Relish the Festivities This Year by Adding a Little Yoga to Your Holiday Rituals

Can you smell it?

Scent shapes our experiences in countless ways. Well, okay. maybe you can count them. But the impact is obvious. And old holiday traditions no one looks forward to have a smell. It's stale and faint, in case you were wondering. It rebukes. We want to be enticed and seduced into the holidays, don't we?

Let the excitement begin this year with brand spanking new yoga holiday rituals

So what the hell are yoga holiday rituals anyway? I'm gonna go ahead and make up a definition here. We are yoga folk. Our practice is how we go about our lives. So, how does it make any sense that our holidays don't contain rituals and traditions that include yoga? I'll answer that. It really doesn't. So as we gather with our friends, families, and communities, let's involve and revolve the festivities around our beloved practices and share them as the gifts they are with those around us. If you've got a few naysayers or resistant people in your inner circle, this is the ideal opportunity to show them the various and vast sides of the yoga spectrum. Surely some components of yoga will speak to them. Maybe even ALL of the yoga will ring their bells. Don't be afraid to add a little humor. In fact, be a little frightened not to.

It doesn't have to be all serious, yo

Let's not underestimate how unbelievably good a belly laugh feels. Plus, adding humor may help others delete the stereotype of yoga people and their habits from their brains. We don't want those. They suck and we can help those around us understand that everyone is a yoga person and everyone has a yoga body. It's all about the approach. Try one or all of these ideas. Hopefully, they'll stir your own creative juices and you'll come up with something that feels original and very unique to you. The idea is to celebrate, enjoy, and look forward to the holidays. If I'm wrong about that, someone please tell me what they're all about.

Yoga holiday traditions to make your own

  • Decorations should be many things. Meaningful, adorable, and specific to your life. Invite your yoga buddies over and make your best ornament, incense holder, door bling, or table setting. The only rule is that yoga needs to be represented in your craft. You could turn it into a competition. (because that's what the holidays are all about, right?) Or you could pick numbers so that you get to choose the decoration you want to call your own. If yours gets chosen last, who cares! They have no taste. Get silly and creative. Enjoying each other is the best gift of all.
  • Have a chakra soup potluck. I'm doing this on December 16th if anyone wants to come. Yoga Journal published an article last month with recipes that stimulate and correspond with each chakra. Invite at least 6 friends and divvy up the soups. Invite a few others and task them with bringing the yummiest soup-friendly bread as a contribution. Before soup, enjoy a chakra-inspired home practice together. This will be a yoga holiday tradition you'll want to continue forever. And encourage everyone to bring containers to take leftover soup home. I really can't wait for this.

Got any yoga holiday rituals of your own to share?

We would LOVE to hear from you. Please share in the comments so we can gift each other with ideas and possibilities to continue these community building yoga holiday rituals together.


sacral chakra affirmations sex|yogi surprise

Sacral Chakra Affirmations & Exercises to Enhance Your Sex Life

Would you like a better sex life?

Who wouldn't, right? It's really about finding the best way for each of us individually to connect with what inspires and excites us. And we all know that our sex drive comes from a deeply emotional place. Even when we want to deny that and insist it's more primal or purely physical, sex is about connection. Connecting to our emotions are how we do that. Gratitude for having a body that functions and can move in sexual ways is another time-tested strategy. And communication is everything. Sacral chakra affirmations can only help us discover our sexuality in more profound ways.

Important deets about the sacral chakra

  • It's the second chakra. It lives right above the root chakra and it builds on that strong foundation.
  • It's Sanskrit name is Svadhisthana and it means "your own place". This is where you own yourself and all that makes you who you are.
  • The sacral chakra's function is emotional connection and pleasure. Roar. We need to value doing things purely for pleasure in a more meaningful way. Sacral chakra affirmations remind us it's not only okay to feel good, it's imperative.
  • Balancing the sacral chakra provides a greater sense of flexibility and fluidity. Its element is water. Knowing how to flow with changes big and small allows us to retain a sense of calm and well-being even when the storms come. Our sexuality is often a reflection of our stress-reactions so being capable of still connecting to our sex drives no matter what we're dealing with helps us to keep our second chakra balanced.

So how do we do this? Oh, you know what I'm going to say. We practice, a lot! But what a fun and motivating practice it is. Let's start with some sacral chakra affirmations that will help us remember our sexuality and remind us to not check out when our feelings bubble up. Even when feelings bring us pleasure, sometimes this can be overwhelming. If we're experiencing self-worth issues, we're likely to scramble away from feeling anything too intense.

Sacral Chakra affirmations

Try these affirmations first thing in the morning and anytime you may feel your sex drive waning or distractions from life creeping into your sexual world.

I am grateful I can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel touch intensely. 

My sexuality is deeply valuable and it's unique to me.

What I find pleasurable and exciting helps me connect to myself on a boundless level. 

Sacral Chakra exercises to bring your fantasies to life

Incorporate these practices to build on the already strong foundation you have and increase both your pleasure and sense of connection to yourself and others.  Our sacral chakra needs constant attendance and inspiration to continue to thrive and extend to the health of our other chakras. Try these in conjunction with sacral chakra affirmations.

  1. Lay down with your hands on your belly. Breath deeply and implore your mind to open. Create a vision of the sexual being you are and add texture and context to lead you towards who you want to be in this realm of your life. What excites you? What drives your passion? If you have a partner, incorporate them into your vision. If you don't, create the partner you want mentally and determine how you want them to respond to you emotionally and sexually.
  2. Make a written list of all your fantasies. Don't hold back. Include places, outfits, props, toys, food, role plays, and anything else that gets you excited. Read this list daily and continue to add to it. Manifest the sexual world you wish to live in.
  3. Practice yoga poses that enliven your sensuality. What postures make you feel alive, beautiful, and full of vigor? Do them daily, several times a day if you're having trouble igniting your connection to the sexual being you are.
  4. Incorporate your root chakra energy and your solar plexus chakra into the development of your sacral chakra balance. Borrow from those energy balances by grounding practices as well as empowering exercises to stimulate and solidify how well your sacral chakra functions. To empower yourself and find a deeper sense of fulfillment, try projecting your voice, getting out of your comfort zone, and asserting yourself in positive ways.

The life we want is begging us to live it. We just might have to direct a little more energy in its direction to have all that we deserve. Enjoy your explorations.

Are you needing a bit more inspiration? Sign up for the Yogi Surprise monthly box and enjoy the delicious sense of self-care and creative boosts our carefully curated offerings can offer you.

 

 

 

 


gratitude is the answer practice|yogi surprise

3 Truths Proving Gratitude is the Answer You're Ignoring

We are all very well aware that gratitude needs to be a dominant force.

But when shit goes down, and we're in the throes of anger, frustration, and feeling a lack of control, gratitude is typically the last place we go. Even though it's very difficult to remember saying thank you in the face of adversity helps, it's exactly what we need to train ourselves to do.

When we suffer, gratitude is the answer

Think back to the last time you felt sadness. For most of us, it's a daily thing. Even if it's minor, we suffer over things both large and tiny. It's not hard to get worked up. Traffic pisses everyone off to varying degrees. Saying hello to someone you pass on the street who doesn't respond doesn't feel good. Emailing a client who gets back to you but doesn't answer any of your carefully crafted questions is annoying. Trying an arm balance in yoga class and landing flat on your face sucks. Even though at the end of the day these occurrences are small potatoes, at the moment, they bother us. Gratitude is the last thing on our minds.

Saying thank you holds all kinds of power

Let's revisit a couple of the above examples and insert gratitude as the answer. If you're walking down the street, feeling super and sunny and you say hello to someone who fails to respond, be grateful you're feeling friendly and warm. Be cognizant you have no idea why they chose not to respond. Remembering you offered kindness by saying hello. Allow your intention to be about them instead of you.

If you email a client and they don't address your questions, saying thank you out loud will mitigate feelings of irritation. Maybe they were in a hurry. Maybe they didn't know the answers so they chose to ignore your questions. When gratitude is the answer, you see opportunity instead of aggravation. Email them back thanking them for responding. Phrase your questions again a bit differently and use the opportunity to improve your clarity. See it as the teachable moment it could be.

Easy to preach, hard to live

Do we always take our own advice? Hell no. I can road rage with the best of them. Taking things personally is one of my most developed muscles. So we practice. We practice daily. Some days we do better than others. But owning the fact that gratitude is the answer can only help us. Gratitude never harms.

3 strategies for believing gratitude is the answer and how to listen

It sucks to feel upset. I know a few people who seemingly don't get upset easily and I admire them for it. This is what I've learned from these chill folks who live just a little more comfortably than I do:

  1. Don't care so much. It sounds strange to encourage others not to care. We must care. But we must not care about every little thing. Mark Manson wrote a very well-received and popular book called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ckHe details this concept artfully and expresses saying thank you that you don't care so much about everything as the way to go. We have to conserve our energy for what and who really matters.
  2. Locate the opportunity. When we choose gratitude as the answer instead of anger, opportunities prevail like a glistening rainbow framed by calico kittens. If you try to execute an arm balance in yoga class and you fail, saying thank you will lead you down the path of informative assistance. Getting pissed and giving up will never make that posture yours. Failure just means you need to go about it differently. You're smart. And you're humble. Be thankful these things are true and try again after acknowledging the things you didn't employ the first time.
  3. Recognize truth when it's staring you in the face. Think about the last time you had a fight with a loved one. It's jarring and typically, both people are wrong in some way and defensive. Instead of focusing on what they should think, feel, do, and say, turn the mirror on yourself. "How can I see this differently? What could I have chosen not to say? Why am I being defensive?" These questions will almost always lead us to take personal responsibility, unveil our truth, and solve some of the hurt feelings. Being grateful we are capable of doing this can only lead to good. When we're very busy being right, we're also attached to suffering.

We're promised difficult moments every day. The difference in the varying degrees of said challenges is recruiting gratitude. Please comment on how this practice goes for you today. We all learn from example.

 

 


yoga friendship shared values|yogi surprise

The Yoga Friendship: How Many of Us Have Met Our Closest Friends Via Yoga?

I'm so inspired by the idea of yoga friendship I actually wrote a novel based on that concept. Yoga studios are a unique place and they practically beg us to connect with others. In the novel, Yoga Trainthe main characters, Devon and Ruby, meet at the yoga studio. Devon has been wanting to approach Ruby and she finally does. As she puts her mat down next to Ruby's, she looks up at Devon and says, "Hi. I like your purple eye-liner." And that was that.

The yoga friendship begins with common ground and a shared experience

Seems like a damn good place to start building a relationship. Yoga becomes the way we live our lives. We all want to connect with other like-minded folks who care about their minds, bodies, and how they affect and influence the world around them. Self-awareness is a key component in the development of a yoga practice. Automatically, we want to form relationships with others who value that too.

We yogis get extremely passionate. A fire starts and it doesn't burn out. We form a much more honest relationship with ourselves and we take that with us out of the studio and into every aspect of our lives. It's big. It becomes who we are and we love sharing that with others.

Yoga friendships often become the core of our support system

It's all about what happens after practice that really offers us a community and genuine friendship. We connect during practice. It gives us something to talk about and bond over. It often leads to making plans after practice. A yoga date is quite common. Some of us even meet our significant others through yoga. It's a special and wonderful thing to share. Conversations become richer and there's a willingness to grow and do that with the support of one another.

I recently had a group of friends over to practice and have a potluck. Everyone asked about each other's dietary restrictions to ensure they were being mindful about each individual's needs. We practiced, helped each other with postures, cackled and cheered one another one. We had music, candles, incense, and essential oils. One yogi had recently finished a singing bowl training and she played for us. Another participant sang in her sultry, ethereal voice to bring us out of Savasana. It was one of the best practices I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy because it was such a team effort. Everyone had something truly special to offer.

Connection is everything

The dinner was incredible and everyone helped clean up. We shared epiphanies and asked questions. I don't think there was a negative comment or complaint the entire night. It was downright awesome and I can't wait to do it again. We already have a date set. How have your yoga friendships enriched your life?


breath practices for stress|yogi surprise

2 Highly Effective Breath Practices to Minimize Stress & Anxiety

It really is all about the breath

Every time I think otherwise, I'm again proven wrong. And I enjoy being wrong about this. It's comforting to be reminded and really accept that the breath is paramount and everything else has the job of supplementing the effectiveness of breath.

Don't believe me?

Think of the hardest pose you can effectively (most of the time) execute. Okay, now go practice it with a determined commitment to your breath. How did it go? Pretty damn well, I'm betting. Sit with that. Breath practices and movement equal excellent outcomes.

Next, try the posture while holding your breath. What's the verdict? Did you kind of want to pass out a little from the awfulness of it? Yeah, been there. Been there too many times. And I know I'll be there again. I can't quite seem to remember to prioritize breath practices each and every single time.

If we know a specific resource makes all the difference, why would we ever decide not to utilize it?

There are quite a few theories on why breath practices are not as much of a priority as they should be:

  • We are habitual folks. All of us. We get used to a habit and it's hard to create a new one, even a habit that only adds to our quality of life. If we are used to breathing shallowly and not really thinking about our breath unless we are told to breathe, well then. It's going to be a challenge to alter that long-held pattern.
  • We're stubborn. Of course, we are. Even those of us who embrace change don't feel completely open to all change. Breath practices seem quite daunting at first. And then there's the belief that we haven't died yet, so we must be breathing at least effectively enough. We realize that when we do sit down and focus on our breath we feel better. Way better. But then we quickly forget and talk ourselves out of prioritizing it, even if we know it will help relieve our stress.
  • It's an effort. Everything is and we have to determine where to spend our energy and what we want to achieve. When we stay on auto-pilot, we grant ourselves permission to focus on other things. Things we convince ourselves are more important.
  • We fear success. I used to think that was a croc, but it's not. If we add in breath practices and feel the positive outcomes, we have to acknowledge that we could have been succeeding all along and refused. Back to stubbornness we go.

Once we embrace breath practices as a vital form of self-care, we start to warm to its importance

Every yoga practitioner has had that moment when they've had no choice but to accept the importance of breath practices. We feel better with more oxygen in our blood. Our central nervous system gets a much-needed break and we build our parasympathetic nervous systems to a healthy and well-functioning place. We aren't quite so stressed. Managing our anxiety and tendencies to ruminate and create stories feels easier. We know breath practices are of the utmost importance.

So let's begin right now.

Introduce these two breath practices daily for just a couple of minutes in the morning and at night. Try it for a week and journal about your daily observations.

  1. Nadi Shodhanam (Alternate Nostril Breathing). This practice offers a credible and immediately noticeable decrease in stress, anxiety, and clearer thinking and sinus passages. Begin by sitting comfortably and using your right hand, gently partially seal your right nostril with your thumb. Tuck your index and middle finger into your palm. Breath in through your left nostril and using your ring finger, tap both nostrils for a moment and let your thumb go, breathing out of your right nostril. Breath back in through the right nostril, seal both nostrils for a moment, and move your ring finger to breath all the way out left. Do this for several rounds, concluding by breathing out left. At night begin with the alternate nostril.
  2. Simple diaphragmatic breathing. The important thing to remember here is to relax the muscles of the belly and to really let the exhale out. I know, it sounds obvious, but because we short-change the exhale on the regular. Use the counting method to try to accomplish an evenness to your inhales and exhales. Don't try too hard to take in the very biggest breath ever. Just take in a comfortable amount and exhale softly but with the intention to clear the lungs.

Please share your experiences and any other breath work you feel is of daily importance to the management of stress and building of our mental commitment to our own health and well-being.

 


crystals for attraction and love|yogi surprise

Three Lesser Known Crystals for Attraction: Bring the Magic Your Way

What attracts you the most?

Don't be shy. Make a list and do not edit yourself. What do you really want out of life? Who are you now and what are you doing to continue to become the person you most want to be?

Heady stuff, I know. But as the brilliant Robin Williams said, "Embrace that little bit of madness within. It's all we've got and we can't deny our true nature. It's what propels us towards our greatness. Go be extraordinary."

Whether you believe in the power crystals possess or not, one thing is for sure - whatever power we believe any object to contain is a power we have within us, even if we have yet to tap into the fullness of it's potential.

Crystals have gained so much popularity and momentum over the last decade because those who use them in meditation manifest the things in life they desire the most. They go the extra mile. These individuals embrace and embody every tool at their disposal. They are as open as a fully bloomed lotus and they radiate their intentions into every space they inhabit.

No, there is no scientific evidence that crystals can do any of the highly charged magic their various meanings promise. But could placing a labradorite crystal on your root chakra open you up to your true dharma with a brilliant and illuminating light because of your intention to see the truth? There's only one way to find out....

Using crystals for attraction helps us be clear about our truest intentions

This is how crystals work. Every time you see, touch and utilize a given crystal, you'll think about its attributes. They provoke us to look within and both realize and truly recognize all that we are and everything we really want.

Make a list. Don't edit. Just begin. I want...

  • love
  • excitement
  • unexpected adventures
  • happiness
  • success
  • acknowledgment
  • insight
  • inspiration
  • joy
  • passion
  • devotion
  • to impact the lives of others positively
  • compassion
  • empathy
  • connection

This is just to get you started. Don't hold back. And if you're open to utilizing crystals for attraction to bring all that you want your way, here are a few extra powerful gemstones to add to your manifestation arsenal:

  1. Rhyolite has properties that help us wade through the waters of old muck each of us carries around. It assists in purging old stories and releasing past mistakes and choices that lead us down paths of rumination and steer us away from our current lives and purpose. Does your self-esteem need a little boost? Right, who among us couldn't benefit from feeling as wonderful about ourselves as we deserve to feel? Crystals for attraction of self-love and appreciation need to be easily reachable. Touch it many times throughout the day as a reminder to be present and embrace the incredible human you are and all of the possibilities waiting for you to explore them.
  2. Kambaba Jasper is a compass. When fears hold us back, this crystal is on the ready to point us in other directions. And even when these new directions scare us, listening to that not so little voice inside telling us to go for it and side-step fear is the north star we need to follow. Wear this gorgeous stone as an amulet protecting you from holding yourself back.
  3. Fluorite offers tranquility. Are you looking for ways to calm your mind, balance your chakras, and renounce negativity? Meditate on these qualities and feel the magic of intention flourish first in your heart and then to the world around you.

We go back to ancient remedies and time-tested natural healers over and over because we want to feel good. No, we want to feel empowered and to know ourselves in ways that better the world. Let's practice together.

 


muladhara chakra heal|yogi surprise

Muladhara (Root Chakra): Heal Your Anxiety with This Guided Meditation

DO YOU FEEL ANXIOUS, UM, BASICALLY ALWAYS?

It’s something so many of us are totally used to and we don’t even realize that we’re walking around in a constant state of stress and worry. And that it’s not ‘normal’. It’s our normal. Damn.

If you smile at a stranger and they don’t smile back, are you deflated?

If you text a friend and they don’t reply that same day, are you convinced the friendship is dead and maybe you imagined it after all?

Okay, aside from the melodrama, these are indications that anxiety is a driving force in your life and it’s a really tough way to live second to second. There is, thank the stars, a deeply practiced and proven solution for the relentless stress of anxiety.

Choose to heal

Oh, okay, super easy. I’ll get right on that. Healing only takes ALL the energy and tools at our disposal. Healing means we have to get up and over what stands in our way and change, even positive change is scary.

But it’s totally worth it. Once we heal. We don’t have to go back and do it all over again. It’s not like our hamstrings. They need constant attention and diligence. Healing old wounds means we can move up and on. We’ve shifted our chakra system and we’ve started at the root.

Always start at the root of the issue, not the symptoms

Muladhara is our first chakra. Its located at the very base of our spine and it’s main responsibility is offering us a sense of security and safety. So much can happen throughout our lives as a result of shocks to our sense of security and what we believe we can rely on in this world.

Muladhara is all about grounding. Our upbringing can offer us a deep sense of this or quite the opposite. And if the opposite is our basic understanding of the world – that security is an illusion and everything can fall apart at any given moment, it’s pretty darn difficult to feel any sense of peace and surrender to trusting that the universe will provide.

Anxiety is powerful, but so are we, and we’re stronger than any one emotion. Every emotion only has the depth of power and intensity that we attribute to it. Grounding and developing a sense of rooted support from the earth and those around us as well as the ideas and moral compass we’ve created help to dissipate this sense of instability.

Try this guided meditation to put your anxiety in perspective and work in the direction of healing your root chakra and creating the foundation for grounded strength that you both deserve and has been there all along.

(Muladhara chakra is connected to the color red, associated with the earth element, and to our sense of smell. Fear is the roadblock in bringing balance into this chakra. Anxiety is just another name for fear. Let’s go.)

Lay down on the earth, preferably outside to create a more keen sense of being connected to the earth’s floor. Find a grassy, dry spot that lets the sun peak through the trees. Press your hands directly into the grass or dirt. Dig in. 

Make sure the color red is represented either in the form of jewelry, clothing, a blanket you’ve placed under your knees or a crystal such as red jasper. Red jasper is powerful in its ability to create a more receptive and open sensation within the root chakra. It also connects the root to the sacral chakra, stimulating connection there. Place the crystal right at on your pelvis about 3-4 inches below your belly button.

Choose wise words of encouragement Breath in serenity, breath out fear. Breath in empowerment, breath out insecurity. Continue to pursue your breath feeling it become wider, more vast and offering a stronger sense of clarity. Keep finding more words to represent who you are right now and who you continue to become Defy old, destructive identifying words that do not serve you or your purpose and desire for security and a strong foundation. 

Visualize an image that offers you comfort. Color this image red. For example, if that image is a lotus (the symbol for the root chakra), on the inhale allow the color of the lotus to get deeper and more vivid in your mind. On the exhale as you’re sending the old thoughts away, see the color of your image waning and dissipating in depth. Take away it’s power. Send your energy to the new ideas and thoughts you’re cultivating as present truths. Breath and be.

As you complete your meditation. Move slowly away from the space, being mindful to touch the earth meaningfully. Perhaps you even bring a little with you to serve as a reminder as you move through your day. Namaste. 


camping and glamping benefits|yogi surprise

Camping Versus Glamping: The Beauty Each Experience Offers

Camping is its own universe

There are definitely some mighty strong opinions about the best tents, lanterns, cooking stoves, portable coffee makers, sleeping bags, insect repellants, sunscreens, and lanterns. Hard-core campers who've spent years acquiring the perfect accouterments love to exchange advice and tried and true methods for setting up the perfect campfire. Cautionary tales abound regarding bears, forgotten tarps that would have come in super handy during the downpour, and what happens when a fire isn't properly extinguished.

Those dedicated to the craft of camping love every aspect and consider setting up their tents and organizing the site to be a giant part of the entire experience of sleeping outdoors and communing with nature. "It's a form of meditation. And I love knowing I can be so self-sufficient and provide myself with everything I need with no one's help," said Danielle, a true camping-lover I spoke with recently who has started taking solo camping trips. "I really challenge myself and love being alone in the woods."

As much as I admire Danielle and others who feel the way she does about the roughing it experience, I can't say I feel the same. Now, showing up at a campsite where everything is already set up and all I have to pack is clothing and a toothbrush sounds beyond dreamy. And because so many of us don't quite relish taking on carrying the abundance of gear and doing a whole lotta hard work, Glamping was born. And it's glorious.

Let's Glamp

 

Photo Credit: The Resort at Paws Up

Glamping can be interpreted either as glamorous camping or a luxurious outdoor sleeping experience. Everything is provided for you, and both the accommodations and provisions are top notch. Most glamping destinations have staff there to serve your meals and do all of the garbage disposal. It's like staying in a 4-star hotel but you get to sleep outside under the canopy of trees or stars.

Some people can vacillate between the two experiences. And others land firmly in one 'camp' or the other. Personally, I enjoy both, but if given the choice, I'll glamp every single time. There are many incredible companies now offering a variety of glamping destinations. You can go anywhere to enjoy this. Outside of the U.S., Asia, Africa, Central America, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, and the Carribean, they all offer this exceptional and fabulous experience. Glamping is an event. Do you want to sleep outside in luxury with Zion National Park as your view? You can absolutely do this. Would you rather enjoy sleeping next to one of Colorado's nurturing and transformative hot springs? Done. Is sleeping in a treehouse being lulled to slumber by the gentle breeze and slight swaying of your temporary digs super appealing to you? Go do it!

As with everything, there are benefits and deficits to each experience

There are so many incredible things to feel and learn by camping and if you've never been, consider trying it. Here's why:

  • You will build confidence. Oh yes, if you can pull off this experience, have a blast, sleep soundly and comfortably, challenge and build your skillsets, and protect yourself from the elements, you absolutely will receive a surge of self-knowledge and big-time ego boost that you did this and did it well.
  • You will learn a lot. Not only will you learn about yourself by communing with nature, but figuring out how to set up camp and provide all that is necessary reminds you that you're both a survivor and a thriver. It feels wonderful to know you are capable enough to safely and enjoyably create this experience for yourself and others.
  • There's a whole community of campers you'll now be a part of. Camping is a way of life for so many. It's their vacation from the stressors of life and bustle of home and work. And it's a unique and phenomenal way to see the world and connect with others who love it as much as you do.

Glamping has a hell of a lot to offer too. Clearly, there is the overlapping experience of sleeping outdoors and being in nature. But the benefits here are a bit different:

  • You don't have to work. You get to be nurtured and taken care of in the lap of luxury.
  • You don't have to purchase all of the stuff necessary to make a camping experience comfortable. Everything is provided. You just show up and enjoy
  • There's no dealing with forgetting something pertinent and necessary. They've thought of everything. You won't have that distraction to contend with and can simply have a blast being outside in beauty with fresh air and the great outdoors.

Both camping and glamping offer so much. But they both have challenges to be considered as well in making your choice the next time you want to sleep outside.

  • Building your camping gear takes time and lots of money. Glamping is also expensive. If you want a relatively bare-bones glamping situation, you could pay as little as $79.00 per night. But it can go as high as $2,000.00 a night, and that's not including airfare if that's a consideration.
  • As satisfying as all of the hard work is that goes into camping, it's still a lot of work, contending with the elements, and poses the potential to be less than enjoyable. Glamping will protect you from the elements a little more effectively since the structure is more forgiving, but it doesn't eliminate the threat and effects that harsh weather can bring.
  • Unexpected variables will always come up. Whether you're camping or glamping, you'll still have to deal with the x-factors that nature promises. This can be a benefit too in helping you become more resourceful, but still, it's something to consider.

Overwhelmingly, the pros outweigh the cons of both camping and glamping. Get going planning your trip, whichever experience you choose.


Satiating Wanderlust on a Serious Budget

I feel it too. The itch to go. A longing to be somewhere odd, foreign, really anywhere that's not where you live.

Wanderlust is a constant theme in the yoga community. Every other conversation I have is about where someone just traveled or an impending trip. And I never tire of discussing it and hearing other's stories of other lands, foods, languages, and landscapes. The physical effects of wanderlust are apparent immediately. It's like eating something spicy, knowing from the first bit that you're going to be on a ride for a little while. And there's only one cure. You have to go. Heed the call. Get your fix.
Most of us take a trip or two a year if we're lucky. And too many of us get caught up in work, obligation, who's going to watch the dog, and we can't afford it. Yeah. It's easy to find excuses and reasons to skip travel and do the easier thing. The boring thing. But it's not going to ignite your imagination or stir your soul now, is it?

I regard traveling at the bottom of the list of the hierarchy of needs. Food, shelter, clothing, water, travel

And what if you make five figures and there never seems to be much left over to book that flight or afford the hotel?
And that's where inventive souls who also regard travel as a need versus an indulgence have stepped up. They've created situations where one can travel, work, and love every second of it.
Need some ideas about how to satiate your wanderlust? Oh super, cause we've got some!

Wanderlust Festival

 
You saw that coming, right? Wanderlust takes place all over the United States and Canada, and the volunteer opportunities abound. If you've ever wanted to attend the festival but decided it wasn't in the budge, volunteering with a few of your yoga and travel-loving comrades could be the perfect way to have it all. Always wanted to go to Tahoe? Cool, Wanderlust sets up there once a year. Volunteering gets you a free pass to yoga, music, speakers, and really all the festival has to offer. Renting a small house with several friends really takes the sting out of accommodation fees. And everything is more fun with people you love. Make it happen. Reach out to Wanderlust today to submit your application.

Yoga Trade

This brainchild is the result of a yoga and surf-loving couple and their creative, travel-loving friend - all wanting to not just create opportunities for themselves but for others who share their passion for yoga, travel, and community building. These folks are truly living their dharma and they want to help you do that too.

For a paltry $36 bones a year ($48.00 for two years), you can get access to tons of work trade, volunteering, and continuing education opportunities. You just have to get yourself there. Wanna teach yoga in a tree house? You can! Interested in spending a month in Sri Lanka at a yoga retreat living, practicing, and taking photographs? That experience is just lying in wait for you. Sign up with Yoga Trade for free to peruse their offerings. They want yoga teachers, photographers, and chefs who cook health food with love to join their team. Locations range from Costa Rica to Portugal to Columbus, Ohio. Their emails only wet your thirst and prod you to dream and dream big. Check out Yoga Trade for opportunities that will make your heart burst and get you going on your next travel adventure.

If flights and rooming feel a little out of reach at the moment, short road trips that involve your dog, camping, and hiking are always available cheap and easy excursions to satisfy your soul's yearning. Beauty is everywhere. We must continue to make the effort so our experiences can feed us. We never have to go hungry. And luckily our mats love travel as much as we do.


alternate meditation practices|yogi surprise

Meditations for People Who Think They Can't Mediate

I feel you.

Meditation can be exceedingly challenging for some of us. It's incredibly hard to direct our thoughts in a way that helps us clear out minds. Being still is the opposite of calming. I know it comes naturally for some, but that ain't me, and if you're reading this, it's probably not you.

So let's redefine meditation. Let's make it something we look forward to and really find value in

Traditionally, meditation is done in a quiet room. The practitioner takes a comfortable seat, closes their eyes, and clears their mind. Mantras and chants can and often are a part of the equation. Dim lighting, no distractions, and comfortable clothing are paramount. Sometimes, it's a guided meditation taking us on an internal journey.
You've tried all of it. And you've tried again. It's not clicking and you wonder if you simply can't meditate. You peek at others in the room seemingly enjoying their own experience and appearing to not struggle in the least. You feel like a failure and trend towards thinking meditation just isn't for you. It's so easy to buy into these thoughts, but they're simply untrue.

Let's throw out tradition and get to the heart of what meditation offers us:

  • peaceful feelings
  • clarity
  • mindfulness
  • self-awareness
  • compassion
  • the ability to be present
  • appreciation
  • simplification
  • kindness
  • stress reduction
  • relaxation
  • calm
  • groundedness
  • gratitude
For those of us whom more traditional meditation practices don't quite land, let's think way outside the box about what a meditative practice can be. What alternate types of meditation practices besides sitting in silence can offer all of these benefits?

1. Try a walking meditation

Take a walk. It can be in the woods, on the beach, or even just around your neighborhood. Focus on your breath and surroundings. Make a conscious effort to notice everything around you. The wind, cracks in the road, leaves on the trees, the song of the birds overhead. Drink it in and let yourself absorb your surroundings. Count your steps. Focus your drishti. Choose positive thoughts. Take deep, aware breaths.

2. Meditate in a crowded space

It could be a coffee shop, library, train station, or even your workplace. Find the least conducive to meditation environment you can. If you can find a calming energy and peaceful feeling even with eight-seven distracting things happening all around you, then you're really onto something. The meditation here is all about blocking out the noise and finding focus amidst chaos. Even if you can find it for a moment, that's really something. Use the tools at your disposal. Breath, Making the choice to not look up or all around everytime a new noise arrives at the scene. When you learn to block the noise, a truly incredible thing happens. You stop hearing it. It ceases having power over you. You can feel serenity anywhere.

3. Practice meditation via conversation

Have you ever noticed your listening abilities evaporating when you're talking with someone and there's a feeling of disconnect? You can change that by applying meditative properties to every conversation. Whether you're talking with someone you really vibe with or someone you have trouble connecting to, the same meditation principles align. Practice self-study, svadhyaya, as a means of witnessing not just the other person with whom you are participating in dialogue, but yourself being present, open, compassionate, and more aware than you were moments before.

4. Create a daily mantra

This one is SO much fun! If you like to write, then write it down. If that's not your jam, mentally create one and come back to it over and over throughout the day, revisiting your chosen meditation. Use a bracelet or crystal to help you remember to come back to it throughout the day. Today, I'm working with, "Cultivate listening by utilizing economy of words." I talk a lot, so today, I choose to listen more, therefore talking less and fostering this as my meditation. Tomorrow I'll choose something different to focus on, but this meditation will stay with me.
Once we broaden the scope of how we view meditation, everything starts to show up as a meditation opportunity. This in no way negates the incredible value of more traditional meditation practices. But if your resistance to that is strong, begin here and stay here as long as the value continues to surface for you. It might decrease your feelings of opposition, and if it doesn't, that's really okay. As long as we each find ways to cultivate awareness and a reduction in our stress levels, our meditation practice only needs to speak to us.