115. How to Find Happiness Through Yoga

Rena Shoshana Forester is a Yoga Teacher, & Health Coach, specializing in Karuna Yoga. Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman is a marriage coach for women in business. In her LIVE show and the “Connected For Real” Podcast, she interviews amazing women to enhance all the parts of our life: Specifically the four pillars: G-d, Marriage, Business, & You. Join them as they talk all about how to accomplish happiness and joy though yoga.



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Welcome to the Connected For Real podcast. I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business. And my mission is to bring God’s presence into your life, into your marriage and into your business. Let’s get started.

And we are live.

Welcome everyone to the connected for real podcast. I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, I’m a marriage coach for women in business. And I love that intersection. It makes me. Come alive. It’s not just about the marriage and making your marriage work for marriage sake. And it’s not just about the business and grow your business and figuring out what works for you.

It’s the combination of the two and how they work together and how you can really thrive and be your best self and really come alive when you find that balance. So that’s what I do. And that’s what I’m excited about. And today with me, I have Rena Shoshana and she’s going to introduce herself.

And then we’re going to get right into our topic of happiness and you. So Rena Shoshana introduce yourself. Hello, everybody. Thank you so much for everything, but 10 for the invitation to be here and to everybody who’s listening. My name is Rina Shoshana Forrester. I’m a teacher, healer and mentor. So I have a background in education, bachelor’s degrees from an elementary and special education from Indiana University.

I studied yoga in India in 2017, and I’ve since done additional certifications for kids yoga and family yoga. And I’m also an integrative health and nutrition coach. Wow. That’s a lot of things. It’s a lot of things and a big piece of my personal healing journey has been around my menstrual cycle. So that’s, Very much felt in, in my work and I’m excited to share about how all of this has made me happy and maybe could help other people who are listening.

Yes. And one of the things we talk about a lot here in my podcast is getting to know yourself and figuring out what works for you. And I think that today we’re going to get really into that because a lot of us just don’t know. What we don’t know and knowledge is power. And when you learn about something or when something is brought to your attention, you’re like, Oh, I can actually look out for that now.

So I love that we’re having this conversation. So let’s get right into it. What are the ways that you have become more in tune with your body and also can help others sort of start to ask themselves the right questions or become aware of the right things. Yeah. So for me, it’s really been a journey that is a long story and I’m happy to share bits and pieces of it, but to kind of start with the end with what other people can take from it is that their journey is unique to them.

So whatever I’ve been through, there might be things that resonate, but it’s unique to me. And at the, like, if I were to on one foot share what is most helpful, it’s accepting where you are in this moment. With so much compassion because we have to reach that point in order for any healing to be able to happen.

So in my personal journey that started with, I made a few notes, so I’m looking at them for a moment. It started with I was realizing that I was experiencing anxiety at the end of college, not sure what I wanted to do and where I wanted to work. I had these degrees in education, but I didn’t really, I was in the States and I didn’t want to go into the US education system, but I love teaching and I just wasn’t really sure.

Around that time that my dad had started meditating and it took about two years for us as a family to see how that was impacting him in a positive way. And he suggested, maybe I start to help with the transition. And I was not at all open to the idea and life continued six months, long story short, six months later, I moved to South Korea and I taught English there to fourth and fifth grade students.

I was there for 14 months. And when I first got there, all the symptoms of anxiety were relieved. So I felt huge confirmation that I’d made the right decision. But then other things came up as I was acclimating to this entirely new culture, new work, new life. And once again, my dad said, Hey, maybe you want to try this meditation thing.

It could help with the transition that you’re in the middle of. And I still wasn’t open to it. And then I was a swimmer growing up. And so in Korea, I started swimming and within a month or so, I just was totally turned off by the pool culture and it was dirty and it was expensive. And I just thought this isn’t giving me the enjoyment I need.

And a friend said, come to yoga. I go once a week, it costs 5 and I thought, okay, well I need a form of exercise, it’s 5, what do I have to lose? And I went to this yoga class and around that time, I can’t remember if it was before the yoga class or after the yoga class that I sent my dad an email and I said, dad, what was that meditation app that you’ve been using?

I want to give it a try. And he sent me the link to Headspace. And so it was like very serendipitous that I found this yoga class and suddenly I was open to meditation. and very quickly saw the connection between the two of them and that like the mindfulness meditation was a practice I was doing seated and yoga was a meditation that a mindfulness meditation that I was doing in movement and then I was really privileged frankly to be living in South Korea where I spent a lot of my free time just hiking around through the mountains.

and would stumble upon Buddhist temples. And that was how I first interacted with Buddhism. And there were Buddhist monks that offered free English tours around these temples. And I started to learn mindfulness comes from these Buddhist traditions and they’ve taken the religious piece out of it. And so I got to.

experience firsthand where these teachings were coming from really just by chance. And as I kept up with meditation and yoga regularly, it really did allow me to transition smoothly into my life in Korea. It allowed me to transition smoothly out of my life in Korea when I was then traveling and to stay centered and grounding as I traveled.

And then when I made Aliyah to stay centered and grounding. Through transitioning to life in Israel. And I moved many, many times. And so through all of those moves of apartments, I kept coming back to my yoga practice of being centered and being grounded. And then I’ll pause for a moment. Cause I’ve said a lot, but then like, then I get into more of the deeper ways that yoga has helped me, which I’m happy to share about, but I’ll pause here for a moment. Wow. I mean, you can keep going. We’re all listening. Okay. So I’ll keep going. Once I felt more settled in Israel, and I established this regular yoga practice for myself. I did a lot of work also figuring out where, what I first, I was living in Tel Aviv and I understood that it was not the right place for me to be settling down.

And I did a lot of work trying to figure out what I wanted a day in my life to look like. And by the end of that work process, I got a job teaching yoga and mindfulness. at the American International School in Evan Yehuda. So I thought, okay, maybe I’ll find a place to live that was right around there.

And around that time, I also met my a man who became my boyfriend who became my husband, now we’re divorced and we have a really peaceful, supportive relationship. And I’m so grateful for who he is in my life, but that’s a conversation for a different podcast. The reason that he’s important is because it was around that time that my life was starting to be more settled, that there were patterns that were coming up in my moods.

And hair not growing in food cravings that he was the one that was able to see the cyclicity, the cyclical nature to these things that were happening. And it was then I started to see doctors and doctors weren’t able to tell me that anything was really wrong. And I just felt inside of myself that something was wrong.

was definitely wrong. And I had just come off of hormonal birth control pills that I had taken for 11 years. At this point, I was just six months off of them. And I was having crazy, crazy, I felt like a 13 year old girl, like crazy symptoms. And so I didn’t believe these doctors telling me that everything was fine.

And my boyfriend at the time was telling me, Reena, yeah, you’re right. Something, something’s wrong. So I started to do a lot of my own research and I was in therapy at the time. And at one point, my therapist said, Rina, you have depression, you need to be on medication, you need to see a psychiatrist and I wanted to be responsible and I made an appointment with the psychiatrist, but I did not want to take the medication and my grandmother took medicine for depression for most of her life.

And I just. Took so much inspiration from her to make yoga and holistic healing a primary focus of my life so that I wouldn’t end up like her. But a disclaimer to anyone who’s listening that you have to make the choices that are right for you and what I share, even people in my family have different beliefs and opinions and I feel empowered to share my personal story and my personal journey because it is true for me.

for listening. And like I said everybody makes the choices that are right for them. So it took living in Israel. It takes time to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. So in, it was like three or six weeks. I don’t remember between the time that my therapist said, you need to see a psychiatrist when I actually had the appointment.

So I just doubled down on all the tools I had from yoga and mindfulness and meditation. Every single day was practicing yoga, writing, sitting out in nature, using different mudras with my hands, chanting all the tools from yoga. And by the time I went to see the psychiatrist, she gave me an hour of her time, which was scheduled to be 15 minutes.

So she really gave me a lot of her time and she listened to my whole story. And she said, I said, I don’t think I need the medication. And she said. I don’t think you do either. And this was in 2018, and I have not gone back to being in that depressed place ever since. So that was the first time that I felt really empowered, like, okay, something here is working.

And then it was about a year later that I was diagnosed with PCOS. And I was so grateful for that diagnosis because finally these doctors were validating that something really was wrong. And Western medicine says take hormonal birth control. I didn’t want to do that because I believe that’s part of what got me into this whole mess to begin with.

And I just did a lot of research about PCOS and what kind I had and how I could heal it. And then that was what sparked me studying health and nutrition because I was working with the Chinese medicine doctor and he gave me a whole menu of what I should be eating every day. But I realized that it was actually, Changing the habit that was the hard part and that was not in his job description to help me.

So I studied about habit changing and learned what is healthy food for me and changed my habits. And I’ve since been back to a gynecologist who said, You aren’t suffering from PCOS anymore. You don’t have that diagnosis. So there’s another time. And that was I mentioned how nutrition helped me with that, but my yoga practice was also really helpful with reaching a point where PCOS was no longer impacting my life because I used I kind of designed specific yoga practices for what I was experiencing with my PCOS symptoms.

So I did a lot of yoga practice to target my lower body, but then there was also some work having to do with the neck and throat. That’s where the thyroid is and getting into more biology stuff, which is less my strong suit. And, and also changing the way that I was exercising and learning that as a woman I have four seasons that I experience every month, just like all the cycles of nature and that menstruation can be thought of as interwinter.

And that’s a time when it’s really important for women to be giving themselves a sense of nurturing in every way possible. And the yoga practice is a way to embody whatever it is that we want to embody in life. So I just used yoga around menstruation as a time to be extra nurturing and maybe a yin yoga practice with lots of props, maybe even yoga nidra, which is basically just like a laying down meditation.

And that’s totally okay. If that’s the yoga practice. for during menstruation time and then realizing that as I approach ovulation I need to be doing a more dynamic yoga practice because my body needs that extra help to get it moving so that I can ovulate properly. So adjusting my yoga practice so that it would be supportive of my hormonal health helped me reach a point of PCOS not being debilitating.

And then there was about a year and a half ago that I woke up one morning in California. This was like the biggest story and I woke up in California one morning and I couldn’t move the whole upper part of my body and I was in excruciating pain. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. I found, thank God, an amazing chiropractor in LA and I’m happy to recommend him if anybody’s listening.

And he totally understood the mind body connection. And he saw me after he had seen 13 clients that day. It was on Shabbat and I really needed it. And he said, I’ll see you after hours. Because you’re Israeli. I told him that I had to fly back to Israel and he said, because you’re Israeli, I want to do this mitzvah and come in, I can see you on Saturday.

And I said, okay, for me, it felt like this was really for my health and I needed to do it. And. He did an examination and he looked at me and he said, you probably have a herniated disc. And I thought, what? And then all these memories started to bubble up of a time when I lived in Vietnam. The year after I lived in South Korea, I lived in Vietnam and I made Ali off from there.

Long story short. And while I was in Vietnam, I had a motorcycle accident and my experience in Vietnam was very traumatic. I experienced insane culture shock from the moment that I got there. The job that I worked at was really toxic. The whole, it was, it was a really challenging year.

There’s a lot that I’m grateful for also. And there was going to Chabad every Friday night was like, The highlight for me every week and the Chabad family in Hanoi is amazing and if you find yourself in Hanoi, go to Chabad. And anyways. We were contracted to be at work until 5 p. m. every day and we had to stamp out.

And it was winter, Shabbat was already coming in early, so I clocked out as quickly as I could, got on my motorcycle and sped to Chabad as quickly as I could. And I’m not from Vietnam. I wasn’t expecting a Vietnamese man selling bread to be waiting in the middle of the road to turn left. And I drove right into him, the bread flew everywhere.

I fell over the bike, fell on top of me and I couldn’t get up. And since I’ve done a lot of healing work around this, and I’m able to see that there was a divine light that came in and stopped the traffic and saved my life. And a Vietnamese man who happened to speak English and wore a suit, which is not normal for Vietnamese people, was the guy who came and I opened my eyes and he was there and he picked up the bike and we moved over to the side and I was bloody and clothes ripped up.

And he said, are you ready to get back on your bike and go home? Cause that’s what you do in Vietnam. And I said, I guess so. And I got back on my bike and I dropped a Chabad and they took care of me. And I did go a couple of days later to the hospital to get an x ray. I had landed on my wrist, so I had my wrist x rayed, but I didn’t have anything x rayed that went up here.

And so this chiropractor in California, I had this all bubbled up and I shared it with him and he said, your shoulder probably hit the vertebrae of your spine and you have a herniated disc. And I didn’t know. And first of all, my yoga practice allowed me to live for seven years with this herniated disc without ever reaching a point of having this pain.

And then for whatever reason, I, I believe it has something to do with the mind body connection that I was in California and the stars just aligned that I felt safe enough for this pain to manifest to the surface so that then I could heal what was really going on there. And I got back to Israel and then, and it, that happened, it was just a few months after my divorce, so it was really clear to me that this motorcycle accident had like spun me into this cycle of trauma that I wasn’t aware of.

And then when I made the decision to get divorced, because my relationship with my former husband also had cycles of trauma that were going on between us. I believe that I attracted that relationship to my life because I was living unconsciously from trauma as he was living unconsciously from trauma.

And when I made the decision to get divorced, I left that subconscious trauma programming. And then suddenly this herniated disc became conscious. And I was able to do a lot of healing work around that, which now was very mind body, which is exactly what yoga is. And I used my tools of yoga and I live.

pain free 99 percent of the time. And, and I’ve also used my tools of yoga to heal the PTSD that I experienced as a result of that motorcycle accident. That again was subconscious. I’ve studied trauma. I teach yoga. I work with people who have trauma, but I, we can’t see ourselves as much as yoga as a tool that tries to help us to see ourselves.

Only God. Has the whole picture and with my yoga practice, I was able to reach a high enough point, which still is not God, of course, but a high enough point that I was able to see, Oh, there’s all this trauma that’s been running your life. And then to use yoga to open up the chakras in my body, to let the energy flow as it was supposed to flow and to call my nervous system, to notice when my nervous system is being activated and then bring it back to a regular state.

Doing that in a formal practice and also just as tools throughout my day. Okay. So now everybody is speechless

We’re all sitting there going whoa, right Yes, so thank you for sharing all that because you know, first of all, that’s very vulnerable and Second of all, when you said Vietnam, like, wait, she was also in Vietnam. And then you’re like, yeah, yeah. Let me just fill you in. Right. So it’s like, where were you not?

That’s, you know, the coolest part of the story is that you really got to find yourself in all these different situations that most people would never have the opportunity to experience. And, you know, for a lot of us, we’re just living in the same place for a long time and, you know, having these routines and these things that, and we’re just sort of, like you’re saying in these rhythms that may be traumatic or may be, loaded, but we’re just in them because that’s just life.

And you had the opportunity to see almost like different stages and different flows with the different changes. So, I’m wondering, okay, so there’s a couple of things coming up just from your story. Let me go backwards a little bit before I ask you the next question.

I’m going to just spill it all out. All the things I was thinking. So the first thing I loved that you said is I got to witness my grandmother and I knew what I didn’t want to be like. And I think that’s something that’s really beautiful. Number one that’s no judgment on the grandmother.

She’s from a different generation going through different things. And we are not at all being like, Oh, you know, what’s wrong with her grandmother? Nothing’s wrong with her grandmother. She just happens to be from a different age and from a different stage and from a different era. And they dealt with things differently then, and she went through her own life experiences and has her own things that she’s working through.

So there’s no judgment and, and on top of no judgment, you can also choose based on, what you see and what, whatever you experienced to then make your own decisions and choose your own path. So I love that you brought that up. And I, you know, it reminded me of my father always says. Some people are here to show you what not to do you know, a lot of, a lot of, you know, a lot of times when we were in teenagers and we would tell him about something, somebody, something like really dumb thing, one of the students did or something.

And he was like, you know, that’s a gift. Because now you know what not to do and you don’t have to try everything yourself. You could just take notes from other people. I think that’s just really a gift, right? So allowing yourself to, to be aware of that and to allow that to just be okay without judgment, without needing to make it mean anything is really beautiful.

Totally. And I, I, my grandma taught me unconditional love and I have so much compassion for her and for what she went through. And. Yeah, she went through a really challenging life and she did the best that she could with the tools that she had, right? Yeah, so I love that and then you said the stars aligned and I was like we call that God But I know that you brought up God many times So it’s not like there is a conflict, but it just feels really funny.

You know when you the way you said it I was like It has nothing to do with the stars, you know, but God did create the stars and he did create nature and we do sometimes see God hiding behind certain things, but it’s really beautiful to watch how even throughout all of these things that are happening to you, you do see God and you do see how you are being guided and shown different things at different times when you’re ready.

Right. And I love that. I love that. You know a lot of times when I do meditations with people one of the things I love to do is create meditations on the spot, just based on whatever intuition I get, sort of like a download and it comes through me and I guide them to, I have no clue where we’re going and somehow we end up in the most perfect place for the person listening and they find the answer and it’s just magical.

And I was like, how did we get there? Yeah. I even had one person tell me how did you do that? How did you know? And I was like, I have no idea. I just made it up on the spot. She’s like, no way. Really? As it was, it came out as if I had planned this for years. Right. So this is something that I really love to do. And anyway, the reason why I was bringing up meditation is because when I do guided imagery meditation for people, a lot of times your brain will just shut off or you’ll fall asleep or you’ll go blank or you’ll just, Nope, it’s not showing up. I have no idea. You know, I did one group meditation and one, one lady was like, Oh, I saw this room and it had this and that and the other, and I picked this up and I did that.

And the other lady is like, I walked into a room that was just. bluff. I walked into a cloud. It was just this cloud and all I saw was this color of the cloud and I didn’t see anything, right? And so like each one of us sees something different and it’s really exact to where you are right now and how much you can handle seeing.

And sometimes we’re not ready to see it. So we blank out or we don’t even remember what The stage of that, you know, meditation was, I actually personally had this when I was in a retreat and Leah Roney was running the retreat and she did a meditation. It was gorgeous. Anyway, apparently the meditation, the meditation was like, see a screen in front of you with all the things that are going on through your life.

And, you know, it’s just sort of like, you know coming and going all these images of whatever. And then afterwards. Do this other thing. Right. So I was totally cool with do this other thing, but I completely blanked out on a screen. And so when everybody came out of the meditation and started sharing, Oh, and we saw the screen, this is what I saw.

And I was like, there was no screen. And people were looking at me like, yes, there was. I was like, no, there wasn’t. There was absolutely no screen. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I was in a completely different place. And, and sometimes you’re like, am I the crazy one? But no, your subconscious knows exactly what you can handle and exactly where you’re at so that you don’t have to worry about going too deep or getting somewhere you can’t handle.

It’s just going to shut off. It’s going to be really simple. It’s true. And you’re getting into a lot of, you brought up a lot here. And I’m going to start with what you said about trusting God. Trusting God that you have built a relationship with yourself where you are able to trust God and trust that if you’re in a guided visualization meditation.

That you are seeing exactly what you need to have. Unfortunately, not everybody who sits to practice meditation has that same trust in God. And you mentioned that I have trust in God. And that’s also something that I’ve really had to cultivate. And there were a couple of years where I was really angry and like, why is this something that I have to go through?

I’m really frustrated. And then gradually started realizing that I need to trust myself. I need to trust that myself and Hashem are the same, and I need to trust then, like, beyond myself and trust that this other thing that is the same as me has my best interest in mind and is actually the one facilitating what I’m doing.

me and where I need to be and not just where I need to be. But in every single moment, what I’m seeing, what’s coming up for me, every single part of my reality and the type of meditation that you’re spoke about this guided imagery and visualization is actually. Less so the type of meditation that I personally practice.

And it’s, it’s definitely not what I teach to people who are working with me for one main reason, exactly what you said that for, especially with so many people nowadays living in a state of trauma, most people aren’t even aware that that’s something in their life that’s impacting things. That say you didn’t have the awareness that you have to know that you are, that you didn’t see that screen for your protection for, because Hashem had your best interest in mind.

You could have then spiraled into, especially like for someone like me, where I’m like, Who is a recovering perfectionist. Something like that could have spiraled me into like, I’ve done it wrong and all these other people are better than me. And that could be really, really detrimental. And I also have found in myself, like I love being in the world of imagination and it can be really confusing for me to draw the line between what’s in my imagination and what’s real.

So for me, my meditation practice is very much about grounding into the real Present moment an understanding that grounding is first and foremost into my body. My body is what connects me to this earth. So if I ground myself into my body, then I’m grounding to the earth. So when I actually lead. Like I mentioned, I view yoga as a mindfulness meditation in movement.

And the beginning of the yoga class is that I, first we do a little bit of movement, start to build awareness of what’s going on naturally with ourselves. And then I encourage my students to choose an anchor that they’re going to focus their mind on. And I give students a choice. The choice, the first choice is to keep your eyes open and stare at one point.

And that’s your anchor. The second choice is eyes open or closed. To focus on the sounds around you, either in general, or to pick one sound, like the sound of the birds. For example, then the next choice is a part of the body with eyes open or closed, for example, the soles of your feet. And the final choice is your breath.

And the breath is the deepest choice. The breath is what connects us to our mind, to our soul and to Hashem. And I love that in Sanskrit, which is the ancient Yogi language and in Hebrew, There’s a similarity because in Hebrew we say nishamah for soul, nishimah for breath. It’s the same root Shoresh word.

And in Sanskrit prana is the same. It’s the same word for breath and for soul. And I love that both of these ancient traditions see that there’s a connection between the breath and the soul. So students choose if they’re focusing on a point, sound, part of the body, or the breath. And then the work is the same.

It’s observing your focus, noticing when you’re distracted by stories in your mind, or stories in your body. For example, I have to take out the dishes. I have to pick up the kids from school. Why did he say that to me this morning? I have so much to do. This part of my body always hurts. This pose is always hard.

Those are all stories. So noticing when the story comes up, letting it float on by. For me, it’s helpful to imagine a branch floating down a river. That’s the stories floating down and then choose to refocus on whatever it was that you chose to focus on. So the work is the same. If people choose to work with their breath, then they can also choose to go one step deeper and start to observe how the breath is actually impacting the body.

Where does the inhale create space? And where does the exhale create? Surrender, but it’s not like we’ve mentioned. It’s not always appropriate for people to have that level of depth. People can be in experiencing a trigger from their trauma and not aware that that’s something that they’re experiencing. And that it could cause a block in a meditation that someone who doesn’t have awareness about trauma or their nervous system or their mind or their body. They wouldn’t know what’s going on. So I like to use this type of wording so that my students feel really empowered to make a choice that allows them to feel safe, that allows them to do the work of yoga at the end of the day is the science of the mind, as opposed to Ayurveda, which is the science of the body.

So it’s, it’s working on the mind through working with the body. And I lost the last thing I was going to say. That’s cool. That’s cool. Let me tell you something about the body, which is really cool. I find that The reason why we’re able to get present when we get into our body is because our body can only be present, right?

Our mind can go past, present, future. We can, you know, be everywhere all the time. We’re thinking about what was, then we’re projecting about what’s going to be, and then we’re worried about this, that, the other, and we’re, you know, here in the now, but really we’re worried about the, you know, we’re like all the time going past, present, future.

But their body can’t go anywhere. It’s only present. There is nowhere else to go. You can’t go back in time. You can’t go forward in time physically with your body. So what happens is that it’s really the best anchor for you to lean into because It doesn’t have any choice. It’s just here and now. And I find that it’s really, really helpful.

I remember when we were going through something really difficult, I went to the yoga class. I go to a yoga class every Sunday. I try and I love my teacher. I am like in love with the classes that she has. And I remember I was so distracted in my head. I was so in my head the whole time. All I could think about was just count your fingers, just count your fingers.

And we’re sitting there, you know, cat cow, and all I’m doing is, okay, I have one, two, and I’m looking at them one at a time and I’m making sure that they’re there and I’m making sure that I’m pushing, you know, pushing the mat and making sure that they’re all nice and wide and, you know, open, whatever.

Just being able to get so obsessed with just counting fingers and looking at how it, you know, what it looks like, how it feels, how I’m pushing all this stuff got me out of my head. And that’s the best thing. It’s the ability to get out of your head and all the noise and all the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, the clutter and just bring yourself back into your body.

And of course you can do this in many ways. This was just one example of me obsessing over my fingers. But it saved my life that hour. It’s totally true. And that’s, it’s a really important point that you make. Also yoga in itself is one tool that can help people to find happiness with themselves. It’s a tool that’s worked for me, which is why I passionately teach it.

But it is at the end of the day, just one tool.

  Hey, before we continue the episode, I want to ask you something. Are you ready to get answers from God directly? Feel more in love with your husband and more supported than ever? Run the business of your dreams without having to sacrifice any other part of your life? That is exactly what my one on one private coaching is for and I want to invite you, just you and me, For a free deep dive discovery call.

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 You reminded me of a story when I was in India. South Korea, traveling, Vietnam, India, and then I made Alia with two backpacks and with two suitcases and a backpack from India and made Alia. And I was at the, at an ashram and we were studying yoga philosophy and the teacher who comes from South Africa originally was, he stood and first sat, I don’t remember, in front of all of us.

And he said, look around you. Everything’s beautiful. If you just look at what’s around you, everything is fine. You can be happy. There’s nothing to complain about. And the whole room was nodding. And, and I like shyly raised my hand and called on me. And I was like, I get what you’re saying. And I can look around me.

I’m in this beautiful ashram. Everything’s beautiful. But I have a friend right now who is in Vietnam, who doesn’t have the things that she needs to meet her needs. And I have family in America who’s really worried about who just became elected president. And how am I supposed to just know that they’re fine?

And all these stories of people who I knew that are experiencing suffering. And I said, how can you say that in this moment, everything is fine. And the whole room got silent and he gave me some answers that I didn’t really like. And I’ve thought about this moment for years. And I feel that in the last year, I’ve started to understand what he was talking about, because it goes back to this idea of stories being in the mind and realizing that when I, this last year and everything that I experienced with healing after divorce and healing this PTSD disc and being in Israel without my family, as I’m going through this whole transition and I’m still in the middle of a war.

And so there were literally like moments when I would just like I’m doing it even right now just look outside and start to watch the way that the leaves are blowing in the wind, or just stare and start to pay attention to the sun and its pattern through the sky or the moon and its pattern through the sky.

Or just like pay really close attention to my plants. And I feel that the ability to focus on those. Things in nature came from my yoga practice because I fine tuned this ability to pay attention to myself in a really subtle way so that then I appreciated being able to look at things around me and that’s where I was able to understand that there is happiness there and yeah the the world there’s so much suffering that’s happening in this world and it’s been really important for me to see clearly that my physical body is my boundary between myself and all of these other things.

And as someone who’s highly sensitive and highly intuitive and highly empathetic, I can choose to pick up on the suffering that people experience around me that I hear about that’s on the news, all these things. I’m sure a lot of women that are listening can relate to that.

And it’s a choice. How much we go into that it’s a choice. How much we empathize and sympathize with the suffering around us. No matter if it’s the hostages, no matter if it’s the soldiers, no matter if it’s a person who’s sick with COVID. All of these people. I really believe that our work is internal and to recognize like, okay, what can I do to keep myself nourished, to keep myself regulated, to keep myself being of service.

And that these are situations where oftentimes we feel helpless. And if like, I can’t go into Gaza and save the hostages, I can’t. So what’s in my power is to keep myself happy. To take care of myself, to pray, to write, to practice my yoga practice, and that’s the best that I can do. And when you do focus on yourself and focus on what you can control, then you start realizing the things that you can control and the ways that you can make a difference.

So like you said, pray and journal and get really present with where you are and what you can do. And then suddenly you’re so filled up and so ready that you suddenly are able to spill over to the neighbors, to some of the friends, to somebody who’s needing more help because that comes next, right?

You have to be a full cup before you can spill onto others and really make it make a difference and a lot of people, and this is legit too, okay don’t get me wrong. Some people work better when it comes from the outside in. I need to help other people. So I don’t have time to think about my own suffering and my own stress.

And when I’m helping other people, I’m feeling really useful and I’m feeling really good about myself. And that fills me up. So. It could come the other way too, which is great, but when you do that, you have to always be really intentional and really aware that you’re not using it as an escape and that you’re really letting it fill you up.

So I’m bringing that awareness just in case you’re that type of person. I want you to be extremely aware of how you putting yourself out there and helping others in order to fill up is great. And. Don’t let it take over. Don’t let it sort of default into an escape mechanism where you’re just feeling overwhelmed.

Usually when you get overwhelmed and burnt out from helping others and you’re not taking care of yourself. That’s when you know, you’ve crossed the line and oops, I’m not filling up anymore. This isn’t filling me up anymore. That’s when, you know, you need to pause and really reassess. Can I just jump in?

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And with many women that tends to be a pattern. There’s also the other end of the stick, which is And I experienced this myself is taking the self care and the yoga practice also as a way to escape. If you’re practicing two hours of yoga every single day, you’re missing out on opportunities to be in the real world.

And I mean, you’re doing it from five to seven in the morning every day. Go ahead, if you don’t have kids and you’re up at five in the morning and you have time until seven, do what makes you feel good. Totally. Makes you feel good. Yeah. But yeah, I totally agree. I think in any situation you can get derailed because your brain likes to use the easiest escape possible.

So, you know, easiest escape possible for most people is their phone, scrolling. Answering messages, making everything important. You know, I get an email, I have to answer it right this second. These are immediate needs to sort of quiet the mind and, and distract us from whatever emotional stuff we’re going through.

So just awareness, no judgment. Don’t make yourself all like, Oh, it’s terrible. I have to get rid of my phone and go all like, you know, go live in a, you know, Forest or something that worked for Rina Shoshana, but it won’t work for you. So don’t, don’t try it. And I also, I don’t think you need to go extreme.

Just awareness of Oh, I’m realizing that I’m using this as an escape. How do I realign? How do I find myself back in that intentionality. And one of the things I was, I was talking about. is our, you know, the connection between us and God, right? And so God is in control of everything and we’re pretty much control is like the only thing we can control is ourselves and our intentionality and our consciousness, right?

And in Hebrew, it’s, everything is in the hands of God, except our intentionality. Of bringing God in, right? So we are very much in control of just staying conscious and staying intentional and waking up when we fall asleep and God is very helpful in this. You know, anytime you start to like sort of see yourself falling asleep a little on the job, you will get a reminder, you will get a wake up call.

And so instead of getting annoyed with. These things that are bothering you, right? Like, I can’t believe my son did this. I can’t believe my husband said that. I can’t believe, you know, that guy just cut me off or whatever. That’s a wake up call to, you know, Oh, Oh, it was from God. It was a reminder that I thought I fell asleep on the job.

It’s like. That, that person cut me off, not because he’s bad or there’s something wrong with him. It’s really, cause I needed to wake up. I needed to see something in myself that I wasn’t seeing before. Living life like that is so much easier, by the way, you know, you don’t have to make it all hard and complicated. It is, but it takes a level, it takes a leap of faith. It takes a leap of faith. And yeah, it, but it is, I agree a hundred percent. And, I want to get back for a moment to you. So I spoke a lot about how yoga has helped me with all of these various things. And like I said, it helped me, but everyone listening makes their own choices for them. I wanted to share right now that I’m working on a project where I’m teaching these tools to people in Israel who are in the thick of the trauma of the war, because I have seen how yoga has helped me in my life. And. I recommitted to continuing my life in Israel when the war broke out.

And part of that recommitment was realizing that I have tools for helping people who are going through trauma and that I want to be of help to those people. So I started kind of like a nonprofit and I call it Karuna yoga. Karuna means compassion that meets somebody where they are so they can heal themselves.

And that’s the approach that I take with all the work that I do with clients and with students. And I shared that I’m open to teaching yoga classes to anybody experiencing acute trauma from the war evacuees. Nova Festival survivors, families of children who were killed soldiers. And the group that stuck was wives and children of reservist families.

And there’s a lot of work that’s being done to support the soldiers themselves and they need it, but their families need it no less. And so I just, that’s, like I said, that’s just what stuck. And I understood in reflection that. Money is generally the biggest block that people have to committing to a regular yoga practice.

So I made the decision that I wanted to remove that block from these people who really need the tools of yoga and started having conversations with people about this idea and was hearing from my community back in the States that they wanted to be helping people on the ground in Israel. Who were in the thick of trauma financially because that’s how they felt that they could help.

So I just thought, okay, it seems like a win, win, win that I can teach yoga to people who really need it and raise money from people in the States to cover the cost of this initiative. So I’ve been doing that since November. And I teach the classes in a studio that I rent in Gan Hashon Ron, and I have fully funded four and a half out of six classes that I’m currently teaching, and that’s for six months.

And the intent was for these students to received yoga for six months. So that they actually can integrate what they’re learning into their lives and really learn tools. And I received the most heartwarming feedback about two or three weeks ago from first, I heard the feedback from a mom and then her daughter, who’s the student shared it with me that she. It’s a group of six kids that come from two families and we split it up.

So there’s three and three that I work with at a time. And both of the dads from both families have been in, had now they’re both home, but they were in Gaza. And one of the dads like every day, he was told tomorrow you’re going home, tomorrow you’re going home for two weeks. And he didn’t go home.

And finally he did and now he’s home. But there were two weeks where his whole family was in this awful, awful, painful, stressful situation of like dad’s coming home, he’s not coming home, dad’s coming home, he’s not coming home. And the girl and her mom reached this breaking point just before our yoga class, which I didn’t know.

And then she came into yoga. She left yoga. A couple of days later, the mom sent me a message and said, Rina, this whole thing happened. And when she left yoga, she was calm. She was happy. And the yoga really helped her. And we spoke about it. And then the next day, she again was like worked up about all the emotions of her dad being in Gaza, understandably.

And the mom found her in her room, sitting on the floor. With one of the songs, I didn’t even teach her this meditation song. I had a yoga kids playlist playing as they did a yoga obstacle course. And she heard the song, which was a meditation, liked the song, remembered the song. And in this moment of stress in her home, found it online and sat on the floor of her bedroom and meditated by herself.

That’s how her mom found her. And then she came into class. She said, Rita, I meditated. And I said, what song were you listening to? And she told me the song and that’s when it clicked. And I went, Oh my gosh, we never know what people are taking from us. And the work that I’m doing is working and it’s just a huge pleasure and a huge privilege and a huge honor that I get to, it feels like the little piece that I can do to help these people.

And I know that it’s big for them. So yeah, this is amazing. Yeah, thank you. There’s there’s I’m still I’m still raising the funds for the last one and a half classes. And there’s talk that some of the soldiers who are now home are seeking out yoga classes. Maybe I would open up a class for them if additional funding comes in.

So I can share links or anything about the links. The links are going to be down in the show notes.

What I wanted to tell you is that one of the things I was realizing is that the soldiers. Are on the front line. And then everybody who is left behind, in the home front is all like freaking out, stressed, anxiety, everything, right? And one time I heard one of the soldiers said, you don’t understand, it is so important for us.

To know that you guys are happy and okay. Cause that’s why we’re here. And if you tell me that you’re anxious and that there’s too much going on for you and I, then I can’t do my job because I’m thinking about you and I’m worried about you, like you were saying, the stories in our heads about how other people are suffering really affect us.

And our ability to do the things that we can do and when we can be clear on you, you guys be in charge of your happiness. I’ll be in charge of my happiness and we’ll all do this together. It makes such a difference for everyone because it really changes the sounds of all the stories and all of the noise and all of the, you know, chatter in our heads too.

It’s okay. I know my family is safe. I know my family is taken care of. They’re working on themselves and their happiness and I’m out here doing my job, right? So we we almost feel like it’s our responsibility to worry for them But really don’t worry because it makes it worse for them. It’s your responsibility to pray for them It’s your responsibility to send them love Send them, you know god’s blessings One of the things I love to do and this is something that I learned from my mentor So last time there was a war You I was postpartum with my number five and I used to go to these classes and we got stuck, one day the class was from eight to nine.

It was in someone’s house. And at like five minutes to nine, there was an alarm, like an alert thing in the entire town. And we weren’t allowed to leave until two and a half hours later. So we’re all stuck in this woman’s house. All these women sitting on her couches and on her chairs and the teacher So she’s like you guys want to keep going and you know, so we had a second class And so after two hours of learning we’re like, okay, we can’t do this anymore now We’re worried about our kids and we’re worried about this and then everybody started be on their phone and what’s going on?

And you know, are we allowed to walk out? Are we not allowed to walk out? And of course, they’re like no nobody comes out because we’re looking for someone. We will shoot whoever’s walking, like do not come out. So we’re all stuck in this house and the teacher, the mentor who was teaching, she says her son is in Gaza.

He is in charge of taking explosives, right? Like that is his job is to be carrying explosives over the line. And I’m thinking, Oh my God, this is so scary for her. And she’s like, no, it’s not scary at all. You know what I do? His name is David. David and I just put a magen david a, you know, star of David around him and his friends.

And I see this star of David and I see how it’s protecting them and how it’s keeping them safe and how there is absolutely nothing that can harm them. And she sent this love and this light and this godliness. And just, it was amazing the way she described it. She was so in it. I was like, Oh my gosh. I feel it, you know?

And it was so beautiful. Anyway, thank God he came home. I was at his wedding. It was really beautiful and the whole thing just, you know, and she ended up passing away. So, you know, she is very dear to me and, you know, I miss her a lot, but thank God she left me with a lot of really great tools. Then this time around when the war hit.

My husband’s student David. David is in the Army and he went down to Gaza and he had the exact job of explosives. I do not understand how that happened. I cannot explain to you the connections there. It just hit me one day in the beginning of the war that she gave me the prescription for not stressing.

Anytime I think of him. All I have to do is do the exact thing she told me. I do not have to create any new things. I do not have to come up with a process. I just do the exact thing she said. I put the star of David around him and his friends. I make them super protected and there’s nothing that can harm them.

And I’m just like, and I’m sending love and I’m sending prayers. I’m sending godliness. I’m sending light and I’m just protecting you. And that’s all I can do for you. You don’t understand. And he came home. Just this week he was here to visit and he was telling a story about how they were sleeping in the, in the whatever, there’s all these names for all these big machinery things anyway, with all the explosives with us and the Arabs came out of nowhere from the ground, they popped out of some sewer and they shot really big missiles at our, whatever car I’m saying car, but it’s not a car, right?

Our, our bus thing. And for some reason, the entire two weeks we’re in this car thing. Yeah. It keeps saying that the protection is off and we can’t figure out what’s wrong with our car and why we’re not protected. Like usually there’s like an iron dome type of thing. Anyway, that morning when they started the car, the thing was, Oh, it is protected now and that exact day the iron dome kind of, you know, thing worked and protected them. The day they did the meditation with the star. And then the next day the car just died. And it was, you know, they had to move out. It was like, what was that? And the craziest thing is that out of nowhere, I get this feeling. You know, now, like back to me at that moment, like, I don’t know, before, after you can’t really know, cause he’s telling you the story in delay, I texted him after I did this, because I was like, I don’t know.

I have this feeling something’s going on. And so I just did this thing and I was like, okay, Hashem, it’s all you God. I’m giving you all, you know, just. Protect, protect, protect all the love, all the light, all the everything. I was like, that’s it. I’m done. I cannot do any more. That is all I can do. I have to keep going. I’m a mother, I’m a, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m busy. So I did what I could and then I stopped and I gave myself permission to keep going. Like she did also, right? She was like, that’s what I do. And then I go on with my day and I sent him a text and he didn’t answer. For days, you know, you have someone in Gaza and they don’t answer.

You’re like, okay, it’s because they took away their phone and they’re busy and they’re wrecking and whatever. You keep telling yourself these stories and thank God, you know, God should protect all of them and just, you know, Oh, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s. It’s such a crazy concept, but like we were saying, how did this whole thing start?

Is if you’re sitting there worrying and seeing how, Oh my gosh, he’s being killed every second. And I could just see it over and over again, how all these bad things are happening. What do you think is happening in your mind? It’s really making you it’s cooking you up, right? It’s not letting you live and it’s not letting any, it’s not helping anybody else.

But if you can get into this real, Healing and light and, blessing meditation thing. It is so powerful. I’m not saying that I saved them, you know, I’m not saying that there’s any connection between the two, but at least I feel really good about what I can do. And he knows that he’s loved and that people are praying for him, right?

So there’s this really nice energy that sort of circulates. Absolutely. And to go back to kind of bring a full circle that’s a really high level that you’ve gotten to that you’re able to have these stories that are going on in your head that are fear based and valid and then to move past them and pray and send light and send protection that takes a high level of Work that you’ve done on yourself, or maybe you were born this way, which is possible, but a lot of people like, No, even if you’re born with intuition, you have to learn how to harness it.

And you have to learn how to listen, right. And how to know what to do. And so I love that you brought that up. You can’t use it an excuse like, oh, she was born with it, you know, Maybelline, maybe she was born with it. No, it’s like, even if you’re born beautiful, and even if you’re born intuitive, and even if you’re born flexible, and even if you’re born really talented, you’re always going to have your part of the job, your putting in the effort in figuring out why, what is this for?

How do I use it for the good of the world? And how do I shine my light? And what does God want me to do with this? Right. Cause just having it is not enough. And that’s where the intentionality and the consciousness comes in. Like, I spend a lot of my time finding what works for me and trying different things and being open minded and really grounding myself, and of course, grounding myself in the Torah and in learning sources.

So that I can also find how they connect with what I’m learning. Now, this is something that fascinates me and we can go into a whole other episode just on that. Well, I just wanted to bring it full circle and say that for other people who are listening, they might not be at that level as you are.

And I’ve been in that place myself, so I can relate and I can relate to both. And that in the same way that I spoke about the yoga practice being a practice and choosing an anchor that in life we can, someone might choose to say, okay, I want. My anchor, my goal, what I’m working towards is to be that person who’s able to send prayer and send light and some protection.

But where I’m at right now, there’s a lot of fear and there’s a lot of judgment coming up. And to be able to meet yourself, like I said at the beginning, to meet that point of there’s a lot of judgment coming up, there’s a lot of fear coming up, there’s a lot of doubt coming up. And I can accept that because that’s their Also for a reason, and I’m going to work through that and I’m, and I realized that also those fear and doubts and anxiety are stories that are coming up and I’m going to choose to let those stories float on by and refocus on this ideal that I’m striving for this vision that I have of myself being able to be that person who can pray who can pray really sincerely, really genuinely.

So I just, I hope that. And I think this brings us to a really nice place. I, I love talking to God and bringing him, whatever is coming up and just saying, I feel so stuck. I feel so alone. I feel so anxious. I feel so afraid. I have so much doubt, like just communicate where you’re at and say, I want you to help me.

Guide me out of this. I want you to fill me up with happiness. I want you to show me how to become joyous I want like all these things you can ask for whatever you want, right? So a lot of times we think we have to figure it out ourselves or we have to have all the answers and no This is a hundred percent not true and you’re going no with your head Yeah, it’s not you know, we fall for that.

We’re like, oh I have to do it all and this This whole need for control and perfectionism and whatever it is. It’s like, no, I can just ask, right? Sometimes it all comes up so that I can turn to God and say, I don’t want to feel this way. I know I do feel this way. And this is how I feel awareness.

Noticing totally fine and I’m welcoming you in like please help out. Can you heal it? Can you fix it? Can you help me? Right, and I just had a client where we did a body scan we found where where her the thing that was keeping her stuck, whatever it was. And then I said, okay, so now you took it out. There’s a vacuum there. You need to fill it. So you have two choices. You can either heal it yourself or you can let God heal it for you. And she’s like. Oh, that’s an option. Of course. I want God to heal it. Why do I need to do all the work? Right? I won’t do it as well. I don’t know what I’m doing.

He knows better. And just letting that go. Not needing to have to be the one to do all the work. I was going to say, I totally relate to what you said about meditation and not wanting to meditate in the beginning because I had the same thing.

Like I would hear all these people using the word meditation and be like no thanks, you know? But I think that once you realize it has nothing to do with some fluffy thing. It’s, it’s not, it’s not this like disconnected thing. It’s just, just awareness, just being able to get into your body, just being able to breathe. Sometimes just being aware of what it actually is and trying it out. You’re like, Oh, it’s not so bad. You know? Also, I thought it was for weirdos. Oh, for sure. Weird story that I told myself that we’re only weird people meditate, which like, we’re all weird. So what does it matter? Exactly. And then I once I realized I was one of those weirdos.

I’m like, Hey, you guys, there’s There’s a really cool crowd here. You should all come join. Yes. And another thing I wanted to share and then perhaps we should wrap up is this con with this concept of turning it over to God and trusting God and letting God be the one to do it. I realized going back to this motorcycle accident that I had that in that moment, there was a divine light that came in and saved my life.

That’s something. And for anyone who’s listening, who might’ve had near death experiences, that’s something that I take so much power from on a daily basis. When I feel that this is too much for me. I just closed my eyes or even with my eyes open. And I imagine That moment. And I know that that light is still here.

And I just imagined it pouring through my crown and filling up my body. I can feel it right now. And it’s like the easiest one second reminder of, it’s not up to me. There’s something else here. That’s, that’s, that’s controlling everything. And I trust. And I think that, you know, we keep finishing up, but I really want to like wrap it up knowing that God gave you that life back, right.

That God is protecting you for a reason. So then it. Gives you the belief that I’m here for a reason and I have a responsibility to show up And so there’s something really beautiful about believing in god is Believing in yourself because who are you not to believe in yourself?

I’ve got put God put you here, right? So there is, it’s really beautifully correlated and I love that we can go on forever. This is an amazing conversation. Okay. You guys, thank you for listening. Thank you, Rena Shoshana. We will put all the links down in the show notes and thank you so much for listening.

Make sure you come back next week. We’re starting a new topic because it’s a new month and I’m super excited. So don’t miss it. Oh, you want to know what’s the new topic? It’s freedom. It’s freedom. Just for Pesach. Just in time for Pesach. Exactly. Oh my gosh. Did she do that on purpose? Yes, she did. Yes, yes.

I am very excited about it. My podcast is really taking on its own life. And it makes me very, very happy. So talking about happiness, this is, this is where it’s at. It’s in the little things that you see work itself out. And you’re like, how did that happen? Well, that is really great.

And so. With that, I welcome you all to listen in and subscribe and stay in touch. Rena Shoshana has her website and I have mine. So be in touch. Tell us how this was for you. Yes. Yes. And don’t forget to be connected for real. Thanks so much. Rena Shoshana.

 And that’s it! Thank you for listening to the very end. I would love if you can leave a review and subscribe to the podcast. Those are things that tell the algorithm this is a good podcast and make sure to suggest it to others. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more people became more connected for real? And now take a moment and think of someone who might benefit from this episode.

Can you share it with them? I am Rebbetzin Bat chen Grossman from connectedforreal. com. Thank you so much for listening and don’t forget you can be connected for real.