3 Simple Steps for Practicing Gratitude

Yoga is more than just an exercise – it's also a practice of mind. It helps us gain more control of our bodies, as well as relieves stress and gives us the chance to face anxiety and let it go.

Beyond simply reacting to stress, though, yoga can also proactively calm and bring positivity to your life. Woven into the fabric of yoga is a deep sense of balance, acceptance and gratitude. The more you interact with this, by acknowledging and seeking it, the more you bring this positivity into your life.

What Do We Mean by Gratitude

Gratitude is that feeling of deep gratefulness or thankfulness for something. The feeling of appreciation. Some describe it as the feeling of light and love, even wonder.

Despite it's vibrant nature, gratitude can sometimes feel difficult to achieve at times, especially as we age and experience trauma. Think back to when you were younger, first experiencing the awe of the world. You lacked expectation and worry. You may have understood that you didn't understand everything, but you still felt connected and one with the world. Things felt simpler.

So what happened? Some might say you "grew up," a polite way of describing the transformative experience of becoming more skeptical, or even cynical, with the world. A reasonable development with maturity, surely.

But while it's important to be realistic, it's equally important to maintain a sense of wonder. Wonder inspires appreciation, appreciation grows gratitude, and the feeling of gratitude can endlessly fuel your creativity, positivity, and love in life. When you're grateful, everything is thrilling, alive, and a gift.

Bringing Gratitude Back

Practicing gratitude doesn't have to be difficult, but it will take effort. It's the practice of seeing the quality of things alongside the quantity. It's both the subconscious and conscious valuation you place on people, events, and challenges in your life. It truly boils down to this: Despite how these things affect you, you're ultimately responsible for determining to what extent that affect takes place – does it remain superficial, or does it change the essence of your being?

Understanding this, employ these three techniques to find gratitude in things:

1. Reflect and Accept

At the core of gratitude is acceptance – understanding what has transpired, and regardless of the outcome, accepting that it is so.

When starting your yoga practice, think about what has happened since you're last time on the mat. Think about the things you're carrying with you into your practice. Identify how things have affected you, and be honest with yourself about your feelings. Allow your emotion to bear itself and recognize it. With this in mind, remind yourself that what will be, will be. Have faith in your ability to continue forward, and truth that things happen for a reason.

If it was positive, understand that those who have been given much, ought to give back. Remain humble. If it was negative, understand that in every awful thing is a lesson, like a beacon of light that can correct all future paths. Remain open-minded and positive.

Slowly let these thoughts drift, and begin your practice.

2. Use Mantras

Mantra yoga is also a very useful tool in remaining grateful. By repeating specific words and phrases with intent, you can help bring your mind back to the positive plane on which gratitude exists. Repeat these when you feel you need that extra thoughtfulness.

  • I appreciate the abundance in my life and I allow myself to expand in gratitude, success and joy everyday.
  • Gratitude brings me into a harmonious relationship with the good in everyone and everything that surrounds me.  
  • Thank You. (This one, while quite simple, is still very powerful. Can you bring yourself to thank reality in an authentic way?)

3. Truly Be Grateful, One with Experience

Finally, in order to truly reach a place of gratitude, you must truly seek it. We often find ourselves desiring things that we do not actually want or need, and this can affect us when seeking gratitude.

One common example is the sense of mission, obligation, or righteous calling people may feel. Often, we associate this with struggle. We must hurt, feel pain, and sacrifice to become something we think we need to be. It's the dilemma of our supposed desires – we struggle because we want to. But desiring things, or assuming you're able to get a 'one up' on things, puts you at conflict with the universe. Consider this short dialouge from Alan Watts:

The buddha said , "We suffer because we desire. If you can give up desire, you won't suffer." But he didn't say that as the last word; he said that as the opening step of a dialogue. Because if you say that to someone, they're going to come back after a while and say, "Yes, but now I'm desiring not to desire.'" And so the buddha will answer, "Well at last you're beginning to understand the point." Because you can't give up desire. Why would you try to do that? It's already desire. So in the same way, you say, "You ought to be unselfish, or give up your ego. Let go, relax." Why do you want to do that? Just because it's another way of beating the game, isn't it? The moment you hypothesize that you are different from the universe, you want to get one up on it. But if you try to get one up on the universe, and you're in competition with it, that means you don't understand you ARE it. You think there's a real difference between 'self' and 'other.' But 'self,' what you call yourself, and what you call 'other' are mutually necessary to each other like back and front. They're really one. Just as a magnet polarizes itself at north and south, but it's all one magnet. So experience polarizes itself as self and other, but it's all one. If you try to make the south pole defeat the north pole, or get the mastery of it, you show you don't know what's going on.

While this can be a dense, mental gymnastic exercise for the early reflector on experience, understanding this lesson can be powerful for achieving gratitude. Once you understand that you and your experience are one, you realize that whatever has happened, good or bad, is simply part of what is. This brings us back to acceptance, and ultimately, gratitude.

A Grateful Practice

These are just some tools and lessons that can be used in practicing gratitude. There are many strategies, and some may work better than others for you. We'd like to know – how do you practice gratitude? What has worked especially well in your practice and why?

Tell us in the comments below!


Aging with Yoga: How Yoga Supports a Healthy Body and Mind

Aging is tough. Even when you feel young, your body doesn't seem to keep up quite like it used to.

But there are solutions, and yoga offers a uniquely effective way to keep our bodies healthy. In fact, by adding a regular yoga routine to your schedule, you can extend your life and improve quality of life while you're at it. Time and time again, yoga has proven to be beneficial for body and mind, helping to both prevent and combat common ailments of older age.

Stretching Improves Strength and Flexibility

The regular stretching and activating of one's body with yoga is a key way it improves health. During yoga, your ligaments, tendons, and joints are manipulated in new ways. Over time, they become both stronger and more flexible, improving mobility. With better control of ones body, you're more likely to reduce the risk of injury.

Because yoga also involves many poses where you must balance and support your body weight, yoga provides a light but challenging strength exercise for key muscle groups. (Tree Pose and Downward Facing Dog are two simple but noticeably challenging poses, especially for beginners.) In addition to the improved strength, yoga also targets the long, lean muscles, meaning improved muscle tone.

Yoga can Win Over Your Genes. Seriously.

Interestingly, yoga as part of an overall health routine was also shown to extend your life by actually manipulating your chromosomes. By engaging in a regular exercise along with yoga, and improving one's diet, reducing stress, and having a strong social support system, researchers found that it's possible to extend telomeres, the part of chromosomes that affect aging. As Dean Ornish, lead author of the study, put it, “Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate.”

You may say, "Well, just about any form of exercise and stress relief could do then, right?" While may be true, the holistic character of yoga as a lifestyle uniquely adds to each of the other groups required to extend telomeres. In addition to  being physical demanding itself, yoga has been found to reduce stress, and by engaging in your yoga class and community, you have access to a strong support community of loving fellow yogis (like Yogi Surprise!). Similarly, practicing yoga also tends to lead one to explore more alternative, whole food choices for their diets. This often means less processed food and overall cleaner eating.

Yoga, Acceptance and Positivity

Yoga is also a means to different planes of enlightenment. By teaching, learning, and practicing acceptance and gratitude, vital lessons in yoga, you're more likely to side-step the mental anguish behind worry and anxiety. Readings like the Bhagavad Gita highlight core beliefs behind the practice, namely that death is not the end of the being, but rather the conclusion to one stage of the being's existence.

What's more, mantra yoga – the of use words and phrases to direct the mind to meditation and balance – carries many powerful messages. Consider this mantra:

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

(Translation: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.)

In that simple phrasing, one remembers a valuable lesson and when said in devotion, can experience significant mental and spiritual energy. By leading a positively-reinforced lifestyle, you're much more likely to derive quality from your time and practice.

Use Yoga to Your Advantage

The best way to learn if yoga can help with your aging process is to simply sign up and begin practicing. We recommend committing to at least a 30-day regimen, perhaps going a few times a week or more, based on your level of comfortability and physical health. When you start, take notes on what you're feeling, how your posture evolves, and if you notice any breakthroughs. And remember, whenever you feel stuck or confused, you can always reach out to a fellow yogi!

We want to hear from you! Has your yoga practice helped with aging? Tell us in the comments below!


How Eating Alone Can Make You Happier

There is something really special about treating yourself to some dining decadence. Lunch is a great time to hit a restaurant on your own, since there’s a lot of other individuals who are breaking up their work or play day with some solo meal time.

If you’re uncomfortable sitting by yourself, the bar is a great place to land alone — and it’s really not lonely at all … the bar is generally a very social place, but it can also be the perfect way to catch up on that essential daily “me time.”

Bring a book or even your computer to lunch with you if you want to stay in a state of focus, but if you are looking for some interaction with others than unplug and create a space for engagement.

Make Your Time Your Own

It’s empowering to sit with yourself for a meal; it’s a time for connection, whether that be an introspective or extroverted journey.

Decide what it is you are looking for out of your time, and then cultivate an experience around that. Perhaps you get a lunch go-to and go sit outside somewhere to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine.

Enjoy your food thoroughly! Too often, we rush through meals to move on the next thing, but the problem with this is that there will ALWAYS be a “next thing,” so why not take some time to stop and enjoy all the various stimulations your senses can experience, in any given moment ... right here, right now.


Turmeric, the Golden Healer

Ayurvedic medicine is a centuries old Hindu traditional medicine that stresses the importance of plant-based treatments. It looks to wholesome, natural ways to care for the body, and modern science has begun to unravel specifically how plants and herbs can support a healthier life and fight disease.

Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant in turmeric, for example, has been considered useful in fighting infections and cancer, as well as Alzheimer's. It's been proven so useful, in fact, that many consider it a prime example of how Ayurvedic Medicine is built on efficacy – not superstition.

But what exactly is curcumin and how can it be used?

What is Curcumin

Curcumin is the phytochemical in turmeric that gives it its yellow color. (Phytochemical is basically a fancy way of saying it's a naturally occurring element in plants.) It's been demonstrated to be a potent antioxidant and anti-carcinogen, as well as anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and antimicrobial in nature.

Curcumin and Indigestion

One use for turmeric is in treating indigestion or dyspepsia. Specifically, curcumin has been shown to stimulate the production of bile by the gall bladder, improving flow and reducing the risk of gallstones. Additionally, it helps generate the secretion of enzymes that assist the liver in breaking down and metabolizing some toxic substances. Turmeric has been so successful as replicating these results that The German Commission E, a regulator of which herbs can be prescribed  in Germany, has approved turmeric for treating digestion issues.

Curcumin as an Antioxidant and Anti-Carcinogen

When your body metabolizes and oxidizes food, it provides itself with the energy needed to carry on regular activities. During this process, though, harmful free radicals are produced, which can damage cell membranes and tamper with DNA. Antioxidants search these free radicals out, neutralize them, and help prevent some of the damage they cause. Curcumin has proven especially effective at this, protecting DNA and preventing free radicals from combining with healthy molecules and damaging them.

Similarly, curcumin has been shown to be a powerful anti-carcinogen, and is recognized by the National Cancer Institute. In multiple in vitro and in vivo studies, curcumin has shown to reduce oxidative damage and amyloid accumulation, making it especially useful in treating Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.

Curcumin and Inflammation

Curcumin is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, leading some to consider it the "Asian version of aspirin." In this context, curcumin inhibits several molecules involved in inflammation, such as phospholipase, lipooxygenase, and nitric oxide. Inflammation is a cause of many serious illnesses, including cancer and arthritis. (Think joint pain!)

Turmeric and Your Diet

With so much good about turmeric, you may be wondering how to get more of it in your diet.

First, we don't suggest purchasing unformulated curcumin in capsules, partly because the integrity of supplements coming from different producers that may seem safe. Curcumin is a metal chelator, and can chelate certain toxic metals from the ground, such as lead. Because of this, if you do decide to use capsules, do as much research as possible and make sure your source follows Good Manufacturing Practices. (We're fans of  Organic India and the steps they take to ensure their supplements remain healthy and safe.)

Another reason to pass on capsules, though, is that while they are absorbed by the body, it may be less bioavailable than when it is consumed with food. Instead, use turmeric as a spice in hearty, fatty dishes. These fats may then bind to the curcumin as the turmeric dissolves, increasing bioavailability when ingested. Try to regularly increase its use with each meal, and slowly tier up to see effects.

Have you ever tried turmeric? If you have, how do you use it and what effects have you noticed? Tell us in the comments below!


What Yoga Really Means

Yoga Is Unity

The common translation of yoga is defined as a verb, to do something — to unite the breath and the body or the mind with the spiritual self or being. But the original word yoga means union; to unite. It means that everything is already inherently and intimately connected.

Defining Yoga from the Inside Out

We often forget that we are complete just as we are. We then begin to judge ourselves and don’t trust the decisions we make which creates a feeling of lack. This lack we feel can be associated with experiences such as growing old, the stress of trying to hold onto things that naturally change, and basic unsatisfactoriness perceived in all forms of life.

This lack is experienced as suffering as if something is missing. So we might try to satisfy this experience of lack and feeling of emptiness with more money, seeking love from someone or other means of short-term, fleeting fulfillment.

In the practice of the true meaning of yoga (union), we are reminded that we cannot ground ourselves through the options outside ourselves. So, we begin with the body. We start with learning and opening to the way the body simply is. We don't judge how the body should look or perform, but rather tune our body, focusing on balance when certain parts of the body don’t sync up with each other. We aim to foster communication without the body, and then, as we start connecting deep with the body, we begin to experience the union of our body as it connects with others and the world.

The Heart of Yoga

Living in a culture that is attention deficit, it is difficult to truly pay attention. We’re distracted and, at the same time, feel inadequate, which dove-tails with consumer culture that continuously tells us we’re not pretty enough, wealthy enough or safe enough unless we have [insert logo & tagline]. Many have collected all that’s glittering gold, yet this pursuit seems to only increases anxiety and alienation, never truly satisfying that feeling of lack.

To practice yoga though the definition of unity, we must first tune into the interconnectedness of our body. Next, we tune into the relationship of how our body lives in and connects to the world around it. We begin to understand the heart of yoga by working internally, then expressing it externally through a socially engaged spiritual practice. Where we’re not just concerned with our own enlightenment, we can see how our lives truly affects others as well.

Yoga's Transformative Power

If it’s true that selfish happiness is a dead end, then we come to see that serving others is what opens up our lives. By seeing yoga defined in this way and applying it to our own practice, we can take our inner transformation and help create a social and cultural transformation.

Yoga begins with a commitment to ethics. To not causing harm, being honest, not stealing, using energy wisely and not being greedy. If we we practice working against greed within our own capacity, then we can work against the tide of consumerism and fundamentalism that tells us we’re not enough as we are—a mentality that comes down to being scared of change and being self-centered.

Yoga changes you and you can focus that change through intentional practice to change society. Take a look at your yoga practice and define yoga for yourself. Is it self-centered? Does it fear change? Is it limited to only physical benefits? Or is it defined by seeing yourself as complete, connected and having the ability serve others and unite the world?


5 Mantras for an Engaged Life of "Being"

“Being” is not an abstract idea, but rather the embodiment of how we engage with the world around us. Being is the innate unchanging virtue – the heart – of everything.

Yet, we tend to only focus on the doing, going, and getting in life. Plans for the future and thoughts of the past fill our head space, and distract us from truly being in the moment. Take a break to dive into the heart of life, and reflect on the inspiring nature of these 5 Mantras about being.

Life Consists Entirely of the Present Moment

Be Here

To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now.

Donald Altman

If you truly realize the significance of that statement, your life is never not in this moment. Even when you remember the past, you can only remember it now. When you think about the future, you can only think about it now. So, why live as if the present moment were an obstacle in the way and that needs to be overcome to get to some better point? Which will probably never arrive. It’s a mad way to live, and it forces one to expend even more energy (often put into worry) just to live. Remember to resist the temptation to be "over there." Chances are, you’re not missing anything more meaningful and impactful than what is here and now.

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Be Happy & Free

May all beings everywhere be happy and free; may my thoughts, words and actions contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all.
Unknown Author

Repeat this mantra and you focus on what it means to you and how you can embody these words in your daily life.

Lokah: location, realm, all universes existing now.
Samastah: all beings sharing that same location.
Sukhino: centered in happiness and joy, free from suffering.
Bhav: the divine mood or state of unified existence.
Antu: may it be so, it must be so (antu used as an ending here transforms this mantra into a powerful pledge).

Softness is a Beautiful Thing

Be Soft

"Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
Author Unknown

It can be hard to stay soft without feeling vulnerable in this rough world, but don’t let external conditions harden your edges or let bitterness steal your sweetness. Spreading your gentleness and love over cold aggression and intolerance, even in simple ways, is a great feat.

 

Take A Seat In The Center of Your Darling Self

Be Still

The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still, when silence speaks loudest.
Author Unknown

Rest your belly, your breath, your heart, and the silence and stillness of your soul. You may come to find that the quieter you become the more you are able to hear.

 

Blessed Are The Curious, For They Shall Have Adventures

Blessed Are The Curious, For They Shall Have Adventures

The constant happiness is curiosity.
Alice Munro

Curiosity is about exploring our connection with the world. It's about seeing what's over that next hill or what's behind that strange door. By satisfying our curious cravings, we get a fresh perspective on the things that fuel our growth and inspire our soul. Explore, take left turns, follow your gut, and let your curiosity become your life compass.

 

As you carry on with your day and feel your breath naturally move in and out, let yourself simply be.
Nothing to change, nothing to fix, just to be.


Stop the Gossip

3 Ways To Stop The Gossip

Gossip never helps anyone, especially those who are doing the gossiping. The next time you find yourself in a gossip-driven conversation, consider all the energy that is spent talking about the lives of others — that is energy that is pulled away from what you can give to yourself and all that you are trying to create in your own life.

Here are 3 ways to stop the gossip, before it even starts:

Ditch The Drama

Drama to the sprit is like refined sugar to the body — it’s enticing, addicting, and blatantly bad for you. The mass media tries to provoke a lot of drama out of all of us, especially in the modern depictions of “reality” — reality television shows, politics, news, etc.

It’s very healthy to stay informed on what is going on in this world, but keep it all in perspective. Do your best to not get caught up in an excess of drama, because that tendency is what keeps us looking to latch on to the drama (through gossip) around us.

Release Your Judgment

Judging others come from insecurity in ourselves, so to choose to come from a place to love and acceptance with others, means we are choosing to come from that place with ourselves as well.

Make a conscious effort to stop judging yourself, and then make that same effort towards others. Together, we can create relationships that are truly based on connection and love, instead of fear, insecurity, judgement and gossip.

Let Go Of The Ego

It’s the Ego that brings us towards gossip. Your Ego, my Ego, all Egos, are constantly trying to convince you and I and everyone else of personal righteousness —saying “I am right” as a defense mechanism towards our own beliefs that limit us — rather than creating space for curiosity and acceptance of ourselves and others.

Choose to be humbled on a daily basis, which will help to minimize the need for drama and judgment in your life — leading to a life without gossip, and full of freedom.


sweet potato

Eat For Autumn: Sweet Potato

The harvest season is upon us, and amidst these days of autumn there are a lot of new recipes you can try.

Sweet potatoes are nourishing and delicious, and are especially perfect to eat after a rigorous workout, or when your body feels cold and light. This is an earthy food, which will help to ground you and bring you back to balance this time of year.

Health Benefits

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6, which helps to reduce the presence of homocysteine, a chemical related to heart attacks and other degenerative disease, in our bodies. The root vegetables are also a good source of vitamin C, which boosts immunity, as well as iron, magnesium and potassium.

The high amount of cartenoids like beta carotene found in sweet potatoes (how they get their bright orange color), help to strengthen eyesight and boost immunity. They are also powerful, anti-aging and cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Recipe: Turkey and Sweet Potato Curry

(Provided by Whole Foods Market)

Ingredients

•2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

•2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

•2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

•2 tomatoes, chopped

•2 tablespoons curry powder

•2 tablespoons garam masala

•1 cup nonfat yogurt

•1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

•1 pound chopped cooked turkey

•1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

•1 small yellow onion, chopped

•1 pound chopped cooked sweet potatoes

•3 tablespoons brown sugar

•2 tablespoons half-and-half (optional)

Procedure

Put ginger, garlic, pepper flakes, tomatoes, curry powder, garam masala, yogurt and cilantro into a deep bowl and stir to combine. Add turkey, toss well, cover and refrigerate overnight. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Stir in turkey and marinade, sweet potatoes, sugar and half-and-half and cook until heated through. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.


Yogi Words

Breathe & Recieve
Breathe & ReceiveChange is inevitable. You can react or respond to it. Change can break into your life and disturb your routine flow, or you can invite it in to have a cup of tea and become one with it. Your ability to manage change is what will make a difference. In a game of sameness vs. change – change always wins; it cancels out the stagnant, the static and the complacent.  

Change is the Only Constant
As we move from moment to moment, we become walking transitions. We chase things and desperately hold on to what we already have. Yet when change comes, we become tense.

Fear exists with change. When we can accept that simple fact, we can ask at the same time “What do I have to do and what do I have to give up to get to where I need to be? How can I embrace the fear of change to create the life I want?”


Let’s Just Go!
…and not come back for a while. Humans are creatures of habit. So it helps to break that habit and be more spontaneous every now and then. Truly important things in life, ie. well-being, mental health, relations and staying young, become apparent by being more spontaneous and allowing yourself a bit of a mental awakening. Becoming spontaneous is a process – often combined with almost a therapeutic approach aimed at breaking down the walls of own habit, convictions and fears. Don’t think too long about it, just go!

Give the Ones You Love Wings to Fly
Love is a beautiful emotion. The ability to love is a valuable quality and we must strive to make it our primary purpose to allow love to flow in and through us abundantly.

No Need to Hurry, Enjoy the Journey
We can move heaven and earth to save five minutes and not have the faintest idea what to do with them once we saved them.

Don’t Expect, Just Experience
By leaving expectations behind, we 

Cling to People Who Lift You Higher
…and don’t let go.


Not All Who Wander Are Lost
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. 

Silence Speaks When Words Can Not
Perhaps silence is not really empty. Maybe silence speaks in a special, sometimes mysterious language of the heart. We can then hear the birds. The wind. The waves. Our own thoughts. Who we really are. Whose we are. Challenge yourself to replace unnecessary noise with silence today.

Adopt the Pace of Nature, Her Secret is Patience
Good things take time to build. Time is a barrier to entry that lets those that have patience triumph over those that are unwilling to sacrifice and wait.

A Day Without a Friend is Like a Pot Without a Single Drop of Honey
Winnie the Pooh was a wise little bear... a good belly laugh or two with a best friend can be better than just about anything else!

Always Respect Mother Nature, Especially When She Weighs 400 Pounds and Is Guarding Her Baby.
A friendly reminder of the respect we must have when enjoying Mother Nature and her elements 

If You Do Not Like Where You Are, MOVE. You Are Not  a Tree
If you do not accept it, change it. If you cannot change it, accept it.

The Sun Is New Each Day
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. 



Be Here
To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now.

Be Happy. Be Free.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

Be Soft
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place. 



Be Still
The quieter you become the more you are able to hear. 

Be Curious
Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures. Wishing everyone a curious weekend full of adventure! 

Wherever You Go, Go With All You Heart
Create goals and make decisions based off what you love and believe to be true. That way, there's nothing to keep you from pouring your whole heart into it and confidently advancing in the direction of your dreams. 

Keep You Face Always Toward the Sunshine and the Shadows Will Fall Behind You.
Things change, we learn and adapt, it’s the course of life. But there’s one thing that gives all these subsequent changes and choices a direction, and that’s our vision.

All Good Things Are Wild & Free
Here's to a wild & free weekend ... and beyond. 

The Whole World is at Your Feet
Follow where your feet want to go, they will take you where your heart is.

Where I Am Right Now is Exactly Where I Need to Be
Take a minute. Pause. Stop doing, and simply be...This moment. Think, here, now. This moment will never occur again. This moment is unlike any other, and you are of its essence.

Go the Extra Mile. It’s Never Crowded.
If someone asks that you carry something a mile, why not make it two miles?

In Action is the Greatest Risk of All
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.

Jump for Joy is Good Exercise
When was the last time you jumped for joy? If you had to think about it, it’s been too long. Sometimes it’s all you need to shake off any gloom.

Nature. Cheaper Than Therapy.
When life's garden gets weeded
All one must do is stop and let go
Walk in the woods, watch growing to know
That all is in order, no matter our little view
For if flowers can push concrete
We too can get through…
Anything.

Find the Antidote to ‘Overwhelm” by Falling Madly in Love With Stillness.
Stillness is not the absence of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is not conflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in–when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing. 

Don’t Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle
Life can be rough at times ... don't let people or moments dull your sparkle.

There is Always Something to Be Thankful For
As the week comes closer to an end, it's nice to reflect and remember all the wonderful things that has happened.

A Flower Does Not Compete With the Flower Next To It. It Just Blooms.
By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before. Don't deprive the world your "onlyness”.

Don’t Look Back, You’re Note Going That Way
Heart open. Be brave. One foot in front of the other. Keep focus forward. 

Your Path is Beautiful & Crooked AndJust As It Should Be
May your trails be crooked, windy, dangerous, adventurous, and lead to the most amazing views. 

Inhale the Future, Exhale the Past
Monday's are full of new endings and new beginnings. Breathe out the old, breathe in the new.


yoga

Surrender Into Your Strength 

As much as yoga asanas are a lot about strength, and of course flexibility, we often underestimate how important it is to create a sense of ease and softness around these physically intense poses.

Here are two strong poses that could use a little softening sometimes:

Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

The Warrior II base for this base requires your legs to work, and there is a beautiful (and intense) opening that can come from moving deeply into Extended Side Angle Pose. By pressing the tricep closest to your front knee into the side of your knee, while simultaneously pressing your knee into your outer arm, you will feel that deep opening in the hip of the bent leg.

A lot of practitioners struggle in this pose if they don’t allow themselves to surrender into their strength. One great way to do this is to take your head and neck out of the picture: wrap your upper arm around your low back and find a half bind, grabbing for the inner thigh of the bent front leg (or a piece of your waist band). Allow the ear closest to the ground to drop down into the shoulder closest to that ear, creating a neck release and allowing you to harness focused and calm energy into the strength and opening of your legs and hips.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Bridge Pose is another active pose in your legs, but there is something especially rich about making this a more restorative pose. You can use a block underneath your low back, at any height, to support your elevated hips in this pose.

Once you have the block on a sturdy and comfortable spot on your sacrum, open out your arms into a cactus position (like a goal post), and feel the back side of your heart surrender down towards the earth. With your heart fully open and your hips supported, this is a perfect time to sink into the depth of your practice from a very introspective place. Sit with this pose and let whatever is not serving you fall out of a place of tension and away from your body.