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The Very Best Yoga Gifts: Thoughtful, Simple, and Loving

No one needs another mug. I promise you. Did you catch that, Andrea? We are yoga lovers. It’s never boring for us. There’s no cajoling or coaxing us into rolling out our mats to practice. We’re psyched to spend a Saturday night going to a sound bath class or doing yoga with a DJ in […]

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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 […]

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Morning Practices to Turn Mindfulness Into Second Nature

Practicing mindfulness is kind of like being your own therapist You bear witness to your choices, thought processes, reactions, and decisions. And from there, you have the opportunity to assess if you like how you feel as a result. If you don’t, you understand different thoughts and actions must be taken. Sounds easy, right? But we all know it’s not. It’s a practice that requires constant attentiveness and that can feel overwhelming. Mindfulness is a vigilant practice that requires us knowing the various versions of our past selves and shining a spotlight on who we are right now in this moment. We keep adding to our experiences and draw on our past choices with the retrospective eyes of someone who knows better and differently. Employing wisdom is one of the key elements to mindful living and thinking. Doing our very best based on what we understand is an essential element for living our greatest life. Mindfulness and self-awareness are basically synonymous It’s easy to get caught up in our habits, routines, and the stories we create in our heads.  Developing daily practices the help us strengthen the muscle of awareness is the springboard to turning mindfulness into how we go about […]

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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 […]

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5 Ways a Singing Bowl Can Benefit Your Home Practice

I remember the first time I heard a singing bowl I was still fairly new to yoga, and still getting used to the entire vibe and all of the accouterments that were commonplace in the yoga world realm.  The instructor, Christina, had an ethereal energy and I was enthralled with her. We were in a silent savasana, and I was dwelling somewhere in between the plains of awake and asleep. And then I heard it. One clear, bright, soul-stirring sound. One note. It not only brought me back to awareness of my surroundings. It touched on something deep. Something I didn’t know I could feel. As I found my way back to a seat and listened to her words of wisdom and encouragement, I could still feel that singular note resonating within. Everyone around me began rolling up their mats and putting props back in their proper place. But I didn’t want to move. I wanted to be with this new, exciting feeling. Eventually, I packed up too. But before I left the space, I asked Christina about the sound and how she created it. She smiled and signaled for me to follow her to the front of the studio. […]

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How to Get the Men In Your Life Interested in Yoga

You love yoga and you want your man to love yoga too I’m one of the lucky (very) few who has a male partner who loves yoga. LOVES. This really doesn’t happen all that often. As in pretty much never. And yes, my partner loved yoga way before he ever loved me. If you’re now thinking, “Well whoopty f*cking doo for you. My boyfriend won’t even sit on a yoga mat let alone come to a class with me.” I feel you. Previous partners weren’t game. And I’ve seen many women drag their husbands, boyfriends, roommates, brothers, and even their dads to class, believing so deeply that if they just try it, they’ll surely fall head over heels for yoga and probably sign up for teacher training on the spot. Only to look over at them wide-eyed and hopeful the second class ends to receive a shrug of a shoulder or roll of the eyes. Now, just what are you suppose to do? You know it would benefit him in a myriad of ways and if he just gave it a chance, he’d really fall in love with it. He’d get what you get. It would become his way of life. Approach […]

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3 Techniques to Permanently Shift Your Inner Dialogue

Real talk about self-talk: most of us are kinda cruel. Observe your thoughts about yourself even for 20 minutes. Write down the kind ones and the rude comments. Which list is longer? Those uncharitable thoughts hurt us more than we realize None of this is new information. We know this, but how many of us are actively doing something to change our inner dialogue? How long are we going to suffer through untrue assessments of ourselves and continue to allow the thoughts in our head to shape how we see ourselves? We need to decide enough is enough and take a stand. Choosing this as our practice right alongside asana. Hell, above asana. This has to stop and the time is now! Okay, cool, so everyone’s on board, yes? Now, how to do fix this internal bug once and for all? We need a strategy. We might need several. The only place to begin is at the beginning. Why are we addicted to thinking unkind thoughts? I decided to do a little research on this. Not internet research, but old school asking individual people what their beliefs are about this incredibly important issue. Some of the answers may resonate, and […]

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Utilizing Amethyst in a Guided Meditation for Contentment

Many of us love various crystals for their vast and intensive properties offering us anything from the attraction of money, healing, and protection to enlightenment, love, and creativity. We believe in their power and they’ve become an integral tool for our yoga and meditation practices. Amethyst is one of the most interesting and potent stones on earth. I remember being very envious of my sister growing up because she was lucky enough to have amethyst as her birthstone. The deep purple hue is dazzling and as a child, I associated it with royalty and beauty. It’s shine and magnetic energy are seductive in a way that makes it difficult to shift your eyes elsewhere. Beyond its beauty, amethyst holds space for something many of us consider intangible: contentment.    Amethyst shares its shade with our crown chakra, making it a conduit for the obtainment of enlightenment. And isn’t this the path to contentment? When I think of people I would describe as content, few of them are extremely wealthy, not monetarily. None of them are famous or super-models. Only one of them holds the title CEO or President. And when I think of their energy, it’s always purple. And I […]

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Three Practices to Help You Find and Keep Stillness

Does being still require an exquisite landscape to study and absorb? I really hope not because a mountain view or ocean scape are simply not always accessible. Stillness is a state of mind If we accept this to be true, we can maintain stillness in a crowd or while with our families. We can find it while engaged in a conversation or during our yoga practice. Stillness doesn’t mean we can’t be moving or interacting with others. “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~ Deepak Chopra This sounds marvelous, Deepak, but how do we actually do this? Is stillness something we can practice? Thankfully the answer is a resounding yes. We can practice stillness just like we practice everything else. But it’s the willingness to cultivate it that might scare some of us. It doesn’t feel natural so therefore, we decide we can’t obtain it. But we absolutely can and the rewards are so worth it. The Rewards of Finding Stillness Happiness. Stillness helps us find calm. Our nervous system responds in a positive way. We move from a baseline of agitation to contentment and we spread this to others with our presence and […]

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Developing Rituals to Enhance Your Home Yoga Practice

Spend a few moments describing your personal yoga practice to yourself. Write it down if you’re game for that. Or do this exercise with a friend. What are the non-negotiables? Do you absolutely require a mat and bolster? Inside or outside? Do you bathe first? Is time of day important? Our personal practice gets to be all about us and the rituals we involve are what make it both special and consistent. A friend of mine practices every day at 6:24 a.m. This is the time she was born, so she practices at that time to remind herself that she is, every day, again reborn and the world of opportunity and exploration lay in adventurous wait for her. Rituals keep us grounded and connected. They shape our sense of self and honor our singular perspective on the world    Rituals can be actions you take or involve touchstones and symbols. I have a regular student who comes to class twenty minutes early so she can claim her spot and set up crystals at all four corners of her mat. One rose quartz to remind her to be loving. One green jade to help her focus and build mental strength. One citrine for […]

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