Badass Women: Anika

Perhaps my favorite thing about being a yoga blogger is that it connects me with so many wonderful people all around the world. 

I'm lucky that I got the chance to meet Anika, our next lovely lady in the Badass Women series, through a series of emails that immediately clued me in to how thoughtful, strong, and smart she is.

Anika lives in Washington state, practices Hatha yoga, and is dedicated to her practice and to sharing her story on her blog, Chronic Yogi. She is a total badass and she is changing the world through her beautiful, honest, courageous voice! Anika blogs about her life with Lyme disease, discussing her chronic illness in a way that helps people connect to, rather than feel alienated from, their bodies and spirits. I'm incredibly grateful for her presence in the world of yoga blogs, and personally inspired by her story.

Badass Women: Anika

What sorts of things do you do to connect in with your inner goddess and warrior woman energy?

I live with Chronic Lyme, which is really tough condition! For me it looks like some combination of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and chemical sensitivities. 

My capacities vary widely: sometimes I can cycle and hike, sometimes I need help getting to the bathroom and back or getting covers over my feet (and just about anything in between). 

Having a yoga practice through this means that I cannot strive to a next level or even know, in the morning, what kind of practice I can do in the evening. It means that I have to see what movement is going to support my body and its healing in the moment of my practice: is it an active standing practice, is it a slow practice that allows gravity to release pain and stiffness, or it is simply using a bolster to support the opening of my breath and release of tension? 

Being present with what supports where I actually am in my body on a given day supports my ability to connect to my chronic illness warrior self and finding the capacity for self-love. 

Connecting with other people with chronic illnesses is a huge source of strength for me. This January I ran an eight-week program called Living Chronically, a group for people living with a chronic condition—pain, disability, illness. When living with chronic pain, it’s easy to become isolated and easier still to then feel as if we’re doing something wrong and judge ourselves for not accomplishing everything we would if health issues were not a barrier. 

When spending time with other folks with chronic illnesses and exploring our relationships to aspects of ourselves as whole people—spirituality, sexuality, community—I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the inner strength and badassedness of the people around me. This community reminds me to hold myself in this light as well. When I’m in too much pain to live my life as I wish, when I have to cancel activities I was looking forward to, I am reminded that I share the struggle with kickass friends. 

Our pain is not our fault; our fortitude is to our credit. 

This sense of shared struggle is part of why I have my blog, the Chronic Yogi: On Being a Chronic Illness Healing Badass. I have had folks contact me to let me know that because of a post on relationships and chronic illness someone has been able to revision what they bring to a partnership as someone with disabilities, or that a post on triggers has helped a person stop blaming themselves for changes in friendship networks that they have experienced since getting sick. This feedback inspires me to keep working to shift cultures in which people with chronic illnesses often end up isolated from community. Pretty badass. 

What has shaped your journey to this point in your life?

There are so many things. Being a survivor, I’ve had to work to develop a sense of connection to myself and sense of safety inside my own skin. My yoga practice has been a huge part of this! Being queer has been so valuable to this work. It has given me access to vibrant counter-cultures that celebrate a wide range of having a body—fat bodies, hairy bodies—and different ways of communicating around intimacy and sexuality that does not make assumptions about what works for everyone. 

Having Chronic Lyme has been such a challenge to this work! Since the condition is not recognized by the CDC and treatment is not covered, I have had to spend a lot of time and energy living with intense pain and distress while facing not being believed by health care professionals. This has brought up so much hard history and been such a source of struggle. Holding a PhD in Gender Studies has helped me to be able to research, push back, and continue to seek adequate care and treatment for my health as well as advocating for and supporting others with Chronic Lyme (or those with conditions such as Fibromyalgia, MS, Chronic Fatigue, Chemical Sensitivities and other illnesses that often have symptoms that are the result of un-diagnosed Lyme disease). 

What practices help you stay grounded and help you rejuvenate?

Being in nonstop pain is freaking rough. It takes so much energy to keep getting through the day and keep striving to get well. It’s easy to focus on my body as a problem to be solved. My yoga practice helps me to make a space where I can experience a sense of home in my body. I write more about this here and here.

I have been trying to develop a practice of cultivating small, everyday pleasures. Finding moments to go to the ocean and watch the waves, appreciate eating raspberries off the vine, or sit and have tea with a friend. These moments, however small, can rejuvenate my energy and commitment to working through pain. 

What would you tell a woman who needs help tapping in to her inner strength?

I think many women, in many circumstances, need to hear, “This is not your fault” and, “You are not alone.”

So often women are made responsible for circumstances they did not choose—from bring abused to getting a chronic illness—and are asked to examine how their own actions caused their pain. To women facing this, I want to stress, “This is not your fault.” You can and will heal but this is not your fault. You did not cause the pain you are in and you do not to be worn down through examining what you could have done differently to avoid it. 

When we feel we are to blame, it is easy to feel alone in our pain and struggle. We believe our struggle to be separate from the cultural conditions that make it possible for our pain to play out the way it does. But you are not alone. There are others who face the pain you face and whose struggles are similar to yours. You are not alone. 

Where will you go from here? Any badass plans for 2016?

I will continue to develop the Chronic Yogi as a blog through this year. Often folks living with chronic pain, illness, and disabilities face mental fog that makes long reading too laborious. I am committed to writing the Chronic Yogi blog in short, accessibly written pieces. Over time, I plan to publish a Chronic Yogi book, keeping the commitment to accessible writing and chapter breakdowns. 

I first started Living Chronically as part of my work as a UU Director of Lifelong Learning. When talking with people in the role of a director, I learned that many folks with disabilities and pain talked about not being “as much” a part of the community due to limited energy or not being able to contribute to committee work or the financial life of the organization as much as they would like. 

Living Chronically was different from a support group in a medical context. It was led by and for those with chronic illness, with the goal of facilitating as sense of belonging and membership in a larger community, rather than with the goal of imparting new skills or beliefs. This year I will also be applying for grants to further develop the Living Chronically series, piloting the format in a variety of community settings. This project will also lead to publishing a curriculum and facilitation guide to support different communities forming their own groups… which would support larger networks of badasses! 

A heartfelt Namaste to you, Anika, as you continue to walk your path and share your story!

PS Meet more badass women: Megan, Lauren, and Summer.

Badass Yoga Teachers: 5 Yoga Books You May Not Have Read in Your Yoga Teacher Training

Welcome to a new series on Alive in the Fire dedicated to Badass Yoga Teachers!

Today I'm sharing five of my favorite books that have influenced my path as a yoga teacher

These books offer wonderful tools for:
  • building your yoga career
  • understanding the ethical principles of yoga
  • exploring who you are and what motivates you to teach
  • overcoming fear
  • forming new habits

Whether you're an experienced yoga teacher, new to teaching, or thinking about becoming a teacher, these are wonderful books to explore. May they encourage you on your path as you evolve and grow :)

The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith

'Wow.' That's what I kept saying to myself as I read this book. And also, 'This book should be required reading in any yoga teacher training!'

Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith offer an incredible wealth of knowledge about yoga, teaching, and business in this book. They are successful teachers and created 90 Monkeys, an online school that is focused on helping yoga professionals develop their careers.

Early in the book, the authors describe the 'vicious cycle of yoga teaching:'
  • Run all over town teaching eighteen or more classes a week to make ends meet.
  • Oops, no time for your own practice! No time to plan classes!
  • Teach subpar class because of lack of practice, inspiration, or groundedness.
  • Get home, have no time for reflection, fun, recreation, or family.
  • Get up the next day with even less inspiration, and teach to a dwindling number of students.
  • Make insufficient money to pay bills, afford necessary continuing education, or have much-needed free time.
  • Repeat.
When I read these statements, I couldn't help but laugh (and cry inside, a little) realizing how true these felt, as I've experienced some of them and witnessed friends and fellow teachers struggling with the same cycle.

I love that this book addresses many relevant topics and gives real-world advice for how to overcome the obstacles that many yoga teachers face.

Here are some of the subjects covered in the book:
  • understanding your strengths (and potential weaknesses) as a teacher
  • developing a mission statement to help focus and hone your teaching
  • building and marketing your personal yoga business
  • managing your business finances
  • how to avoid burnout
  • how to use social media to promote your teaching
  • self-care
  • lighting up the world
Highly recommend this book! If you're a stressed out yoga teacher, read this. If you want to understand some of the practical realities of what it means to teach full-time or whether you should quit your day job to start teaching, read this. If you're curious about how to create a fulfilling career as a yoga teacher, read this. XO

May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein

This book changed my life when I first read it in 2014; it inspired me to dedicate the following year to being a fearless 2015, and also gave me the energy and willingness to leave my 9-to-5 job to teach yoga and freelance.

Here I am halfway through 2016 experiencing some big shifts again, and I'm re-reading this book as a way to reconnect with many of its relevant themes: releasing fear, increasing mindfulness, cultivating self-acceptance and radical self-love. I have a feeling I'll keep coming back to this book over and over again, because doing this work truly does cultivate subtle shifts which lead to miraculous change.

Gabrielle Bernstein's work speaks to my heart, and her writing is encouraging, thoughtful, real, and uplifting. She has a way of helping me look at things I don't really want to look at, of facing my fears, and I think that has been most powerful alongside my yoga teaching.

I encourage yoga teachers to try this book because I believe self-healing is needed every step of the way: when we make the courageous decision to become a yoga teacher, as we are immersed in the rigors of a 200 hour training (or 300, 500, 800 hour!), as we step into the studio to teach our first, or hundredth class, as we grow and evolve over time, contributing to our yoga communities.

Everything that goes along with teaching yoga will bring up emotion, ego, insecurities, and doubts-- whether you're being vulnerable with students, being vulnerable and real with yourself, receiving feedback from fellow teachers or studio owners, questioning why you teach, fine-tuning your classes, or seeing your numbers dwindle or skyrocket.

This book offers simple tools to help you understand yourself along the way, to let go of fear, to cultivate abundance, and to believe, even just a little bit, in how much of a miracle you are.

As Gabrielle says, "Welcome to your new life!"

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements is a beautiful, artful book that explores self-limiting beliefs. Ruiz draws on ancient Toltec wisdom, outlining a powerful code of conduct that has the potential to free us from suffering and experience a life of happiness and love.

I believe these four principles offer me powerful wisdom in my daily life as well as my yoga teaching.
  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don't take anything personally.
  • Don't make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.
A beautiful book, not to be missed!

Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

Leo's blog Zen Habits is my absolute favorite blog, so of course when I heard that he was publishing a book based on the topics he often writes about, I was stoked! This book offers an incredible method for transforming any area of your life, and for dealing with any life changes, loss, illness, frustrations with others, and unhappiness with ourselves.

In the book, Leo outlines simple, beautiful ways to:
  • become more mindful
  • embrace change
  • create space and deal with things as they come up
  • release attachment
  • focus on intentions
  • foster appreciation and gratitude
All very yogic topics!

I'd suggest this book to anyone, yoga teacher or not, and especially if you're a teacher and looking to:
  • create a consistent home practice even while you teach a full load of classes
  • establish healthy boundaries as you build relationships with your students and studio managers
  • feel more peaceful in your own life
  • embrace discomfort
Zen Habits is one of my all-time favorite books.

The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele

I read this book during my 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher training and found it to be a wonderful, thorough guide to the yamas and niyamas, yoga's ten ethical guidelines.

I especially love Deborah's writing prompts at the end of each chapter, which encourage the reader to do self-study and learn to apply these ideas to real life.

I love this book and have often read from it to my students at the end of class. I believe it is important for all yoga teachers to explore and develop their own personal understandings of the yamas and niyamas:
  • ahimsa (nonviolence)
  • satya (truthfulness)
  • asteya (nonstealing)
  • brahmacharya (nonexcess)
  • aparigraha (nonposessiveness)
  • saucha (purity)
  • santosha (contentment)
  • tapas (self-discipline)
  • svadhyaya (self-study)
  • ishvara pranidhana (surrender)
Here's one of my favorite passages from the introduction of the book:

"We all want to live well. Let's face it, at the end of the day, it's not how much you have or how much you have accomplished that counts. What matters is how well you have participated in your own life, both the ordinary routines and the extraordinary surprises. It's how you feel inside when you lay your head on the pillow."

This book is a wonderful tool for cultivating inner peace and developing a strong sense of integrity, both as a yoga teacher and a human being.

Well, yoga teachers and soon-to-be teachers, I hope these books offer you some incredible insight into your own lives, both on and off the yoga mat! XO

PS, I'd love to hear: what are some of your favorite yoga books?

Embrace, a Documentary About Loving Yourself as You Are

Have you guys heard about the documentary Embrace?

I heard about the film back when it was being funded through Kickstarter, and I just watched the trailer (it releases in September 2016 in the U.S.)

Taryn's story (and the people she talks to) bring tears to my eyes every time I watch.

Here's the description from the YouTube trailer:

When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn’s crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.

What Taryn is doing and the message she is sharing through The Body Image Movement is just incredible. 

You may have seen my post earlier this week about struggling to love my body lately, and the timing of seeing this trailer really resonates with me.

I invite you to check out the film, and Taryn's story, especially if you've struggled with body image or are experiencing loathing toward your own body.

Sending a big hug.


Sequencing a Yoga Class: Advice from Real Yoga Teachers on How to Create Your 'Flow'

Calling all yoga teachers, and teachers in training!

How do you sequence your yoga classes? What tips, tricks and tools have helped you learn to put together a class that 'flows' beautifully?

Sequencing can be a challenge for yoga teachers, especially in the beginning...I know for me it took a few years to feel totally comfortable creating new yoga sequences. When you're fresh out of teacher training, you may have one memorized sequence you're ready to use, but how do you branch out from there? What helps keep you creative and coming up with new ideas? 

Putting together a cohesive, intelligent, engaging yoga class is not easy. In an effort to encourage and inspire all of my fellow yoga teachers out there, I'd love to share some awesome advice from three of my favorite teachers on how they sequence a class, memorize a flow, and create an environment for students that is supportive and fun. Enjoy!

The most authentic inspiration that I find for classes is to get on my mat and move. Some days I just allow myself to be led by my breath and intuition. Other days, I may have a specific intention/focus that I want to bring to class, so my movement is informed by this.

I’m visually minded, so once I have my game plan, I write/draw out the sequence for class. I like to use symbols, abbreviations, and little stick figure yogis. :) I keep a format that divides the various sections of class, so that it's easy to reference when teaching, if needed.

I love the way that this starts to build a catalog of classes. It is fun to look back at past classes; I will often revive, and sometimes refine, things that I've taught in the past.

Jany Slay:

In the beginning I would write almost every single transition or pose down in a linear list (took up half a page!) but now I focus on just one or two key poses or transitions that I really like and put in my basic flows around those pieces. I stop writing as much down too and just practice on my mat more WITH music. For me, music inspires my movements so getting on my mat with a great playlist is where I get inspired. From there, it's a random note-fest of transitions or poses that I must have in my class.

The biggest tip my teacher had for me in my classes she would take was "BREATHE!" I try to never skip a breathe cue. I try to emphasize fuller breaths in the middle and end of class when that can sometimes be forgotten. When I feel lost or nervous, I breathe. I also remember that some of my favorite classes was more because of the vibe and energy of the teacher and less to do with the sequences or poses.

Elizabeth Sosner:

Because I work with those with some mobility challenges, I pick a pinnacle pose and develop a sequence around the pose that doesn't require getting up and down off the floor in between poses. 

So I try to think in terms of a wave. We begin seated, move upward and end on the floor again. Since my background is in dance, I find that if I do the sequence myself beforehand I can commit it to memory better. I also use to see the visuals of my sequence and can rearrange things if it doesn't look quite like I wanted. Of course, if the class requires something else when I get there, I have a few alternates in mind.

Aren't these tips super helpful? I can't wait to try some of them when I'm putting together my next class sequence.

I'm so grateful to each of you-- Tristina, Jany and Elizabeth-- for offering all these awesome ideas on how to sequence a yoga class.

To summarize, here are some ideas for how to create a class that flows effortlessly:
  • Spend time during your own practice noticing the transitions between poses.
  • Keep a journal of class sequences you've taught.
  • Let music inspire you.
  • Choose a peak pose and work up to it.
  • When you arrive to teach, remember to breathe and adapt to who's in the room.

For all you Vinyasa yogis, I also recommend checking out my post on how I memorized the Baron Baptiste sequence during my 200 hour training.

Do you have tips or tricks for sequencing? I'd love to hear in the comments below!


Photos of me in this post by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography, and courtesy of Tristina, Jany and Elizabeth.

Badass Women: Brynna


What better way to kick off the weekend than with a post in the Badass Women series here on Alive in the Fire? :)

I'd love to introduce you to Brynna, an amazing friend of mine who is one of the most badass photographers I know. Not only does Brynna inspire me with her artistic work behind the camera lens, but she knows how to teach an incredible vinyasa flow class and how to make the best damn mimosa you've ever had. Brynna always keeps me laughing, she's there for me whenever I need a hug, and she's just hands down one of my favorite people on earth. This is her story.

What makes you a badass?

What makes me a badass—I refuse to let fear outweigh my ability to make decisions and choices for myself.  I’m far more afraid of missing out on living my life fully, than leaving a job or relationship or whatever else doesn’t serve me.  One of my favorite authors, Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are” (excellent read by the way….not just for kids), did a radio interview on NPR about five years ago.  He talked about a lot of things including life and death.  He said,  “It is a blessing to get old.  It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music.  I wish you all good things.  Live your life, live your life, live your life."

If there’s anything worth anything it’s knowing that what scares me can only be one of two things: 1. Stories in my head, or 2. Things I have absolutely no control over.  I recognize however that I have a choice in how I react to both.  When faced with that, I know these are the moments when I feel tested to truly live my life.  I’ve actually grown fond of saying “fuck-it” and pressing on.  I’m a work in progress, but there won’t be even the smallest part of me if I’m blessed to grow old and gray, that won’t have lived a life filled with experiences that I choose; with big huge amazing love—with people, and words and books and music and pictures and the sound of ocean waves lapping up against a shoreline.  All of these will be moments that will have seeped in and grown wild and will have become a part of me. Life is, in fact, too short not to be a badass.    

When do you feel most confident? 
When I’m surrounded by people I love.

How did you get where you are today? 
It’s been a twisty road. Simply put, recognizing I had something to give, and then giving it.

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate? 
Chocolate, dog kisses, yoga -- not necessarily in that order.

Who has inspired you or encouraged you lately? 
Anyone that knows me, knows I am madly deeply in love with my best friend.  The wildest, craziest soul I’ve ever met…who just happens to be my dog.  He is one of my most favorite teachers.  Partly because he doesn’t give a fuck and partly because he lives in every single moment.  There is nothing more encouraging than knowing this is actually possible, because he does it every day.  Maybe Bruno should have done this interview, because he is for sure living his life.  No regrets, no apologies.  He makes me want to be a better human every single day.

What advice would you give to someone who's having a crappy day or needs to feel badass in this moment? 
I would ask them, if your life depended on it—could you let go of what’s making you feel crappy? If the answer is yes, then try to remember your life will inevitably be filled with these moments, but how much of your precious time do you want to spend on them.  Is it worth it?  Find your inner badass and let it go, maybe even tell it to fuck off...

How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;) 
By living life of course :) At the moment I’ve also been growing a yoga photography business.

My little creation born from my love of yoga.  Elsie de Wolf has continued to be a source of inspiration for me lately with my photography.  I  have a book that offers a small window into her life detailing her experiences during WWII through the use of photographs.  I’ve heard her described as the mother of interior design.  She said, "I’m going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life.”  And she did.  This has been something that has stuck with me lately.  Getting the opportunity to shoot with so many different and equally amazing yogis, is kind of awesome.   Surrounding myself with beauty in all it’s forms, for no other reason than, it feels good.  

Thank you, Brynna, for being a part of this series -- and mostly, just for being you!


Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Sending a big hug to all you moms, stepmoms, grandmas, aunts, wives, teachers, dog moms, yoginis, and lovely women of the world!

Thank you for your compassion and your love, and for making the world a brighter place.

An especially big 'I love you' goes out to my own mom, and my sister!


May your Mother's Day be relaxing and fun, and may you cherish spending time with those you love.

And if for some reason a day like today brings worry, sadness or fear, may you find peace by taking a deep breath... or enjoying a tasty donut ;)


Badass Women: Megan

 Photos in this post courtesy of Megan.

Today I'm honored to share a story in the Badass Women series on Alive in the Fire... it's a few days late, but I wanted to be sure we celebrate International Women's Day around here! :) 

Meet Meg, the lovely yogini behind the Instagram page @yogini.meg and the blogger of Yogi in the City. Meg is a yoga teacher in the Portland area and she and I both love a lot of the same things (yoga, writing, wine) and so of course we became instant friends! 

I'm so grateful for Meg's upbeat energy and the encouraging posts she shares. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to take her class! Thanks, Meg, for being a part of the Badass Women series.

What sorts of things do you do to connect in with your inner goddess / warrior woman badass energy?

Every day I remind myself that I am strong and that I've made it through every good and bad day to get to this day, and I will keep on making it. I wake up in the morning and tell myself, "I'm going to drink the coffee and no matter what happens today I'm going to get through it like the badass I am." I'm living on my own for the first time in my life and teaching toddlers, and those alone make me feel like a warrior on a daily basis. 

I've recently decided to pamper by inner goddess by taking weekly bubble baths. It is so important to make time for yourself and do something that brings you peace and makes you feel beautiful. On that note, I've also started to wear burgundy/red lipstick often. I used to shy away from such bold colors because I felt like they made me stand out too much--well screw that. We are all made to stand out in some way and putting on dark burgundy lipstick helps me feel like a badass, so I'm sticking with it! 

What has shaped your journey to this point in your life?

2015 was really a standout year in shaping who I am right now. I went through two completely different breakups--one that was a really good move on my part and the other which brought me pain and heartache took, and in a way is still taking, time to come back from. I accomplished a huge dream of mine and became a yoga teacher last summer. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was surrounded by these incredible, strong, wonderful women and I learned so much from them and about myself. Shortly after that I moved to a new city and started a new job..and that brings us to now. 

I think one of the main themes of my life this past year is the idea of a fresh start. I feel like I am constantly starting fresh and I think it is so important. Sometimes "starting fresh" is in our control and sometimes it isn't, but I think continuously allowing myself that opportunity to begin again and learning from my experiences is really shaping me into the person I am now and the person I want to be. 

What helps you stay grounded and how do you rejuvenate?

Right now I'm all about strong and creative flow classes. I love practices that are filled with standing poses like the Warriors and Goddess which help me feel grounded and strong. If a practice has interesting/different transitions or variations I get really excited because I love trying new things. Of course, a practice for me is not complete without some energizing backbends. 

What would you tell a woman who needs help tapping in to her inner strength?

Inner strength is always there, even when at times we feel like we've lost it. For anyone who needs help accessing that strength I would say remember that you have made it this far. You have made it to today. Through every hardship, every triumph, you have persevered and arrived at this moment. That is so encouraging. At times we have days that are so hard and life seems so dark, but remember that you have your own light within and you can always light your own way through the darkness. Each one of us is strong. So hold your head high and tell yourself that you are strong and you are enough. That is important--believe and know that you are enough and never let anyone take that away from you. 

Where will you go from here? Any badass plans for the new year?

I'm excited for this year and I have a lot of plans in the works. Since becoming a yoga instructor last summer, I haven't taught much, so that's a major goal--to just start teaching, gaining experience, and sharing my passion. I'm starting a new "giving back" project that I'm calling "Project Warm Heart." Throughout the year I'm going to be knitting and crocheting scarves and this fall (when the weather starts cooling down again) whatever I have made will be donated to local shelters/homes. My sister is already on board to help and I'm hoping to recruit more people to join in as well! I'm really excited about this and to be working on something that will hopefully benefit the community. I have my own blog that I will be getting started soon, and my incredibly talented artist friend, Sarah Richards, has agreed to illustrate it for me. I'm looking forward to that collaboration and many new experiences this year. 

Thanks, Meg, for sharing your story, and cheers to all you badass women out there. Namaste and happy Friday, friends! XO

PS Meet more badass women: Summer, Brittny and Kim.

Announcing the 2016 Alive in the Fire Sponsored Yogis Team

Hello, beautiful yogis!

I am over-the-moon excited to introduce you to this year's incredible Sponsored Yogis! 

You may be asking, what is Sponsored Yogis? :) Sponsored Yogis is a seva project I do through Alive in the Fire where I choose several extraordinary souls to support for a year. My goal is to help them grow in their yoga practice, both on and off the mat. 

I keep in touch, sending emails and having Skype conversations, so that I can offer support from the perspective of a yoga teacher and also as a friend who is walking the 8-limbed path of yoga. I also offer them goodies like yoga mats, yoga clothing, studio classes, massages, photo shoot experiences, books, DVDs, and wellness products, so that they have the tools they need to grow in their practice. My goal is to help the Sponsored Yogi team feel loved, cared for, and inspired.

Photo by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

The Sponsored Yogi team helps write heartfelt blog posts, share Alive in the Fire stories on social media, and grow our community so that we share more yoga with the world. This year we're also going to be featuring an Instagram challenge, and start fundraising for a teacher training scholarship. Sponsored Yogis is an incredible journey, one that always opens my eyes to new ways that Yoga impacts those around us. The more love we share, the more love spreads! The program is an amazing, life-changing experience that has brought me some of the most meaningful friendships I've ever had, and I have no doubt that 2016 will be the best year yet.

I'm very excited to announce that I've chosen 2 beautiful yoginis to be a part of this year's Sponsored Yogi team! Please meet Yani and Kelsie, and stay tuned to hear more from them in the weeks and months to come. 

Yani Valdes

Yani is a yogini and Americorps volunteer from Bakersfield, CA. 
She is creative, empowered, grateful and compassionate.

A few facts about Yani:
  • She loves practicing Vinyasa and restorative yoga, especially outdoors in nature, as well as PiYo, to build strength and flexibility.
  • She is currently in her second year of service with BHC AmeriCorps and often practices meditation and yoga with her mentees.
  • Yani recently traveled to the Philippines and one of her goals is to complete a yoga teacher training in Thailand.
  • She isn't afraid to be real and raw, and she believes that being vulnerable will help set us free. 

How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has become a way of being. Time after time, life reveals to me beauty in this world. I recall times in my life when I come across new ways of being, thinking, existing. Each day I wake, I strive to be my most ideal self. Some days I fly, and others I feel like I'm crumbling to pieces. But I live. And the next day, I'm given another chance. Yoga reminds me to accept and love myself, to stay present in the moment, to breathe deeply, and to surrender.

Why are you excited to be a Sponsored Yogi?
This is my divine purpose. On my recent birthday I put my love and trust in the Universe. I gave thanks for this life, and put trust in the notion of divine purpose. A series of events revealed as I learned to surrender to what can be. 

Shortly after graduating with my B.A in Liberal Studies from CSU Bakersfield, I went in to service with BHC AmeriCorps. Through college, service to humanity and exploring I've learned so much. I reflect on my life and am so thankful for every experience that has made me, me. I've given so much of myself, and am ready to trust and love myself, my dreams, God, Source Energy, the Universe- whatever we want to call that greater power. I look forward to another year of life on planet Earth, where each day we are gifted with life. I'm excited to aid in creating life and existing in a positive culture. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow my heart and to grow.

Thank you, Yani, and welcome to Sponsored Yogis!

Kelsie Eggers

Kelsie is a dedicated student and teacher of yoga from Clarkston, WA. She is thoughtful, encouraging, knowledgeable and devoted.

A few facts about Kels:
  • She practices Vinyasa, Hatha and Iyengar yoga in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Her mission is to share knowledge, skills and tools to help others find their inward journey through yoga.
  • Her yoga goals are to stay sharp and strong, to find clear focus, discipline and unwavering concentration.
  • She's currently reading Light on Life by Iyengar :)

How has yoga changed your life?
Aside from a diet revise, friends, friends, friends and confidence, I'm optimistic now. In the past, I walked on the dark side...always assuming or expecting the worse. Yoga taught me the opposite, which is to trust. Visions of success and happiness are much more likely to manifest when we focus on positive possibilities instead of worse case scenarios. 

Why are you excited to be a Sponsored Yogi?
I'm honestly really excited to be an author of this blog! And, I love people! I love building communities of like minded people and I am humbled to meet new yogis from all over the country. I am a teacher and student, thus giving and receiving knowledge is a long term gift I am looking forward to sharing.

Thank you, Kels, and welcome to Sponsored Yogis!

I could not be more proud of both of these lovely yoginis for their courage, confidence and the joyfulness they bring to the Alive in the Fire community. Already Yani and Kelsie have shown their dedication and enthusiasm, and we can't wait for all the awesome content that will be coming your way soon as part of the Sponsored Yogis program. 

Namaste, friends!

PS Please follow Yani (@yanivaldes_) and Kelsie (@yoga_by_kels) on their Instagram pages as well, and stay tuned for our upcoming Instagram challenge!

10 Things I Love About Working For Myself

Being an entrepreneur takes guts. It takes courage to pursue your dreams even when the risks are high.

This year I took a leap of faith and quit a 9-to-5 job so that I could work for myself. I couldn't be more proud of this decision. ;)

In some ways, working for myself is much more challenging than having the predictability of a 40-hour work week... but it is one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done.

Here are 10 things I absolutely love about working for myself.

1. My mornings are now slow mornings. I can linger, sip coffee, and start my day with a peaceful pace.

2. I am more resourceful.

3. I practice yoga more often.

4. I have (prioritized) free time.

5. I have flexibility.

6. I have space for more relaxation and time with friends.

7. I don't have a rush-hour commute.

8. I'm usually around happy, healthy people and in quiet, peaceful environments.

9. I can support my loved ones more.

10. I can choose which projects to say yes to, and which to say no to.

May you be inspired, happy and balanced in your career path!

PS Three tips for if you're making a big change in your life, career-related or otherwise.

Badass Women: Sara of Copper Drift Jewelry

Photos courtesy of Sara.

Hi loves! Today I'm happy to share a new story in the Badass Women series, featuring Sara of Copper Drift Jewelry

I connected with Sara on Instagram, where she sells beautiful and unique electroformed jewelry and healing crystals. I was struck by her honesty and her love for crafting beautiful art. There were a few challenging moments recently when Sara was faced with the decision of whether or not to keep her shop open, and she also had to deal with a copyright issue where a follower of her was posting her photographs without crediting them. 

Along with her other 13,000 followers, I watched Sara handle these situations with grace and determination -- and we all cheered when we saw that she was going to be keeping the shop open, and that the photo issue was resolved.

Sara is a lovely and inspiring example of what it means to be badass -- to pursue your dreams fearlessly, to stick up for yourself, and to share your truth. I'm grateful for her and for what she's doing!


What makes you a badass? When do you feel most confident?
Being able to make something from something else gives me a feeling of being a "baddass" There are a few things in life that can make you feel confident and I believe creating something with your own two hands (and maybe a rectifier) is one of those things. I love being able to share what I created with my followers on Instagram (@CopperDrift) and seeing them leave me comments about what they think. How satisfying is that!?
How did you get where you are today? Who knows, hard work? Persistence? Not giving up? I've been creating as Copper Drift for almost a year - December will mark my one year anniversary. I have a long way to go in my eyes, I'll never stop moving forward and there is no end goal in sight. Only way I got here was to keep moving forward.

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate?

I go for long drives, it helps me clear my head a bit. I turn on some music and just drive through the back roads and enjoy the scenery. Sometimes if the weather is nice I'll go to a lake near by and sit by the water.

Who has inspired you or encouraged you lately?
Everyone inspires me. There is always something inspiring you can take from someone else, or things for that matter. I think we are all interconnected, we all share experiences, moments, places, ideas, thoughts, dreams.....and that creates inspiration if you are in tune to look for it.

What advice would you give to someone who's having a crappy day or needs to feel badass in this moment?
Whatever they are doing, they need to immediately stop and do something different. Nothing helps change a crappy day better than changing what you're doing. If you see a problem, remove the problem. If I'm working on the computer, and things aren't going my way, I work on something else. If being home is making me feel lousy, I leave and go for a drive. Change your situation and you'll change how you feel.

How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;)

Wake up - Be a Badass - Rinse - Repeat

Sara, thank you so much for sharing your post in this series! You're awesome and I can't wait to continue watching your business grow and see what incredible things lay ahead for you :)

For more badass women, meet another Sarah, Kim, and Justine.

Badass Women: Brittny

Photos courtesy of Brittny.

Today, I'm excited to share a new post in the Badass Women series.

Meet Brittny, an entrepreneur, artist, and yoga teacher. Brittny and I connected through her yoga apparel business, Twin Flame. Immediately I felt drawn to her positivity, her genuine smile, and her inspiring passion for, how awesome is it that we both love yoga and have a project with a name centered around 'fire?' :) It's an honor to share your story here on Alive in the Fire, Brittny!

What makes you a badass? 
I am not afraid to take risks. Not that long ago I quit my job and became my own boss. I had already started my own yoga apparel line, Twin Flame, and was surviving on income as a waitress. In March of this year I completed a crowd-funding campaign using Kickstarter and Twin Flame was funded just over $18,000. 

But I didn't stop there. The apparel business isn't easy and I needed a way to create a stable income while promoting Twin Flame. I created Bloom Branding which is an organic marketing, graphic design, retail merchandising and social media service for small businesses. Why not do for others what I have done for myself? I am also a yoga and fitness trainer working one on one with several clients every week. I am the CEO of my own life. 

How did you get where you are today? 
Manifestation and guidance from within! I knew the first time I opened my eyes from Savasana that I was going to take control of my life. 

Yoga has given me confidence, will power, freedom and pure love. 

Yoga guided me to my truest friend, myself. It wasn't until I fell in love with myself that I found my Twin Flame, the love of my life, Adam. 

Life isn't about money or success. Life is about love. I created business endeavors because the world we live in unfortunately runs on money. But it was my passion and devotion to live a meaningful life that brought me to where I am now. My intentions as an entrepreneur are to help others to do the same.

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate? 
I practice yoga, of course, but I have a serious case of wanderlust! I absolutely crave new places and the unknown. There is nothing more refreshing than an adventure. At home I rejuvenate by spending time outdoors and surrounding myself with crystals and natural scents. I often seek divine guidance by pulling oracle cards and tapping into my spirituality.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to find happiness and become fully empowered? 
Stop looking for happiness. Happiness is already within you. Start following your heart, take risks and start living for YOU! 

How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;) 
Currently I am working on an ambassador program for Twin Flame that will not only help the business grow but bring like-minds together for a beautiful cause. I have encountered some obstacles launching our non-profit program for youth yoga. But I will continue to press forward with an open mind and heart. Right now it is hard to see the future but I like surprises! ;P

Many thanks to Brittny for sharing her inspiring post! For more badass women, meet Sam, Sarah, and Justine.

Badass Women: Kim

Photos courtesy of Kim.

Hi, yogis! Today I'm grateful to introduce you to Kim, a badass yogini in Chicago who has inspired me on so many levels... not only is she the incredible entrepreneur behind Sant, but she is also a beautiful soul with a very powerful voice. Kim and I started emailing a long time ago, and from the moment I heard from her, I could sense a strong connection. 

With Kim, I love that I can talk about anything and feel supported and acknowledged; she offers an encouraging, intelligent perspective and her down-to-earth demeanor is one of a kind :)

Kim goes for what she wants in life, and she has this incredible clarity about her. When I think 'badass,' she's at the top of my list!

What makes you a badass?

I have a tattoo that says "badass" on my left wrist and another that says badass in sanskrit on my thigh.  OK, not really, but I do think I'm hilarious and sometimes I say things just to make myself laugh (and that's kind of badass).  I welcome failure, pain and love.  I left the corporate world to start a social enterprise; it failed.  Then I moved to India, (and cried the first 8 months) and started another social enterprise, Sant.

How did you get where you are today? 

Work.  A lot of work.
  • Vipassana meditation course
  • Books - A New Earth, The Four AgreementsMany Lives, Many Masters, The Queen's Code
  • Work with healers
  • Network spinal analysis 
  • Byron Katie
  • Ted talks: Lessons from the Mental Hospital and The Voices in My Head
  • Yoga, Yoga nidra and Kundalini yoga
  • Ayurvedic treatments 
  • Breath work
  • The documentary "I Am"
  • Native American sweat lodges 
  • Choosing my words carefully  (no "good", "bad", "should" "have to")
  • Living in the grey as opposed to the black and white
  • Showing myself compassion, acceptance, love and gratitude
  • Observing my judgments and thoughts, including separating suicidal thoughts from myself

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate?

Dance.  (I dance by myself in the mornings.  I might be a ballerina when I grow up.) Meditation. Cuddling. Laughing.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to find happiness and become fully empowered?
  • Listen to yourself-- you are the only person who knows what you need
  • Ask for help-- this is true strength 
  • Do something-- if you aren't happy, you won't be able to think yourself to happiness. You're programmed to be unhappy (our society does this). You have to break out of this programming and it takes action.  

How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;)
Living in the present moment.  Nurturing myself.  Working to positively impact the lives of others.

Thank you so much, Kim, for participating in this series and for being such an awesome friend! 

PS Meet other badass women in the series: Justine, Sarah, and Rose.

Badass Women: Justine

Photos courtesy of Justine.

Today I'm honored to introduce Justine, a dear friend who I know from high school English classes, and a talented, fearless artist who is traveling the world to share her passion. Justine created Tejer Las Americas (Weave the Americas), an international mural series connecting creators. As she says, Weave the Americas embarks a journey of discovery and expression. It’s a lot about encouraging others to embrace and enjoy their own freedom and use their powers for good in the world.

Justine is one of the most beautiful, expressive, down-to-earth badass women I know, and it is with a happy heart that I'm sharing her story today.

What makes you a badass?Being on my own adventure.  It requires a lot of strength and patience to blaze a trail.  Right now I’m blazing a cultural trail: finding creators throughout the Americas and connecting them, while showing with my own example that we as humans have the whole world as our home!   I also am guided by the consciousness that we share this home.  Community (between humans as well as all other species) is awesome and fulfilling! I guess I’m a badass because I care about the world and even if I get pissed off about the stubborn stupidity of many human actions (see this article), I keep believing in and pursuing a better world.

How did you get to where you are today?
Following my curiosity and putting my rational mind at the service of my creative mind has opened me up to experiences that have changed and shaped me.  Learning a new language is life-changing.  Talking with people is life-changing.  Seeing the world from different perspectives is life-changing.  Making up your mind to develop your own perspective is life-changing.  I have a lot of faith in the magic of the world and that has helped me wander far from the nest.  I believe that, in embarking on a journey whose intention is to share, learn, heal and unite, one finds the necessary help.  I’ve found it to be true so far.  The love and support from home, as well as from this growing international community, helps me to continue loving this extended journey.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to find happiness and become fully empowered?
Go deep.  Don’t settle for something that only partially satisfies.  I believe that each of us chooses to be born in order to experience certain things, and inside we know what lights us up.  If you don’t feel like you’re on your path but rather you’ve somehow stumbled onto the path that others thought you should take… do something immediately to orient yourself again to your own inner compass.  Your consciousness and free will is not something to be wasted pleasing “society,” especially when “society” makes really awful calls on important matters.  Recognize your fear.  Dominate it.  And move forward into your light.

How do you plan to continue your baddassery?
We’re going to Weave the Americas, baby!  Haha.  For the next year or so I’ll be continuing to make my way north by land and sea with my partner Catriel.  We’re in Uruguay at the moment and will soon be headed to Paraguay, Bolivia, the North of Chile, and then up the Cordillera (Peru, Ecuador…).  In Colombia we’ll have to decide what to do with the car. Perhaps at that point we’ll transition to a sailboat.  Time will tell.  

In general we are finding fascinating individuals, painting murals using sacred geometry to mark sites of interest and repay generosity, and we’re taking notes on different strategies for living.  We’ve seen some very exciting examples of permaculture communities. Bioconstruction is so gorgeous, logical, harmonious and efficient!  It’s definitely inspired us, so I think our path will continue to seek and develop this knowledge and apply it everywhere we can.  Maybe spend some concentrated time with our hands in the soil in Mexico 2016-2017 before completing the North America leg of the expedition.  If I can do that part on horseback I’ll be… totally exuberant.
I'm continually inspired by the badass women I know who are relentlessly pursuing their dreams. Thank you, Justine, for being a part of the series! 

PS For more stories of badass women, meet Sarah, Sam, and Summer.

Badass Women: Sarah

Meet the lovely and fierce Sarah, featured today in the Badass Women series. When I started this series on the blog, Sarah was one of the first women I thought of... not only is she an incredible yoga teacher, but she is also a martial artist and expert pastry chef, a singer, a soon-to-be-mom, and a generous friend. 

Even without knowing all of these things about Sarah, when I first met her I knew that she was someone I wanted to spend more time with. Her wisdom and playful sense of humor are infectious, and I'm grateful that each time I see her I'm reminded to live in the moment, and to make no compromises. 

Thank you, Sarah, for your humble and open heart, and for sharing your story.

What does it mean to be badass?
To me, it's resourcefulness. To use whatever means you have as fuel, sustenance, building blocks, and to make things work that aren't supposed to - whether it's color combinations in art, or beating the odds in a situation. 

There's a verse from the Yoga Sutra that's always stuck with me, that 'One who is firmly established in yoga, could tell a lie, and it would become true through the power of their conviction.'

It's an alchemy of using the imagination, combined with real blood, sweat and tears to create the self we want to be, and the world we want to live in. Meditative discernment + unglamorous diligence = badassery. 

What badass things do you love to do, or have you done? 

I don't "love" to do badass things. They come out of a place of defiance. I had a choice early on in life: break down and be crushed by circumstance, or find a way to survive. Survival necessitated a certain level of what some people might call badass-ness, but I just did what I had to. I lost my family and my home, was dropped into a foreign country, knew no one, didn't speak the language. I didn't adjust well. I resisted everything.

I found creative outlets, difficult teachers, and pushed myself beyond reasonable limits, mostly to distract myself from my life. I write music. I do martial arts. I make wedding cakes. I ride motorcycles and pilot aircraft. I learn languages. I go to comic book conventions. I study military history and natural sciences. I've walked in freshly excavated fossilized dinosaur tracks in Texas. Ive had art exhibitions. I've performed on a movie soundtrack with a 200-piece orchestra backing me up - from Prague. I was a paramedic/firefighter. I learned handguns and knives from a French Foreign Legionnaire - from Austrailia. 

I've moved around, constantly, to gain new experiences and learn new skills, but I always knew it was a crutch for my inability to be still, and let myself feel anything. Yoga studies, Buddhist logic, a lot of reading and meditation held up a mirror to all that, and I've been working on being still since 2002. Most people's challenge is to break free of their attachments. Mine has been to allow myself to be free of my "attachment to non-attachment", and to feel like I deserve to make a home for myself in the world.

What advice have you been given by badass women in your life?
Jennifer Arfa, author and Buddhist yogini, told me, when you find the man you think you want to marry - tell him, you're "just not sure... Not ready to commit... Maybe should just be friends." I thought it sounded inauthentic and conniving at the time, but it happened for me. I told my (now) husband "I wasn't sure, that he should date other people, it might not work out"... And he committed to pursuing me like his life depended on it. I was honest when I told him to scram; I just didn't anticipate that, when I was ready to let the relationship go, that moment was the catalyst for it to get stronger than we ever imagined. Both Ed and I reflect that if we hadn't had that dark period, we wouldn't understand how deep our commitment could be, or what we were truly willing to do for one another. 

My Grandmother told me to go to nursing school. I didn't exactly follow it, but it was good advice. 

My Catholic, Sunday-school teaching mother told me, that God doesn't just shell out talents to just anybody, and that if you have a gift, you are obligated to use it - or it's a sin of ungratefulness towards God. I was seven. I said "so if I don't sing, I go to Hell?" She replied squarely, "yes". I got the message, that Hell is knowing you're not living up to your potential. And that heaven, could possibly be using your skills to the fullest here on Earth. 

My mother died when I was thirteen. That taught me never to take anyone, or anything, for granted. She taught me a lot without teaching, in the way she lived and died. No complaints. Simply moved forward, along a difficult path, with a humility, strength and grace I can only aspire to. 

What advice would you share with others about how to live life to the fullest?
Get knocked down. Hit bottom so hard you don't know which way is up. Don't fight the fact that life hurts. Accept it, and fight for your breath. Don't complain. Take responsibility. Let yourself spend enough time in darkness that you understand how precious the light is, and then never let it go. 

I wish there were any other way on the spiritual path, but it's all unicorns farting rainbows until you've actually been battle tested by life. The grief of life is happiness playing hard to get, to find out how badly you want it. Don't settle. 

If you're angry with life, with God, with whoever, my mantra has been that "the best vengeance... Is to live a beautiful life." Don't let the bad guys win. Don't let mediocrity win. It's a war I fight every day, internally and externally, and it gives me cause to celebrate both my victories, and my noble failures along the way. Usually with libation. (That's the Irish in me speaking.) 

What things do you do to take care of yourself and stay inspired?
I exercise. I spend time admiring nature and sky. I read stories of brilliant human spirits - most recently, The Lions Gate by Steven Pressfield about the Israeli military during the Six Day War. I go to museums. I listen to music that  takes me unexpected places. I seek out the company of people I look up to and want to be more like. I eat simple at home, but love being a foodie when I'm out. I treat myself to froufrou skin products. It's a second chakra thing.

In the next year or two, what badass plans will you make a reality?
One of my teachers, Carolyn Myss, says "if you want to make God laugh - tell him about your plans." I am a planner—I strategize constantly—but, there are too many variables in life to really, truly ever know what's next. The life I currently live, is one I would have thought terribly unlikely only 3 years ago. That being said, it's a lot brighter than I imagined! 

I plan to have a baby (I'm 2 months pregnant with my first) but even that, isn't a given. I will be privileged and blessed if all goes well with baby. I plan to create music for a series of online yoga videos I intend to film. I'm planning to continue to make art out of sugar in the pastry world ( I plan to fall further in love with my husband Ed. I intend to keep a finger on the yoga pulse of Roseville to see where I can make history with the other pioneers. I plan to be surprised and grateful at all the things I couldn't possibly plan, and never saw coming. I feel like it's a great day when I can say, "WowI never saw THAT coming!" 

Thank you, Sarah, for your inspiring stories! I am so grateful for you. 
PS Read about more Badass Women. Cheers to living life fearlessly!

Photos courtesy of Sarah.

Badass Women: Rose D.

Today, in the Badass Women 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 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.