4 Things All Yogis Can Do to Prepare for the New Year

Yoga New Year - 4 Things Yogis Can Do to Prepare

Yoga New Year

Whether you’ve already made a detailed list of New Year’s resolutions or you simply have the desire in mind to improve yourself in Next Year, any yogi can start preparing well ahead of January 1st.

Combined with these 5 questions to ask yourself while reflecting on the past year, the following practices have the power to spark some real transformation in you as you say goodbye to 2017. With the right frame of mind, you’ll be able to take on 2018 with a positive outlook and a courageous heart like never before!

Take these last few days of the year to start mentally preparing for the New Year with some of the following practices. You’ll be glad that you did!

 

Start by Practicing Mindfulness

Try a simple mindfulness meditation practice for just 5 minutes a day up until New Year’s (and beyond that, ideally, too). If you can be totally aware of what you’re doing or thinking while you’re doing/thinking it, you’ll be much more likely to succeed at replacing bad habits and behaviors with good ones.

And even if you can’t bring yourself stop engaging in a bad habit just yet (because let’s face it—the holidays are for indulging!), remember that just being mindful of what you’re doing will help. Over time, mindfulness will naturally lead you to correct your behavior.

 

Detoxify Your Mind

Mental detoxification and mindfulness go hand in hand. Diet detoxes are huge in January, but mental detoxes are just as important—if not more! Luckily, you don’t necessarily need to give up all those sweets and holiday goodies just yet to get your mental detox on.

Detoxifying the mind is as simple as minimizing things that contribute to overthinking and negative thoughts. Examples include using social media, excessive TV watching, worrying about what other people think of you, and reliving past negative experiences in your mind. Ask yourself, what bad mental habit could you really benefit from minimizing right about now?

 

Pick a Word That You Want Next Year to Be About

This is a super simple way to get clear about your intentions for the New Year. Think for a minute—if you had to pick a theme for the New Year, what word would represent that theme?

For example, if one of your biggest intentions is to strengthen your relationships and be a kinder person, you could choose the word, “connection,” or “compassion.” Try coming up with a list of words and see which words jump out at you the most if you’re having trouble choosing.

 

Plan to Take a New Year’s Themed Yoga Class

Many yoga studios hold classes around this time with themes centered around the New Year. Some of these themes might include detoxification, Crown Chakra balancing, or self-exploration—all of which will help you prepare to start the New Year off right.

Take a few moments to check out a local studio’s class schedule and look for a New Year’s class that appeals to you. If one of your resolutions is to start actually taking regular classes, this could be your chance to get a head start!

 

Happy New Year to you from all of us here at Yogi Surprise! We wish you the best in 2018 and can’t wait to share what we’ve got coming your way over the next year!


3 Simple Ways to Open Your Crown Chakra

3 Simple Ways to Open Your Crown Chakra

The Crown Chakra is our source of spiritual connection. It connects us to something greater than ourselves, and in turn deepens our connection with our true self—a self that stems from beyond the ego.

When the Crown Chakra is unblocked, balanced, and strengthened, we open ourselves up to trust in the Universe. This is they key to finding inspiration and meaningful happiness in our lives, maintaining a positive outlook, and living out our purpose.

You don’t need to be a spiritual master or energy healer to balance your Crown Chakra. In fact, any of the following strategies will do—all of which are simple and versatile enough for any yogi to tackle!

 

Practice Crown-Activating Yoga Poses

The time that you spend on your mat is a perfect opportunity to work with opening your Crown Chakra. This Chakra is located at the crown of the head and is associated with the upper part of the brain/the element of thought, so poses that activate this area are especially helpful.

Half lotus pose (ardha padmasana) is a passive pose that is ideal for meditation, so you might consider starting or finishing your practice with this one. If you want a more advanced pose to try, supported headstand (salamba sirasana) would be a good one to integrate into your practice for grounding the crown to the earth and increasing blood flow toward the brain that comes from inverting the body.

 

Use Affirmations

Affirmations have the power to rewire our brains by consciously choosing to think what we want to think about ourselves and about our lives. If you want to balance and strengthen your Crown Chakra so that you can open up to receive more Divine energy and achieve higher states of consciousness, you can use specific affirmations.

Here are a few good examples of affirmations that attune to the Crown Chakra:

"I accept and love myself as I am."

"I am here to learn and grow."

"I am open to receiving Divine energy and knowledge."

"I am one with the Universe."

"I am pure light and love."

"I trust my intuition fully."

"I am grateful for all that I have."

 

Indulge in Your Favorite Sources of Inspiration

What inspires you? Whatever it may be, you should keep those things close to you. That wide open feeling of awe, wonder, and joy that extends beyond yourself is a sign of your Crown Chakra opening, letting you go beyond your ego and experience mystical oneness.

Here are a few ways you can get inspired:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Listen to music
  • Play with children or pets
  • Go to see an artistic performance
  • View works of art
  • Meet up with new or old friends to chat and laugh
  • Learn something new by taking a class, reading a book, watching a tutorial, etc.

Any yogi could do all three of these things nearly every day with a little conscious effort—even on a busy schedule. To start the New Year off right and get intentional about how you want 2018 to turn out, it’s certainly worth it!


5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Reflect on the Past Year

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Reflect on the Past Year

As the end of the year draws closer, all of us yogis could really benefit from doing some serious reflective work on what we experienced over the past 12 months to help move us forward into the New Year.

By doing this work, we allow ourselves to grow. We leave what no longer serves us behind and embrace what we know is right for the future.

To start your end-of-year refection, you’ll need a few things:

  • A quiet, comfortable space where you can sit down and be uninterrupted for at least an hour (or longer if you choose)
  • Your journal or a few blank pages of lined paper
  • A pen or pencil
  • A glass of water or cup of herbal tea (optional)
  • A candle or aromatherapy diffuser (optional)
  • Some classical or ambient music (optional)

You're going to sit down and write as much as you can as you ask yourself the following five questions. Be as detailed as possible and don’t worry about spelling mistakes, grammar, conflicting thoughts, or mixed emotions—just start writing as the words come to you and don’t stop until nothing else comes to you.

 

1. Which areas of my life did I focus most of my energy on?

Sometimes we find ourselves wondering why certain areas of our lives are lacking, which is why it can be so eye-opening to get honest about where we’ve truly been focusing our energy. This is where we find our answers. For example, if you spent the past year wondering why your love life hasn't been very exciting, getting honest with yourself and becoming aware of the fact that you spent most of your time developing other areas (such as perhaps your health and fitness, or growing your career) can help you get started with shifting your priorities in the New Year.

 

2. What were some of the experiences that brought me the most happiness?

Think back through each month carefully and consider everything from big achievements to smaller, special moments. Refer to your previous journal entries if you regularly wrote in it over the past year. Those happy experiences that stick out the most to you are big hints at what you need to keep doing, do again, or build upon in the New Year.

 

3. What were some of my biggest struggles?

It’s easy to reflect upon happy times over the past year, but it's a different story for those experiences that left you feeling sad, rejected, humiliated, angered, hurt, emotionally out of control, lost, or scared, Those experiences, however, hold the key to some of the biggest lessons you’ll learn about yourself and about life. Acknowledge them, process them if you haven’t done so yet, forgive whoever needs to be forgiven (including yourself), make peace with them, and extract the important lesson you learned from them.

 

4. What habits and behaviors did I do that I want to leave behind?

We all have bad habits and behaviors we wish we could drop. Bad habits flourish when we’re operating at a low-conscious level, so the more aware you can make yourself of these bad habits, the greater the chance of success you’ll have at eliminating them for good. Even if you tried to drop a bad habit this past year but didn’t succeed, be compassionate toward it i yourself and explore your experiences with it. If something didn’t work, you know what you need to do—change it up or try something else.

 

5. What habits and behaviors did I do that I want to continue doing?

It’s just as important to take stock of the good habits and behaviours as it is of the bad ones, because the good ones are the ones you’ll want to focus more of your energy on in the New Year. These are the habits that move you closer to a greater sense of happiness, peace, and purpose. Whether you started taking yoga classes consistently or challenged yourself to be a little more mindful of your spending habits, make sure you write about the positive effects of those habits so that you became more aware of just how much they’re helping you grow.


7 Yoga Poses to Do in Bed for Enhanced Relaxation and Better Sleep

7 Yoga Poses to Do in Bed for Enhanced Relaxation and Better Sleep

When it comes to sticking to an appropriate bedtime, sometimes our brains and bodies just don’t want to cooperate.

Instead of just lying there trying to count sheep (or worse—checking your phone!), why not take advantage of the situation by performing a few restorative poses right in your bed to help relax and prepare you for sleep?

Here are seven restorative poses to try in bed for better sleep.

 

Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This hip-opening pose helps to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate, decreasing tension both in the mind and the body. You can place your arms by your side with palms up, reach your arms above your head to grab opposite elbows, or alternatively rest your hands on your belly to feel the rise and fall with your breath.

Video: How to do reclined bound angle pose

 

Reclined Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

After a long and busy day, the back could use a good stretch to relieve built up tension. Reclined spinal twist stretches and relaxes the spine while lending a hand to digestive health by giving the abdominal muscles a soothing massage.

Video: How to do reclined spinal twist

 

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

One of the big perks of doing seated forward bend in bed is that you can place a couple pillows over your legs and fold over them for an extra soothing and cozy stretch! This pose stretches the spine, hamstrings, and shoulders while stimulating important organs like the kidneys and liver.

Video: How to do seated forward bend

 

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

Wide angle seated forward is known to have a calming effect on the brain as it stretches the insides and backs of the legs, releases tension in the groin, and strengthens the spine. Remember to keep the knee caps pointed toward the ceiling as you fold forward and consider rolling up your bedsheets to support your knees if you need to.

Video: How to do wide-angle seated forward bend

 

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Even if there’s no wall on either side of your bed, you can still put your legs up the headboard to get into this pose. It induces relaxation by stimulating venous drainage, improving circulation, and soothing swollen or cramped legs and feet from standing, walking, or sitting all day.

Video: How to do legs up the wall

 

Thread the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)

Threat the needle pose helps to release tension that builds up in the upper back and shoulders while stretching and opening the chest, arms, neck, upper back and shoulders. Doing this pose in bed will be easier on your knees and you can optionally place a pillow underneath your torso to keep yourself more upright.

Video: How to do thread the needle pose

 

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Of course corpse pose had to make the list. It’s the ultimate surrendering pose and arguably the hardest one of them all. If you can learn to allow your mind and body to let go of stress and tension as much as possible in this pose, however, you’ll ultimately feel more relaxed, calm, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

Video: How to do corpse pose


3 Ways to Harness the Power of Yoga to Balance Food Cravings

3 Ways to Harness the Power of Yoga to Balance Food Cravings

Everyone knows what it’s like to crave something yummy without actually feeling hungry for it. Whether it’s sweet and decadent or salty and crunchy, sometimes our cravings cause us to lose our grip on our self-control and indulge in those guilty pleasures.

Food cravings are especially difficult to keep under control during the holiday season when baked goods, alcoholic beverages, and heavy comfort foods are abundant. Combine that with the stress of having to get all the holiday shopping, event planning, decorating, entertaining, and other tasks done in a matter of weeks and you’ve potentially got a high-sugar, high-fat recipe for disaster (no pun intended).

Believe it or not, yoga can help. Some research has shown that mindfulness-based interventions like yoga can help to enhance treatment, prevention, and recovery of addictions. And yes, that includes those food cravings that make us feel like we're practically addicted to eating.

So next time you find yourself pining for a bag or chips or an extra large piece of chocolate cake, look toward your practice. Here are three ways you can tweak your yoga practice to help you get through the holidays without packing on too much extra weight.

 

Practice Yoga to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress cause us to reach for tempting foods in hopes that they’ll soothe (or at least dull) our emotions. They may work temporarily as a distraction, but you\re likely to end up feeling worse than before.

As a preventative strategy, you can target anxiety and stress imbalances by integrating yoga sequences into your practice designed to help you wring out negative energy from the body and mind. Think restorative poses like forward folds and empowering poses like the warrior poses.

 

Breathe to Mindfully Observe Your Cravings

In yoga, we move our bodies to the rhythm of our breath, but conscious breathing alone increases awareness. Sitting in easy pose while focusing on your breath may be all that you need to become aware of where your cravings are really coming from.

If you’re interested in trying other forms of pranayama, nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing), is a powerful breathing technique worth trying. It’s thought that this breathing technique helps to restore balance between the two hemispheres of the brain to promote greater physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

 

Meditate to Focus on the Foods You Desire

You’d think that to avoid giving into cravings, doing your best to ignore and avoid temptation would be the key to success. Interestingly, a study suggests that the opposite may be true.

When study subjects consciously imagined food first before given the opportunity to indulge, their food cravings were curbed and they indulged in smaller amounts compared to subjects who were asked to imagine scenarios unrelated to food. This suggests that using mindfulness meditation to focus on tempting foods before actually eating them may actually help you want less, so you can eat less.

 

While we always encourage our readers to do their best at seeking to balance their indulgent food choices with moderation, we understand that many could use a little extra help around this time of year. For this reason, Yogi Surprise members will be receiving their very own copy of Sugar Detox: Three Weeks to Healthier, Happier, More Balanced Life by Filippa Salomonsson in their December Lifestyle boxes to help them star the New Year off right.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind and Body

5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind and Body

Worried? Tense? Or just plain old stressed out?

We’ve all been there. December is an especially stressful month for many yogis—especially since most of us finding ourselves trying to balance our healthy lifestyle habits like healthy eating and fitting our practice into the day with seasonal tasks like shopping, decorating, cooking.baking, entertaining, and attending special events.

Next time you step onto your mat for your yoga practice, or anytime you just need a quick stress reliever, try the following poses.

 

Low Lunge Pose (Anjanayasana)

We carry a lot of emotional stuff in our hips, which is why some yogis experience emotional release (sometimes even through tears) when they work on opening their hips. Low lunge pose is great for targeting not only the hips but also the quadriceps, groin, and hamstrings to promote full range of motion in the lower body.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

If you want to get into a deeper stretch from this pose, you can reach back and grab your foot to pull the heel as close to your glute as you can. Try extending the other arm upward to challenge your balance.

 

Extended triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Extended triangle pose offers a full-body stretch that is well known for relieving stress, anxiety and in some instances physical pain too. In addition to stretching the hips, groin, hamstrings, calves and spine, this pose also opens your chest while strengthening your legs, feet, ankles, back, and abdominal muscles.

 

Photo via Tom Britt

 

If you experience neck pain or discomfort in this pose, you can easily turn your gaze to face downward while focusing on relaxing your neck. If that goes well, you can gently shit your head so that that you’re gazing forward.

 

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) with Eagle Arms

Although it can be an intense seated pose, cow face pose is known to help induce relaxation by releasing tension. The hips, thighs and shoulders will be stretched while the squeezing of the eagle arms will help to stimulate blood flow for for improved book circulation.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

Hint: Full eagle pose (garudasana) is another well known stress reliever, so you may want to try that one as well. Because it involves balancing on one leg while the other is crossed over it, you’re forced to focus on a single point to keep your balance, which is a big component of the pose that makes it effective for stress reduction.

 

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

For a soothing, restorative effect on both the mind and body, look no further than legs up the wall. This one is ideal for those who aren’t in it for flexibility or strength and helps to reduce stress by renewing blood and lymph drainage back toward the heart space.

 

Photo via kellinahandbasket

 

You can do this one up against any wall, but many yogis love to do it in their beds for a cozier feeling. Combine it with controlled breathing to help lower the heart rate and enhance relaxation.

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Good old child’s pose. How can you go wrong? A true resting pose, placing your third eye down on your mat or the floor is instantly calling for the mind. It also soothes the adrenals, opens the hips, improves digestion, and stretches the back.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

Hold child’s pose for as long as you want while taking slow, deep breaths. A few minutes later, you’ll feel less stressed and more rejuvenated so that you can continue taking on the day’s tasks with confidence and purpose!


5 Fast & Natural Ways to Get a Winter Energy Boost

5 Fast & Natural Ways to Get a Winter Energy Boost

Whether you’re regularly finding yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning or slumped on the couch at 5 o’clock in the evening, it’s no secret that the winter season has its way of zapping our energy at the most inconvenient times.

Winter is the time of year when Mother Nature pulls all of her energy inward, so it’s not uncommon to feel fatigued or sluggish if you’re not balancing your energy expenditure with enough rest and rejuvenation. If you’re feeling mentally, emotionally, or physically exhausted this winter, it might be time to take a step back and rethink some of the habits and behaviors that are contributing to it.

Unfortunately, not all of us have the resources or time to always get 8 to 9 hours of sleep, eat healthy and home-cooked meals, or practice yoga and meditation for an hour or more every single day. We all lead busy lives, and during the holiday season especially, life can get pretty hectic.

Despite the benefits of taking the time to implement healthy lifestyle practices, a few minutes might be all you really need to get an energy boost. When time and resources are tight, look toward the following healthy tips to leave you feeling energized both mentally and physically.

 

1. Spend 10 to 20 Minutes Exposing Yourself to Daylight First Thing in the Morning

Research has shown that sunlight exposure in the morning helps regulate the circadian rhythm so that you feel more alert during the day and better prepared for sleep at night. So go ahead and take the dog for a short winter walk, bundle up and take your time getting the mail, or simply stand outside your front door and say a mantra silently to yourself.

 

2. Take 5 Minutes to Prepare Some Freshly Juiced Fruit or Vegetable Juice

When there’s not much time to cook or eat an elaborately healthy meal, turn to your trusty juicer (or consider investing in one if you don’t have one) to reinvigorate your body. Getting a direct dose of the sugars from fresh fruits and veggies without the fiber to slow digestion makes all their healthy nutrients readily available to your body, feeding and detoxifying your cells simultaneously.

 

3. Take a Minute to Eat a Healthy Snack High in B Vitamins

Fatigue can be caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, so just by changing your diet, you could get a natural energy boost. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal-based foods like meat, fish, and dairy products, but vegetarians and vegans may benefit from a B12 supplement (talk to your doctor about it first) or nutritional yeast that contains B12.

 

4. Set Aside 10 Minutes to Practice Half Sun Salutations (Ardha Surya Namaskar)

When you’re feeling low on energy, the last thing you probably want to do is a sun salutation. The solution? Half sun salutations! Made of just two poses, mountain pose (Tadasana) is an empowering pose that represents how we present ourselves in the world while standing forward bend (Uttanasana) helps us release internal energy. Practice a few of these to stand tall and wring out what’s not serving you.

 

5. Take a 7 to 20-Minute Power Nap

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of a quick power nap. Just 5 to 10 minutes is enough to boost alertness. If you’re a coffee drinker, you can even have a cup immediately before you nap so that the effects of the caffeine start setting when it’s time to get up. Check out some of the other health benefits of napping in one of our previous Yogi’s Journal posts.


5 Eco-Friendly, Nature-Inspired Holiday Decoration Ideas

5 Eco-Friendly, Nature-Inspired Holiday Decoration Ideas

Whether you’re a yogi who celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, or any other December holiday or tradition, taking inspiration from nature for your decor is an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to celebrate.

If you have a little extra time and a crafty DIY side, making your own decorations from wood, pinecones, moss, leaves, acorns, berries and other pieces of nature can be a fun and rewarding experience—especially if you have kids who’d like to get involved.

Our Yogi Surprise members will be receiving two special decorative gifts in their December Lifestyle boxes, but here are a few more decorative ideas for our members and Yogi Journal readers who really want to get into the holiday spirit!

 

Golden Tree Branches

 

Image via Culturescribe

 

Go out into the woods and look for branches that have already fallen to the ground (to avoid having to break any off of the trees). Mediums-sized branches with a long end and several smaller branches at the top are ideal.

Get some non-toxic gold (or even silver) paint and spray them or use a brush to give them a shiny holiday look. Simply add them to a vase and you’re done!

 

Cranberry and Rosemary Mason Jar Centerpieces

 

Image via Damask & Dentelle

 

Got a few mason jars around your home? They’ll make perfect centerpieces for when you have to entertain guests!

Fill them up with water, add several sprigs of rosemary and then drop a bunch of fresh cranberries into them before adding an all-natural floating candle on top. These make simple, yet festive centerpieces that are not only colourful but also very rustic looking.

 

Painted Pinecone Wreath

 

 

Real evergreen wreaths are lovely, but they certainly don’t last. If you know a pine tree or two that have shed all their pinecones for the season, gather them up and use them to make your own unique pinecone wreath.

Paint them in whichever colors you like before arranging and attaching them to a wire wreath frame. The blue one above would make a perfect decoration for celebrating Hanukkah or the winter season.

 

Glass Ball Ornament Terrarium

 

Image via Couleur Nature

 

Put a creative spin on traditional Christmas ball ornaments by getting clear glass ones and filling them with bits of nature. Glass is ideal because it’s a much more eco-friendly material, but if you have kids or pets, plastic ones might be safer.

Add soil, moss, twigs, plants and an optional ribbon for the top. Here are some detailed instructions for how to go about making your own!

 

Gold Dipped Acorns

 

Image via Housely

 

Acorns typically fall from oak trees throughout the autumn season, so if you know of one in your area, now might be a good time to go collect a few (if the squirrels haven’t already, of course).

Paint or dip the ends in gold or silver paint, leaving the tops bare. Tie some string or ribbon to the stems to hang them as cute little tree ornaments or simply place them in a bowl or glass vase as a centerpiece.


Win an 8 Day, 7 Night Cambodia Yoga Retreat in Southern Cambodia

Win an 8 Day, 7 Night Cambodia Yoga Retreat in Southern Cambodia

On the other side of the world in Southeast Asia, a serene getaway awaits. Cambodia is known for its Khmer culture, lush jungle landscapes, and white sand beaches—making it a prime travel destination for yogis wanting to depend their practice and regular folks looking to satisfy their sense of wanderlust.

This December, we’ve teamed up with yoga ambassadors and retreat hosts Pierce Doerr and Rachel Sherron to give one of our lucky Yogi Surprise members a spot in their 8 day, 7 night Cambodia Yoga Retreat scheduled to take place in early March of 2018 (a $1,000 value). Our retreat winner will get to experience the beautiful natural surroundings and rich culture of southern Cambodia for a full week before returning home as a completely changed and rejuvenated yogi.

 

 

This retreat will be held at Les Manguiers—a small, family-run resort right outside of the small fishing and tourist town of Kampot where the river meets the ocean. The resort features comfortable lodging including bungalows and traditional Khmer housing that look out onto the Bokor National Park for a stunning view of the mountains, jungle vegetation, and riverside.

Enjoy daily yoga and meditation sessions surrounded by natural beauty, relax in one of the resort hammocks, or go for a swim in the salty river waters. Have your meals at the edge of the river as you enjoy the view of the mountains and fishing boats that pass by, or go out into the village where you can check out local markets, visit one of the Buddhist temples, or embark on a tourist excursion.

 

 

Here’s what’s included in this amazing retreat:

  • 7 nights in shared double accommodation (rooms are not air conditioned, but are equipped with fans and cool down quite a lot at night)
  • Daily yoga and meditation classes with Pierce and Rachel
  • 3 meals a day including breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisting of fresh Cambodian and French inspired cuisine
  • Filtered drinking water
  • Free wireless internet access in communal areas
  • River kayaking
  • Bicycles for going into the local village and town
  • Activities including ping pong, foosball, soccer, tree swinging, board games, and more
  • Guidance and advice from Pierce about the places, experiences, activities, and more based on insights gathered from 4 previous trips to the location

Flight and airport transportation are not included, but taxis can be arranged for pickup. Any additional food or drinks separate from daily meals are also available for an extra charge.

 

 

You’ll be asked to bring:

  • Your current valid passport
  • At least two passport size photos for immigration
  • $30 USD for Visa on Arrival fee
  • Your yoga mat and any props you want to use
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Appropriate clothing for warm weather expected between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (such as shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits for the resort and tourist activities)
  • Appropriate clothing for cultural activities outside of the resort (such as long pants and shirts that cover the shoulders if you decide to visit one of the temples in the area)
  • Bug spray, sunscreen, and a hat to protect you from the sun

This Cambodia Yoga Retreat will take place March 4th to 11th, 2018. Don’t miss your chance to win! Click on the link below to find out how you can enter this incredible retreat.

 

Win This Retreat >

 


Peace and Seva

Peace and Seva

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi

The sunlight has diminished, the weather is cold, and the holiday season is upon us. December marks a special time of year for celebration and reflection—not just for those of us who practice yoga, but for everybody.

It’s a time to recognize what we have, harness our gratitude, and let it inspire us to give selflessly. The Sanskrit word “seva” encompasses this beautifully.

 

The Meaning of Seva

“Seva” roughly translates to “selfless service,” or voluntary action taken without any thought or expectation of a reward in return. Although serving others selflessly causes everyone to benefit, it is always performed without any hope or goal of a specific outcome to be experienced by the individual performing it.

In yoga, we move through asanas to transform our physical bodies. However, when we go beyond the mat by performing seva in as part of our way of life, we develop our sense of spirituality in a way that has the power to transform our personalities.

Seva can help us become more aware of bad habits and behaviors that only serve our egos. The more aware we are of our egos, the greater opportunity we have to choose to be able to act and behave in ways that benefit the community and environment as a whole—not just ourselves alone.

 

Finding Peace in the Season

December is often a busy month for most people, but with a little extra prioritization, we can all take some time out of our hectic schedules to slow down and reconnect with the true nature of reality so that we may feel inspired to perform seva. It’s as simple as waking up 10 minutes earlier or staying up 10 minutes later than usual to go spend some time in solitude.

Staring out the window as the snow falls, going for a winter walk in the quiet and stillness of the woods, sitting down to meditate, journaling about the past year, or taking a warm bath with some calming aromatherapy essential oils are all great ways to reestablish a sense of peace and acceptance of everything as it is in the moment.

It is our sense of peace that will lead us to seva. When we feel at peace with ourselves and the state of reality, we’re much more likely to act in ways that benefit everyone as opposed to getting caught up in our own agendas.

 

Consciously Choosing Seva

Choosing seva is challenging, but worth it. In a world where we are conditioned right from birth to develop our egos, choosing to put others before ourselves can feel like going against our very own instincts.

This is why it’s important to start small. Hold the door open for a stranger, buy your coworker a coffee, send a personalized video message to a Facebook friend to wish them a happy holiday season, or offer to shovel your elderly neighbour’s driveway for free.

Most importantly, do it because it will make others feel good. You’ll feel good too as a result of making them feel good.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Yogi Surprise!