Empowerment through Words and Action: A Conversation with Kimberly Snyder
Kimberly Snyder is a prolific best-selling author, an advocate for health and wellness, a mother, and a person who authentically lives her truth. Her book, You Are More Than You Think You Are
, gives us all the messages we need right now.
Kimberly, this is a very vulnerable book in which you are a lot of your story. What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been guided to share what has helped me the most. The idea for the book came down like lightning- when I was 34 weeks pregnant with my second son. I feel that the teachings in You Are More Than You Think You Are, which are centered around living life from your True Self, getting past the emotional blocks and negative beliefs of the ego, and finding peace and joy from within, are what people need the most right now.
I went through thousands of pages of ancient texts and commentary to distill down the core teachings, along with supportive science and personal stories. I went to that vulnerable place to illustrate how useful and practical these teachings are for modern life- they aren’t supposed to be just read about in dusty old books!
What were some of the challenges you faced while writing?
In many ways, this book was completely different from the previous five that I have written. It really flowed- I will say channeled through me (and I don’t use that word lightly). I had a clear intention to serve, by making these teachings more accessible to others, and I always got more energy when I connected to my purpose.
I started writing when my younger son was 60 days old. My older son was not in preschool because of the pandemic, so it was enormously challenging to have two small children in my care, as well as continuing to run my company, Solluna
, and my Feel Good podcast
, and write a book on top of all that. As I look back, I’m not sure how I wrote the book, but I do know that writing happened during nap times, late into the night, and weekends…
You mention your teacher Paramahansa Yogananda often in the pages. How did you find his teachings? What are some of the ways his teachings continue to inspire you?
I believe we have many teachers, and only one guru. A guru is someone who shows you the way from darkness to light. They have to know the light themselves first though, in order to truly be a guru.
I was backpacking for what ended up being three years around the world, and when I was in India for the first time, for three months, I ended up finding one of Yogananda’s booklets in book store in Rishikesh. The moment I started reading, I felt a fire sensation rush up my spine, and I knew I had come upon great truth. Yogananda has been my guru from that point on, and I have practiced his teachings and practices from that day forward. You can see his influence in all my books, with the first one published now exactly 10 years ago.
Yogananda emphasizes meditation. How would you recommend some meditation practices for beginners?
Find a meditation method inspired from truth
, from one who knows the way, and stick with that. There are so many modern forms of meditation, which can feel relaxing, but are not the way to union, which is the real goal of meditation and yoga. Union with God, union with the True Self.
Meditation, as outlined by a great Master, will help you concentrate your energy in your spine and brain, your central nervous system, away from the peripheral nervous system, where our energy is always being flowed out and into the external world, the world of delusion.
I practice Kriya Yoga, which is taught by Yogananda, and of which you can get info from on at srf-yogananda.org
. The free Practical Enlightenment Meditations
(which you can find on our site or the Solluna app) I put out every week are inspired by all of Yogananda’s teachings.
What are some ways that you have found to continue to commit to a meditation practice and continue to be inspired by meditation?
If we put some extra focus into developing a new habit- say it’s 40 days, which in some cultures signifies a cycle of great change, then it becomes easier to integrate into your life.
I know the difference in the days when I meditate–how calm and focused I feel–and the days I don’t, which is when I feel more reactive and chaotic. It is by discerning the difference in my own day to day experience that allows me to stay consistent with my own meditations!
One of your chapters is called, “You are a Powerhouse”. How do you continue to stay connected to your personal power?
I focus on serving others. When we focus on the little self, the ego, the “me” then we easily get depleted. Keep your focus on expanding beyond yourself in serving, and your true power starts to grow.
Your conversation in the book about being a creator is meaningful. How do you continue to identify as a creator these days?
We are all of Source, so we all have the creator power within us. We are co-creating all the time. Yogananda talked about the “underlying energy matrix of all things”, meaning that we need to work with our energy, and work to transform our lives from the inside out. I focus on attuning in my intuition, the voice of the soul, and creating from that deep inner connection.
In the book, you frequently offer some journaling prompts for readers. How is journaling part of your personal practice?
Yogananda said that introspection is essential in creating forward progress. Journaling is a powerful way to get your ideas down onto paper and be able to review, and deepen introspection and create more self-awareness. This allows us to discern patterns in our lives, of where we are over-identifying with the ego and when we are allowing the True Self to come through.
What do you hope to inspire in others when reading your book?
My goal is for everyone that reads it to understand that we all have this incredible resource inside of us, known as the True Self. It is the stable, calm, intelligent and wise part of you. It is an often dormant part of our personality, because we over-identify with primal fear and identify. Yet it is there, and the more we connect to it, through our meditations, practices and reading the teachings, the more that peace, joy, bliss, confidence and abundance flows through all of our lives. What we are all seeking is truly within.
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.