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Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising

Again I am waking up at 3:00 am to the tossing and turning of my chatty mind reflecting on the memories of the past. Something deeper is stirring within me as a constant shaking to pay attention to the night’s secret language. Encouraging me to listen to my  heart’s longing to journey into new horizons. Something is changing in my life and its big.


My one and only daughter is turning 18 in a few weeks and graduating from high school. She is going off to college, and her daily life under my roof is quickly shifting to a new frontier. She will be leaving for college in upstate NY, and I am terrified, thrilled, joyous and deeply saddened at the same time.

My heart is shouting,”I am ROOTING for YOU,” while my head is filled with the dread of letting go. I am human and aware of those mixed emotions. So I wake up to give myself permission to feel them all and not worry that my daily life is getting in the way of my desire to just BE with it all.

Why do I have to function when I want to just crawl into the woods and sit by my favorite tree and ask God, “ok, what’s next”?  How am I to move forward into this uncertainty of my future without the daily rituals of cooking dinners, watching basketball games, washing vast amounts dirty sports uniforms, and delighting in those small moments when she shares a special laughter on the many drives back and forth to school.

Now, I will be starting medicare as my daughter embarks on. her new journey.  I am being asked to surrender parenting her, as she would say, “like a fifth grader!”

The change is everywhere and I am a witness to the many stories everyday that are being presented in everyone’s lives. From the awakening in our country of the hidden shame of racism, to the angst of women’s voices needing to be heard, to the anger of bias opinions that our learned tribe holds rigid over the right to choose birth control or the ending of an unwanted pregnancy, to the constant fight to carry fire arms as a moral need.

Growing up in the 70’s was a time to embrace feminism knowing that the world was always going to make me somehow a second class citizen to the economics of my male colleague. I have always been clear that no one owns my soul, and maybe thats why today I struggle with the confusion of roles.

I am more than my role, my outer identity. Yet as I begin this new path, I feel like the structures are crumbling and the walls are shifting as I fall to the earth and ask, “who am I?” 

The yoga center has been my safety. My belongings exist in these rooms and my purpose was to commit to maintaining a home for all souls to grow and be seen beyond the outer identity of a body. Teaching yoga is my gift. Living yoga is my daily effort and practice as I struggle in my need to hold on to what I know is familiar.

Now I am being asked at those early morning wake up calls with the Divine to move into a new phase of sharing my heart and soul. I am being asked to risk and go into the confusion of not knowing anything!

Last week, I went through my own phoenix rising, as I watched the burning of Notre Dame. Like the long-lived bird in Greek mythology who cyclically regenerates and is born again. A phoenix obtains new life out of the ashes of its predecessor. Beginnings arise when the old is burned away and the purification becomes the new life at rebirth.

To witness the immense fire on that April evening was tragic, and I grieved with the world as we saw over 800 years of beauty in structure and form representing the lives of so many worshippers all around the world. I grieved the memory of all those who spent their entire life building the church with care and craftsmanship unlike anything we see today.

In the morning, however, I saw the remains of ash and empty spaces where the wall and roof once held the sacred artifacts of history. The outer beauty might have been destroyed, but the invisible beauty of its pure spirituality was revealed in that early morning light. The cross was left in the ash, and the stain glass window reflected the light of the morning sun.

God had room to breathe into the new expansive awakening of the true heart of Christ’s healing and love. Choir voices rang outside in the city’s streets, and the people cried, hugged, and grieved as if they all experienced the loss of something familiar.  The bittersweet of memory opened up to possibility, and the beauty of the human soul breaking open.

Sometimes, the beauty is felt in its most pure essence as the invisible. A collective embrace with the divine. April 15 would have been my parents 69th wedding anniversary. I had spent the day in reflection missing them and yet celebrating their sweet love affair. I remembered all the tragic events six years ago when bombings killed innocent runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon. I also remembered April 15 was the date Abraham Lincoln was shot, the date of the sinking of the Titanic, and our tax day.  

On this particular date, we also struggle with the great division in our landscape of moral compass when we either see our leaders as villains or victims, and long for the return of a collective hero. The news stories were full of April 15, as they were on the full moon of April 19 as a completion for Good Friday and Passover into the holy day of the Christian church of Easter as we again witness mass murder in Sri Lanka.

Yes, it has been a ride this month into the depth of humanity as a reminder of endings beget new beginnings.

I am reflecting on what is coming into my life now.  My necessary surrendering into a new role while I seek the courage to embrace unknown new adventures. Stepping into new experiences.  Fully letting go is the most love we can share, since the concept of "giving love" might imply a deeper need to get something in return.  

When I embrace the abundance of life in the fullness of love and light, then the intelligence of spirit flows through me, and I am reminded that love is all there is. The forms will change, the roles will change, my body will age, and yet my soul is more alive in the invisible space of this truth. I can feel the invisible embrace of beauty.  

Sometimes life will present our own internal fire of such deep purification that we, too, will rise up as the phoenix and expand our wings. Each new day is our beginning. Each day is a practice with the inner presence of being fully alive to all the creative, brilliant possibilities that await.

Embrace this mystery with curiosity and passion as the secret ingredients for staying in love. The breath is the invocation of life. May we be willing to accept change as a gift and a blessing. I am fully awake now and ready to say, “yes.”


I extend the Celtic blessing for this season of change:
”May the light of your soul guide you.
May you see in what you do, the beauty of your own soul.
May you release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, and excitement.
May you be present with what you do.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.”

I love you Colby—go fly. Together let’s enter into this journey with wings. 

With love,

The Celestial Treat of Spring

The Celestial Treat of Spring


Welcoming the return of Spring is a celestial treat for my soul. Right as the sun moves into her presentation of longer days on our side of the earth, the glorious full moon is holding her own precisely on the equinox. It is not very common for the solar and lunar calendars to converge and when they do, it is a sign of more synchronized moments to follow. It is an auspicious time to be celebrated.

This is the holding of pure balance between the opposites when dark and light, yin and yang are in perfect balance and harmony. Beginnings are once again presenting their gifts through nature as the life buds and the trees are regaining their garments, and the sounds of spring are awakening. We are witnessing what true miracles as the mystery of intelligence says I AM.

The next 30 days are a gateway for listening. A great time to redefine who you are, reinvent yourself, return to your body and decide what part of your personality or life you need to liberate in order to gain the gateway into your true self.

The ritual of Spring Cleaning is upon us. Our own divine inner self is calling to purify and let go of what is no longer serving the greater good.  Whatever has not been properly allowed to become conscious cannot be digested nor assimilated and therefore cannot be properly eliminated. We hold on to the past as a safety net of regrets covering our possibilities forward. Fear gives us hidden permission to stay stuck in our own muck! 

My teacher, Mr. TKV Desikachar, would say that the practice of yoga is 95% purification for 5% percent of awareness —that the tools of breath must be established for the lungs to help with the purifying the blood.

A breath of air is inhaled, and the oxygen from the air comes in contact with the impure blood through the thin walls of the blood vessels in the pulmonary capillaries. As oxygen comes in contact with the tissue, a form of combustion takes place. The blood takes up the oxygen and releases carbonic acid gas generated from the waste products which has been gathered up by the blood from all parts of the body.

Now the purified blood is assisted by the circulation of the heart. From the capillaries, the lymph of the blood exudes, bathes and nourishes the tissues of the body. The tissues take up the oxygen and leave the carbon dioxide. The impurities travel up the veins to the right side of the heart where the cycle begins again with every breath and heart beat.

Life is happening as the miracle of our intelligence. We take for granted the incredible working of our brilliant systems. However, the moment we consciously exhale longer and begin a slight pause after the exhale, well life has the assistance to flow in with a greater abundance of vital Heath. To actually begin a practice of breathing, we are in co-creation to our divine nature.


But Spring is the time we are renewed with the magic of our inner wizard allowing us to wake up and connect to the miracle of life simply in saying YES. Go out, walk, and take in the beauty of the birth. Take in the fresh scent of life as we enter sweet April, which in ancient mystic teachings is considered the month of miracles.

In our hemisphere, spring means longer days and the birth of life. The full moon holds the female energy of going inward as the sun brings forth the male energy of action. The full moon equinox gives us the power to complete things we started in the past and could never muster the desire of will or energy to bring into fruition. Doors are now opening and opportunities are being presented with the return of this magical season.

I welcome Spring especially after this crazy winter polar vortex! The blessings bestowed are so appreciated as I continue our commitment to renewed health of mind, body and soul with the fires of enthusiasm at YAF as we take in another April fools day as God’s fool. That fateful beginning is the  comic joke of synchronized timing which never ceases to make me laugh. Having opened on April 1, 1998, I never doubt the pure fun of my inner mystic! 

I hope to inspire anyone that wants a deeper understanding of these ancient tools of living life with more joy to consider my teacher training that starts in September. It’s a way to go deeper and nourish that hidden unspoken place of longing to grow. It’s not the outcome, but the journey, and it’s a great opportunity for understanding how the tools of Yoga heal! The course is for those students who either want to explore teaching or just want their own practice to be more defined. Julie Pate and I will be hosting an information meeting and discussion on Saturday, May 4 from 1-2pm for those wanting to learn more. You can also visit teacher training on our website.

Laura Jane

Practice Mindfulness by Going Deeper into the State of Yoga

Practice Mindfulness by Going Deeper into the State of Yoga

Laura Jane Mellencamp and friends at YAF’s Mexico Yoga Retreat February 2019

Laura Jane Mellencamp and friends at YAF’s Mexico Yoga Retreat February 2019

My little voice keeps playing out, “I have so much to do”, “I am so busy.” Hearing the constant chatter of thoughts brings my heart to racing, and my nervous system once again kicks into overdrive. This habit repeats itself until I exhaust myself with the pull of resistance, creating an even greater struggle and suffering.  

The trickster of my mind is telling me that there is never enough time, never enough energy to DO. How did I learn to DO life—instead of feeling my aliveness and just BEing present to life itself?  Where did I collude with my little self and identify with my list of activities (and outer need to be seen) by needing to do all this stuff!? What is the quality of my doing—Driving to work, speaking with students, writing this newsletter, running errands, and dealing with all the countless other things that make up my daily life?

AM I  actually present to what I am feeling in the moment? The effort here implies my stress and strain, the need to reach a certain point in the future or accomplish a certain result so I will reach a state of happiness. Oh, how the little mind plays such tricks!

My joy arises when I surrender into a state of balance or yoga. In consciousness, I am able to step out of my habit of doing, and be still to the listening of my greater self. This is what determines my joy in life, not how much effort I make in getting it done.

Years ago, I used to call my little self the “elf.” I took away the “s” and found this elf self. The elf self tricked me into my false identity of holding on to my various roles and brought my mind into constant movement between thoughts of past and projections of future. The elf was running the show.

Not until I fell into my deepest heartbreak and asked for help, did the wisdom of something different and more subtle began to awaken. The greater Self began to emerge from those hidden places, deep in dark corners of my hidden shame. Grief began to flow, and the churning began. I let go of patterns and habits that no longer were leading me forward. Yoga was my gateway to a sweeter, gentler place of acceptance of all of myself. It was the merging the elf self into my TRUE SELF that left me with a new sensation of being in the NOW. 

Being in the NOW is a practice of which I am constantly committed to living. And when I catch my mind moving into the words of abuse, its witness arises and moves me back to the breath. In that split second of thought, I choose to move in another direction by sitting in the awkward confusion of not doing—and by feeling the tension (or the release)—as I slowly feel myself physically shift. 

It’s taken a daily practice to forgive myself for being so human. I go back to the floor and surrender into it. I guide my little self to observe where my body meets the floor. My body softens as I feel myself loosening, dropping, and melting into the floor. I can feel a profound sense of heaviness as I experience the quality of lightness around me and inside the space of my breathing.

I need to let go of doing and making anything happen and allow life to unfold naturally. I need to be mindful of my physical body, where my body parts actually touch and not touch as the space unfolds around me. I can have two opposing feelings at the same time. I need to witness these thoughts, these sounds, and choose to stay aware of these feelings in the presence of the experience.

How do I practice this mindfulness in my daily life? Can I be mindful of how I get in and out of the car, walk up and down the stairs, wait in line, talk to my daughter? Can I witness the pause between reactive little habits and the space of the pause as the complete observer at the same time? Can I choose to be more kind, practice more patience, and be more tolerant as I feel my elf self want to take over and run away?

Living with consciousness takes practice and yet, I feel we are at a point in history where we must slow down, go inward, and learn to be more loving to ourselves. At times even teaching yoga has made the experience just another “to do list” objective, a daily task master of feeding the abuse of self loathing. Effort to get the results diminishes the true desire to surrender all outcome and be present to what is being presented NOW. 

Mexico yoga retreat - February 2019

Mexico yoga retreat - February 2019

That’s why each year I relish the opportunity to host retreats. It is a true opportunity to gather people together to go deeper into the state of yoga. I am always amazed at how much effort it takes to unplug from our daily habits and roles and let go of our awkward places of hiding in our outer boxes or personalities of learned behavior. We all come feeling uncomfortable in our skin.

My love of teaching is to remove the fear and embrace each person in love. My joy comes from creating a safe space to drop the outer box. I want to know who is inside, the welcome guest at the dinner party of life. I want each person to find a welcoming to belong and be seen in the inner light and to feel enough.

It takes great courage to reveal our deepest longings to be enough and to move forward through the heart. The heart will guide us forward while the head goes kicking and screaming into our deepest fears. I know from my daily humble practice, I am not getting it perfect, but I have made a commitment to keep growing.

I have been hosting retreats for 20 years, and they always given more than I give.  I am hosting a gathering at on Saturday, March, 16 at 1:00pm for anyone curious to learn more about my upcoming trip to Ireland this October. I want to host this gathering to invite your soul to come forward and be curious. There is profound calling in each of us to awaken our soul and life is our playground. Let’s ignite the flame of passion to be enough, do less, but live more!!

Much Love,

Laura Jane

FREE Yoga & Meditation Retreat Information Session


Join Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy for a FREE sneak peek about her upcoming fall yoga retreat in Co. Clare, Ireland. Laura will share details of retreat and optional site seeing excursions while answering any questions that you may have.

Laura Jane will be hosting a like minded community on her retreat, Embracing the Mystic—An Irish Retreat Exploring the Journey Inward, October 11-18, 2019. Be sure to register and benefit from the $300 savings. Early bird pricing ends on April 1, so don’t miss out!  The discount drops to $200 off on April 2. Full price starts June 2.

Interested, but can't make the meeting...  No worries! Contact Laura to get your questions answered.