Sunday, February 26, 2017

Top 10 Reasons to Do an Instagram Challenge

Do you guys have Instagram?

I'd love to invite you to participate in a yoga challenge I'm helping host this week.

The challenge is called #MoreThanAsana and each day we're focusing on ways to delve deeper into your practice to explore yoga beyond the physical poses. 

How does yoga help you live a happy, healthy and balanced life? And how does your practice extend beyond the yoga mat?

If you've never tried a yoga challenge on Instagram before, here are some reasons to jump in and give it a go...

10 Reasons to Participate in a Challenge on Instagram

1. You'll have fun! (That's kind of the point.)

2. Spark creativity in your practice. Instagram challenges add variety to your daily routine, encouraging you to try poses you may not have tried before, and to reflect on eye-opening topics.

3. Meet new friends and expand your community! This may be my favorite part of participating in an Instagram challenge: you get to know new people. I've made some lasting friendships through Instagram, which I have to say, I didn't expect. Social media can surely be a time suck but it can also be a meaningful way to connect with others. You have to first be willing to put yourself out there and be real with people.

4. Learn something new. The hosts, sponsors and participants of any given challenge have some awesome wisdom to share. Start paying attention to others' posts and you'll be surprised by what new tips, tricks and enlightening ideas you pick up.

5. Accountability. When you commit to the group to show up every day, and you follow through on your promise, amazing things happen. You'll experience powerful growth by allowing yourself to be held accountable, and by offering that accountability to others.

6. Share your voice. A few times I've participated in Instagram challenges at a moment in life when I felt alone. It was very powerful to share my voice and to realize that others are listening! Through these posts, you'll have an opportunity to express yourself, and to be heard.

7. You get to know yourself better when you ask big questions. Part of an Instagram challenge is that the daily posts are asking you to step outside of your comfort zone, and perhaps challenge some of the ideas that are keeping you stagnant. During our #MoreThanAsana challenge, we are exploring some big ideas: self-acceptance and self-love, spirituality, energy healing, and mindfulness. By looking at these ideas, and being willing to meditate on your personal experiences, you may uncover some beautiful truths that you would not have otherwise.

8. You inspire others! When you participate in an Instagram challenge, your posts give encouragement and positivity to the others in the group. Plus, it's always fun reading posts by other yogis and leaving them some comments. :)

9. You overcome challenges. It's called a "challenge" for a reason! In order to complete a challenge, you must let go of any excuses about not having enough time in the day to post, or not being "good enough" to share your voice. A yoga challenge on Instagram reaffirms your commitment to yourself and requires you to be vulnerable.

10. There is no time like the present. Challenges remind you to stay grounded in the moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future.

So, how do you join the #MoreThanAsana yoga challenge on Instagram?

  • Follow the hosts and sponsors

  • Each day check in with the host to see what pose you'll be photographing, and what topic you'll be writing about.
  • Share your posts from 2/25 to 3/4, and feel free to catch up until 3/7 if you fall behind.
  • Be entered to win prizes! For this challenge, you can win:
    • a 30-minute online yoga class with our very own Kelsie from Sponsored Yogis
    • a 20-minute distance Reiki session with follow up email offering custom ideas to incorporate healing and vitality into your life
    • a beautiful handmade mala bracelet
  • Keep sharing the love even after the challenge has ended.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Make Peace With Your Mind

For those of us that experience self-doubt and self-criticism, mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools for healing.

Recently sponsored yogini Kelsie had the chance to explore these topics by reading an awesome book: Make Peace With Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic by Mark Coleman. 

Early on, the author who is also a meditation teacher, describes to us the voice in our heads that is hypercritical of everything we do and of who we are, the "super-ego." The inner critic shames us and debilitates us. 

I didn't realize what this really meant until he explained it as the voice inside our heads that says, "You're not good enough," or, "You're not smart enough." 

Basically every voice we hear is subject to criticism. Using compassion and practice can be useful tools to eradicating  your inner critic. This book is organized into five parts: the critic, understanding self-judgment, how to work with the critic, the power of love, and beyond the critic.

There were lots of great tools offered to help cope with your own inner critic. 

Cheers to a relaxing Friday when you can question your inner critic and trust your intuition, friends!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

Do you know about Ayurveda?

If you’ve never heard of it before, Ayurveda is an ancient system for health which incorporates the mind-body-spirit connection. This practice is all about understanding your body type and its tendencies (your dosha), syncing your body’s rhythms with nature, eating nutritious and seasonal food, and taking great care of yourself by slowing down, meditating, getting restful sleep, and living in tune with your body.

I highly recommend checking out Ayurveda if you’ve never explored it before. Once I discovered it, the more research I’ve done, the more ideas I’ve found that I can incorporate into my daily routines. Some of them are so simple and effective that I could hardly believe I didn’t know about them sooner!

These are a few Ayurvedic principles and practices that I use:

  • Eating slowly and mindfully to aid digestion.
  • Eating according to the seasons (knowing which fruits and vegetables to look for, as well as knowing whether warm or cool foods are more appropriate).
  • Noticing my emotions when I sit down to eat, and understanding that if I am stressed or angry, my digestion is affected.
  • Drinking warm water with lemon and ginger.
  • Tongue scraping every morning.
  • Self-massage with coconut oil after my shower.
  • Mindful movement during my yoga practice.

A great way to dive in to the world of Ayurveda is to read a book like this one: Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy.

The author, Acharya Shunya, is an expert on Ayurvedic practices and offers incredible tips and tricks for how to incorporate these ideas into your life. The book is practical, easy-to-read, and engaging. I love that she gives suggestions on how to heal different ailments and that she includes some awesome recipes!

I also loved this idea, which is shared early in the book... instead of thinking, “You are what you eat,” consider the idea, “You are what you can digest!”

Ayurveda is such a powerful tool for harmonizing the body’s processes, becoming more at peace, and understanding our incredible potential to heal from the inside out.

Of all the books on Ayurveda I’ve found, this is definitely one of my favorites. I highly recommend it!

Photos of me by Kate Donaldson Photography. Other photos (in order) via Harmony HB, The Chopra Center, and Pinterest.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Self-Expression (Three Journaling Prompts)

Today, give yourself five to ten minutes to write freely. 

You could use a fancy journal or a simple piece of scrap paper. You could sit somewhere in solitude, enjoying the quiet; or perhaps you want to write while surrounded by people at a busy coffee shop. Do what comes naturally to you today.

Set yourself up for a comfortable, safe space where you feel grounded, and can let go.

Give yourself the freedom express what you’re feeling and thinking without any editing, judgment or holding back due to fear of what others will think. 

Let the work you do be therapeutic and cathartic. Let it be a resonance of you, in this present moment. Not what you think you should be, or what others are pressuring you to be. Just write from where you are. 

The blank page is a space where you can be yourself. Make lists, bullet points, random musings. Tell stories or jokes. Let whatever emotion is bubbling up make its way onto your page.

Here are a few of my favorite writing ‘prompts’ that I’ve used over the years, or that I’ve found to be effective in working through difficult situations:

1. What am I ready to let go of? What’s weighing on me the heaviest right now? How can I release my need to control this situation/person and instead surrender to the timing of the Universe?

2. Sit comfortably for a few minutes and notice your breath. Then, meditate on your life. Imagine that you’ve been given a blank slate. You get to let go of all your current responsibilities, time commitments, relationships and fears, and start from scratch. What would you put back into your life? How would you fill up your days? Consider what you’re holding on to that is draining your energy.

3. How do you want to be remembered? (I love this one because it really puts things in perspective when I’ve been worrying about small stuff.) 

Here's to discovering something new about yourself through writing! Namaste.

Photos by Stephanie Sheveland, taken on the island of Maui.

PS This post is inspired by the #IlluminateTheGoddess Instagram challenge I'm participating in... hope you'll follow along, or join in! :)

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Meditative Moment

When we take time to listen

to what's going on inside

to sit with what is

and to feel what is simple, beautiful, and whole

we are reminded of our own humanity.

Even for all its complication,

and its difficulty,

life can be simple.

We can connect.

You and I, we are both capable

of love, of compassion, of patience.

As I sit, I notice

the quality of the air around me.

The sound of the wind moving through the trees.

The feeling of immensity that the colors

of the far off sky

awaken in me.

The way the earth is alive,

and in me I carry that same energy.

The sound of the birds,

my connection to them,


The way I have done nothing, yet I am connected.

I am awake.

Through sitting, 

noticing what's happening now,

I am offered the opportunity to go inward.

To be within

my inner world.

And then, 


I find a smile,

knowing that all is well.

When today's meditative moment

reaches you,

take a pause.

Take it all in,

what is waiting,

what is here and around every corner.


a moment of peace.


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