loving you beyond measure.

Please be patient with me and I will be so with you. Let’s work to sort through our emotions and teach each other how to navigate this world together, communicating our needs as much as possible and helping elevate the planet with each breath. Thank you for choosing me to be your Mother and Michael to be your Father. It is the greatest honor I have had yet in this lifetime.


Religion of Relationship


I have an awesome list of things I want to blog about right now. The list keeps getting longer by the day and the topic I am choosing to write about now is not even on it. I am grateful to be filled to the brim with inspiration and trusting that the time to write will come as it needs to. Last night I stumbled into a conversation around the following thoughts and while it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, it is just now getting formulated into a conscious model. Curious to see if I can put it into words now..

The term religion translates in my mind as a system of personal growth. Despite many connotations and associations that can arise with this word, at the core of it, religion is a very beautiful thing to me. More than anything it represents people just trying to do the best they can in life. I have yet to meet a religious person that is not striving to do the best they can with what they have. I currently rely on many systems of spirituality (primarily Yoga, Ayurveda and Buddhism) to structure my intentions and balance my daily perception of reality against. But I cannot say that I have claimed one of these as my religion. To me that is another level of commitment. I am definitely close to it in many ways but at the end of the day, I haven’t fully given myself over to any of these practices. This time last year I had a conversation with my first teacher, Baron, about my thirst for diverse knowledge and balancing that with the structure of staying with the study of a single practice. And for the past year (likely longer) I have been in inquiry around that. I know the benefits of digging deep and staying within one system of thought from experience. It is a very powerful thing. My favorite visual of this is the idea of a someone digging a well — eventually, if you keep digging, you will find water in any place. The trouble is when we start digging in one place and decide to start over somewhere else. Maybe we suspect the spot we began is too tough to dig in or just not the right place for us to be. A lifetime could be spent digging wells and never reaching water if you don’t stick around in the same place long enough.

At times I have questioned whether it is my ego that keeps me from a full surrender of thought and identification with a religion. Recently though, a new idea is forming within me, that my relationships are my religion. When I look at my life, the people that I come into contact with regularly, some daily and some much less, are my religion. They teach me about myself, my life and my path. My community provides a framework for personal growth that I have fully given myself over to. If my religion is my relationships, then my scriptures are the look on my husband’s face during our conversations, the connection that I feel with this child I am creating, the sensations in my body when I experience conflict and the feedback I get from the people around me. These are all things that guide me to being my best self.

Without a doubt I am beyond committed to the people and relationships in my life. This hasn’t always been the case for me. In the past I put up invisible walls that would prevent me from being in full commitment and partnership with the world around me. If I didn’t like what I was experiencing in past relationships, I was out of there. While time and energy may be resources that spread thin at times in my relationships, the commitment is still there. And it is there on my end whether I see and speak to someone or not. So I have fully given myself over to a structure of practice — the religion of my relationships. It feels powerful to acknowledge that within myself. Endless thanks to those around me who make life so beautiful and worth living to the fullest.