Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa: Tapping into the Light: Essential Kundalini Yoga

March 8, 2017

Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa: Tapping into the Light: Essential Kundalini Yoga

Dharm Khalsa & Karena Virginia March 8, 2017

Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa are two of the most important teachers of kundalini yoga, a form made popular by Yogi Bhajan. Karena has taught various forms of yoga for more than 20 years, and is a respected writer on the subject. Dharm is a Sikh minister and was Yogi Bhajan’s personal assistant for many years. With Sounds True, the duo have published Essential Kundalini Yoga: An Invitation to Radiant Health, Unconditional Love, and the Awakening of Your Energetic Potential. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Dharm and Karena about the unique qualities of kundalini yoga and the energies it can awaken in the body. They discuss the history and principles of kundalini yoga, as well as the “love frequency phenomenon” of mantra. Finally, Dharm and Karena lead listeners in two guided practices intended to help awaken their own kundalini energy. (62 minutes)

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Karena Virginia is a certified healer and registered yoga instructor who has taught in the Kundalini and Hatha schools for nearly 20 years. Before her career as a spiritual teacher, she worked in the entertainment industry as an actor and model. Karena’s work encourages us to connect with our own personal truth through love, compassion, inner beauty, and radiance.

Listen to Tami Simon's in-depth audio podcast interview with Karena Virginia:
Tapping into the Light: Essential Kundalini Yoga »

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Also By Author

Kundalini Yoga to Dissolve the Barriers of Fear

Each of us has amazing potential for creating health, happiness, love, and a life of fulfillment. Deep in our hearts, we know we have the ability to activate and generate a life of our highest calling. The question is: Are we allowing the magnificent brightness of our true selves to shine, or are we hiding the radiance we were born with? Just as a diamond needs light to sparkle, our own true self needs the release of its inner light to be fulfilled.

This book is about clearing our energetic restrictions so our true selves shine as wonderfully as they can, in accord with our natural, inherent ability. The ancient practices of kundalini yoga are incredibly effective tools in this modern age for activating the elusive, hidden release of magnetism we are born with. The exercises open up energy pathways within our body, so we can experience vibrant health, abundance, love, empathy, intuition, and an expanded sense of connection with others.

Many people are experiencing a tangible soul-level drive for self-actualization. It feels like a voice deeply connected with the center of our being that is waiting to be heard. But although we feel it calling inside, we suppress it with self-limiting beliefs, and our unique brilliance remains hidden beneath layers of politeness and emotional armor. We may distract ourselves with our busy lives, stifle our yearnings, and go to sleep feeling so unfulfilled night after night that we become used to it. There are a hundred ways to hide the sensitive, beautiful nature of who we are.

In this era, many of us are noticing an inner voice persistently reminding us to leave behind our fears and step into the magnificence that we naturally possess. And the urging, calling, and whispering of this inner voice can no longer be ignored. If you have picked up this book, chances are that you are hearing it yourself.

The Secret Yoga of Energy

Kundalini yoga is an ancient, time-tested system of exercise and meditation that boosts our energy, synchronizes the impulses of our nervous system, releases energetic blockages, balances our hormones, and uplifts our attitude to allow the pure radiance of our authentic self to shine. While other branches of yoga focus primarily on physical postures, kundalini yoga focuses on how the postures alter our energy and mind-set. Postures, movement, breathing, meditation, mantras, and lifestyle come together to bring about remarkable transformations of personal energy. The term kundalini refers to the concentrated living energy that opens up our potential. It is an energy that is dormant yet calls us to be awakened within. Once activated, it permeates us, energizes our cells to bring health and vitality, and connects our consciousness with the infinite. The techniques of kundalini yoga were developed over the course of thousands of years and are highly effective tools for opening up our energy pathways so the right amount of energy at the right frequency can flow smoothly through our entire being.

Kundalini yoga works on the principle that our physical body and our energy move hand in hand. What we do with our body has a parallel effect on our energy, and, likewise, what we do with our energy has a parallel effect on our body. For example, tightness in our hamstrings is actually a blockage in the energy that otherwise would be flowing through that area of our body. We call that tightness an opacity because it is blocking the flow of inner light. Using the ancient techniques of kundalini yoga to stretch the muscle or move a limb through the energy field that surrounds our body, we can release the corresponding blocked-up energy. Our inner light can then start flowing into an area where it was restricted before. The resulting effect on our body and mind is absolutely profound.

Not only does the muscle itself become more limber, but our consciousness shifts, our mind becomes clearer, and the new energy optimizes our functioning at the genetic level. As the light flows through our energy field, our awareness comes alive. Our energy level soars, and, like a flower emerging from the soil after a long, cold winter, we feel alive and hopeful.

Kundalini yoga was kept secret in India for thousands of years, taught only to devotees who were deemed worthy. In the 1960s, Yogi Bhajan moved from his home country of India to the United States. He began teaching kundalini yoga as a technology for self-improvement, and it quickly became popular. He authored more than thirty books and traveled extensively, teaching kundalini yoga around the globe until his passing in 2004. The authors have studied kundalini yoga extensively. In this book, for historical accuracy, we have sourced the exercises so you can see whether an exercise was taught by Yogi Bhajan, is a classic from the ages, or is a visualization we bring to help explain a topic.

The Kundalini Spirit

Practicing kundalini yoga often results in a natural sensation of oneness with a universal force greater than our limited sense of self. Yet kundalini yoga is not a religion, can be practiced by anyone with any spiritual belief, and does not require any particular spiritual philosophy. It is typical for the practices to enhance one’s feelings of spirituality, whether you belong to a formal religion or not. Flashes of insight, cosmic breakthroughs, tears of joy, and sobs of surrender are normal occurrences when the wondrous flood of our own energy is finally allowed to emerge through the layers of shielding we have put up all our lives. We encourage you to allow yourself to be swept up in the gift of spiritual experience rather than resisting out of fear. In fact, it is high time to give up the fear of your own brightness. Throughout this book, we use the terms God, the infinite, spirit source, and the universe to reflect the oneness of universal spirit in kundalini yoga. However, these are simply terms, and you are invited to carry the sense of spirit that works for you from this book into your life while leaving the rest behind.

You Are Invited

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

ANAÏS NIN

We all have a choice: to access the core of light that our soul has been yearning to express, opening our inner passages to allow our luminescence fully into our life, or to hide our unique way of shining behind a facade of social acceptance that we often have spent many years building. When we make the choice to uncover our true self, kundalini yoga provides exceptional tools to help us. If we practice with courage, vulnerability, and dedication, we are able to entertain a calm, centered power far beyond the ordinary. 

We are inviting you to follow the path of least resistance—the path of flow. By removing energetic blocks and aligning our personal authenticity with the grace of the universe, we take the first step on the path of miracles. We invite you to begin your journey into the light of your own being.

Courage to Shine

If we honestly ask ourselves what in our day-to-day life prevents us from expressing the pure love at the core of our being, the answer is always fear. We hide our true selves to fit in, to be polite, and to avoid offending anyone. Rather than encouraging ourselves to transform, we find comfort in conforming to a world that is struggling. To break free of our challenges, we must be willing to live in our authentic expression of truth. This is our “Sat Nam,” the genuine truth of our manifestation vibrating at its highest frequency.

We are a new creation. All of us. It may be beyond our state of comprehension to acknowledge this in our minds, but our hearts know this truth. We are glowing and growing as a species, and it is essential that we do not fall back into entrenched patterns of fear. The inner light we tap into in quiet moments of connection to the soul is a reminder of the love the universe feels for us. Sometimes all we need is a few minutes to bring ourselves back into the quiet connection.

Kundalini Yoga to Dissolve the Barriers of Fear

Most of the things we fear are not real. Most of the things we fear never in fact happen. Fear is an emotion that gets stuck in the mind and resonates in our aura. It stimulates our sympathetic nervous system to go on high alert, and this takes a long time to settle back out of. The response to fear is hardwired into us from our cave person evolution, but the calling of the modern age is how to be courageous in living our truth as spiritual beings while we still carry the genes for survival from tiger attacks in every cell of our body.

The following set is a quick and potent one that works on releasing accumulated effects of fear that constrict the flow of energy through the life nerve, vagus nerve, and aura. It helps shake off the energetic debris that holds us back from living to our highest, fullest potential.

1 Lie on your back. Lift your left leg up in the air and shake it vigorously for one to three minutes. Lower it down. Lift the right leg up and shake it vigorously for the same length of time.

kundalini step 1

2 Come up to a seated position. Reach your arms up to sixty degrees on either side of your head, creating a V shape. Open your palms toward the sky and flop the hands open from the wrists. Breathe deeply and gaze at the tip of your nose. Feel yourself receiving the light of the divine while you surrender any barriers you hold inside. Let go. Continue for three minutes.

3 Bring your arms down, breathe gently, and relax. Feel yourself opening and allowing the full magnificence of your soul to shine.

step 2 and 3

This is an excerpt from Essential Kundalini Yoga: An Invitation to Radiant Health, Unconditional Love, and the Awakening of Your Energetic Potential by Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa.

 

bio photoKarena Virginia is a certified healer and registered yoga instructor who has taught in the Kundalini and Hatha schools for nearly 20 years. Before her career as a spiritual teacher, she worked in the entertainment industry as an actor and model. Karena’s work encourages us to connect with our own personal truth through love, compassion, inner beauty, and radiance.

 

 

 

 

 

bio photo 2Dharm Khalsa is a board member of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation, the nonprofit overseeing kundalini yoga in the US since founder Yogi Bhajan’s passing. Trained directly by Yogi Bhajan, for whom he was a personal assistant for eight years, Dharm has taught kundalini yoga since 1980. He lives in New Mexico.

 

 

 

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Embrace the Hustle & Bustle with this “Shake it...

Sometimes life is complicated, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We may be able to cope with everyday stresses, but when we have multiple traumatic events happening at once, we can feel frozen by fear and uncertainty, stuck in our painful circumstances. We may feel victimized and incapable of making a move. As our modern age speeds up, this feeling can intensify to the point that we make ourselves sick. What can we do when we feel so confused and empty that we become immobilized and exhausted?

This kundalini meditation is designed to help center your consciousness and channel all your confusion out of your psyche. You give your feelings of uncertainty, pain, and blame to the universe and replace them with the pure, clear light of your soul, accessing what was actually there all along.

 

  1. Sit up with your spine straight. Center yourself with your breath.
  2. Interlace your fingers in front of your heart with the index fingers pressed together pointing up.  Close your eyes, focusing internally on the third eye point.
  3. Begin chanting the mantra “Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Jio” (pronounced “wah-hey guh-roo, wah-hey guh-roo, wah-hey guh-roo, wah-hey jee-oh”). Our translation of this mantra is: “As in amazement, here and now, all darkness is transformed to illuminating light in my soul.” Practice doing this chant with the following visualization:
    • On the syllable of “wah,” feel the sound vibrating at your navel.
    • On the syllable of “hey,” feel the sound vibrating at your heart.
    • On the syllables of “gur-roo” and “jee-oh,” feel the sounds vibrating at your lips.
  4. Continue chanting the mantra for up to 11 minutes.
  5. Inhale deeply and hold your breath in. Feel the echo of the sounds still vibrating in your navel, heart, and lips. Suspend your breath for as long as you comfortably can and then exhale very consciously.
  6. Inhale a second time and again suspend your breath. Release the feeling of being trapped by circumstances. Surrender it to the universe. Surrender your pain and feelings of blame. Release your stress and your uncertainty. Give it all to God. Hold the breath for as long as you comfortably can and then exhale, still holding your concentration.
  7. Inhale a third time and give your life to God. Surrender. Whatever God means to you, offer your existence to that. Allow yourself to feel the purification this action creates in your psyche. When you are ready, exhale and sit for a while with the whole experience of this powerful meditation.

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

Excerpted from Essential Kundalini Yoga by Karena Virginia & Dharm Khalsa.

Karena Virginia brings 20 years of experience as a certified healer and registered instructor in the kundalini and hatha schools. Before her teaching career, she worked in the entertainment industry as an actress and model. She lives in the New York City area. For more information, visit karenavirginia.com.

 

Dharm Khalsa is a board member of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation, the nonprofit overseeing kundalini yoga in the US since founder Yogi Bhajan’s passing. Trained directly by Yogi Bhajan, for whom he was a personal assistant for nearly a decade, Dharm has taught kundalini yoga since 1980. He lives in New Mexico.

Yoga for Activating the Heart

Dear friends,

Are you feeling it? Our planet is going through a major energetic shift. People all over the world are feeling called in a new way to align their deepest soul callings with their external lives. There is a global energetic shift contributing to both a magnificent spiritual longing as well as a lack of ease, and the everyday stresses of modern life—along with changes in the Earth’s electromagnetic field—can make us feel strangely separate from our own authenticity. It can feel like standing on the shore of a whitewater river, looking across to the calm green peace on the other side, and wondering how to get back over there. We know there is something genuine that we are missing, but we need a bridge over the separation to return to our own peaceful heart.

We are all spiritual beings expanding into the vastness of our potential. The connection to our heart is a reminder that we are so much more than our bodies and minds. The stillness is where the miracles come through us, and the chaos is the distraction. How do we return to the silence of the heart that gently guides us towards our destiny?

We have found an effective bridge in the simple techniques from Kundalini Yoga. In our new book, Essential Kundalini Yoga: An Invitation to Radiant Health, Unconditional Love, and the Awakening of our Energetic Potential, we explain how to use ancient tools from the Himalayas to shift the frequency of our prana, our inner energy, our bio-magnetic field, and our nervous system so we can align with our highest calling. These tools allow the beautiful energy of your own highest self to be directly accessed and the stillness of your heart to guide you. This form of yoga helps to clear energetic blocks and resistances so our natural brilliance can flow into our body and into our lives from the inside out.

Our goal in writing this book was to present deep concepts in a way that would be accessible, demystified, and easy to follow. We envisioned that the layout could evoke a sense of peace and depth. We wanted to get past the rigmarole and provide clear instructions so you can get to work actualizing the truth of your own vibration, and allow the beautiful shine of you to expand into your life.

YOGA FOR ACTIVATING THE HEART

Here is an example of a very effective exercise that can help you reduce stress and bring you back to your heart center at any time during your day. It works in a very short amount of time.

 

  1. Sit up straight, either cross-legged or in a chair. If in a chair, sit forward closer to the front of the chair so you do not lean back.
  2. Hook the fingers of both hands together in front of your chest and pull your elbows steadily and strongly to the sides.
  3. Close your eyes and inhale very slowly. Keep pulling on the grip. Breathe deeply into your abdomen. Exhale slowly as well.
  4. Imagine that with each breath you are drawing in light through the top of your head.
  5. Continue breathing long, deep breaths while pulling side to side for three minutes.
  6. To finish, inhale deeply, hold the breath, and shift your hands to push your palms firmly together, pressing as hard as you can. Focus your attention on the top of your head. Exhale and repeat two more times.
  7. Release your palms, place them on your knees facing up, and take time to connect with your breathing.

Inside each of us is a core of pure love. There is not a soul on Earth who is not feeling the effects of this shift in one way or another. Yet, through it all, our core energetic state is love. We truly believe this book can help navigate your journey back into love, hope, and miracles.

We thank you for being a part of this evolution. May you feel the light of love and the many blessings that are with you always.

 

With our love always,

Karena Virginia and Dharm Khalsa

 

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The Courage to Stand Alone

The Courage to Stand Alone

It can be scary when we are called to confront our aloneness, the seemingly infinite depths of that empty, homeless feeling inside of us. When all our old protections fall away and the abandoned and neglected ones inside come begging for our love and attention. It can feel sometimes as though there’s nowhere to turn, like we want to crawl out of our own skin, urgently get out of the Now and into some other time or place.

It takes bravery to stop, breathe, and—slowly, slowly, slowly—turn back toward the lonely, dark, empty “void” inside (in reality, there is no void). To actually turn to face the sense of abandonment buried deep within our guts, to soften into the sense of separation that has been with us for as long as we can remember. We don’t have to make the feeling go away today, only lean into it, breathe into it, begin to make room for it, maybe even learn to trust its presence. 

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Perhaps loneliness is like a cosmic nostalgia, a preverbal memory of a deep womb-connection, with ourselves, with the planet, with every being who has ever lived. In leaning into our own loneliness, shame, and existential anxiety, we may be able to touch into compassion for the loneliness of every human being, for every heart longing to connect, for every grieving heart, every frightened heart. 

We are alone, yet never alone. This is the great paradox of existence. Our loneliness, when not resisted or numbed away, may actually end up connecting us more deeply to life and each other, like it did for me and my sweet father that winter evening. 

Let us learn to be alone, then! Alone, without distraction, which is true meditation. Alone, communing with the breath as it rises and falls. Alone with the mind and its incredible dance. Alone with the rain and the morning sun. Alone with the crackle of autumn leaves under our feet, or the crunch of winter snow. Alone with the hopes and joys and anxieties of this human form, living a single day on this remarkable planet. Alone with our precious selves, with this unfathomable sense of connection to all things, with birth and loss and death and their myriad mysteries. 

Alone, with all of life.

This is an excerpt from You Were Never Broken: Poems to Save Your Life by Jeff Foster.

jeff fosterJeff Foster shares from his own awakened experience a way out of seeking fulfillment in the future and into the acceptance of “all this, here and now.” He studied astrophysics at Cambridge University. Following a period of depression and physical illness, he embarked on an intensive spiritual search that came to an end with the discovery that life itself was what he had always been seeking.

 

 

 

 

 

book image of excerpt on lonliness

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Tools for Opening Ourselves to Our Deeper Nature

A few months ago, I found when getting up from the table that I could no longer walk. A meniscus had ruptured and wedged itself against my knee joint. It was very painful, but luckily, thanks to my friends, I was able to get an MRI that same day and be operated on the following day. For the operation, whether I liked it or not, I had to submit to a general anesthesia, and I remained unconscious a little less than two hours.

Unexpectedly, when I woke up, I had a very enriching experience. I had the impression of not being completely there. I was in a light and luminous state of mind. My first thoughts went toward my spiri- tual teachers. For a good hour, their presence illuminated my mental landscape. I experienced a state of bliss, of devotion, and unalloyed trust. I was alone in my room, and I began softly to chant verses that reminded me of my teacher. My thoughts also went to other people who are dear to me.

I said to myself that if things go this well at the time of death, it won’t be too bad! Could anesthesia be a kind of dress rehearsal for dying? Could such a moment show us what is present in the profoundest depths of our mind when the thought processes that clutter the field of consciousness have been silenced? All in all, I was very glad to have gone through this anesthesia experience.

Later, I wondered if such experiences could be revealing about our basic nature. This feeling of lightness and bliss could perhaps result from not immediately reifying the world around us when waking up from the anesthesia. At that moment the mind is not yet distorted by myriad conceptual constructs. This is the antithesis of dwelling on thoughts; it is perfect simplicity. I felt like a young child discovering the beauty of life with a fresh and transparent mind.

— Matthieu Ricard

Toolbox for Opening Ourselves to Our Deeper Nature

MATTHIEU RICARD:

Keep your mind open. Experience the key moments in life with an open mind, welcoming the range of constructive possibilities for oneself and others.

Discriminate. Let what really counts come to the surface from the profoundest depths of consciousness.

Be confident. No matter what happens, you will find a way to utilize adverse circumstances as catalysts for making progress on the spiritual path and for manifesting greater compassion toward those around you. 

Inhabit the space of interdependence. Resituate the events that affect you in the much larger context of the interdependence of all beings and all things, who like you, experience countless joys and sorrows.

ALEXANDRE JOLLIEN:

Contemplate the little persona that you play all day long. Look at the labels, the functions you use to define yourself. Examine the outfit that you dress up in from morning till night so that you can go naked to meet your deeper nature.

Be aware of the heavy weight of education, of the mass of prejudices, of the heap of illusions that have ended up as an overlay on reality. Just identify this factitious layer so that you can take in daily life as it is without the intervention of ego, of concepts, and of the thousand expectations that shape your world.

Discover the deep personal aspirations that inhabit you. What do you expect out of life? What is it that you are running after so avidly?

Accept losing your grip. Ego defends its territory tooth and nail. It sets up boundaries, busies itself delimiting its world. In its folly, it isolates us, confines us to solitude, to distance. Opening your heart, going beyond the bounds of narrow individuality, means facing the experience of leaping into the void, of swimming in the open sea of freedom.

CHRISTOPHE ANDRÉ:

Discover your inner resources. The deeper nature we have been talking about is not just a theoretical matter, but a very practical one. We should do our best never to forget all the strengths and resources we have within us. They are not an illusion. Our mindset is such that we quite often underestimate our personal capacity to deal with adversity. And then there are the strengths and resources all around us, the help and inspiration that others can supply us. We are better equipped than we think. To access these resources within us and outside us, the best thing is not to shrink back into ourselves and dwell on our fears and bitterness or on our certainties, positive or negative.

What if nothing happens? What if no tangible sign of the existence or emergence of our deeper nature comes along? Well, it’s not that serious! In any case, it’s there. Let’s just not forget to live, act, love, work, and enjoy ourselves; to help others the best we can; and to continue to be open to this profound and universal aspect of ourselves that we all have within us.

This is excerpted from the newest book from Matthieu Ricard, Christophe André, and Alexandre Jollien, Freedom For All Of Us: A Monk, A Philosopher, and a Psychiatrist on Finding Inner Freedom.

MatthieuRicard-AlexandreJollien-ChristopheAndré

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, a photographer, and a molecular geneticist who has served as an interpreter for the Dalai Lama. 

Christophe André is a psychiatrist and one of the primary French specialists in the psychology of emotions and feelings.

Alexandre Jollien is a philosopher and a writer whose work has been attracting an ever-growing readership. Together, they are the authors of In Search of Wisdom and Freedom For All of Us.

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Meet the Author of Dinos Don’t Do Yoga

The Author
Catherine Bailey is the author of multiple picture books, including Harbor Bound and Mind Your Monsters. For more, please visit catherinebaileybooks.com.

Dinos Don't Do Yoga CoverThe Book
Rex is a dinosaur with a rough, tough crew. But when a yoga-loving dinosaur comes to town, Rex and his fierce friends discover there’s more to strength than big muscles and bad attitudes. This fun-filled story features timely themes about kindness, friendship, and being able to see past our differences.

 

 

 

 

Has your book taken on a new meaning in the world’s current circumstances? Is there anything you would have included in your book if you were writing it now?

Dinos Don’t Do Yoga was written back during the calm and quiet of 2018. At the time, it was simply a funny story about a grumpy T. rex. Today we are living in a very different world. Things have changed dramatically in terms of how people interact with each otherfrom social distancing to increased activism.

So now when I read Dinos Don’t Do Yoga, the relationships between the characters are more meaningful. I hope my readers see kindness, acceptance, and connection (in addition to a funny story!). I also hope that the book inspires children to explore yoga as a physical means of dealing with the stress of these crazy times. Yoga is a beautiful way to get back to a happy mental space.

After all, if dinos can do itso can we!

Q&A image

Send us a photo of you and your pet, and let us know if your pet had any role in helping you write your book!

Here we have a snapshot of the world’s most annoyed cat. I decided to share this particular picture because it reminded me of the Dinos Don’t Do Yoga cover. The illustrator of the book, Alex Willmore, brilliantly contrasted the highly disgruntled Rex (complete with eye twitch!) with his blithely happy costar, Sam. I laugh every time I see that artwork!

The same is true for this photograph of myself and our family cat, Chloe. This picture was taken right after her first (and probably last) bath. In my defense, I only bathed her because she had a small flea problem. She still has not forgiven me.

bailey cat

What is something about you that doesn’t make it into your author bio?

bailey 3

My author biography contains all sorts of fun tidbits, but it doesn’t mention this one cool thing about me: I am kid-sized! By which I mean I’m very short for my age. You cannot tell from (most) pictures, but even though I am an official middle-aged grown-up, I am only 4’8” tall. That is about the size of the average second grader! 

So why do I mention it? What’s so great about being super small? Well, a lot of things! But best of all is that it makes me empathetic and mindful of other people’s differences. And that makes me a better writer. For example, it was easy for me to create the characters of Rex (challenged by his petite arms) and Sam (a true “outsider”) in Dinos Don’t Do Yoga. It is true what they say—great things come in small packages.

 

Dinos Don't Do Yoga Cover

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