Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Compassion on the Yoga Mat


Today I did a very simple at-home yoga practice. Nothing fancy, only 15 minutes of my favorite poses.

  • Cat/cow
  • Sun salutations with low lunge
  • Down-dog reach throughs
  • A shoulder stretch
  • Reclined twists
  • Dharma Wheel rolls
  • Shavasana

Some days I need more rest and less intensity. Some days I want the quiet of home where I can wear whatever and play whatever music I like, and not be distracted or surrounded by a lot of other yogis.

Some days I just want my practice to feel good. I'm allowed to let the practice be sweet. To focus on ease. Sukha, the sweetness. Cherishing that. Lingering. Not forcing anything.

Today, I let my practice be all about compassion toward myself. Ahimsa, doing no harm.

I gave love to all the places in my body that needed love. I took rest without any sense of shame, dissatisfaction or guilt.


Each day in this practice is different. Honor where you are right now. Let go.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Badass Women: Rose D.


Today, in the Badass Women series...my dear friend Rose, an incredible massage therapist and entrepreneur who is one of the most soulful, open-hearted people I know. I admire Rose for her courage, her independence, her work ethic, and her positive outlook. 

Rose shines brightly anywhere she goes, and when you're around her, you begin to notice how present she is. Her mind isn't wandering elsewhere-- she's here, right now, with you. I'm so grateful for Rose and excited to see where her dreams lead her.



What makes you a badass?
I define a badass as someone that does not let fear hold them back from achieving their dreams and living up to their potential (I am a work in progress;-). We all have incredible talents and capabilities yet most people aren't taught how to harness them and believe that we can actually pursue them and make a living at the same time. A badass knows that anything with a pure motive to help others will be fully guided and supported by a higher power. This takes an immense amount of faith and is an art of maintaining a positive attitude as challenges arise. 

How did you get where you are today?
My journey can be defined as spiritual one that came about through in-depth soul searching. From an early age I found it extremely easy and enjoyable to tune into someone's body because of a genuine concern and desire to improve their physical, mental and emotional state. As an added bonus, I felt therapeutic benefits from giving treatments as well.  

I realized that my gift for stress relief, relaxation and pain relief was rare and much needed in a high-stress society. I realized that I had to take the leap of pursuing my passion in a professional realm.  I also realized that you have to believe that what you have to offer is so helpful that you are doing the world a dis-service by living anyone else's dream but your own. This mental shift has allowed me to discover other talents I have, as well as meet some incredible people that have similar visions of helping others live healthy and happy lives. 

My clients also inspire me by trusting in the power of all natural modalities and by doing what it takes to live in a Centered state where you can hear the messages all around you telling you to live up to your greatest potential. If I can be a part of that in any way, I am complete. 

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate?
Gratitude is key. Every morning I think of what a blessing it is to be given a brand-new baby day with immense potential. Prayer and Meditation are the two most powerful tools for staying grounded and rejuvenated. Counting my blessings on an everyday basis keeps my focus on the bright side. I also remember to keep a light-hearted attitude and not take myself too seriously. Spending time with children and animals always help me remember this. Breathing exercises, alone time, journaling, spiritual conversations, reading the bible and being one with nature always seems to pull me out of trivial matters and gain a strengthened perspective.


What advice do you have for others who are looking to find happiness and become fully empowered? 
Remember that no matter who you are or what has happened in the past or is happening, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Life itself, food to eat, air to breathe, freedom of choice, the trees, a breeze...open your eyes to these things and the blessings will flood into your mind. Feeling happy with yourself and where you are right now will allow you to be in a state of mind to dream bigger as you realize your potential as a result.  Know what you want. Set goals and stay away from self-doubt. Balance humility and confidence with grace. Know that no one has it all figured out completely.

Empowerment comes from accepting the things that you can't change and making the most of the things you can. Also, never depend on anyone to tell you, you can do it; you have to believe in yourself and the unlimited power that surrounds us.


How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;)
Never quit! I will never stop growing, and being open and available for opportunities to help in any ways I can. 

As I gain more awareness, I plan on expanding in all directions, and also am focusing on a global effort by networking with other like minded individuals and utilizing my advertising skills to spread messages about healthy living and protecting mother nature's resources. Somehow, it all fits together; healthy people, healthy planet...and the sky has no limits!



Thank you so much, Rose, for being a part of the Badass Women series here on Alive in the Fire. For more posts in the series, check out (other) Rose, Sam, and Summer.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Release

Photo by Brynna Bryant.

This feeling you have right now? 

It is as temporary as the changing colors of the sunset. 

Something new will follow soon. 

Release your attachment.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Little Something for Everyone

 
Photo by Brynna Bryant.

In last night's class, I had a 10-year-old girl and her mom, a pregnant yogini, ladies who practice twice a day, completely new students, and a woman in her 60's who has been practicing for longer than I have. 

Today I had two strong men, one who's an athlete looking to increase his flexibility, one who lays tile for a living and needs to de-stress. 

It never ceases to amaze me how this practice truly is for everybody! Today is always a good day for yoga.

If you've never tried it before, take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. You're already practicing. Go ahead and jump in!

Advice for Yoga Teachers

Photos by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

Calling all yoga teachers!

Today I'd like to share three simple tips for inspiration. As I'm starting to teach more and more classes, I've found it's more important than ever to do these things...

Advice for Yoga Teachers

1. Prioritize your personal practice.
This one is pretty straightforward, but can be really hard to follow through on if you're scheduling yourself to teach a lot. Bottom line, practice yoga. Aim for a yoga practice every day (maybe one day off per week to rest). Choose a sustainable practice, where you honor what your body needs and you rest a little bit so that you have energy to get back on your mat again tomorrow. On the days when you're exhausted, do yin or a yoga nidra. On the days when you're energized, challenge yourself. Attend class at the studio before or after you teach. Also, have a studio where you practice where you don't teach. Sometimes it's really nice just to be a student, so set yourself up to be a part of a community where you can relax and be in your practice, rather than needing to hold space for others :)

2. Reflect on why you teach.
Ask yourself - why do I teach yoga? What am I really doing when I stand in front of a class? What am I hear to share? What qualities do I bring to my classes? At one of the studios where I teach, I had to write a bio and use three words to describe my teaching style. (I chose calm, heartfelt, and grounded.) What words would you choose? What is your purpose as a teacher? Lately I've been reflecting on how my goal with yoga is to bring peace to others. To give them a chance to be in a peaceful, safe space for a little while during their day. To get away from all the noise and chaos that usually surrounds us. I'm teaching yoga so I can be peaceful and inspire others to do the same. Why are you teaching? It can be helpful to sit down with your journal, talk to a friend about your vision for teaching, or sit in meditation and reflect. At the end of your meditation or conversation, take a moment to honor yourself for the amazing work you're doing. The world needs you!


3. Eat well and stay hydrated.
Just like #1, this one is pretty basic, but can also be a challenge if you don't plan ahead. Keep your body nourished with healthy foods and plenty of water. Notice your cravings. Notice what time of year it is and what the weather's like, and how that has an impact on what your body needs. Fresh fruits, juices, and nuts are a great snack for before and after class. In the mornings, pack a lunch or a bag of snacks to have on hand throughout your day. Especially if you're working in a heated space when you teach, be sure you're drinking enough water or having some coconut water each day so you're not dehydrated. Let your diet be a part of your yoga practice -- mindful awareness of what you eat and how you feel! Oh, and give yourself a break sometimes, too... indulge now and then. Last night I had a glass of wine and a piece of sea salt dark chocolate and I did not put any guilt or shame around treating myself :) As teachers, we are constantly holding space for others and we need to treat ourselves with the same love and respect.


Namaste, teachers! I honor you for what you're doing :)

PS Fresh juice recipes. More advice for caring for yourself as a yoga teacher. And an amazing guest post about finding your voice as a teacher.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fresh Juices


Fresh juice in the summertime is my favorite... very refreshing, energizing, and hydrating! 

Here are a few simple juice recipes to try.

Awaken
  • 1/2 watermelon
  • 3 limes
  • 1 large orange
Pick Me Up
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 apples
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 carrots
Some other great snacks I've been eating lately: 
  • a chilled mango (all you need is a spoon!)
  • caprese salad (tomato, basil, mozarella cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil)
  • banana with almond butter or sunflower seed butter
Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Headstand


Half the battle in headstand is overcoming fear.

What stories do you tell yourself about what you're capable of? How true are they?

I remember when I first started practicing headstand, I felt scared and hesitant. I'd try walking my hips up over my head but then back off and take child's pose. I'd watch other people in the room. In my mind, I was telling myself, I'm weak, I can't do this, my neck isn't strong enough.

Eventually I realized that story is false. It was wrapped up in experiences I've seen other people go through-- family and friends with back and neck issues. 

The reality is that I have a strong back and strong neck. A healthy spine.

I was telling myself an untrue story, rather than being present to the moment. All I needed was an open mind and to practice the balance.

Many headstands later, I now enjoy this pose.

If you're feeling stuck with an inversion (or any pose, really), try questioning your fear. Release it. Become incredibly receptive to this moment.

PS A step-by-step guide on how to do a headstand and a post about being patient as you play with this inversion.

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