Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You Are Everything

Today on Alive in the Fire, a little note from sponsored yogini / goddess Yani...

Good morning, Earth angels! 

Just a little reminder that you are everything. 

So, breathe, send signals to your brain that you are okay, and be okay [if you desire]. 

But, why not be okay? We're alive. We're breathing. And we have the power to take this life and do so much good and justice! 

It feels like magic!

Namaste, loves.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sparking Your Creativity (Yogi Surprise May)

Hi, friends!

Hope your week is off to an amazing start.

I'm curious: are you working on any creative projects right now? Any artists out there who are in the middle of creating something? ;)

I'm currently working on a site redesign for Alive in the Fire (!!!!) and it's really exciting. I hired a professional design studio who I'm thrilled with, and I can't wait to show you what we've been creating. It's going to be beautiful! There's still a little ways to go, so stay tuned!

When you're in the middle of a creative project, or you need a new spark of creativity, what helps you?

Do you have any practices that get you fired up? Any brainstorming techniques or ways to release stress so that you can focus on your work?

For me, it really helps to stick to a consistent yoga practice, and to spend some time outdoors, preferably in the sunshine.

Having a little bit of time to rest each day can give me the space I need to come up with new ideas.

I also like mixing up my routine -- whether that's the spot where I set up my yoga mat, the route I take when I go for a run, the food I'm eating, the notebook I'm writing in, or some other small aspect of my daily experience. By switching it up, I invite my brain to think differently and spark some new, imaginative ideas. ;)

This month's Yogi Surprise box cultivated the theme of creativity and as usual, the contents of the box were on point! Here were my favorite items...

Tree-free greetings: what gorgeous and colorful greeting cards! These are so beautiful that I'm thinking about framing them instead of using them as cards! Plus they are printed on environmentally friendly paper made out of materials like bamboo, hemp, or post-consumer recycled paper. So cool. 

Nutrawbar Whole Fig: the perfect snack bar for after yoga. It's made from only three ingredients... what?! Organic figs, almonds, and coconut oil. Damn. So good!

Mindful mandala cards: These things are genius! They're little mini coloring book pages with intricate mandalas and an inspiring quote. They would make awesome stocking stuffers at the holidays! Or a fun insert in the next card I send to my Sponsored Yogis... ;)

Lilac and willow soy candle, smudge scent: the essential oils in this candle smell amazing!! I absolutely love the blend of sage, lavender and cedar. My new bedtime ritual is lighting this bad boy. ;) Clears away old energy and makes space for something new.

Joco Botanicals yogi chakra body bar, sacral chakra: this is a great soap. Currently I'm enjoying it as a hand soap rather than a body bar, but if you're cool with patchouli, you'd probably enjoy it for either. Love that the oils in this bar are made for invigorating the sacral chakra, the center in the body for expression, creativity, vitality and passion!

Cheers to a creative, productive week, my friends! xo

A Big Hug

Did you know, right now, I'm sending you a big hug?

I just can't wait to be wrapped up in your arms again.

When you hold me close, it is the best feeling in the world.

I love you.

All photos in this post found via Pinterest.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

15 Things To Help You Boost Your Confidence

Recently I posted on Instagram about being self-critical after I recorded a video of myself doing burpees.

I realized, sadly, how often I:
  • judge my personal appearance
  • look in the mirror and immediately have a negative or harsh thought
  • look at pictures of myself where I can see a little 'tummy' and think how unattractive I am (examples would be any of the images in this post)
  • take a video of my practice and want to delete it, thinking, "I look fat in this!"
  • wish my muscles were more toned, or wish I looked differently

Despite my years of practicing yoga, body image and self-esteem are still things I struggle with. It is actually very freeing to acknowledge this!

So, what can I do? What do I do?

I made a list of some of the things I do when I'm in a funk, or I'm feeling particularly harsh and judgmental toward myself.

15 Things You Can Do Today to Help Boost Your Confidence

1. Breathe. Sometimes taking a few deep breaths helps me clear away negativity. An audible exhale and loud sigh can work wonders!

2. Change my outfit. Sounds silly, but if I'm wearing clothes that are tight or uncomfortable, this can make me feel 'gross.' By putting on clothing that is comfortable and flattering, I immediately feel better about my appearance. 

3. Eat something nourishing, and make an extra effort to get hydrated. Know that I can't change my whole diet overnight, but small steps make a big difference in how I feel.

4. Spend time with people who appreciate me, understand me for who I am, and lift me up. Vent to a friend about how I'm struggling, or do something fun together to shift my focus in a new direction. 

5. Take time away from social media. Comparing myself to others is an exhausting practice. If I am going to be online checking out yogis who inspire me, it helps to focus on following women who have similar body types to mine. @kathyrnbudig and @kinoyoga are two teachers I greatly admire and when I look at their photos, I see how beautiful they are. Instead of obsessing over stick-thin figures, I can choose to embrace my curves and remember that strong, confident women like me are sexy. 

6. Write. What's bothering me? What's draining my confidence? Did I make a mistake that I'm dwelling on? Writing down how I'm feeling helps dissolve some of the frustration.

7. Get a haircut. Haircuts always make me feel calm, relaxed, and beautiful ;)

8. Or get a massage. Sometimes when I'm feeling detached from my body, a good massage can help me get grounded again, and gain a new appreciation for my body.

9. Invert. Being upside down makes me feel strong, and boosts my confidence. 

10. Take a mental health day away from work.

11.  Schedule time for an at-home spa day or Epsom salt bath in the evening.

12. Re-commit to a daily yoga practice. 

13. Calendar my workouts for the week, or make a checklist to follow for what I'm eating or drinking (or not eating or drinking). Giving myself structure means I'm more likely to reach my goals and accomplish the tasks I set my mind to.

14. Do a super sweaty, challenging workout. Squats, burpees, pushups, and a run? When I get to the end of all that and realize, holy shit I'm strong enough to do that, I feel a boost in confidence. 

15. Step back.

When I really step back and look at myself, I see the truth:
  • I am beautiful.
  • I am strong.
  • I have a muscular body type, and that is OK. In fact, my shape is sexy. It's feminine. My body shape makes me 'me,' and I am proud of that.
  • My struggle with self-image is a common struggle for many people, and in that way, I am not alone in my struggle.
  • While there will always be 'more' I can do to make my body look a certain way, it's important to love my body as it is, right now. My body is wonderful.
  • I really do love my body; sometimes, I just forget. I can forgive myself for that, and move forward, inviting healing.
  • Remember, I am more than my body. I am a human. And I am loving, kind, and beautiful in ways that count.

My hope is that this post helps you love your body a little more, and forgive yourself for any times when you've been self-critical or cruel toward your body.

Much love to you!

PS Here are those damn burpees ;)
B U R P E E S !!! 😍🙃🔥 So this is an incredibly humbling post... Because as much progress as I've made, as strong as I feel, and as much as I love myself, when I watch this video, I want to critique myself about how slowly I'm moving and how I could be more​ powerful, more graceful... More, whatever 🙌 And I just see that jiggle and I'm like, damn, I've got a ways to go! 😉🍑✨ the TRAINER in me wants to say, go faster, go harder, you got this!! No matter what, don't give up. Mind over matter. 💜 The YOGI in me is like, I love you, love the jiggle... be kind to your body, be​ aware of your breath and your alignment! Be patient. You'll find your way with time and dedication 🙏😘✌️And then I also think of my inspirations like @kevindlo and @ginascarangella and @cassolholm who I've watched do burpees and other WAY crazier exercises ✨ I follow their daily successes and struggles on IG and I realize... For as far as I have to go, I deserve credit for where I AM. I choose to honor myself for how far I have come. I acknowledge how my persistence has brought me here. 💙 I am strong. 🔥 I am beautiful. 😎 I'm grateful for the inspiring athletes and coaches out there who post real shit on a daily basis and who share honest and courageous advice on how to achieve your goals. And who live it. Who breathe it. Who sacrifice to make their dreams a reality. Let's all keep encouraging each other. 💥🙏✌️ PS THAT CELEBRATION DANCE AT THE END THO 😂😍💃🕺 #burpees #what #holyshit #burpeessuck #video #workout #workoutmotivation #workoutvideo #squats #personaltrainer #issa #core #corestrength #abs #absday #cardio #bodyweighttraining #bodypositive #yoga #tattoos #tuesday #aliveinthefire
A post shared by Rachel Koontz (@aliveinthefireyoga) on

Photos in this post by Kate Donaldson (1, 3), Chris Archer of ArcherShoots (2), Stephanie Sheveland (4, 5), Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography (6, 8), and Ken Johnson of CKC Image (7). 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Yoga for Healing the Emotions

Hi, yogis!

A while ago I shared a series of posts centered around yoga for healing the emotions.

Each of these offers a simple, short yoga practice meant to guide you through whichever emotion you're feeling. In case you are having an emotional day, or you missed one of the posts, here they are again.

So, how are you feeling?

Choose your yoga practice for today based on whatever space you're in; no judgment here. Every emotion is valid. 

Illustration creating using Canva. Images by Felipe Silva of @the_lost_portraits (1), Kate Donaldson (2), and Ken Johnson of CKC Image (3).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Three Deep Breaths

Oh, Monday. ;)

Today, on what may not be your favorite day of the week, I challenge you to pause what you're doing, and take three deep breaths.

The kind of breaths you can feel way down into your belly.

Let out a heavy sigh as you exhale.

Let something go.

And then move through your day a little lighter, carrying a little peace in your heart.

You got this.

Namaste, friends.

Photos in this post by Kate Donaldson.