“The tools are mechanisms to manage and define habitual patterns. There is no magic pill. But if you use these tools every day I promise it is going to change how you are showing up in the world, how you interact with more presence and how you act. Using these tools has enhanced my relationship with my own life. I have been more effective and it has provided me with more opportunities. It has provided healing. “
The why is the how, says yogi, teacher and entrepreneur Heather Rees, who is inspiring people to see the benefit of using ancient tools from across a range of different traditions – meditation from the Buddhists in Tibet, visualization and Kundalini yoga, hypnosis, mantras in our everyday life.
When you know why you are doing something, you also know how you are going to do it, she says and compares it to brushing your teeth.
– I brush twice a day, because I want to keep my teeth healthy when I am older. I know why I am doing it, so I just do it without questioning it. If I miss a day, it’s not the end of the world.
That sounds pretty simple, and to some extent it is. However, the passionate Kundalini practitioner based in Venice Beach California is not one to lead you on with illusions of quick fixes.
Based on her own experiences dealing with pains and challenges in life she has become very convinced about the healing and transformative powers of the tools.
– I don’t know why or how these work so well, but there are at least 5-6000 scientific studies showing that these tools are useful for almost everything – from stress, anxiety to high blood pressure. How many more studies do we need to make it complete, she asks.
Tell us more about what you do?
My company, Amplify Effect, teaches a way of life. It teaches how to incorporate a daily ritual of using ancient tools that are available to us to make our lives more manageable and more fun to live. (She has another event business organizing big events). We’re just at the cusp of what’s possible. Those of us using breath, yoga, meditation, movement and sound as daily instruments are only beginning to learn the range and depth of what’s possible.
What I do is not about changing and correcting something about you, it’s about amplifying the best of who you are.
My message is that using the tools creates more space within you to take life in, beat by beat, without the usual commotion and resistance that happens within. Living without that it looks and feels like calm, confidence, focus, and ease. This can bring inner peace to yourself you will have a much more positive and meaningful life which will also benefit those around you.
These tools are designed to quiet down the neurotic behavior of the brain. The tools are mechanisms to manage and define habitual patterns. There is no magic pill. But if you use these tools every day I promise it is going to change how you are showing up in the world, how you interact with more presence and how you act.
Why are you also interested in getting the cooperate world to use these tools?
My drive has always been to make a positive impact with the way I am living. When I was 12 years old I had this poster with planets and it said “Save the Humans”. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but something prompted me to have it.
There is a big shift happening right now. Something is happening, we don’t quite know how to handle it and it is not just because of the current administration. There is something happening all over the world, and more and more are listening and looking for answers with in themselves. The business and finance world can certainly also benefit from these tools.
How is your approach when working with companies?
There are still some uncomfortable feelings with being too much in the body – especially in a work environment. There, it’s all about how effective you are at working from the head. We’re not comfortable seeing the boss in spandex touching his or her toes.
Going into the cooperate world I often just use the word mindfulness. It is a safe word and has already been widely accepted as being very effective.
I can go far down the rabbit hole. But I shed my more spiritual language when going in the door. I do realize that I live in a bubble in Venice California where all this spirituality is accepted.
When delivering my message, I focus more on the productivity and how being clearheaded can have a positive impact. How to be grounded in your mind, learning how to manage the mind with these tools driving the efforts towards productivity
How did yoga and the tools come into your life?
I had been dipping in and out of yoga since I tried it as a teenager in Colorado. 10 years ago it really took roots. I also got hugely fascinated with Buddhism and attracted to meditation when I lived in NYC with my then husband. One day he said that it wasn’t enough and bought me a class pack for yoga. GO, he said. That was exactly what I needed.
Within a week I was working at the yoga school.
I was running a philanthropy fund at the time I was always out asking for money. My teacher said to me one day: “Heather, you are a body person”. It knocked me over like a ton of bricks. I have always thought of myself as a very analytic person.
She asked me to teach, and I became a teacher. When the time is right things just infuses into your life. Everything seems to align. Effortlessly. I took it a level deeper. Went on to become a teacher at teacher trainings and teach at larger venues. Then I moved to L.A. to start over.
In a very short period of time all the pillars of my life broke. It was very dramatic and I knew in my heart that I was done with New York.
I was – the COO an adventure travel company and I wanted to combine yoga, travel and my experiences from running the philanthropy fund.
The big question was, what I should do with my skills? Project management, operational skills and my meditation and yoga.
Then five years ago people started asking if I would coach them. It’s been like that many times in my life. It’s like the universe is asking and I am just following directions.
So I started helping people in this transition/shifting as an entrepreneur grounded in the yoga and meditation.
Helping people understand how they show up with more presence.
What do you say when people ask how you do it?
My own career and life has been anything but linear and certainly very unconventional. I have just followed directions, sometimes because I have been forced to other times I have chosen to. It’s been very fulfilling and I am learning new things all the time. When people ask “how do you do it?” I answer: I practice, listen deep and accept.
The Why is really the how. Let life guide you. It is the art of flow. It’s about watching the signs, facing events, and fortitude as much as it’s about synchronicity, fortuitous events and effortlessness.
When I am struggling I ask myself, what am I not just allowing to happen? It’s counter cultural, but I see a growing awakening and an acceptance of this approach.
And that’s what happened to me.
I studied Public Policy and politic science, then went on to get a graduate degree in London. I wanted to work in international development. It sounded so great to be traveling the world helping to make it a better place in my own, small, individual way. But I struggled for years to make it work and find a job in that field. It was so illogical and so incredibly frustrating! Then I paused, looked for signs, listened deeply and, without me even realizing it, life took over. Things worked out. Not as I had planned, but as life wanted from me. I learned that when life will not let you go along, there is something wrong and you have to listen deep.
That brings us back to the tools. They are designed to quiet down the neurotic behavior of the brain – all the chatter, opinion and judgement that make us feel crazy.
That is why I like to compare it to brushing your teeth. My mom tells that she didn’t brush her teeth everyday as a child. You didn’t do that back then. Today, that’s almost unheard of. It’s an adopted human behavior. These tools are like cleaning up your brain system and breaking behavioral patterns to allow you to live a more healthy, strong, happy life long into your old age.
Where would you have been without?
I care not to think about that. I would have been a lot worse for sure. I deal with anxiety and doubt on a regular basis. And I notice how it makes a different to sit down for 20-30 minutes to breathe, meditate, move – whatever it looks like that day. It just shifts my day. If it didn’t work I wouldn’t be doing it. Using these tools has enhanced my relationship with my own life. I have been more effective and it has provided me with more opportunities. It has provided healing.
How do you avoid that daily meditations, breathing exercises and yoga becomes more chores on a to do list?
Some days the rebel comes out and I just don’t do it all. There is always going to be days where you do want to do it. It’s fine. But is really is about THE WHY. Why am I doing it?
Why do I brush my teeth I don’t want to have bad teeth. Avoid panic if you don’t want to do it. You can’t create a life where you never fall. Find your why and it will guide you.
But sometimes you cant. You are an adult. Think about how many years you resisted brushing your teeth. Plan on that level of resistance. Life gets busy. There will be times where you haven’t done anything for a week. The world is not going to stop.
ONE OF HEATHER’s FAVORITE TOOLS
A TRANSFORMING MANTRA
Those of you who attended Heather Rees’ workshop at the Look Good Feel Good Do Good event in L.A. in February heard her talking about her daily mantras.
One of the tools she shared was called Addiction Meditation, which is designed to dislodge negative thought forms and destructive neurological patterning in our brains.
* Put your fingers into the pads of your palms, thumbs facing out.
* Gently place thumbs on your temples.
* Silently repeat the words Sa Ta Na Ma (infinity, life/birth, death/transformation/ rebirth).
* As you say each word, clench your back molars in your mouth. You should feel something move beneath your thumbs.
* Repeating those words for at least 3 minutes a day for 30 days will change your life and bring you into an awareness of yourself and your space so you can begin cultivating positive change.
For more info check out Heather’s website:
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on How to Yoga of the Mat, where Heather will be sharing more insights.
Inspired to design your life…
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