If you're going through a tough time, or asking big questions like What do I want? then this post is for you.Read More
Hi, friends! Some exciting news today on Alive in the Fire...
I'm now offering an e-book!
Are you feeling a little lost? Lacking direction or motivation? Or maybe you could just use a few moments of deep rest, of looking inward?
This one's for you!
Inherent to the practice of yoga is the element of Svadhyaya, or self-inquiry. We explore layers of awareness through physical sensation, breath, emotion, and thought.
In this 20-page workbook, I will lead you through a unique experience of yoga that includes asana (poses), meditation, chanting/sound vibration, and creative writing.
You’ll explore questions such as, what am I here for? What’s holding me back? Do I trust my inner wisdom? How can I release fear?
Asking these questions isn't easy work to do. We can start by creating a quiet space, breathing, and connecting with the physical body.
What we find can be beautiful and enlightening... it may also be painful or make us feel vulnerable, raw, or overwhelmed. It becomes our task, then, to trust the outcome and trust our inner wisdom. Sometimes we must walk through the fire in order to gain clarity.
My goal in offering this e-book is to extend a little piece of my yoga teaching into this community I've created here at Alive in the Fire, and help however many yogis I can experience a little more peace in their day-to-day lives.
It's $3 to purchase the e-book, and my hope is that it is a practical, useful tool that can enhance your yoga practice and help you discover something new about yourself along the way.
As always, I'm open to your feedback and would love to hear from you if you try out the e-book and want to share your experience (my email is aliveinthefire at gmail dot com).
Please check out the link below to support the project.
Sending each of you a heartfelt Namaste.
- Advice to new yoga teachers.
- 5 books you may not have read in your yoga teacher training.
- Advice from real-life yoga teachers on how to sequence a class.
- How to hold space for your students.
- Reflections on humility as a teacher.
- Teaching on bad days.
- 3 simple things to focus on as you grow your teaching schedule.
- Being receptive to the moment as you teach.
We all go through times where we feel disconnected from our bodies, discouraged about our appearance, self-critical, or uncomfortable in our own skin.
Now is one of those times for me.
Since I moved, I haven't been practicing yoga as much, and my skin hasn't been the happiest. I've felt more tired and bloated. I've been out of touch with my own sensual energy, with feeling sexy. And, I often look in the mirror and think, ugh, and a cycle of negative, judgmental thoughts comes into my mind.
- Do a short workout. Breaking a sweat really makes a difference for my mood. This could be 20 minutes of yoga, a walk around the neighborhood, a 10-minute jump roping session, or some pushups and situps in the living room.
- Soothing self-care. It's hard not to feel at least a little better after a hot epsom salt bath, giving myself a foot massage, rolling on my Dharma Yoga Wheel or foam roller, or lighting a candle and just taking a few deep breaths.
- Write about it. Writing always helps! A lot of times I want to ignore what's really bothering me-- what I'm fearful about, or angry about -- but taking five minutes to write in my journal can help uncover the deeper issue I'm struggling with.
- Drink extra water. Staying hydrated helps me stay positive, and gives me a reason to say, 'I'm choosing to be healthy today.'
- Celebrate small victories. I like to make lists of things I have to be proud of that day.
- Use social media very strategically, or not at all. Social media has a way of making me feel extra sh*tty sometimes. I compare myself to all the famous yoga teachers, the successful and thin ones, and the people I know who are winning at life getting married and having babies and going on tropical vacations :) So, on days like today, I either take a break from Instagram and Facebook (easier said than done), or indulge my social media habit strategically. Lately I look at posts on Instagram from Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl) or Dana Falsetti (@nolatrees), and that's it. Their posts are uplifting and real, and filled with loving kindness. I also follow a private group on Facebook started by a local boudoir photographer, and I love her posts about positive body image and the sense of supportive community from the women in the group. It's also nice to see that other women struggle with the same stuff that I do!
- Wear a pair of sexy underwear. OK, I know this sounds like a silly thing to do, but it can help remind you that you're sexy. Maybe this even leads to some fun evening plans (solo or with your partner) which can boost your mood even more. Oh, and if you have boudoir photos, be sure to look back on those!!
- Make a smoothie. Smoothies have a way of making me feel good about myself, plus they are a nutritious way to boost your energy levels. I love adding spinach.
- Do something else. So, you're sitting there obsessing over how you look, what you ate, etc... just stop, and spend time doing something else. Sometimes I have to do this several times, just re-direct my energy until I land on something positive. It can be helpful to take a lion's breath, brush off my arms and legs to 're-set' my physical energy, or turn on music. I also love to spend time in nature or go to a coffee shop and read.
Wow... it really feels good to get that off my chest! Thanks for reading along, loves, and for your continued support. May we keep encouraging each other, being kind to ourselves, and being honest about it on days when we struggle.
Yoga helps us heal.
I believe the deeper you explore this practice, the more that healing extends from the physical body into the mind and emotions.
- anxious or tense
- in love
So, I'm wondering... do you like to set personal goals? What's on your goal list these days?
With 2016 officially half way over, I've been thinking about my goals for the rest of this year (and beyond). A lot has shifted since I moved, and lately my focus has been on spending time getting to know myself and loving myself.
I've also given myself space to rest and to mix up my workout routine (sometimes I even skip yoga! eeps!) :)
Here are some other goals I'm working on (or at least cultivating awareness of):
- Love my body.
- Embrace imperfection; take the pressure off!
- Cook awesomely and digest happily.
- Limit late night snacking and get to bed by 10pm.
- Do my own yoga flow.
- Let go of fears (not being good enough, and fear of failure).
What are your current goals? Do you set intentions and use mantras to manifest what you want?
Or maybe you'd consider filling in the blank to this statement:
2016 is my year for...
I'd love to hear more in the comments below, or you can always shoot me a quick email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. Namaste my friends.
PS You can find more awesome ideas for meeting your goals or setting new habits over at the blog Zen Habits, by Leo Babauta. His blog is one of my favorites!
What will you look back on next year or a few years from now and remember about 2016?
"2016... ah, yes! That was the year when I..."
Recently it struck me that the year is almost halfway over (?!!) and so it got me thinking about what this year has been for me.
2016... ah, yes! That was the year when I:
- Made Sponsored Yogis something great(er than ever before)
- Taught some badass yoga classes
- Doubted myself completely as a yoga teacher, but kept teaching
- Moved somewhere completely new
- Allowed myself to be a student of yoga again
- Learned to cook more
- Lived by the beach (and went kayaking)
- Believed in myself even when things felt like they were falling apart
- Shot boudoir photos and loved it
- Connected with some badass women and in publishing their stories, realized I, too, am badass (always have been)
But hey! We don’t have to be on a peaceful yoga retreat to practice. Because even surrounded by the constant hustle in which we live in, we all still have to take a shower, right?...I sure hope so :) We all still have to eat, sleep, get dressed, and go about our day. So, why not fit in some yoga during the activities we do each day?
These simple poses can help you create awareness, soften any muscles in your body that are tight, and help you keep a positive attitude.
Here are the five activities that can help you fit asana in, even during your busiest days:
1. Practice yoga while taking a shower
I will share a brief personal story for this one. Before bringing yoga into my life, I used to find it hard to wash my feet. I had to balance leaning against the wall and grab my foot trying not to slip and fall. Until one day it occurred to me: Why don’t I try it in a Standing Forward Bend? Voila! Now I can easily reach my feet and wash in between the toes in Uttanasana without worrying about the slippery floor. Then, a Halfway Lift is ideal to wash the legs, and whenever I feel adventurous, I even try the Reverse Prayers Pose to reach my back with the sponge. I encourage you to do the same. Just pay attention to your breath or the water will run down your nose.
Even if writing is not one of your main duties, I’m pretty sure almost everyone sends an email, writes a memo or just types on a laptop at least once a day. How about doing it while sitting in a Lotus Pose or a Hero’s Pose? Just put a flat surface on your lap to hold your notebook, laptop or whatever you’re using to write, and feel like a hero in your Virasana.
Also, if you’re on a chair behind a desk and are too shy to sit on the floor in the middle of the office, you can try to grab one ankle and bring it over the opposite thigh (something like a Figure Four but sitting down). Send the chest forward a little bit and feel the juices flowing in your hips and hammies without the shame of your coworkers staring at you.
Since you are such a busy person, you may not have the time to read a good novel. However, there might be some boring reports waiting to be read. Motivate yourself with a Sphinx Pose! Grab those papers, lie on your stomach and put them in front of you. Enjoy the backbend and you’ll be done with the task way faster.
How about dressing up in a fun yoga-ish way? You can put on a t-shirt while transitioning from Warrior I to Warrior II, both arms would escape through the holes at the same time avoiding the usual struggle. You could adjust your shoes practicing Triangle Pose; and if you feel brave enough, you could even try to put on your pants in a Headstand... gravity will do most of the work.
This one is easy. At one point you will have to sleep no matter how big of a workaholic you are. Therefore, go to bed in Shavasana, relax your body, focus on your breath and let your body move deeper until you fall asleep. You’ll wake up feeling fresh, energized and with no back or neck pain.
Now, those who claim not to have time for yoga have run out of excuses. And even if you do have time for your regular practice, these poses are fun to do and will help remind you to carry your practice with you no matter where you are.
Alberto Güitrón is a Community Manager at BookYogaRetreats.com. He is a committed yoga practitioner who still can’t touch the ground with his heels in Downward Dog. One day he’ll do it and he will probably write a story bragging about it.
You're worthy of good things.
You're lovable, just the way you are-- the way you look, how smart you are, how many breaths you can hold a yoga pose, how many items you've crossed off your to-do list.
Nothing you do can change the fact that you're worthy and deserving of this beautiful, breathtaking life.
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.
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!
Clarify your vision. Get really clear on what you want. And then be kind to yourself in the process.
The more I love myself and others, the more impact I can have. I want to continue making my healing journey a priority, and developing my skills as a yoga teacher and a Reiki healer so that I can hold space for others. I always want to be learning new things.
The girl on her mat a few rows over who cracks open a can of energy drink in the middle of class. Or the one with a cup of hot coffee that she's sipping before the teacher walks into the room.
The frustrated sounds of a kid next to you sighing and saying I can't do this. The way you notice out of the corner of your eye that he reaches up in High Lunge and then promptly leans to the side and lands on his mat with a loud thump. But, you notice, he keeps going.
The person in the back row who's crying quietly. Or the one near you whose body odor feels overwhelming when experienced in the heat and humidity. Or even, a fart in the middle of class!
The sound of the teacher's bracelets as they clink together every time she walks around the room. The crackling of the speakers playing the music.
These are all real scenarios I've witnessed, by the way ;) When we show up for yoga, we are surrounded by distractions. There's drama. Noise, odd behavior, anxiety and frustration -- all of it shows up in the room at some point or another.
Can we allow ourselves to stay detached from the crazy that's surrounding us, and just stay with our own practice, breath by breath?
Sometimes we ourselves are the ones doing the distracting; we show up late for class and ruffle around in the silence, or we knock over a water bottle during Savasana, or laugh unexpectedly.
What's beautiful is when all these things are happening around us, and we're still able to keep our attention drawn inward. To re-focus again and again on the breath. To let go of our need to control every little thing.
This carries off the mat, too, of course. If I am able to put a breath, a short pause, between the crazy shit that's happening during my day and my reaction to it... that's when I know my yoga is working.