April 20, 2024
233 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 6AB United Kingdom
Article Features/Columns


Words: Kathy Harmon-Luber

As we navigate the ups and downs of life, it’s important to cultivate resilience – your ability to bounce back from setbacks – and well-being. While many practices can support us in this endeavour, here are five holistic and transformative approaches that have been shown to be particularly effective. Think of them as an extension of integrating your yoga consciousness into your daily life.

1. Monk Morning
Mornings often begin with a tooearly alarm clock, fielding emails and text messages, checking the calendar to assess the breakneck schedule for the day ahead, gulping coffee while glued to the news, going for a run or squeezing in some morning yoga, grabbing breakfast, getting to work, or shuttling kids off to school. It’s not a very peaceful start to the day, is it?

Actually, it’s the antithesis of the rest and recovery our bodies need when we’re stressed out, burnt out, rundown, or ill.

Enter Monk Morning. Social media influencers extol the virtues of their Monk Morning routines, but there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. What’s best is a personalised morning routine to ease you into your day with a sense of balance, focus, and calm. And that’s significant because, as Annie Dillard wisely said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Let’s create a personalised Monk Morning for your unique needs, challenges, abilities, lifestyle, and passions.

Hopefully, you can carve out at least ten minutes a day for Monk Morning — or Monk Evening if that suits you better. The greater your time investment in this sacred practice, the bigger the dividends of resilience and well-being.

We begin by asking the right questions to ascertain what resonates with you:

  • Before you jump out of bed and face the day, is there anything you feel called to do or explore? Writing down and analysing your dreams? Time for a gratitude practice? Prayers? Stretching? Reiki? Yoga Nidra?
  • Ritual focuses on the mind. Consider beginning your day with a ritual to help signal the opening of a sacred space: Ringing a bell or Tibetan singing bowl? A drumbeat? Candles?Essential oils? Incense? Sage? Palo santo? A favourite religious ritual? A mindful cup of tea?
  • Perhaps you’d like to include music or sound healing in your Monk Morning ritual. Sonic scientists tell us that healing occurs when we listen to music we love. What creates a positive vibe and sets the tone for your day? Listening to Native American flute? Instrumental music? Chanting? New age music? Classical? Benedictine monks? A sound bath recording? Does stillness make you feel good and balance your energy? Seek out quiet meditation, prayer, or visualisation (see below). Read a page or two from a book that sets an inspiring, contemplative, or prayerful tone. Then connect with your heart and set your intention for the day.
  • If you prefer movement, consider a hike in nature, a walking meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, gardening, yoga (or chair yoga if you’re physically compromised), shamanic journeying, or freeform dance. In fact, research recognises dance’s health-promoting benefits for the mind, body, emotions, and spirit.
  • Perhaps you’d prefer to block out time to channel creative ideas through journaling, art, music, or poetry?

Experiment and have fun curating your personalised Monk Morning consisting of one or more of these activities. Block out time on your calendar. One day it will become your practice, and you won’t recall how you got by without it.

2 Practicing peace

A critically important key to navigating the roller coaster of life – and especially your healing journey, if you are sick or injured – is finding deep peace within. Peace assuages our feelings of loss, suffering, rootlessness, and deep sorrow. Yet peace can be quite elusive in our busy, superstressful, overstimulated world.

Just as a stone thrown into a pond creates concentric circles reaching out further and further, so too our peace ripples out into this world, touching the lives of others.

Our personal peace is a state of mind that permeates the torus of energy around our bodies, expanding out into the world. Just as a stone thrown into a pond creates concentric circles reaching out further and further, so too our peace ripples out into this world, touching the lives of others.

We can find inner peace in more natural antidotes than tranquilisers:

  • Controlling our reaction to stressors is all we truly can control in life, and it can bring great peace and better health. We can manage our response by shifting focus: try taking an aerial view of your life or a particular challenge. A year from now, will it have been worth the stress response?
  • Navigate away from the landmines that trigger your stress response (be they people, situations, work projects, or deadlines).
  • Live mindfully in the present moment.
  • Use calming essential oils, supplements, and teas.
  • Create a tranquil sacred space in your home, backyard, and workplace.
  • Infuse your day with mantras and meditations, worry beads/stones, Guatemalan worry dolls, crystals, calming music, etc. They’ve been used for centuries to promote inner peace and are found worldwide today.

3 Breathwork, body scan, and grounding & centring

Your mind is immensely powerful. Your mind can help you heal, visualise a new dream for your life, and take you to a better place when you’re experiencing something painful or traumatic. Your mind is your medicine.

Research demonstrates that guided imagery and visualisation can have a profoundly beneficial effect on our health. Visualisations and meditations are not quick-fix pills. Clear intention, belief, and regular practice are key to making these tools work for you.

Prior to discussing visualisation and meditation below, let’s talk about three important building blocks: breathwork, body scan, and grounding and centring.

BREATHWORK. Before you meditate or do a visualisation, begin with a simple yet powerful, healing breath practice:

  • Get comfortable, relax your body, and steady your breathing.
  • Set an intention, for example, that your breaths will bring you to balance, energy, and healing.
  • Exhale fully. This is key because you cannot inhale fully unless you first fully exhale.
  • Breathe slowly and steadily, filling your lungs deeply by allowing your belly to expand with each breath.
  • Visualise white or golden light entering every cell of your body through the breath.
  • Gently hold your breath for three seconds, visualising the light-filled oxygen flowing through your entire body, circulating around any tense, ill, or injured parts.
  • Release the breath slowly and fully, visualising the exhaled breath – for instance, as grey fog carrying away stress, disease, or discomfort.
  • Between breaths, feel your aliveness in this present moment. Enjoy the now. Smile. If thoughts of the future or past enter your mind, simply observe them and return to the breath.
  • Repeat this inhale/exhale several times: inhale peace, love, and joy, envisioning them permeating your body. Then exhale peace, love, and joy to every sentient being. On the last exhale, give thanks for the healing.

Repeat this inhale/exhale several times: inhale peace, love, and joy, envisioning them permeating your body. Then exhale peace, love, and joy to every sentient being. On the last exhale, give thanks for the healing.

BODY SCAN. The body scan is simply mindfully tuning in to your body and noticing tension and/or discomfort. While it has numerous benefits in itself, from relaxation to sleep, it’s also an excellent prelude to meditation. Here’s how:

  • Take three deep cleansing breaths. With each breath, relax your face, eyes, eyebrows, scalp, ears, neck, and shoulders. Let a wave of relaxation ripple down your entire body, inch by inch.
  • Focus on each point in your body — from feet to head (if you wish toraise your energy), or from head to feet (for grounding) — mindful of each muscle, each body part. For example, focus on your feet; breathe golden or white light into them. Visualise this light growing stronger and brighter through every cell in your body up to your head. See it illuminate any unwell parts.
  • Where is the tension? Pain? Where do you feel energy depleted? Breathe into that place.
  • Exhale, envisioning the grey fog carrying away any fatigue, illness, pain, infection, loss, injury, or grief.
  • Now focus on body parts that are not experiencing discomfort and notice what it feels like to be in perfect health. Say thank you to each pain-free, disease-free area. Turn to the place(s) where you’re experiencing a health challenge. This may be a single point or a vast area enduring a storm of pain, tension, or extreme fatigue. Imagine a current of golden healing light pouring in from above and aggregating in the affected areas. If you suffer from fatigue, send energy through your entire being. Draw in this energy simply by breathing. Exhale any pain, infection, fatigue, or disease. Do this for as long as you need.
  • When you’re ready to come back to your awareness, imagine a cocoon of healing light or a bubble of protection surrounding you, radiating peaceful well-being.
  • Give thanks for the healing. When you’re ready, open your eyes.

How do you feel? If this was helpful, you might wish to incorporate it into your daily activities or Monk Morning. If this particular body scan didn’t work for you, many free resources are available online.


Whether you’ve just woken up from a nightmare or are having difficulty falling asleep, when you’re awake but feeling spacey and unable to focus, or if you’re having trouble coming back down to earth following a meditation, visualisation, or daydream – grounding and centring brings you back to the present moment. It can calm you before a speech or social encounter, during/after an argument, or when you’re feeling weak, vulnerable, stressed, or unsafe. It’s also important to ground and centre before visualisation or meditation.

First, get comfortable in your chair and plant both feet flat. Take a few cleansing breaths, fill your lungs and abdomen, relax your body from your scalp to your toes, and feel your body settle in and get heavier as you relax into your chair, yoga mat, or bed.

Now imagine gentle little roots sprouting within your abdomen and spreading downward with each breath, down through your root chakra, down your legs, out through the soles of your feet, and down through the floor to the ground. Put your roots deep into the soft, warm earth, where they commune with tree roots, crystals, boulders, and underground rivers.

Feel the earth’s radiant energy travel up through your “roots” into your body, slowly spreading through every cell, all the way up to the top of your head. From your crown chakra, visualise the energy sprinkling up and out like a fountain, falling all around you to form a bubble of energy, before returning back to Earth. You are grounded and centred, remembering that Mother Earth always supports you.

4 Visualisation

Now that you have the basic tools of breathwork, body scan, and grounding and centring under your belt, let’s discuss visualisation.

Also, personalise your visualisations. For example, a friend imagines the iconic Pac-Man character (from the old video game) eating away cancer cells in her body. Recently she was told her cancer is in remission, without chemo or radiation.

Ancient wisdom tells us that what we imagine, we can manifest. Modern-day athletes visualise their success before the actual event, where they score a win or earn a medal. Visualisation is that powerful and can help us create a new life, better health, stronger relationships, and reach new goals.

To achieve the best results from your visualisation, use all your senses – and deeply feel what it would be like the moment your visualised intent becomes real life. In other words, match the vibration of that which you seek.

Also, personalise your visualisations. For example, a friend imagines the iconic Pac-Man character (from the old video game) eating away cancer cells in her body. Recently she was told her cancer is in remission, without chemo or radiation.

What do you wish to create in your life? (See below for how to get your free “Unlimited Possibilities” visualisation.)

5 Meditation

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Research has found that meditation may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. When combined with conventional medicine, meditation may improve physical health. For example, some research suggests meditation can help manage symptoms of conditions such as chronic pain, asthma, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and digestive problems.”

Yet many people share that they “fail” at meditation because they’re unable to empty their minds of chatter. There are many ways to meditate besides trying to empty your mind of thought. Experiment to find what works for you. For example, simply notice with mindful awareness the thoughts or worries that stream through your mind. Pay attention to how your mind works — even fifteen minutes a day is valuable. Another way is to follow a guided imagery meditation. Or focus mindfully on the breath, finding stillness in the place between inhaling and exhaling. Or explore walking meditation. Or forest bathing. Find a meditation practice that works for you and enjoy the benefits.

Through meditation, we shift to a higher consciousness of mindful awareness, inner peace, resilience, and well-being. Meditation enables us to find a place of limitless potential. We are not merely our ageing or ailing earthly bodies but infinite spirits of light who can live in peace and joy despite life’s setbacks or health crises.

By integrating these five transformative practices into your daily routine, you’ll be on your way to building resilience and well-being, which will help you navigate your way through – and bounce back from – life’s inevitable challenges.

Kathy Harmon-Luber is a certified Sound Therapy & Sound Healing practitioner, Reiki Master, classically trained flutist, and award-winning fine art photographer. She is an inspiring author and wellness guide whose passion is helping people navigate the challenging terrain of the healing journey. Last year Kathy launched a best-selling book, “Suffering to Thriving: Your Toolkit for Navigating Your Healing Journey ~ How to Live a More Healthy, Peaceful, Joyful Life,” which is full of wisdom gleaned from decades of healing from her own debilitating health crises. Kathy helps others find their compass and chart a course for navigating illness, injury, and loss – learning how to not only cope but to become more resilient, joyful, and thriving.

Connect with her at https://sufferingtothriving.com/, where you can download her “Infinite Possibilities” visualisation.

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