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Introducing Meditation and Breathing by Michele and Dean

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Michele Roberts and Dean Yasuda are a loving couple who have a real zest for life.

From the moment they met at a community BBQ, there was real magic between them…even though they didn’t know quite just yet. As they got to know each other, it was apparent that they shared many of the same values and motivated each other to become the best versions of themselves. They decided to share with others their core life philosophy through various programs, services, and classes. BOLDFISH is fortunate to have Michele and Dean partner with us. Check out our Q&A with them and find Michele’s kid-friendly mindfulness exercise and Dean’s breathing for beginners at the end of the article!

Michele and Dean
The happy couple

When and how did you two decide to start a company together? How does the curriculum and course offerings reflect your own personal journeys?

About a year into our relationship we realized that we had similar values when it came to living a vibrant life. We loved eating real food, and moving our bodies and grounding ourselves in loving life and ourselves. We decided to create a company that reflected who we are and we enjoy inspiring others to live life fully. We teach what we love – living in the present moment, facing into what life presents, and standing for what we believe in. We love contributing to the world by bringing our creative energy and talents to help create a world that works for everyone. We have both spent years digging deep into ourselves and healing old stories while creating a rich sense of self-love. It is only from a core of this love that we can bring our full selves to the world.

Your company’s mission is “creating thriving lives by inspiring people to expand their capacity for whole body vitality.” How do you define a thriving life (what is an authentic expression of oneself?) and what is whole-body vitality?

We can best sum this up as living an unedited life. Our culture and our families teach us so many ways to hide who we really are. We get messages like: don’t be too much; be a good boy/girl; you’re too sensitive — and we internalize these as we grow up. We begin to edit how we really feel, or what comes naturally to us. Being authentic doesn’t mean bowling people over, it simply means allowing our true nature to shine. We believe that we can be kind and loving and be ourselves in the world. This ties directly to whole-body vitality because when we edit ourselves and hold back, we use energy to do that, which depletes our natural flow. Whole body vitality is what we see when we look to the Blue Zones, to the people who live the longest and healthiest lives in the world. A thriving life is based on joy — the internal joy we feel and the joy that stems from positively engaging with the world around us.

Michele, you were a homeschooling mother of three for 20 years, so you spent a lot of in-person time with your children. If you were to be doing that now, how do you think technology would affect the relationship and dynamic between you and your children (if at all)?

Michele Roberts

Even back twenty years ago I was well aware of the impact of technology on us humans. By the time my youngest, who is now 17, was born, I was watching our culture change rapidly. T.V. had been a babysitter, but it was only at home. Now, when Dean and I go out to eat, we look around at the young families whose young children are watching movies at the table while they eat and feel both compassion and concern. We remember what it was like to try to eat a meal with young kids, trying to gobble up your food before they got too restless, and yet, we have great concern about what these screens are doing to young minds, and what the absence of “boredom” is doing to our creativity. Probably my greatest concern is that we are filling all of the spaces of our minds, being plugged into technology for so many hours a day, and how that takes us out of our bodies.

I know that if I parented young children today, that it could be a constant struggle for me to balance the use of technology and I’d be certain to surround myself with a like-minded community who felt the same. After all, no matter how tech-advanced we get, we are humans with bodies and these bodies want to be in nature, want to move, want to express creativity. Creating harmony, balance, and well-being in our children’s lives will take commitment, and I do believe that it can be done.

You’ll be sharing with us guided meditations for young kids. Were meditation and mindfulness something you instilled in your children while they were growing up? How about yourself?

I came to the world of meditation when my kids were a bit older, so I as I tried to integrate it into my life, I slowly introduced it to them. If I had young children now, I would make that a priority every day. One fond memory I have is practicing a humming meditation with my kids. We all enjoyed that, and now that I have studied body-intelligence, I know why. Humming brings us into our bodies and creates a wonderful energy. So even sitting together for a few moments humming with your children can be an enriching practice.

My kids listened to some wonderful story-tellers as well, and I believe that listening to stories is another way to open up creativity and connection. We had lots of audio books and stories, and even some meditations made for kids, though it wasn’t as easily accessible as it is now. I believe that closing our eyes and letting ourselves go on journey’s can be a good start to learning a meditation practice. I also believe in practicing silent meditations and would encourage parents to practice moments of silence as well with their young children.

Dean, you were in the military for over two decades and I’m sure from that, you’re very well disciplined. What are your thoughts on the behavior behind the rise of tech overuse (e.g. social media, cell phones, bingeing Netflix, video games, etc.)? Do you think it’s a problem with discipline among consumers?

Dean Yasuda

Though I benefited from learning how to step up and get things done, my military time did not teach me much about how to think for myself or express creatively. I am grateful for the example of self-discipline and have used it in my journey of personal transformation. When I look at what technology is bringing to our world, I feel sad and scared that our children are getting disconnected from themselves and their world when they spend too many hours plugged in.  I am not against the use of technology, I like it myself, and at the same time, I am concerned that we are losing a connection that is crucial for our well-being. People say that the antidote to addiction is connection. I see that many of our youth (and adults for that matter) are addicted to technology and are losing their ability to choose to fully engage in life outside of the internet. That’s why I’m excited about connecting with you and BOLDFISH because I know that digital wellness is necessary for us to thrive.

BOLDFISH listeners will have the opportunity to participate in simple, five-minute breathing exercises guided by you. Could you please explain why breathing practices can help with calming both body and mind, and even help to destress?

I love teaching breathing practices because our breath is the easiest and simplest way to return to ourselves. We can do this any time we want once we re-learn how to breathe the way we were born to. My Mentor Gay Hendricks who is one of our world’s greatest breathing experts reminded me of how healthy babies breathe. We’ve all seen a baby’s belly rising and falling, and this is how we are meant to breathe.

Most of us have a breathing pattern rooted in fight or flight response: shallow and in our chest. The unfortunate thing about this is that when we breathe in a way that is rooted in fear-response, we are stressing our bodies. Slow, deep, belly breathing restores normal circulation and brain activity and engages our slower thinking brain. Having a breathing practice, and increasing the amount of time we spend breathing in our bellies is crucial especially in our culture today. There is so much to be afraid of when we tune into the news of the day, and allowing ourselves to disconnect from that fear, and create calm within ourselves, helps us to make clearer and healthier choices.

Even though you didn’t grow up as digital natives, it seems to us you are both pretty tech savvy. Do you have trouble finding tech/life balance? (Constantly online, plugged into social media, etc.) If so, what are some ways you regain equilibrium? If not, how do you stay above it all?

You are correct in assuming that like everyone else, we are faced with the temptation to plug in throughout our days. We love so many things about technology! We have found having a daily breathing and meditation practice makes a big difference and also keeping ourselves physically active and fueled well with healthy food. The most important way that we support ourselves to keep this balanced is by committing and recommitting to living a vibrant life. We find that commitment is at the root of all success, and it is in choosing what we most want in life, that we begin to create it. We see commitment as the first step, and recommitting is part of that process, so if we have a day where we’ve spent too much screen time, we recommit and move forward.

What are some of the most common issues you’ve seen among your clients? What do you think are the main causes of those stressors/issues?

Living out old patterns that no longer fit is the common theme. Being able to break free from the past, and create a new life takes a lot of commitment. Our culture offers many distractions from that commitment, so we remind our clients to daily recommit to creating the life that they want. What is exciting to know is that we can completely rewire ourselves and have lives that bring joy to us and those around us. We have lived it and witnessed it over and over.

For our readers who may not be able to participate in your classes and get one-on-one coaching, do you have any advice for them to create and live a thriving life?

Be you! Believe in yourself and follow your creative impulses. Open up creative pathways by making some new choices every day. If you always eat oatmeal, try adding something new to it. Drive a different way to work. If you love nature, commit to spending time outside. We’d also say to take good care of your whole self by starting a breathing and meditation practice, exercising in ways that bring you joy, and by eating well. A deep commitment to our self-care always leads to a stronger foundation to live our lives from. Do what you love, and your life will open up and lead you to joy.


"A Ballon Ride" is a kid-oriented guided meditation
Listen to A Balloon Ride by Michele!

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