The Power of Gratitude


Thanksgiving is upon us!

Here we are, forced to think about the things we’re thankful for. It’s a great time to reflect on all that we have and what others mean to us. But what about all those other days of the year that we’re not so easily reminded to take a step back and be grateful? Let’s face it, as humans, we’re pretty good at getting stuck in a negativity rut. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong with ourselves, our lives, our co-workers, our boss, our families, or our partners.

When it comes to our relationships with our partners, it seems to be especially easy to focus on what’s wrong, what’s not working, or what’s most recently made us upset. Why is that? Well, we want those parts of our relationship to improve. We want to stop having stupid arguments about the same things over and over again. We want things to be easy. We want things the way we want them! Once we start being critical, we tend to get stuck in this space. The last thing on our minds is what’s actually good.

As an Enneagram 1, I personally have a critical eye that seems to constantly search for things that are wrong in my world. If I’m not careful, I can get trapped in a critical cycle where it’s difficult to see the things that are going right. Because of this tendency, I can miss out on many rich moments that deserve recognition. Being aware of this and catching myself when I’m in this place is important for me. I also find it helpful to slow down and set an intention to be grateful at times. If I’m noticing my harsh critic is rearing its ugly head, I like to seek out a guided mindfulness meditation that’s specifically focused on gratitude to add to my morning routine.

Something I urge my therapy clients to do is to find more opportunities to notice and express gratitude in their relationships. Oftentimes, this happens when they are already sharing a positive moment about a friend, partner, or family member. I stop them and ask the simple question, “Have you ever expressed how much that means to you?” The answer is usually, “No,” coupled with, “Well, they know I am thankful for them.” I usually follow that with, “Maybe, but what would it be like if you told them?” This typically leads to a conversation about making more space for gratitude and appreciation.


Does your hubby pour you a glass of wine after a long day? Does your partner hold your hand or rub your back when they sense you’re stressed? Maybe they loaded the dishwasher just the way you like or cleaned up because they know you like to come home a tidy house. These are all moments to express, not just the gratitude for the small gesture, but also the reason that it’s meaningful to you. Does the glass of wine make you feel cared for? Does the support make you feel comforted? Does the neat home make you feel respected? Why do these gestures make you feel grateful?

You might be surprised at how much of an impact this simple expression of gratitude can have. What if we could make expressing gratitude and thankfulness a daily practice?

If you’ve got someone in mind who could use a little appreciation, take a few minutes to watch this video.

Now, try it out.

Write a letter of gratitude to someone you care about.

Then share it with them.

You don’t have to read it aloud to them, you could just send the letter, but reading it aloud is the thing that will give you that extra boost in happiness. Not only can gratitude have positive effects on you, but it can have a ripple effect that can spread positivity to others around you.

If you decide to give it a shot, let us know how it went!



Become Your Most Authentic Self with This Powerful Personality Tool


I thrive on staying busy. So much so that I regularly wish there were more hours in a day, just so I could achieve more of what I want to do. I make lists of possibilities, spend time researching subjects that pique my interest, and enjoy planning trips and social gatherings. I naturally fill my schedule, and when a gap of time opens up, I jump in to fill it with something else fun and exciting.

In my twenties, I worked full-time, went to grad school at night, and still managed to maintain a wide circle of friends, participate in the Austin social scene, and begin a new relationship. A factor that supports me in this lifestyle is that I tend to be extremely positive. I find negativity limiting and uncomfortable; I’m the master at reframing something to see the lesson learned or the potential for growth.  

I've thrived on my enthusiasm, endurance, and positivity. These traits have led to many great successes, but my greatest strengths have also contributed to my downfall, resulting in disappointment and burnout. When a friend cancels on our dinner plans last minute, the momentum of my frantic life is suddenly slowed.

Without something to fill my time, I’m forced to be still, connect with my emotions, and realize that I'm exhausted. I will positively reframe something, rather than actually processing the pain and hurt. In that moment, I’m avoiding dealing with the painful feelings, which means I’m missing out on the full range of emotion.

Luckily, I found a tool that ushered wisdom, awareness, and a tremendous amount of personal growth. This tool is the Enneagram of Personality.


The Enneagram is an ancient system describing nine distinct and fundamentally different personality types. A circle with nine numbered points symbolically represents the Enneagram. The word Enneagram comes from the Greek ennea, meaning nine, and gram, meaning a figure or drawing. Once you discover your type, the Enneagram becomes a roadmap that provides insight into your growth areas and helps you become a more authentic version of yourself. It shows how you're wired, both negatively and positively, and helps you manage yourself and how you interact with the people around you. Master Enneagram teacher, Suzanne Stabile, describes it as “nine ways of seeing, nine ways of being, and nine ways of responding to what you see.”

Unlike some personality typologies, knowing your Enneagram number doesn’t box you in. Rather, it helps you understand the box you're in and gives you insight into how to get out.

The Enneagram is a dynamic personality system where the nine types are all equally valuable and no type is better than another. Some people may find only nine types to be limiting, but it is best explained like a color wheel. While there is only one color called green, there are an infinite number of variations of green, just as each person in the world is unique.

You'll find yourself within one of the types, which are fluid and adaptable, focusing on the healthy, average and unhealthy range of personality.

As humans, we're created to connect, and part of this is learning to understand one another’s worldviews. The Enneagram is another tool in your toolbox to help you understand yourself and others in relationship. It helps us connect with our friends and loved ones and become more loving and compassionate to our differences.

Curious about the Enneagram?

Join our friend and fellow Enneagram enthusiast, Abi Robins, at her two-day event, Yogi's Guide to the Enneagram | December 2nd and 3rd.

And stay tuned for exciting upcoming Enneagram meetups and groups from Austin Relational Wellness & Abi Robins Yoga!



Meet Our Go-To Dietitian | Hannah Casparian


Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

I am a culturally Episcopalian, yogi-Buddhist, professional baker, chef and registered dietitian. I was raised by an Episcopalian priest and an artist (my dad actually has a masters in sculpture as well). They gave me a foundation of creativity, independence and something profoundly spiritual and compassionate that I couldn't fully articulate until my 30's. I have spent my life saying yes to experiences and being grateful that every moment is a gem that should be savored. I teach people about nutrition, health, food and food politics through cooking, baking, counseling and eating together.

What are your passions?

My passions are vast! I love food, physiology, bicycling, yoga, rock-gym bouldering, eating and hanging out with friends (which sounds like a "throw-away" answer, but truly, my friends, their children and my community are paramount).  


Tell us about your journey as a baker and dietitian.

I have thought about food (eating it and making it) since Kindergarten. I still remember making yeast rolls by myself for the first time when I was probably eight or so. I have notes from as far back as elementary school listing random details that I wanted to include in my restaurant one day. I realized that I truly identified as a baker when I was applying to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for college. Before that moment, I guess I hadn't fully recognized the difference between being a chef and a baker. While I was at the CIA, I discovered a love for nutrition and kept going to school for the necessary science degree to become a registered dietitian. I have been kneading and molding the two career paths together ever since.

I moved to Austin in 2008 because it spoke to my value system and sensibilities. Here, I have found and cultivated the most caring, creative, thoughtful food community. The cornucopia of jobs I've had fall under a broad umbrella of food and nutrition – a short-lived stint as a direct care staff at an eating disorder treatment center, five years as a corporate chef for a tech company, food stylist for commercials and photo shoots, personal chef, and freelance nutrition counselor. But, my true passion and trajectory has been to open a bakery. I can thankfully say that I will launch a bakery trailer in 2018! I'm looking forward to having a place to blend my passions and philosophies.

What is your philosophy about the way people relate to food and diet?

Daily interaction with food is arguably the most universal, visceral, and personal relationship that every human being experiences. Some people get to choose what they eat from among nearly all the options on the planet. And some people, unfortunately, (and unnecessarily, from a political standpoint...but I'll leave that soap box for another blog entry), struggle just to secure their next meal. But, at the end of the day, every human in the whole world spends at least some time every day thinking about, or trying not to think about food. Given that fact, it is my hope for every individual to find mindfulness, joy and stability, combined with education and balance relating to food and health.


My food philosophy is: satisfaction through balance. By incorporating as many vegetables, legumes and whole grains into my recipes and limiting the use of animal products, I'm able to maintain a food variety and nutritional balance that all bodies love and crave. My creativity with cooking and baking comes from asking myself, "What do I want to eat? And how can I be emotionally satiated by food while packing as many micronutrients into the meal as possible?" You may be surprised to find that once you lower sugar and fat in everything, your tastebuds adapt to, and love, the natural balance of macronutrients that already exists in the unadulterated ingredients. Cooking and baking should be fun and experimental. I like to teach people how to accomplish eating healthfully without the stress many people experience.

What’s been your favorite part so far about working in your field?

The instant gratification of food is my favorite. Someone enjoying food what I've made is one of my greatest joys. Hospitality and caretaking is innately satisfying to me. And cooking or baking something that is made mindfully, with ingredients that are healthy and responsibly sourced, is next level satiating.


What services do you offer?

I provide a range of food education services, from basic nutrition education and nutrition counseling to hands-on learning with cooking and baking classes. I appreciate and help at all stages of different learning curves, from shopping at the grocery store to basic knife skills. I enjoy providing the literal and metaphorical tools to help people enjoy every aspect of food.

How can people connect with you?

Because it's 2017... "social media"! I'm on Instagram as HannahBakery, as well as Facebook. My website is


Jump Starting your Relationship


Let’s be real.

Sometimes we struggle in our relationships, particularly after we’ve been in them for a while.

At the beginning, everything’s going great. You think you’ve got it all figured out. Then you hit about 150,000 miles. A hub cap pops off. You replace it and keep chugging along. Your volume knob pops off, so you hot glue it back on. You have a little fender bender, so you buff out the scratch and move past it. Sooner or later, you get tired of fixing problems. Maintenance is exhausting, so you just learn to live with the issues. They’re not that big of a deal. But the more you ignore them, the more these small issues add up. You start to feel a little overwhelmed. Eventually, you get to the point where you’re just teetering down the highway, or maybe it’s more like a dirt path. You thought you knew where you were headed… now you’re not so sure. And then, finally, you get to the point where your battery totally dies, and you’re forced to reach out for help. You need a jump.


When relationships get to this point, you need some time together to focus on those things you’ve been ignoring and reevaluate your direction. Lately, you’ve put your relationship on auto-pilot. You’re just going through the day-to-day motions of your idea of what a relationship is supposed to look like. You know which friends you guys are hanging out with and where you’re going for dinner this weekend, but you’re not really feeling connected to your partner in a meaningful way. Have you even asked your partner what they need out of your relationship lately? You might be a little out of practice when it comes to meeting one another’s needs after avoiding this type of relationship maintenance for a while.

Still, you’re 100% committed to your partner. You love each other more than anything. You’ve gotten off track, but you want a relationship where you feel supported when you share the hard things life throws your way. Where your partner laughs at your stupid jokes. Where your arguments don’t turn into full blown fights. Where you can communicate with one another to get past the little things. Where you feel understood and your efforts are acknowledged. Where you can have open conversations about your future together. And where you can feel safe when bringing up your own needs. You don’t just want to survive; you want to thrive. In order to do that, you know you need to work on it. You know relationships aren’t a fairytale, and you’re willing to put in the effort.


Do you need a jump?

We can help you out with that. Our upcoming couples retreat is the perfect place for the couple who wants to jump start their relationship. We help you get back to where you know you can be. At the retreat, you can take the first step toward reestablishing intimacy. You’ll learn a common language for better communicating your needs to one another, gain tools to deal with conflict more effectively, and set a vision for the future of your relationship. You can walk away from the day feeling a sense of renewal and confidence in your partnership.

You don't have to just float through life. You don't have to settle. Together, you can resolve the issues in your relationship and come out stronger than ever.



2 Things to Make your Days Better


I am a very curious and enthusiastic person. You may say it’s a little bit like chasing shiny objects. Really, my parents encouraged me to be curious, learn, and have many experiences. In this spirit, I’m not super skeptical and really enjoy hearing different perspectives and learning new things. Here are two new things I’ve been digging this week.

Fab Four Smoothie

This week, I stumbled upon celebrity nutritionist Kelly Leveque. I’ve always been pretty interested in nutrition and food philosophy, but the recent fads seem so extreme. Each food plan demonizes a different thing... no carbs, no gluten, no dairy, no nightshades, no sugar. I get that we need to avoid an excess amount of certain foods, but it just feels too extreme to me. All of this is to say that when I heard Kelly on a podcast, my ears kind of perked up. What she was saying made sense to me. Kelly is all about regulating the hunger hormones in your body. She teaches people to eat to satisfy their bodies and eliminate cravings, mood swings, and other symptoms caused by the food we eat. Her philosophy seems practical and sustainable. The Fab Four smoothie is her go-to way to start the day to balance your blood sugar and stay full.

"People don't realize how insulin works in the bod—it shuts down fat burning for six to eight hours. I can have a client trying really hard, going to get a smoothie and thinking it's the right thing to do, and then that smoothie makes their blood sugar spike up and crashes down. People start to feel hungry as little as 90 minutes after a meal, when they’re starting to have that crash. When people elongate that blood sugar curve, they really can go four to six hours without thinking about food."


The recipe for her Fab Four smoothie includes the essential four – protein+fiber+fat+greens. You can find out more information and recipes on her website. I tried it first with vanilla protein powder, flax seeds, avocado, spinach, arugula, and almond milk. It tasted great, and I didn’t hit that annoying 10:30am hunger space. After a couple of days, I’m definitely a believer in the Fab Four smoothie morning and can’t wait to check out Kelly’s book, Body Love.


Feel Good, Dress Better Workbook

How I dress makes a HUGE difference in how I feel. I definitely enjoy a good day spent in yoga pants and a hoodie, but when I’m needing to be productive or meet with a therapy client, I want to feel my best. For me, it’s the simple move of choosing some booties over flip flops or throwing on earrings and a necklace. When I started my counseling career, it became more apparent how important it was to feel good about how I present myself. So I was super intrigued when I saw that a blogger I really love had put out a workbook on just that. Nicole Seligman of Writes Like a Girl recently released her really cool Feel Good, Dress Better Workbook, a guide to help you identify your personal style and dress yourself in line with how you feel rather than to how you think you should dress. If you want to know more about how the workbook does that, she breaks down each chapter of her 90-page guide in a recent post.


I got to know more about the Feel Good, Dress Better Workbook when my sister and I attended an event that was hosted by Nicole called Feel Good, Dress Like a Boss. It was at a swanky downtown boutique, and she brought in four Austin business women to talk about how they used the Feel Good, Dress Better Workbook to improve their business. These boss babes shared their experiences of how they find more success in their businesses when they feel confident that they are dressing true to who they are. I just ordered my copy, and I’m super excited to dive into it!

Whether it is fueling your body with a balance of nutrients to get you through lunch or dressing in an outfit that will have you feeling super fly while you take on your day, my two wellness picks this week can help you get there.



Not Knowing This is Holding your Relationship Back


When you think of your needs, what comes to mind? What usually comes up are things like food, water, air, shelter, and rest. These are vital needs that humans require for survival, safety, and physiological well-being.

We need air to breathe oxygen into our lungs, food to fuel and nourish us, water to hydrate and keep our bodies functioning, and sleep to energize our bodies and minds. We need clothing to shield our bodies from the weather and shelter to protect us from the elements and provide a place to rest. We have physical cues that help us get these needs met. We take deep breaths to get more air, we experience hunger or thirst when we need food or water, and we feel fatigued when our body needs sleep. These are all basic survival needs that must be met in order for us to function. We’re taught to understand them, we pay attention when they aren’t met, and we work to meet them daily.


Another part of being human is that we are hardwired to connect with others. Because of this, there is a whole other set of needs that must be considered. We refer to these as relational needs, and they are met through relationships and social connectedness. What’s tricky is that we cannot meet these needs on our own. They require another person. Some examples of relational needs might be…

Affection – that feeling you get when you walk in the door and you’re greeted with a warm smile

Comfort – when you’ve had a really bad day and someone shows how much they really care by just sitting with you and listening

Appreciation – how good it feels when someone shows gratitude for something you’ve done

Our culture promotes individualism and praises self-reliance, which means that too often these relational needs go unmet. It’s not commonplace to be taught about relational needs or the importance of positive relationships to our overall health. It’s difficult for these needs to be met if we're often unaware that we have them in the first place.

Our bodies give us clues that our basic needs require attention, so what are the clues that our relational needs are going unmet?


When these relational needs are met, we feel secure, loved, and connected to the world around us. We can experience close, intimate relationships. When needs are unmet, we feel alone, disappointed, unseen, and disconnected. This can lead to insecure relationships and a lack of trust.

Relational needs are especially important in romantic relationships. Making a conscious effort to get to know and understand how you can meet your partner’s needs can make your partnership stronger. We boil it down to the top ten important relational needs. While everyone has all ten, we focus on the top three for each person. Knowing these top needs can help you better communicate, promote safety in the relationship, and truly connect to build intimacy.

When was the last time you asked your partner what they needed from you?

Has it been a while? You’re in luck, we have just the thing to help you discover your relational needs and invest in your relationship. Join us November 4th for the Creating Connection Couples Retreat.

Register by Monday, October 16th to receive a $50 discount! Click here for more info.



5 Mantras to Empower You Today


What’s a mantra?

The word mantra is an ancient Sanskrit word, which roughly translates to “mind tool.” A mantra is a repeated or chanted sound, word, or phrase. One mantra you’re probably familiar with is the om mantra, typically used in meditation. Mantras may be used to evoke an altered or transcendent state.

Where did the practice come from?

Mantras have been used throughout history in meditation. They were first introduced in the Buddhist and Hindu religions and were associated with spiritual practices and rituals. The earliest known mantras were spoken in Sanskrit.

How do I use them?

Mantras may be spoken aloud or simply stated in your mind. You don’t necessarily have to repeat the word or phrase. You may choose to say it only once. Mantras are for your own spiritual or personal wellbeing, and you get to choose how you use them.

Where and why would I use mantras?

Meditation is not the only place where mantras can be integrated. They can help keep you focused, present, and aware. They can help you set your intention for your day or a specific event. Try starting your day with a mantra by adding it into your morning routine. They can be especially helpful when dealing with anxiety and worry. Incorporating mantras into exercises, such as yoga, can help you stay centered during your practice. Mantras can also be used in spiritual practices, such as prayer or spiritual rituals. You can add mantras into your mindfulness practice to focus your awareness on certain areas. They can also be used as personal affirmations. Some people describe a sort of grounding feeling as they repeat a mantra to themselves - a feeling that all is okay and right in the world. For many, the act of speaking mantras is therapeutic.


5 empowering mantras you can try today...


1. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

This is a personal favorite of mine. It’s one my father has always said. It’s all about finding the motivation inside yourself to accomplish something that may seem nearly impossible. It’s a good mantra for helping you maintain a goal-oriented frame of mind. You can repeat it if you’re having an especially hard time carrying out a task or seeing the finish line.


2. (Breathe in) I receive love. (Breathe out) I give love.

Sometimes, when we’re going through hard times, it can be helpful to feel connected to others – to find common humanity. Coordinating your mantra with your breath can help you connect to your body. Try it out... on an in-breath think, “I receive love.” On an out-breath, “I give love.” And picture sending love to someone who needs it.


3. I am open to receiving whatever the day may bring.

With this one, you’re sending yourself the message that you can be flexible and openly vulnerable. This is a great one for the start of your day. You can also bring your mind back to your intention and repeat it for grounding if you’re having any anxiety about upcoming events during your day.


4. I appreciate the good.

In our fast-paced world, we are often dissatisfied with where we are and what we have. We’re always wanting more. It can be good to strive for goals and look hopefully toward the future, but it’s important to find gratitude for what we do have. This mantra can help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the things that are going right.


5. I am enough.

This mantra can be especially helpful for those with perfectionist tendencies and critical self-talk. It speaks to the fact that just being as you already are is just fine and helps you become content with where you are in the moment. You are worthy and lovable just as you are, regardless of whether you’ve lived up to certain expectations.


Many people have mantras that they naturally think to themselves, without even consciously being aware they’re doing it. What are some mantras you often say to yourself? Are they positive or negative? If you’re unsure, start to become more aware of your self-talk. If the tone is on the negative side, it might be time to implement some positive mantras into your life.



7 Ways to Invest in your Relationship in October

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With the season changing from summer to fall, we’re forced to slow down and spend a bit more time indoors. In summer, we may have been go-go-go, outside frequently, experienced lots of fun activities, and stayed pretty active. In the fall, the weather starts to get cooler (although much more slowly in Texas!), the days get shorter, and there may be fewer social events to attend. It’s a time to reflect on ourselves and our relationships. Are you where you want to be? Are you feeling connected to your partner? Are you investing enough energy in your relationship to keep it strong?

Slowing down during the fall provides a great opportunity to refocus on your relationship and increase intimacy with your partner. Here are just a few ways you can invest in your relationship this month.


1) Plan for the holiday season ahead

Take a little time to pre-plan for the holidays. This time of year can be a fun time with friends and family, but it can also be really stressful. Sit down with your partner and discuss the logistics of what you’ll be doing for each holiday. Discuss whose family you’ll spend time with, when you’ll be going, and agree to be a support system for one another (we all know our families can stress us out during this time of year). On the flip side of that, show your partner you really care by making time spent with your partner’s family just as much of a priority as time spent with your own. You may choose to put your plans on a shared calendar that each of you has access to so there won’t be any confusion. Planning beforehand can save you a lot of headache as you get closer to the holidays by allowing you to prepare as a couple, coordinate with each of your families ahead of time, and prevent you from having last minute arguments about your plans.


2) Have a movie night in

One of the common stresses of the holidays has to do with finances. People get stressed about spending too much money and tend to cut back on outings. This doesn’t have to stop you from taking the time to focus on enjoying a good date night. Staying in for a movie date can save you money, while still giving you a chance to show each other some much needed affection. In truth, you can actually connect in a more meaningful way by staying in to watch a movie with your partner rather than going to the theater. You’re able to be physically closer, and you can cuddle up with one another. Since the weather starts to get a bit more chilly, it’s the perfect time to grab those comfy throw pillows, curl up with your favorite blanket, and enjoy a good film together. Sometimes it’s even fun to take it back to childhood and make a pallet on the floor. You can also pick up some popcorn, classic movie candy, or your favorite drinks to make it feel more like a theater experience. Whether it’s a classic fall flick or a new release, just make sure it’s something you’ll both be into.


3) Do Halloween together

Personally, I love Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday, and I start planning for it months in advance. I love to coordinate costumes with my partner. For us, the act of planning and shopping for all the pieces of the costume is as much fun as dressing up. My favorite was the year we dressed as Peaky Blinders characters. Need some couples costume ideas? You can find tons of inspiration on Pinterest. Some ideas are super cheesy, and some are really clever. Even cheesy can be fun though. If you’ve got kiddos, you can make it a family affair and include them in your costume choice too. Of course, you don’t have to actually coordinate your costumes to have a good time together. You could both dress as whatever you like and join in the festivities. Regardless of how you do it, it’s just more fun when you have others to participate with you.


4) Take interest in your partner’s interests

What is it that your partner really enjoys about this season? Are their interests your interests? They don't have to be. In fact, if they’re not, you’ve got a great opportunity to meet your partner’s attention need by showing them that, while you may not really love what they love, you recognize that it’s important to them. You can make an effort to participate in whatever it is together.

My partner looks forward to football season every year. There’s something about coming together to root for the same team that definitely brings us together. In fact, sharing in a common goal increases connection and is good for the relationship. However, while I enjoy going to games and tailgating, I’m not into watching football on TV quite like my partner is. Honestly, it’s been the source of some arguments in the past. This year, I’m making a conscious effort to sit alongside him during some games and actually engage. Games like football bingo makes it easier on me.

One of the things I enjoy about this time of year is decorating for the holidays. It’s something that my partner will take an interest in and has actually come to enjoy as well in recent years. For me, it’s awesome to be able to do this activity together, and it makes me feel loved when he takes an interest in my idea of crafting some DIY sheet ghosts for our yard.


5) Enjoy a fall festival together

While fall festivals are often enjoyed as a family activity, they can also be fun to do as a couple. While you’re at it, eat a pumpkin doughnut, have some hot apple cider, ride a Ferris wheel, and maybe even go on a hayride. You’re never too old to enjoy a hayride! There are some great festivals around the area. Check out Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls if you want an option that’s a little more chill. Or have an eventful, cultural experience at Oktoberfest in Fredericksberg .


6) Decorate pumpkins with one another

From picking out your pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch to finding the perfect carving design, this activity is sure to get your creative juices flowing. Creativity engages different parts of your brain and reduces stress. The act of working toward a common creative goal together promotes partnership. In my house, we’re serious about our pumpkin decorating. Sometimes we carve, sometimes we paint. But it's definitely an event we look forward to every year. We love to mix up a batch of some of our favorite beverages and carve away for hours.


7) Attend a workshop or retreat together

Of course, a way to directly invest in your relationship is to go to a workshop or retreat specifically created to strengthen your bond. Couples workshops are a great way to reconnect with one another on a deeper level and explore the dynamics of your relationship. You may have a great relationship already, but still probably have a few areas where you could both improve. Or you may feel like you've been neglecting some issues that could really use some attention. Either way, setting aside time to talk about these issues in a supportive environment can be helpful. We're putting on one of our recurring day retreats in early November that highlights meeting one another's relational needs, improving communication and emotional understanding, and gaining better conflict resolution skills. It's set in the Texas Hill Country and is a great space to unplug, and get away for the day.



Whatever you do, the point is to show your relationship some love. Make time for your partner, show some affection, let your partner know you care about what they care about, and be an active participant in your life together. Nurture the relationship. Laugh together. Grow closer.



Integrating Yoga with the Enneagram | with Abi Robins


Tell us a little bit about what you do.

I am a yoga instructor and Yoga Therapy Intern who teaches group classes and private sessions in the Austin area. My public classes are vinyasa based and flow from gentle to powerful, depending on the group. My private sessions are what I call yoga and lifestyle coaching. I help people find more balance and ease in their lives through conscious movement, contemplative practices, and lifestyle adjustments. A lot of my focus, currently, is on bringing the ancient teachings of yoga and the Enneagram together to give people the tools and the knowledge to experience deep healing and personal transformation.

What are your passions?

I have so many! This really isn't even fair! Obviously, I love yoga, and I'm a little obsessed with the Enneagram. I am also very passionate about quality coffee. It's an almost constant struggle to enjoy all the coffee I want to without over-caffeinating. DOGS ARE LIFE. Like, no, really. Bring all the dogs to me and let me cuddle them. It may sound cliché, but I would have to say that my greatest passion is people. I love watching people come into their own and learn how to live as their authentic selves. I'm okay with pushing people's buttons if I know it will push/encourage them to grow, and I've been learning lately what it is to really hold space well for people who are in crisis or a big transition. Finding the balance between these two is tricky, but I think this skill has made a huge impact on my clients and my practice as a whole.


Tell us about your journey with the Enneagram.

Well, I was first introduced to the Enneagram by my good friend, Matthias Roberts (he's amazing, look him up:, at one of our many post-yoga dinner nights. I was deeply skeptical at first, but the more I got into it, the more it resonated and the hungrier I became for it. The last three years living in Austin have really kicked my Ennea-study into high gear. I've done a couple of intensive classes on it and read countless books, as well as incorporated it into my private yoga sessions. I loved working with the Enneagram and yoga so much, I've even developed and been leading workshops to teach others the basics of using them together. The wisdom I gain about myself and the way I relate to others has always had a huge impact on my yoga practice. I basically learned them both at the same time, so it's hard for me to separate them; I can't really imagine having a yoga practice without what I've learned from the Enneagram or studying the Enneagram without my yoga practice.

Why is it important to you to integrate yoga with the Enneagram?

I like to think about it this way: The Enneagram is an incredible map on your spiritual/inner-personal journey. The Eight Limbs of Yoga is like a killer, souped-up hot rod. If you're practicing yoga without the Enneagram, you're basically doing donuts in your cul-de-sac -- you haven't really set out on your journey yet.  And if you're studying the Enneagram but not engaging in conscious contemplative practices, you're just putting pins in a map of places you'd like to go, but you've never put the key in the ignition. To me, it really feels like yoga and the Enneagram were made for each other, and having one without the other just seems silly.


What’s been your favorite part so far in working with yoga and the Enneagram?

When I work with clients who already know the Enneagram, we are able to move much more quickly into what types of yogic practices and lifestyle adjustments will be most effective. Those clients come in with a lot more "scathing self-honesty"; throw in the common language we share around these delicate subjects, and it really lays a strong foundation for a transformational yoga practice. I also really love teaching workshops. Being able to share the Enneagram with people in a way that is both honoring to the traditions I learned it in and accessible to beginners is a challenge that really brings me a lot of life. Teaching well-studied Ennea-scholars how to put "boots on the ground" and turn their knowledge into applied wisdom through yogic practices is deeply fulfilling.

What can people expect from working with you?

People who want to work with me can expect to be equal parts challenged and supported. I will demand the very best of you, and I will do everything in my power to help you get there. I have a strong intuition and a real knack for helping people navigate and move through difficult passages in their lives. I take this work very seriously, but I don't let that stop me from having a good time with my clients. I always strive to make sure my clients laugh as much as they cry and maybe do both at the same time.

How can people connect with you?

You can connect with me through my social media: @AbiRobinsYoga on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also check out my blog and get in contact with me about booking a session through my website:

I'm also excited to be co-hosting a South Austin Enneagram Meetup, along with Austin Relational Wellness. Our first meetup is next Tuesday, October 3rd from 7-10pm at Stouthaus Coffee. You can find more info about the meetup here.



Living Life in Community


“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. “ - African Proverb

Last Sunday, during the closing words of a yoga class that just so happened to be taking place in my sunroom, I was reminded of the importance of community. 

Community is an important value to me, both in my career and in my personal life. Most decisions I make are powered by a need to connect with others and a strong belief that things turn out  better when we work together. It’s true, at times, that it’s easier to do things on your own, but I find the extra effort well worth it. It’s making a point to keep in touch with friends, taking a group exercise class, or gathering a handful of people at a coffee shop so we can dive into the Enneagram. These things help me feel rooted, balanced, and motivated by the people around me. 

As a new therapist, I just didn’t feel drawn to a career in a solo practice, and instead, chose to collaborate with two other therapists in a wellness group. Even as a team of three, we still wanted more community connection, so we decided to office at an amazing co-working space full of energetic and supportive wellness professionals. There are so many open, loving, and talented people in this town ready to lead you, share their stories of success (or mistakes), and help you get to where you want to be. I’ve had a few therapist friends relocate to Austin, and what I hear over and over again is how open and welcoming they found the community. In other cities, they experienced closed doors, stiff competition, and information hoarding, which didn’t allow for people to connect and support each other. A supportive community gives people a space to be themselves, share what’s going on in their life, and leave feeling energized.


When I hear community, I think support, love, sharing, connection, spirit, and hospitality. The way I build community is through hospitality. I get a rush of joy from bringing people together. I love to host get-togethers and cook for people, gather friends on a porch to catch up, or plan a camping trip. I find there’s nothing better than a solid hangout. For some, the thought of a dozen friends showing up at their house hungry and ready to kickback all night would be less than ideal, but I live for it. When you get people together, sitting around a yard, a table, or a living room sharing a meal, telling their stories, dreaming with and learning from each other, you find what we all desperately need – connection. 

My friend, Dixie, is in the process of completing her yoga teaching certification. After years of being away, she has found herself back in the ever-changing landscape of Austin. This year brought a career change and a relocation for her, yet she still managed to honor the commitment to herself to become a certified yoga teacher. She completed most of her certification and teaching hours back in Dallas but arrived in Austin needing just one last thing to make it official, a community class. 

Our group of girlfriends jumped at the opportunity to take a class with her and planned for a Sunday afternoon yoga session. We put the word out to other friends, and come Sunday, there were seven of us spread through the house doing sun salutations. There were a few moments where, it being the first yoga class we had all taken together, the silence broke into fits of laughter. Overall, I’d say we did pretty well. The class was challenging, rejuvenating, and seemed to be what we all needed.


Dixie brought our practice to an end with a closing prayer where she thanked us and shared this – “I needed help, I asked for it, and you all showed up .” These simple words created a powerful statement that surprisingly brought several of us to tears. It brought us out of our self reflective yoga bliss to acknowledge that our presence there wasn’t only for us but really mattered to her. I was struck by the vulnerability she displayed by sharing how hard it was for her to ask us for a favor, the gratitude she felt, and the love of the people there in support of her. We felt honored to do a class with her, she felt grateful for our support, so we all felt good!

This moment touched me and led me to reflect on how fortunate I am to be a part of many different communities that support me. Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, or workout buddies, these communities lift me up and have the power to give me just what I need. It was an important reminder to not only ask for what you need, but to surround yourself with a community that will show up for you. Bottom line, it’s always better when we’re in this together.