How to Meditate

There are two kinds of meditation: one improves your concentration and the other is analytic (emotions or experiences or people). This is the first:

1) Sit cross-legged on floor or in a chair with ankles under knees, feet planted & back away from chair
2) Relax hands in lap or on thighs
3) Allow spine to be in natural curves, open chest, upright but no back support (use your core to hold you in place)
4) Chin slightly tucked and gaze dropped or eyes closed
5) Gently rest your mind on your breath, noticing the inhale and exhale
6) When thoughts pop into your mind, label them thinking and let them go, coming back to the breath

This is not about having an empty mind, it’s about gently letting go of your thoughts and not following them – noticing where your mind goes when you are observing the internal (thoughts, pains, hunger) and external world (pets, cars, kids, dishwasher). Does it go to the past? Or the future?

I do in immediately upon waking
It’s great to do in the middle of the day and the end of the day right before bed.
KEY – do it every day at the same time: that’s what will make it a habit.

Meditation teaches you about your own mind
Meditation teaches you to let go
Meditation teaches you to pause before you react
Meditation can change your brain – increases empathy areas, reduced reaction to emotional events
Meditation improves your ability to be kind to yourself
Meditation makes you happier
Meditation improves your immune function
Meditation creates more balance and healthy modifications in your body (blood pressure, lung function, cortisol levels)

Do it for a minimum of 12 minutes to start changing your brain!

Are you in the 32% or 68%?

According to 2015 data from Gallup, only 32 percent of employees in the U.S. are engaged. That means that 68% of Americans are actively disengaged or not engaged in their work. That stat makes me want to cry!

Are you one of those people?

Or maybe you zone in and out of that – sometimes you’re engaged, and sometimes not. What about your personal life and relationships and hobbies…. Are you engaged there?

There are 3 ways to change this:
1) Change the job, relationships
2) Change your mindset.
3) OR…. Change both the situation and the mindset!

Here are some tips to get your juices flowing:
Practice gratitude – yes, that old chestnut. But it really CHANGES your brain – here you are using your mind to change your brain!
Asking questions generates dopamine, which makes you feel good. So, ask yourself – what flows in your work?
Build community. Often we feel disengaged because we are not aligned with the mission of the organization. Can you connect with others and work on getting excited about why you are all showing up for work?

You can change. There is support available. Schedule a chat with me if you want to start a conversation.

Ps. I will be doing a book signing at Barnes and Noble Saturday Nov 23rd. Come grab a warm drink & pick up some books and gifts for your family including a personally signed book from me! New year…. New habits!! Also VISION people – for 2020!!!

I Want to Help You.. Fly into Fall!

Have you noticed these beautiful fall days that are upon us? I love the cooler mornings and evenings because I sleep better and my old rescue dog can walk without getting overheated!

This is the time of year when it is really great to make a shift in your diet, and to detox, as you shift from summer to winter through this transitionary fall period.

In Ayurveda this is the vata season (air & space), when the leaves start to fall, the wind picks up and the days get shorter and cooler. You may also feel that surge to empty out your pantry, move furniture or go through your closet!

In the summer we tend to eat lighter food, stay out longer as the summer evenings inspire outside time and family gatherings. But, if you’re anything like me there’s also some over-consumption of ice cream and beer!

In the fall, it’s good to shift some of that ama – that toxic build-up, literally undigested food – and start to shift towards a different diet of heavier foods that are moist and more easy to digest as the days get colder and shorter.

I have been doing a bi-annual detox/ cleanse since 2012 and I have been leading clients through this since 2013. It’s a powerful process that includes not just your diet, but your lifestyle too, because, come on, lets face it, it’s allllllll intertwined isn’t it?!

So, if:

  • You’re feeling a little sludgy or bloated or your skin is aggravated
  • You’ve noticed your reliance on caffeine or sugar to get you through the days
  • You’re aware that you are ending every evening with a glass or 3 of booze
  • You want to harness that vata (air & space) energy and apply the detox energy to other areas of your life, such as your home, mind or relationship

Book a session with me today! 


We can explore whether you’re a good fit for my 4-week Fabulous Four-Part Fall Detox!

P.s. Hopping on the phone with me is free! I offer habit-shifting protocols & an app to go with the Fabulous Four Part Fall Detox! Book now.




The 3 Keys to Creating the Life You Want!!

Please Join Us for  BLISS  – Business Leaders and Inspirational Speakers Series


Last Year We Had Over 100 Attendees!
Come early (5PM-6PM) for great connections and delicious food from Lu-Lu’s!
Claim your “Buy One, Get One Free” tix while supplies last. Invite friends, colleagues and clients. See here’s how below. **
As one of the speakers I have a free ticket to give away!

Check it out here: Send an email to WITH THE SUBJECT LINE: 1 free ticket to BLISS and I will do the drawing and let you know if you have a free ticket!

Have You Created The Life You Want (Yet)?
Tamsin Astor, PhD author and coach, helps busy executives transform their mindset and organize their habits to thrive financially.
Join us as she presents “Three Keys to Creating The Life You Want” at BLISS. You don’t want to miss this! Her presentation will change the way you look at life. Discover the speakers line-up here.
The October 22nd event will be at FULTON TOWERS at 1730 W. 25th St., CLE, (behind Lutheran Hospital.) Free parking across the street.
Receive Your Buy One, Get One Tickets When You Register Here By Midnight Tonight.** > > > >
**Here’s How: After you make your purchase, email with your guest’s name and we will add them to our guest list. It’s that simple! (You can also register at
We don’t want to have all that fun without you! ______________________________________________________________ ____

The Dark Side of Resilience

I have always been open with my struggles, with what I find hard. Partly because talking through or writing about my feelings and experiences helps me process them and partly because I want to help others by sharing my story vulnerably so they can feel safe with me and know that it’s okay to struggle.

Often I am described as resilient by people I know.

For example, when I tell people about my son being diagnosed with cancer.

These conversations and the data on resilience always portray it as a good trait, one to ascribe to and cultivate.

According to the American Psychological Association “Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone”

Last week, I was presented with a 180 view on resilience which has had me fermenting and cogitating and generally pondering my life. Especially since, this last 18 months for me has been beyond crappy in so many ways, a piling on of so many traumas that when I opened my eyes many mornings, I wished on some level that I had not.

Dr Zach Bush said to Rich Roll (listen to his podcasts BTW- he is a master, 7 years in), and I am paraphrasing:

“If you are resilient, and you acknowledge that trait proudly, and work hard to cultivate it, then you need stress and trauma in your life SO THAT YOU CAN BE resilient.”

OMG – did I create these events, because I am so freaking good at RESILIENCE?

And then the next day, I met a coach at an event whose whole coaching angle is creating and living with ease. Hmm – hello universe?!

So, yes, we want to cultivate resilience. BUT, be wary of what energy you put out into the world, because it might come right back and bite you. The energy we put out into the world introduces us – what energy are you putting out into the world?

For some more on energy, here’s a youtube video I made.

Misinformation, Measles, Mothers & Time Guilt: I am MAD.

Before I became a coach and an author, I was an academic, doing my PhD in a field which used quantitative data and my Post-doctoral fellowship in a field which used qualitative data.

I am comfortable and literate with data. Data have always held a strong place in my heart.

I, like many parents have been SHOCKED by the amount of misinformation out there about vaccinations and how many people have made uninformed decisions about vaccinations, based on ONE incorrect study about MMR and autism, which has lead to massive outbreaks in measles.

Recently, I came across a similar piece of misinformation, that, like the incorrect vaccination report, created massive ripples that are still in play today.

In the 1990s a University of Maryland time-use researcher, John Robinson INCORRECTLY produced statistics that stated that between 1965-1985 the amount of time mothers’ spent with their kids dropped by 40%. He realized his mistake, and issued a correction.

However, over 50 articles, and books and essays reproduced the error, which continues to be spread to this day (particularly by conservative, right wing media outlets).


This stuff makes me SO mad. How about you?

In my 15 ½ years of being a mother, I have worked outside the home for over 13 of those years and have struggled with my feelings of guilt regarding how much time I am spending with my kids and whether I was doing the right kinds of activities with them. AND like the research says, until I started to fall apart in the late noughties, and went down the path of self-healing, training & helping others, I was doing all that at the behest of my own self-care.

So – I want to give you the gift of this knowledge –

YOU ARE DOING better than your parents generation and, your kids are doing better in a number of different spheres (e.g. school, taking less drugs, having less unprotected sex, more going to college etc) and life is good, you know?

Don’t let that ONE wrong piece of information push you off track. You deserve time for you AND some guilt-free time off!

Today is National Brothers & Sisters Day!

Sometimes our siblings are people we have grown up with and who we have created a lifelong connection. My brother is like that. We live different lives on different continents, but we connect with our 6 kids (total) at least once a year. His wife also feels like a sister to me – she is wickedly smart, kind, loving and humorous and makes my brother so happy. I adore her.

Sometimes our siblings are people we have met along the way and feel that deep sense of connection with. For me that usually requires living with the person or people. I have a Brazilian sister who was my au pair for a year, living with me and looking after my children and who is deeply woven in my life.

Who are the siblings in your life and do they know how much you love them?


Connecting With Others Requires a New Kind of Listening: how to break the natural habit of our brains!

When I did a Non-Violent Communication training in 2014, as part of my Ayurveda certification training, we had to do some active listening techniques. We were paired up and set timers for 20 minutes. During this time, the talker had the floor and the listener could only respond with nods, smiles etc. We were told this was to stop our natural tendency to either a) problem solve and help the listener and b) commiserate, offer understanding based on our own experiences, both of which occur as you are listening, stopping you from REALLY listening.

Sarah and I were given an emotional prompt (I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I talked about how my son having cancer had affected me and my partner talked about how she and her husband had struggled to conceive, and the miscarriages, and how that lead them to adoption). Needless to say, these were super emotional topics for both of us!

What was profound was how we both felt so held and respected and heard and our connection to each other shifted deeply.

In the yogic/ayurvedic understanding of our human form, we have koshas or sheaths, the layers of which are stacked inside each other like a Russian doll: physical body, energetic/breath body, mental body, intuitive body, bliss body. Our energetic body – the pranamayakosha – extends beyond our physical space. This we know and understand – when you walk into a room, you can feel whether the person in it is happy, sad, angry – their energy extends to you! When we are totally present (not an easy task), we can exchange energy and listen with our whole integrated self – our physical body might nod, our eyes might communicate understanding. This is what Sarah and I were doing as we listened to each other.

In most of our interactions, this is not so easy.

We are engaged in promotional or transactional conversations – promoting a viewpoint (e.g. can we eat Chinese tonight? The Toyota is better than the Ford for reliability) or transacting information (e.g. I will get the kids at 3pm, okay?). In these conversations our brain’s natural proclivity to efficiency means that we are perceiving, evaluating input, making judgments and predicting outcomes all at the same time! Add to this the multi-tasking nature and over-stimulation of our current world and you have a recipe for never really, deeply, actively listening.

My natural desire to understand why that active listening technique I learned in 2014 was so profound was shut down because less than two weeks after returning from that training, my ex-husband walked out for the fourth and final time and the next few years were a flurry of moving, divorcing and lawyers and navigating our kids

Fast-forward to today and I am the Chief Habit Scientist: a published author, coach and speaker and I find that the habit of listening is deeply woven into my life. What’s interesting to me is that to listen deeply requires us to break our brain’s natural habit of efficiency. Habits are my jam. I love helping my clients establish habits that will serve them – channeling the brains natural efficiency. I also know that breaking habits is extremely hard – we know that from the addiction literature and the neuroscience (the myelination, like insulation, thickens as we repeat a habit, creating automation of a habit).

So – how can we navigate our brain’s natural tendency to efficiency and have those truly transformative conversations that yield deep connection between the participants and evolution for the individuals involved?

  1. Meditate: I could and have written pages about the myriad benefits of meditation, but here it’s about cultivating one-pointed focus and the practice of letting go and returning to the present.
  2. Journal: we are unaware of our inner monologue. Journaling allows us to see how we talk to ourselves, or think about other people, which is good to get a handle on, if you are going to listen without judgment.
  3. Stop multi-tasking & get outside: walk in nature. It reduces stress and boosts mood (especially depressive tendencies) which are important to get a handle on if you are going to listen to someone else.
  4. Do new exercises: get used to creating new mind-body habits (that involve all the sheaths of the body) and the resultant neural connections (rather than re-living old habits). Iyengar yoga is brilliant for this (can I press into the big toe mound and the outer heel, is it the same in both my feet? – while you are in a pretzel-ed position). Or take up a new activity – like tap dancing!
  5. Use the active listening technique with a timer: get together and set the topic and the timer. After each person has finished you can then reflect on the experience and ask them if they want input.

End of Year Reflections: Resolutions

Sit, reflect and write down your New Years Resolutions:

Focus on the positive – rather than negative.

Make them about loving yourself – actions that help you grow and evolve.

Don’t make them punitive – make them affirmative.

#stressmanagement #selfesteem #selfhelp #goodstress #healthyhabits #positivechange #cleanse #detox #plantbaseddiet #habits #forceofhabit #resolutions #selfgrowth #selflove

End of Year Reflections: Mental Growth

Take a chair and grab your journal:

What big meaty tasks did you take on this year?

How did you do?

What are you going to commit to for 2019? Reading 2 books/month? Learning Italian? Learning the guitar?

#stressmanagement #selfesteem #selfhelp #goodstress #healthyhabits #positivechange #cleanse #detox #plantbaseddiet #habits #forceofhabit #resolutions #selfgrowth #selflove

I ought to look this way. I ought to make this much money. I ought to love all the parts of my life. This was me. I got stuck on the oughts, but they don’t make you happy or fulfilled.


Read a chapter about the SHOULDS from my book, Force of Habit: Unleash Your Power by Developing Great Habits

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