As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.


  • Kathleen Lauterbach

    I realized this morning one thing that is true for me is that I need intellectual stimulation. I need something good to read, or a puzzle to figure out, or a clever movie or tv show to watch. I find I increasingly have less patience for things that are not well done. I can’t really binge watch like lots of people do these days. After one or two episodes, I am usually bored.

    Here’s my list of things that help me absorb joy:
    An interesting conversation- I can always count on several good friends to provide that.
    Sitting on the porch at sunrise
    A good book- right now I am reading Anxious People by Frederik Bachman. It’s very intriguing and filled with these pearls of wisdom.
    A relaxing shower
    Sitting and listening to the gurgle of the water in the Pond
    Taking something that is a mess and bringing it back to order
    A clever movie or TV show- If you haven’t seen Enola Holmes on Netflix it is an unexpected delight
    Writing when being given a writing challenge. – A friend sent me a card and asked me to write a 300 word story about what was happening in the picture.
    Outdoor breezes- lately we have had a warm spell here with these delightful breezes
    Making a nice dinner and coming into the house to that delicious smell
    Chatting and laughing with my sister
    Walking the paths and checking out the changes- leaves, new structures, what you see now that wasn’t visible a few weeks ago.

  • Linda Samuels

    Joy is present every day in the small things and large. It’s a deep feeling, a satisfaction, lightness, a series of positive sensations that pulse throughout my being. But the thing with joy is that I need to consciously engage in being open and “on the look” for it to thrive. In no particular order, these are some of my joy-inducing moments:

    • Watching the fall leaves change colors. Each day there is something new to add to the visual excitement.
    • Going hand in hand with Steve as we walk, talk, and explore.
    • The moment when I first lay down in yoga class to begin practice.
    • Getting a “just because” phone call from one of our daughters.
    • Seeing my mom emerge from the down, and walk down the garden path at the start of our socially distanced visits.
    • That first morning sip of coffee.
    • Plopping down on the sofa and snuggling up with my cozy, soft, gray blanket at the end of the day.
    • Taking my bra off and putting my pjs on when I transition from day to night.
    • Smelling wood burning, sweets baking, or scented candles wafting.
    • Waking and the promise of a new day.
    • Crossing something off my list.
    • Hugging.
    • Writing a note of love, thanks, or gratitude.
    • Seeing our daughter get married to the love of her life.
    • Eating chocolate. Not too discriminating here, but I tend to prefer dark chocolate.
    • Biting into a Baked by Susan’s chocolate-chocolate cupcake. Did I mention that I love chocolate? 🙂
    • Engaging in anything water-related- showering, dipping my toes in the river, swimming in a pool, washing dishes, watching the river flow, being at the beach, or kayaking down the river.
    • Noticing the first crocus push up from the earth after the long, cold winter.
    • Being stuck inside for the first big winter storm and seeing the backyard be immersed in clean, white, undisturbed snow.
    • Hearing the leaves rustle.
    • Seeing an amazing moon in the dark, night’s sky.
    • Watching the sun set or rise.
    • Taking a walk with a friend.
    • Moving my toes around in the sand.
    • Having our house full of family and friends.
    • Folding laundry.
    • Getting things back to square one.
    • Enjoying the quiet that comes after everyone leaves.
    • Preparing a meal.
    • Baking.
    • Learning something new.
    • Traveling- day trip, overnight trip, or longer trip. Near and far. The joy of exploring new places.
    • Biting into a big, juicy slice of watermelon.
    • Eating a bowl of concord grapes.
    • Combining an assortment of vegetables to make a colorful, healthy, and delicious salad.
    • Getting into bed, closing my eyes, snuggling up, and falling asleep with Steve at the end of the day.

    The list goes on…

      • Linda Samuels

        You never know? Turns out I do LOVE snipping- be it hair, hedges, or trees. I’ve gotten into a little trouble the past few months with that “oops” factor, but find the trimming to be deeply satisfying. In some way, I think it relates to that same satisfaction I get from organizing and helping others to do the same. Trimming away the excess, creating order and beauty as you go.

  • Twink McKenney

    These are so great! Thanks to both of you for such detailed lists and reminders that we can find JOY everywhere. I find it teaching yoga, diving into a chart when preparing for an astrology reading – eps when the chart opens up and begins to talk with me before a session. I find it when I am connecting (talking!) with my pets, (at one time I had 5 rescue dogs … now have a very special group — one dog and two cats.) I make walking a priority – in all kinds of weather. Took an amazing hike today and for the last few months have made it a point to explore trails I have never been on with my little dog, Bodhi. I love to cook and have been a vegetarian for decades and a vegan for the last 5. I am passionate about plant based living. I always cook for myself and also for friends and family and am known for my salads. Have been a farmer’s market type for decades and love searching out locally grown foods. Enjoy catching up with my sisters – I am the oldest of 6. We are very different but we stay in touch and I esp enjoy their children. One sister in particular is a close friend. An astrologer told me once that this sister and I have been “going around together for many lifetimes!” She and I have had many adventures this lifetime too – including riding our bikes across the country together. My meditation practice brings me joy and it has become a much deeper practice in this past year. I find joy in letting life express through me – and in all of the opportunities I have had to be a creative person, to study the things I am so curious about and to make a living from them. I could keep going but it is so great to be reminded .. makes me feel joyful!

  • Yota Schneider

    Thank you for sharing your lists of joy! I found myself reading and re-reading and nodding in agreement and deep appreciation.

    Reading your lists is a joyous and sensory experience. Reading about the big and little things that bring you joy triggered the experience inside me. Joy can be contagious.

    It also proved that we all know that joy is right there, hoping we’d capture it and absorb it as it arises within. If we can only remember that we can.

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