Why Shiva?

lord shiva

Why do I love Shiva? Why have I chosen Shiva to represent my yoga business and philosophy? And why is Shiva one of the most recognized symbols for yoga, together with, the symbol “Aum”?

In the pantheon of Hindu deities lies Shiva- the Destroyer along with Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Sustainer. They represent the 3 primordial creative energies of the Universe. We cannot have one without the other. Shiva destroys what no longer serves us so we may bring in what does. In this context, destruction is a positive and nourishing force that maintains order in the Universe.

With his 5 heads, as depicted in certain renditions, Shiva reminds us that we are multifaceted beings. As we shed the layers and step out of our need to be compartmentalized and to compartmentalize others we move to a place of ego awareness where we realize we are so much more than what we do, what we say, what we think or how we live.

Shiva, with his many arms, teaches us to grab hold of opportunities, to follow our many passions and, holding his trident, he teaches us to use weapons when needed and, clasping flowers, he reminds us of the potential for enlightenment always within our grasp.

As a dancer – the Nataraj, Shiva shows us how to dance through the fire of death, birth and rebirth. We learn to fight for what we believe in, set and enforce our boundaries, show our claws when required and to chose our battles well. There is very little place for complacency or apathy. Rather anger, rage and strength is often needed to bring in the new and then comes the dance of love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude that follows in its wake.

As a karma yogi, Shiva teaches us the path of serving others, where we see ourselves as part of the human family, which goes beyond our tight circle of family and close friends. We become more sensitive to the suffering of Man, of our brothers and sisters. We cannot help but want to serve. We celebrate our service to others, as well as how others chose to serve, without worrying about “ulterior motives”, suspiciously wondering what’s in it for us or others.

As a husband and family man, he represents the bond of family headed by 2 equal partners: the stability of being supported, the need to procreate and continue without ever giving up. While Shiva was doing what he needed to do, his wife Parvati was lovingly tending to the home fires. In this, we learn that no matter what happens we can always come home to love and compassion.

Through sexual union, Shiva plants the seeds for Tantra- divine true love – and we learn to honour and bring balance to both the masculine and feminine forces within each of us. The creative force of the Universe is a sexual force and through Shiva we embrace our physical, mental, and spiritual union with a beloved where body, mind and spirit merge with the divine avatar with whom we each conspire. The Shiva Linga and the serpent are its symbols.

Shiva, the celibate ascetic, also choses a life of meditation and hardship and demonstrates that we can be many things and play many roles at once as we frolic gingerly on the poles of opposites to find the sweetness in the middle, without being trapped into a specific one.

Yoga, the union of Body, Mind and Spirit, helps us understand that we are all One, on the same pole and part of the same whole. We each carry all the potentials within us and can switch on one and all at will.

This is the path of the yogi that walks through the flames of transformation, over the hot coals of desire and loss, to burn through old patterns, beliefs and ways of relating so he may remember what he has always been and will always be.  Yoga helps us remember…




Nicole Rolland

Author of Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance

Nicole Rolland- Yoga and Meditation now at the University Club, Montreal



What is Consciousness and What is the $Million Question?

consciousness mswag

What is consciousness? 

Consciousness is energy.

We are consciousness.

So we are energy…

What does energy do?

Blue & purple space galaxy
Blue & purple space galaxy

Energy swirls around and around and around.

Energy vibrates at a certain speed.

Energy coalesces into and out of form, it never dies, it simply transforms.

So we are constantly transforming, death is not an option.

What are we transforming into?

This is the million $ question…

“To reach up to heaven we must have roots deeply anchored in hell” – ancient Sufi proverb.

We are each transforming into our highest potential, bringing in the light, bringing in the love of who we truly are.

Some of us are anchoring down into the proverbial “hell” and that’s ok because only once this is done can we reach up to heaven.

Let’s be compassionate, loving and forgiving- to ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

We are each learning after all…



Nicole Rolland

Yoga and Meditation


Wire it Up!

Wire it up!

brain and cervical cord


So, you have started to pay attention, you are now working at bringing energy into the front of your brain; into the space between your eyebrows where your frontal lobes are located. This creates a natural biofeedback mechanism that stimulates our pituitary and pineal glands and creates the blissful sensation that helps us recharge and connect. So, what’s next?

Where do our thoughts fit in? Is it really important to fill our head with positive thoughts anyway? Do we understand how positive thoughts affect our life? And I mean really understand? It all boils down to becoming more aware of what goes on in our head and to building brain awareness – it’s all in the head after all!

Examine the thoughts in our head

Just as energy moves within our head and activates different parts in the brain so too do our thoughts and emotions move within our gray matter either reinforcing existing patterns or creating new ones. As we bring our attention to a toxic thought or a hurtful memory a chain reaction is created as electrical impulses are transmitted from one nerve cell to another. These neurons, and we each have about a trillion of them, are interconnected and form a pathway sending messages and signals throughout the brain.

From thought to outcome

As we travel along this pathway a thought creates a feeling which generates an emotion which in turn pushes us to do something. This action finally results in an outcome, either one we like or one we like less.

Thought → Feeling→ Emotion→ Action→ Outcome

Rewiring the brain: override and reinforce

I like to think of our brain’s neural pathways as set in putty and not in stone. To rewire our brain we need to override unhealthy pathways and reinforce healthy ones.

Overriding an unhealthy pathway

To override an unhealthy pathway and get rid of it entirely we need to starve it to death. I apologize, if this sounds unkind but in this case this is the best way to go. We feed thoughts with our energy so we can eliminate a negative thought by simply depriving it of energy. We then put energy into a positive thought that will create a more positive outcome. Whenever you think of something you send energy to that which you are thinking of. For instance, if you think fear and feel fear you will create fear. The fear you were feeling was generated by a fear based thought which then manifested your worst case scenario; the”how could this have happened to me?” scenario.

What is a fear based thought?

A fear based thought is any thought you have that is anchored in the belief that you do not have what you need or that you are alone, different and separate from the whole. Some examples of fear based thoughts I often hear include:

– “It’s just not done”

– “What would people think of me if …?”

– “I couldn’t do that because…”

– “How could I support myself if I…?”

– “It’s different for me…”

– “I am not lucky (or smart, or pretty or rich or…) like you

….blah, blah, blah. Do you get the point? Sound familiar?

Once you strip out the fear and the separation you are left with loving thoughts and whenever you think loving thoughts you create a loving outcome. It’s really that simple.

Reinforcing a healthy pathway

To reinforce a healthy pathway, we engrain it in our psyche by giving it lots of energy. For instance, if you think love and feel love you will create an outcome that you love. The more you love your outcome, the more love you will feel and then the love will spillover into your other thoughts. Suddenly the “I am so lucky and so blessed” scenario has appeared in your life.

Tools to rewire the brain?

  • Bring meditation and yoga into your life.

Repeat meaningful positive affirmations

Tap into the love that is always around you

Open your body and open your mind

  • Apply positive psychology into your life

Replace a negative thought with a positive one

Make new predictions

Watch the language you use

Set some goals

Focus on what makes you happy


  • Lifestyle


Eat healthy food

Surround yourself with supportive relationships

Enjoy fun friends

Slow down

Do what you love

Awareness exercise

So, close your eyes, breathe and bring your awareness to the energy moving in your head following the pathways you created with your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, your actions and the outcomes you created. Bring your awareness to a recent outcome you created. What kind of outcome was it? Did that outcome make you happy? Connect to the thought that initiated the whole chain of responses that finally lead to that outcome. What do you notice? Breathe and know that you have the power to create whatever you want.

With Much Gratitude,



Nicole Rolland- Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Author “Stepping into Cosnciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance



Part 2 of a 3 part series on building brain awareness






Light it Up!


Do you feel you are living an uninspired life? Do you crave sameness? Do you fear change? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you need to bring more stimulation into the front part of your brain, known as the frontal lobes. Understanding how our brain affects how we feel is a hot topic these days and finding our way through all the research can be a challenge. So, here are some tips to help you build brain awareness so you don’t get bogged down by all the info out there.

brain light it up

Feeling inner peace, joy and tapping into wisdom is thought by many, to be a neurological process. Science says we can reach states of, what the mystics call, Samadhi (or bliss) by learning to pay attention. As we hone our skills of observation we activate the front of our brain and hold the key to physical health, mental stability, joy, happiness and prosperity. Now isn’t that a key you would like to hold?


So how do we pay attention?

Meditation is the perfect way to learn to pay attention. In meditation, we focus on a tool; whether a mantra, an affirmation, a symbol, our breath, a candle, some guided words…to bring our attention inward. As we do this, we deactivate the centers in the brain that keep us feeling stressed, anxious and paralyzed in the here and now. We then activate the center in the brain that helps us lose sense of time, space and causality so we can feel inspired and joyful.


As we activate the frontal lobes, suddenly the volume of our outside world decreases and the volume of our inner world increases. As a result, a world of new possibilities opens up before us. We start to see opportunities where others see probabilities. We become visionaries where others are stuck in antiquated ways of thinking and behaving. We are no longer incapacitated by stress but motivated by expansion.


Of course, this doesn’t mean that we no longer get angry or sad but, when we do, we embrace the emotions honestly and release them lovingly from our body. Emotions are meant to be experienced and they are a part of life. They are not meant to be ignored or hidden away.


How to light up those frontal lobes?

  • Learn to relax
  • Get curious and embrace new ideas
  • Try new activities and stretch beyond the comfort zone
  • Meditate
  • Heal what needs to be healed
  • Experiment with other ways of paying attention


So breathe, connect to your breath and ask yourself


Do you want to feel more peace?

Do you want to feel more joy?

Do you want to feel more wisdom?

Do you want to feel more love?


And remember, it’s always about balance and coming back into balance with who we are. So, bring energy into the front of your head and away from the back of your head, pay attention and notice what happens…..


in gratitude,


Nicole                                                                                                        Nicole Rolland- Yoga/Meditation Teacher, and Author www.inspiredworkshops.org                               info@inspireworkshops.org

N.B: This blog has been republished from a Stepping into Consciousness blog I first published in February 2, 2010 and is part 1 of a 3 part series on building brain awareness






Getting Unstuck- Building Brain Awareness

Is it a challenge for you to turn a negative thought into a positive one? Do you notice that your thoughts are so scattered that you can’t think clearly? Or, that all this talk about stilling the mind works for others but not for you?

Breathe, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to your brain. Imagine your brain divided into 4 sections; the first three fit neatly into each other like nesting dolls and the fourth sits at the top of your head and extends down into your forehead. The first section is the inner core at the top of your spine and includes the brain stem and cerebellum. The second section is in the middle and wraps around the inner core that includes the hypothalamus, hypocampus and amygdala. The third section is made up of the outer shell called the neocortex that wraps around the whole. The fourth section, part of the neo cortex, also known as the frontal lobes, starts at the crown of your head, and reaches down into your forehead. Each of these areas, when stimulated energetically, engages you in what I refer to as jungle killer, herd, achiever or enlightened types of behavior.


Jungle killer behavior

We activate the inner, most primitive part of the brain, when our primary concern is survival. The law of the jungle prevails here where only the strongest survive. We feel territorial and competitive. We fight to get our piece of the action. This is the comfort zone of the “Tiger Mother” as in “The Battle Hymn of”. Here we are worried about winning so we won’t lose, succeeding so we won’t fail. We may need to activate this type of behavior on occasion but, when we are trapped in this inner core of the brain we are not leading a conscious and loving life. Here our actions are mainly instinctual.


Herd behavior

As we move away from the inner core, we activate the central part of our brain where our concern shifts to building social relationships. This is where we are concerned about following the “code” of what is acceptable and not acceptable. We are motivated by a desire to be part of the herd regardless of what personal values are compromised. We delight in power plays and enjoy games of manipulation. Our thoughts become less instinctual as more options open up to us. This part of the brain starts to make us more conscious but there is no need to get trapped here.

zebra herd

Achiever behavior

Moving outwards, we finally arrive at the outer shell, called the neo cortex. When we stimulate the back part of the neo cortex we access our ability to reason, to use logic and to problem solve. This is the brain that understands science, mathematics, law, medicine and philosophy. In this part of the brain, sits our ego. Our ego helps us push beyond our limits and grow. Our ego helps us, but only up to a point. After that, our ego prevents us from enjoying the moment and keeps us trapped in fear and stress. This part of our brain makes us more conscious than we were but not as conscious as we can be.

graduation diploma

Enlightened behavior

Once we move forward to the front of the neo cortex, between the crown of the head and just below the eyebrows, we are in our frontal lobes. Here, we reach the crowning glory of our human potential. This is where we start to see an infinite number of possibilities before us, where we become visionaries and where we make the final leap in consciousness. It is our frontal lobes that lead us back to unity and help us remember our wholeness.


So breathe, notice where you are now, where you were yesterday. Notice that each section of the brain has helped you learn important lessons. Thank each part of your brain that engaged you in jungle killer, in herd, in achiever and in enlightened types of behavior. Be grateful for the crucial role accessing each of the 4 sections of your brain plays in your evolution and in your journey back to remembering your wholeness.


How to get unstuck

We often get stuck in a certain part of our brain that keeps us repeating the same types of so-called “mistakes” over and over again. To change these unhealthy patterns, we need to get unstuck. To do this we move into our frontal lobes by bringing our awareness to the space between our eyebrows.

Start off slowly

We start this process off slowly. When we leave the frontal lobes, we do so for a good reason and then we come back to the front to recharge and connect. Slowly, we bring in more joy, peace and inspiration and we discover what many have already discovered. Lighting up the front of our brain helps us create the loving thoughts we need to create a life we love. Perhaps, this is what enlightenment is all about. Perhaps, it has less to do with walking on water and more to do with tapping into the love that is always around us. Building brain awareness is an excellent tool and a great place to start so Light it up! Wire it up! and Get unstuck!

Next Light it up! followed by Wire it up!




Nicole Rolland



P.S: My 4 sections of the brain are inspired by Paul Maclean’s Triune brain model of evolution. I invite you to learn more about this model.

“Getting Unstuck” part 3 of the trilogy of blogs I wrote in 2011 on Brain awareness has been republished here and can also be found at the end of Chapter 6 in my book.

What is Holding you Back from Stepping into the Full Potentiality of the Universe?

Kindle Ready Front Cover Jan 2016

Available on Amazon Canada, Amazon US, and Europe

Dear Seeker,

The Universe is expanding consciousness and you are made up of this consciousness. In theory, you are each able to connect to the unlimited potentiality of the Universe, so why do you sometimes struggle?

Connected to Oneness from a heart space, the Universe satisfies your true desires. However, when connected to Duality, the Universe satisfies what you think you want from a place of Ego. In this place you will always be blocked from reaching your full potential. Your full potential is only realized when connected from your heart space.

Flowing in Duality to Flowing in Oneness

You may have noticed times in your life where you seemed to flow and then times you didn’t-You learned to flow in the dual reality and your love life, your friendships, career, money were all bringing you great satisfaction. So what happened? You hit a wall, and everything changed.

Call to Wake Up and Listen

When this happens, it’s a call from Spirit to wake up and to listen to the call of your soul. This is a sign to learn to flow in a new way- in Oneness. Over your life you may have received many such knocks at your door. Eventually the knocks become so loud that they can no longer be ignored. The Universe begins to block out what your Ego wants and shifts the focus more to what your soul is truly yearning for.


ACCEPT that you are in fact receiving exactly what you asked for. The Universe will always give you what you want and desire.

Some Examples may help

Dual wants: Money, Popularity, Status, Happiness…

Oneness desires: Abundance, Connection, Meaning, Joy…

Take a few moments and write down your wants and your desires and notice how your wants come from what your head thinks you want and how your desires emanate from what your heart truly desires.  

Head= what you THINK you want

Heart= What you FEEL you Desire 

Moving forward with the Practice of OTGF

Openness-Get Curious

Trust- Let go and out of the way

Gratitude- Optimism

Forgiveness- Take Responsibility

The more you practice OTGF the more you will be able to flow with the wisdom the Universe in Oneness.

Have a blessed day, Namaste!



Nicole Rolland: Yoga/Meditation Teacher and Workshop Presenter





Why Bother Being “Good” When Being “Bad” Seems to Get All the Goodies

Many good, kind, honest, hard working, loving people are able to create and enjoy comfortable lives for themselves and others. However, all too often people who make fun, belittle and bully others are the life of the party, the flashiest people lie and cheat, the least conscious companies make the most money, and the most corrupt politicians  win elections.

How can you get to a point where your “goals and comfort” do not infringe on the goals and comfort of your brothers and sisters? How can you live a life of integrity where you respect and honour your brother and sister’s life as much as your own while taking care of your material needs and wants?

If you are trapped in the dual reality of material success, you live in the duality of being “good” or “bad” and are overly focused on the “goodies”. Here goodies are seen as material goods that satisfy your Ego such as money, possessions, status, titles, accomplishments….These make you feel safe by reassuring you that you are better and deserve more (or are worse and deserve less) than your brothers and sisters. This of course only leads to suffering and separation and may push you to act out of integrity. There is always a price to pay when we become  obsessed with these “goodies”. This price can manifest in different ways, for instance:

  • Internal Coldness: You no longer feel the suffering of your brothers and sisters and the suffering you inflict on others
  • Poor Health: Excessive attachment to external validations of success leads to fear which obstructs the healthy flow of Prana in the body
  • Inability to differentiate between conditional love and unconditional love: You become so trapped in fear that you can only see your brothers and sisters that give you what you need/want and you ignore the others
  • Disconnected from who you truly are and what truly matters: Stress, anxiety, burnout, depression take root
  • Individual suffering leads to global suffering

However, if you spend a good part of your time in the Oneness reality and are Stepping into Consciousness where you can navigate both these realities, you realize that there is no Good/Bad, there is just truth- your truth as you are experiencing it in this moment that is leading you to discover and live the one Truth that we are each love. You realize that the real “goodies” of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance do not come at a price. They come when you live in a place of Unconditional Love, the True Love that is your abiding nature.

So, Step into Consciousness, let go of fear and trust that you will always be taken care of and that you will be able to care for your brothers and sisters on the path as well.

Stay tuned for my next blog: ” What is holding you back from connecting to the Full Potentiality of the Universe?”



Nicole Rolland:Yoga/Meditation and Workshop Presenter www.inspiredworkshops.org

2016 Edition of Nicole’s book now available on Amazon

Amazon US, Canada and Europe

Stepping into Consciousness- A guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance 

Is it Time?

We Run with the herd to demonstrate our attachment to the Rational Mind (in our head) and we Fly with the flock when its time to live from the Intuitive Mind (in our heart). At least, that is how I visualize these things…

Old brass pocket compass held in fingertips with a blurred gravel path and woods in background.
Old brass pocket compass held in fingertips with a blurred gravel path and woods in background.

Needs for material security push us to follow the earthly compass of our Rational Mind, Head Brain, Ego and, Accomplishments that keep us safe whilst desires for spiritual connection lifts us up to the heavens and is guided by the heavenly compass of our Intuitive Mind, Heart Brain, Wisdom, and our passions. What compass are you using?

change time for

Our internal clock, also known as our intuition 🙂  tells us when its time to break away from the old paradigm of fear and competition and join the new one of true love and freedom. It takes courage and trust to use our angel wings to fly.

Next post- What’s in it for me? aka Why bother being good when being bad seems to get the goodies…



Nicole Rolland


Kripalu Yoga and Meditation Teacher

Author of “Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance”

Are You Running with the Herd or Flying with the Flock?

Like so many of us, caught on the treadmill of life, you may feel like you need to run with the herd in order to feel safe and secure. In many ways you are right. The herd does provides a measure of safety and security, but is it real?

As children, we are taught the rules of herd behaviour. As we grow up we locate and join our herd- some of us become “chargers”, you know the ones I mean- the overachievers; that charge forth fearlessly, and others find their stride easily and keep up- I call them the “striders”, a third group the “strugglers” are those that never seem to get it together, and then the “helpers” are the souls that dedicate themselves to helping their brothers and sisters when they stumble and sometimes fall. A last group, the ones I refer to as the “saboteurs”, are often maligned, but their role is oh, so crucial. Saboteurs offer an advanced course in learning and growth. Saboteurs chose to hurt themselves, or others and get whacked by the karma stick in return.

Take a few moments here to identify your role within the herd-past, present and future…

  • Charger- Charging the way
  • Strider – Running in stride in the middle
  • Struggler – Struggling to keep up
  • Helper – Helping others when they fall
  • Saboteurs – Tripping themselves and others up

You have no doubt experienced each one, in varying degrees, at different times in your life, you may perhaps notice how each one plays out in your daily life. Each role has a lesson to teach, each role is important, no one role is better, no one role is worse. Honour yourself for each role you have played.

zebra herd

Learning to be part of the herd is a good thing. When we have mastered this lesson, we no longer need the safety and security provided by the herd. When this happens it is time to leave the herd, take flight and join the radiant flock ahead.

butterflies emerging

The radiant flock of brothers and sisters  who have Stepped into Consciousness before you, shed their limiting beliefs, faced their fears and transformed.

Just like the hungry caterpillar who has turned into chrysalis, emerged as a glorious butterfly, you too are transforming into the glorious butterfly you have come here to be. You too will join the radiant flock ahead of those who have transformed before you…

Take a few moments and notice where you are.

  • Are you flying with the flock?
  • Are you looking for your flock?
  • Are you getting ready to join the flock?
  • Other? …

Soar, Be Free and Join your brothers and sisters.

Welcome to the world of Stepping into Consciousness…



Nicole Rolland: Yoga, Meditation Teacher


Author of “Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance

Available on Amazon in the US, Canada and Europe

Learn more about Nicole and Inspired Workshops at