Grief is Like This

In case you ever wondered what grief is like, it’s like this. Last night I went to Trader Joe’s. It was packed which is why I try to go during the day, but there was also a nice holiday vibe. When I came out with my cart full of groceries there was a woman standing there by the wreaths and I waited to see if she wanted to cross in front of me. She was around the age my mother would be if she was still here. Cut from the same cloth – put together, very attractive. She gave me a big smile with her twinkling eyes and said, “Oh, that’s okay, I’m just waiting for my daughter.” And that was it, I was gutted. I managed to smile back at her, though.


I went to my car, loaded in my groceries, put the cart back. I thought about going to find her to tell her how lucky her daughter is to have her and to maybe share that I do not have my mother here on this planet anymore, but I knew I would fall apart. So I got in my car and pulled out of the parking lot, drove to the light and put on my blinker to turn left on Pico. I ran through the moment in my mind and wondered why I was so deeply affected, and then I realized my mother will never say that to anyone again. She will never casually say she is waiting for her daughter, she will never say anything. I had a seriously hard cry all the way home. The kind where it’s hard to see and the streetlights get blurry and there’s nothing you can do. Tears everywhere, wrenching sobs coming from your gut. It’s coming up on a year since my mom exhaled for the last time. I was there with her for that and I’m grateful, but it’s painful to remember. It’s easier than it was the first five months or so when I would wake up in the morning and have to re-remember that she was gone. Or the first seven or eight months when I would reach for my phone to call her. Around month ten I stopped forgetting that I can’t call her.


But it’s still hard. Grief can knock you sideways out of nowhere. You can be going about your day and someone can say something as innocent as “Oh that’s okay, I’m just waiting for my daughter,” or you might come around the corner of an aisle at the grocery store and see the brand of napkins your gorgeous mother had to use to wipe her mouth when her jaw got slack the last year of her life, because ALS takes everything, slowly. Or you might remember the way your mother’s face looked when they turned off the bipap machine that had been breathing for her. Weirdly enough, you might hear someone sneeze on a subway platform in New York City and realize their sneeze sounds exactly like your mother’s. There are a million ways you can be okay and then not okay at all.


There will be people who will tell you your mother is always with you. They’re not wrong, but it is not the same and hearing that won’t help very much if you are really hurting. The loss of an entire person is incomprehensible. And there is no timeline. If anyone tells you how you should be feeling by such and such a time, that is someone who doesn’t understand grief. They’ll understand eventually, but right now they don’t and that’s okay. There are people who do understand, they’re the same people who have had the breath knocked out of them in an instant because of someone’s perfume, a Facebook memory, a dream lingering on the edge of their consciousness in the morning.

Grief is an expression of the depth of your love. If you loved with your whole heart there’s a good chance you’re going to suffer the loss with your whole heart as well, whatever that might look like for you. There’s no formula for this, no “right” way to grieve, there’s just an ocean of feeling. So if you are suffering at least know you loved your heart out. That’s a huge thing, not everyone can do that. And the love that you extended is something that can never be taken away, and the love that you still feel is alive and well and continuous. And that’s a lot, too. But for all of you who have had or may be having the raw, deep cry on the way home from Trader Joe’s, I see you, I understand and you are not alone.

Sending love to all this holiday season and always,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here.

Glow from It or Grow from It

You can experience life as though it’s happening to you or for you and either way you set yourself up to feel like there is some quid pro quo, like you can tilt the odds in your favor if you’re a good person or you can manifest the reality you want if you try hard enough. You can tell yourself rejection is protection and everything has meaning and has been set up to teach you something. When painful things happen you can experience them as karma or as punishment for something you did or didn’t do. You can decide that everything that’s happening is happening for your growth.

The thing is, the earth was spinning long before you or I got here. The ocean existed before we showed up, the waves were rolling in, the waves were rolling out. The sun rose and set. The storms came and passed. The earth will keep spinning long after we’re gone. The chances that everything has been set up for any one of us are pretty small. That doesn’t mean we don’t matter or we don’t have the power to have a positive and lasting effect on the world around us, it just means that it might be a much kinder and gentler ride if you exchange the thought that “everything happens for a reason” to simply “everything happens” and it’s up to me to take from it what I will and to endeavor to be the best human being I can be while I’m here.

Whatever situations you face, whether we’re talking about a relationship or a job or anything else, you’re either going to glow from it – meaning it’s going to light you up and inspire you, or you’re going to grow from it. You do not have to do the mental gymnastics to put everything in your “thank you” column. When painful things happen, when you experience loss, grief, betrayal, or an unwanted twist in the plot, you can bet that you will grow. You may not have wanted the opportunity to grow in that particular way, you might wish with all your heart that you didn’t know what you now know, but we don’t get to choose what’s going to happen. The earth is spinning. We are here and my feeling is this is an extraordinary thing, just to be here with each other. Just to wake up each day.

Glow or grow in love,

Ally Hamilton Hewitt

If the posts are helpful, I also have books!

And you can join me for yoga classes and entire courses here.

Your Relationship with Failure

We’re all going to try and fail at some things. If you’re like most people, you’ll try and fail a LOT and hopefully every time you fail, you’ll learn and grow and strengthen and also figure out how invested you are. How determined. How much it means to you, whatever “it” is you’re trying to do.

Failure is a topic that resonates with most people pretty instantly. You have some kind of relationship with failure, some feeling about it, whether you feel like a failure in certain areas of your life or you want nothing to do with the idea at all. As if failure might be contagious. Some people who are wildly successful by society’s standards still feel like a failure. Some people who are failures by society’s standards feel utterly fulfilled.

Sometimes we “should” on ourselves and compare and contrast our experiences with those of our peers and end up feeling pretty awful. It can be a lot easier to focus on what we haven’t done, or what we haven’t done well, than to pay attention to all the things we have done and all the things that are flowing.

You might find you spend a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror wishing you could turn the car around and go back a decade or two to do things differently.

Whatever the case, your relationship with failure is going to depend on your definition of success. So maybe consider your definition of success and look at your life through that lens. Do you have love? Meaningful connections? Pursuits that light you up? If you’re struggling to keep a roof over your head you won’t have time for questions like these right now, but otherwise these are good things to consider.

This is also what we’ll be talking about during the Friday Family Meeting on the Yogis Anonymous Practice Page. If this topic resonates with you, join me Friday at 11:15am PST! It’s free to join, we talk about a different topic each week and how to apply the practice of yoga to the topic at hand. Then I lead a live guided meditation. I’d love to see you!

Much love to all ❤️
Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here and my yoga classes and courses here!

Does Your Inner Critic Have a Name?

I caught my Inner Critic trying to cause trouble earlier today, let’s call her Gladys. Gladys is a pain in the ass, and I rarely hear from her these days because I make a point of not making her feel welcome and I spent years telling her to pipe down and move along. But every so often if I’m not getting enough rest, or one of my kids is struggling with something, or I’m grieving or whatever the case may be, Gladys might pop by for a visit just to see if she can set up shop again. After all, she lived in my head for decades, and she probably misses the fun of torturing me. But I worked too hard to evict her, and I can smell her perfume coming. It’s the kind that gives me a headache, you know the stuff. Anyway, Gladys was feeling that I was not accomplishing quite enough to meet her exacting standards today and I noticed she was doing that because I started to feel this sense of dis-ease in my body. When I realized what was happening, I told Gladys to f&ck right off. Then I reminded myself that not every day has to be this super-productive, highly efficient experience, and that actually I had managed to do quite a lot of the important things. I made my kids lunch and hugged and kissed them both before my ridiculously tall teenager left for high school, and my middle-schooler hopped out of the car. So they both arrived to school on time, with lunch in their bags, feeling loved. I could have just stopped my day right there and that would have been a good day, right?

Then my friend Lauren Peterson came to film, and because there’s a crazy heatwave in Los Angeles (sorry to my east coast friends), I filmed her in the Practice Garden. So there’s a new Lauren class on the way, and that’s pretty awesome, right? Not sure what Gladys’ actual problem was, are you? I didn’t give Gladys any time when I went to meet Angela for lunch. Spending time with people you love is pretty productive, wouldn’t you say? And we had a great lunch and some quality time where no one was looking at a phone or distracted by anything, really, which is pretty marvelous. Connection is everything, and I could have ended my day there and it would have been great, right? But then I got in my car and for whatever reason, Gladys was just really persistent today. I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot because February 7th marked two months since she died and I can’t really believe it’s been that long, and I’m about to have the first birthday I’ll have without her, so that’s probably why Gladys thinks there might be a chink in my armor. By the time I got home I was feeling a little down again.

I walked into my house to find that while I was out my husband had decorated the entire living room with every kind of streamer and balloon for my birthday, because he’s that guy. The kind that makes you know you are super special to him and your birthday matters and he’s going to make sure you feel cherished. I’m surprised Gladys didn’t pack it in right then. Not sure how she thought she might still have a chance, but she did. So I told my husband I was feeling blue and he just hugged me because he doesn’t try to solve that kind of thing because he’s awesome. And then I thought, well Gladys, imma bring out the kryptonite now, we are heading to the mat. (Except Gladys is not a superhero, she’s a witch, but you catch my drift.) Anyway, that finally did it. Gladys was just no match for our yoga practice and I could feel her evaporating into the ethers as I saw both the moon rising and the sun setting while I practiced. And I filmed the class for y’all. 

I’m about to get ready to have dinner with one of my BFFs who has a birthday just before mine. We’ve been celebrating together since high school. Then I’ll come home to my little family. And even though I had to fight her off hard today, Gladys didn’t win. She will never, ever rob me of another day ever again. I worked too hard to erode her for years and I just will not give her a foothold…not even a toehold. 

If you need help with your own Inner Gladys, you know where to find me!


Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

If you could use a coaching session or a package of sessions (scroll down after you click on the link), I have space for one new weekly or biweekly client for February and I can schedule one-off sessions as well. Watch this video about my approach to coaching here and email me to schedule at

Feel Your Feelings, Don’t Drown in Them!

There’s a difference between feeling your feelings (essential) and drowning in them. There’s a difference between spiritual bypassing or toxic positivity and working with your nervous system to create a calm environment and bring yourself back to center when you’re dealing with big feelings.

Today I did a lot of both. I felt a lot of big feelings – grief, emotional exhaustion, and some of the frustration that comes from the less glamorous parts of owning a small business, and I did a lot of working with my nervous system to stay centered. I’m of no use to anyone including myself if I’m a puddle of sadness on the floor. So I felt all my feelings and I was compassionate with myself but I also did some things to create more peace, comfort and ease.

In practical terms that consisted of 15 minutes of insight meditation and an hour of yoga practice that included a lot of pranayama. Not just ujjayi breathing but also breath-of-fire to get energized and alternate nostril breathing to come into balance. It looked like a slow flow with a lot of long holds and deep stretching. It looked like getting in sweats after without a bra, true story. It looked like working at my own pace, not rushing and not getting everything done.

Some days are harder than others. If you’re having some tough days right now, you aren’t alone. Just do your best to tune in, practice kindness and patience as much as possible, and whenever you can, give yourself some understanding. If you’re looking for a few things to try, alternate nostril breathing is wonderful when you feel like you’re spinning. Feeling your feet on the floor or your butt in the chair or the weight of your hands in your lap, or finding one color in your environment to focus on – all those things are really grounding. 4-7-8 breathing is easy to do anywhere, even whilst driving. And community is everything. If you need help, come find me on the site. I’m there with an unbelievable team of teachers and a global community of yogis and it helps so much.

Whatever you do, take care of YOU. We only get one of you after all ✨

Sending love to anyone who might need it,

Ally Hamilton 

Personal Power

All right everybody, here’s a little food for thought!

Please finish this sentence:

I give my (personal) power away when I…

Here are some possibilities:

•Allow self-doubt to stop me
•Get into a comparing/contrasting mindset
•Don’t act on my own behalf
•Neglect to prioritize my own needs
•Participate in situations that insult my heart
•Allow someone’s disappointing behavior to dominate my thoughts/energy/attention
•Forget that what I do or don’t do makes a difference

What comes up for you?

Often (definitely not always) the difference between a day when we feel at peace or at ease and a day when we suffer mentally has to do with the choices we’re making. What are you focusing on? Is it strengthening you or bringing you down?

I give my power away when I…

Identify ways you might be letting yourself down and then let’s be mindful to make this is a day when we don’t succumb 💪👌

Sending you love and I can’t wait to hear your responses!

Ally Hamilton Hewitt

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here and my yoga classes, courses and meditations here!

You Can’t Control the Weather

Just a quick reminder today – you never know if the weather around the bend is going to be sunny or stormy, so the thing to focus on is how you’re driving!

Are you present, curious, open, alert? Are you spending too much time looking in the rearview mirror? Are you white-knuckling the ride or do you have the windows rolled down and the wind in your hair?

When it rains, do you feel the universe is conspiring against you? Or do you pull over and step outside and splash around in the puddles? If there’s a serious storm, do you take cover?

You get the idea. Life is going to bring all kinds of weather. How we respond to that weather will have a lot (but not everything) to do with how we feel about the journey. You don’t get to drive the Bus of Life. The Bus of Life is Life’s business. But you do get to drive your car. You do get to realize that weather (just like any given thought or feeling) will roll in, and it will roll out. Take care of your car – check the oil, fill the tires, make sure you have enough gas (my way of saying get on your yoga mat, find at least ten minutes a day to meditate, and feed yourself well). Beyond that, see if you can enjoy the ride.

Sending you so much love,


Ally Hamilton Hewitt

If the posts are helpful you can find my books here

my yoga classes and courses here

and a little video about one-on-one coaching sessions with me here

For more information about coaching sessions please email me at: