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So, You Want To Make A DIFFERENCE??

So, You Want To Make A DIFFERNENCE??

First of all, you are alive; accept it.

The absolute most important thing is to know is yourself.

Love yourself as a creation of supreme existence. Cherish and Love yourself and YOUR LIFE. It is a gift that you chose and are choosing to accept.

Live it.

Let change move you into higher grounds, and allow others to change.

Number two, some suggestions:

Quit smoking FOR THE AIR, let your body benefit.

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Never buy paper towels again FOR THE TREES. Use a towel. Or save and use your napkins that are otherwise getting tossed.

FOR THE OCEAN: Everything you touch that is plastic, THINK about whether you need that thing. Can you live with out it? If so, then you don’t need it!
that includes:
-Your daily starbucks coffee drink (bring your own cup)
-To go salads (make your own)
-The straw from lunch (just let your server know that you don’t use straws when you sit down)
-Plastic containers of detergent (you can buy powdered detergent in a cardboard box), etc, etc.

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Take a shower every other day, or at least take short showers — your body cleans itself naturally. Use essential oils like a victorian princess.

Make your own cleaning and beauty supplies: https://www.diynatural.com

Walk or ride a bike whenever you can — your transit might be the best part of your day and a beautiful way to spend time with yourself.

Eat wisely, you are what you eat. Consider and respect the animal on your plate. Consider and respect the extra box of organic spinach grown hydroponically and transported across three states. Consider and respect the tomatoes from your neighbor, from the hand of an immigrant farm worker, from a can. Consider your organic, processed health bar you bought on sale. Consider eating whole foods and growing your own.

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And how about new clothes? It is not unlikely that you never need to buy another article of clothing ever again, considering you can live naked from the moment you were conceived until your last breath.

The truth is we are not far removed from anything; not from the Great Depression Era that only a few generations ago forced every single individual in the U.S. to conserve and save everything, food, water, clothes, paper, and everything was a commodity, nothing was wasted. Ask your Grandma.

Nor are we removed from the indigenous peoples world wide that live traditionally to this day.

We are not far removed from the hunger, the happiness, the hate, the humanity.

Wether you choose to see it or not, we live with thousands of individuals and families who live on the streets, scraping their lives together;
and maybe in the past that was even you —
maybe it will be you in the future…

You are not separate from the animals.
You are not separate from the grasses, cactus, fruit trees.
You are not separate from the war, from the tsunami.

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Know this and grow with it. Feel it.

Sulking gets us no where. LOVE MOVES.

Let the shadow push you to the light.

Connect with others in GENUINE experiences. You are your greatest judge. Release from your culture and live through your heart.

Your heart is the culture of all beings. Open it. Relax and breathe into it.

I like to imagine the powerful energy field around my heart and visualize it connecting with people, even when I’m in a conversation with someone that I don’t agree with, even when I see or hear politicians that I don’t agree with, with my family members, with hate, with pain, because love is more powerful.

Open your heart to spread the connective energy. The planet needs it now.

The first, the last, the only step to make the REAL difference in the world today, in your friend group, in your family is to OPEN YOUR HEART TO YOURSELF.

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You don’t need to read a book, or take a class, or fight, or even think about a thing; you must look within. This is the absolute most important thing that has ever existed in yours or anybody’s life.

Make a difference and:

“Know Thyself”
–Socrates

 

 

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Abigail Tirabassi: writer, dreamer, believer, artist, ocean lover, finding joy daily.

IG: @scrambby

A Consolation to the Future

Many moons ago when I was about 14 years old, I was creating a collage in my room out of a (unbeknownst to me) relatively common Japanese print from a series that I had acquired from a garage sale. I had barely finished when my dad came to me and asked if I wanted to go to the Museum of Fine Art (in downtown St. Pete, Florida). It was Sunday funday, and of course I wouldn’t miss a chance to ride downtown and hang with pops. Well, upon entering the museum I noticed a girl wearing the same shorts as me (unusual and dorky pastel plaid hand-me-downs) and then being drawn to the nearest gallery room I immediately noticed on the wall, framed, and maybe even a part of the permanent collection there, a collage made from the exact same Japanese print that I had been cutting up in my room.

And I thought to myself, “Huh…huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh…”

Coincidences. We can only stop to wonder the complexities and intricacies of telepathic and psychic connections. From knowing who’s on the other end of the line before you answer a phone call, to encountering an object or picture during the the day that you recall encountering in your dream the night before. Even if you don’t believe in it, coincidences happen to everyone at one point or another. It’s as if we are surrounded by the invisible coincidences but only sometimes notice. Like how sometimes we know when and where we’ll see our loved ones. Or even when one has passed.

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The “concept” of interconnectivity has recently been a major topic of discussion in technology and yet has been a reality since the beginning of time. One could argue (me being one, among countless Indigenous peoples, groups and beliefs; Tibetan monks; even the Bible talks about it) that in ancient times, and those who contemporarily practice the age old techniques have, can, and do psychically connect to people, places, animals, and things. Just like the internet.

With the advent of the internet we take for granted that this “concrete” and “real” mechanism is actually the manifestation of the desire that humans have had throughout the millennia; which is to be connected.

And now it is taking us to bewildering places. Take for example artificial intelligence (A.I.): We only thought about these ideas of robots preforming surgeries as kids and now those thoughts are becoming a reality.

And we don’t even know how it works!

It is so perplexing that even the scientist and engineers who created the actual robots have absolutely no idea how in a split second A.I. can pull information from areas of the internet that no one even knew existed before. Or from up to date articles published in the exact same moment on the other side of the planet. Facial recognition, diagnosing disease, building other robots. The concerns and excitements stretch for miles across one’s imagination.

And to add to the overflowing mixed bag of emotionally loaded technological frontiers in our increasingly smaller and more intelligent world, is another childhood fantasy: traveling to Mars. Except now it’s not just for fun. It’s for survival.

We might never know the capabilities and extent of our own technology. It might expand just as our universe is doing constantly and into infinitum.

If you are like me and are felling overwhelmed and overloaded with all the happenings of the world and all the hate filled headlines in the news, there’s the catch to it all. The end of strife and worry for the concerned individual:

Aliens. That’s right; ALIENS. You don’t think there are aliens among us? You are correct in the literal sense; they don’t walk, they float. All around us, reproducing and communicating right before our very eyes. In fact, I ate them for lunch yesterday and love them on my pizza. They are invisible and are known on every continent, in every ecological zone on this planet, and most likely on other planets too since they are known to be able to survive in outer space. You know what i’m talking about!

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Mushrooms.

Mycology is the study of mushrooms, considered “the hidden kingdom” for not only their mysterious ways, but also the fact that what we see as little mushrooms, fun to eat and pick and look at, are actually apart of a huge network of underground mycelia (vegetative web-like branching hyphae). Like veins, mycelia connect across large areas underground (a few square miles and larger in a lot of instances), and surface as the many varieties we encounter. From portobellos to the psychotropic psilocybe cubensis (magic mushrooms) to aminita muscara (Super Mario brothers-looking poisonous red with white spots) to mold. They are everywhere. At one point we thought they couldn’t grow in Antarctica only to be stumped by the few species that appeared practically overnight in a research outpost. There are even species that eat plastic!

Mushrooms and mycelia are the connectors of life. They help things decay and most likely help everything to live! They are the actual telephone lines between trees and forests. Not a plant, and not quite an animal; they are alive, they are magic, they can survive in outer space, they are the bridge between plant and animal, life and death. They will be here long after we’re gone, cleaning up our mess that we didn’t have time to before we leave to Mars…

As exemplified by our co-inhabiters on this planet, life is complicated in this increasingly speedy world. Directing our attention inward is almost the last thing we want to do. In fact to some of the younger generations, we practically can’t. In lieu of peaceful meditative expanses of time spent in a park and in nature, we must hurry to the next event. In place of restful sleep, we’re barraged with stressors throughout the day that inhibit our relaxation. So much so that a solution among many, has been going away to “grounding camp” — actually attending an organized group where you and other humans who need the space to tune in do so by unplugging and doing things in real time, with your hands and feet and your mind, away from the screen. And these thing are helpful! In creating a beautiful world we must be that beautiful world. We must emit positivity, and the way to do so is by creating positivity inside of each and every single one of us.

Scary, exciting, daunting, confusing. Take a moment to understand the connectivity. Though this lifetime, if you are reading this, although you might not be lucky enough to be a mushroom, we can all turn to mushrooms as prime examples of connectivity, showing us the ropes of peacefully and joyfully existing among our neighbors as different as they may seem. Popping up when we’re needed and receding when our job is done. Appearing as an individual and yet sharing life and energy in an invisible network. With everything. All together. As one.

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I encourage everyone to read and learn more about the intensely interesting and connective hope that mushrooms bring to this planet, and also to consider this: Every single thought you have is connected to every single thing that we know of and more; micro or macro; visible or not. Your thoughts become your reality, hence A.I. and traveling to mars. So in your world, what would you like to see happen? Senseless killing, zombies, aggression? Or restoring harmony with all the visitors on this planet? Protecting environments, diversity of plants and animals, providing nourishment to the creatures that nourish us? Clean water, clear mind, creative future? Visualizing peace means actually visualizing (and making collages!), because we’re secretly and invisibly connected to everything.

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YOUR TURN…

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
-Alan W. Watts (1915-1973)

 

 

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Abigail Tirabassi: writer, dreamer, believer, artist, ocean lover, finding joy daily.

IG: @scrambby

This is Not a Test

This is not a TEST!

From a peaceful slumber you awake – slowly the precious darkness of sleep rolls out of your body into the warmth of the daylight that softly melts your eyes open…

And then all of a sudden, your peace is broken and you pop up.

Completely forgetting where you are and ripped away from your relaxed form:

“Where am I??”

“Oh yeah…” and slowly you recall…the midnight taxi to your hotel from the train or bus or flight and …the cute clerk at the check in giving a key to the unconscious and drained version of you after an entire day of traveling.

Or

“Where am I?”

“Oh yeah…” it’s 6:37am in a random city or in your home town and no, you are not going to sleep-in and read a magazine in your underwear; no, you are not in Tahiti, you have got to get some coffee and a meal inside of you before you are very late to work.

And as the day goes on of course your unconscious self is reevaluating your previous day that came to you in the form of last night’s dream that you just can’t seem to shake throughout today. And your unconscious self is comparing the moment of this situation at hand to the many other moments where your presence is compromised.

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Your unconscious self wants to sabotage your moments and remind you of the speech you botched in college while you are standing in front of your best friends families and all your friends at her wedding.

Your unconscious self delves into the darkest closest of your past relationships, wanting to show you how you are.

But you are not the past! And this is not a Test.

None of it is. The whole get up – the whole shebang;

We are a part of the evolution.

This is REAL. Not a test.

The most random position, situation or cluster of things or events are a tessellation of sensations, sentiments, stories, woven into your existence.

Water droplets cascade like a flock of birds.

A desert sand storm whips a kaleidoscope of dirt into your eyes and ears and face; you are alive.

Your sensations are alone, separated like petals of a flower, fronds of a palm, needles of a pine; all collected at a point. And that is the point. Small attributes of the whole, that without is naked. Yet that point of contact is the connection needed for existence; a hibiscus proudly shines her petals for all to see, and we thank her for showing us her beauty. True sensations and thoughts are opened when we tap into our true nature.

 

“Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.” Eckert Tolle

 

Your feelings construct a pattern that is decipherable by unlocking your true self. The feeling is for feeling, the emotions are for leaving.

Allowing yourself to adjust to a new place is something easily overlooked. In regards to working in a new place your responsibility to your happiness in your new space is vital to your overall performance and well being.

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Your true assignment, however, whether you are a transient yoga teacher, or a stay at home dad, or homeless living in a car, is to be you. This is what you are here to be. There is no one else to be! In this life we are forever in the state of learning — feel the learning, not the yearning. Taste the air you breathe and let it become you. Have the experiences, they are a part of you but they are not you.

When you experience the embarrassment of being late, or saying something silly, take a moment to recognize the fault and move on — apologize if you need to but do not dwell on your short comings! To recognize them takes the short away! You are there with it, your presence is necessary to feel the difference, feel the lesson and be a person that has gained from your lessons. You are not getting graded by anyone, but look at yourself with your own eyes — you get to be your own guide and you can relax, and forgive, and learn, and BE with yourself.

So in the moments of confusion and delusion: no, you are no longer on vacation; no, you can no longer pretend that everything is ok when you don’t feel ok… Get in touch with your higher self: Be present in your moment because it’s real. You need you to be real. We all need you to be real. So be brave and be real.

Waking up in a blunder doesn’t mean you’re off track — no no no it’s a blessing! It’s fun, but I would suggest to not let it bite you in the butt when you wake up somewhere that you’re disappointed about instead of beaming with excitement, because when you are aligned with yourself you won’t wake up estranged from who you are.

And the key?

Presence. All day, all moments, in all decision making, in quiet time. Body presence, mind presence, friend presence. You are not your past, you are not your future, you are not your thoughts that manipulate your movements; no, you are forever the present moment, and yes, you have every right in the world to be completely present and enjoy it.

So in your new home, your new job, in Thailand, in Chile, with strangers or when you are with your family, when you’re daydreaming of home, or a past lover, be real by being present.

Namaste.

 

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Abigail Tirabassi: writer, dreamer, believer, artist, ocean lover, finding joy daily.

IG: @scrambby

The Happy List: How I Found My Path, Passion, and Purpose

Guess what day it is? It is Monday… And this is me listening to Alex & Sierra’s “Scarecrow” and writing these lines. No stress, no rush, no Monday blues. I am in Thailand working as a Yoga and Meditation Instructor and putting my marketing and business development skills to work for a fitness, yoga and detox center. My feet are hanging in the pool and the sun is shining on my face. It is my day off, today. My current life situation is a real blessing. Everyday I can create a beautiful balance of business thinking, movement, mindfulness and yoga on and off the mat. Yoga has changed my life in so many different ways it is almost unbelievable to me – and I was there for every step of the way. So how did I get here?

Thinking back to days in the office in Berlin, Germany with snow storms outside and only approximately 2 hours of daylight (that’s how it felt) each day – I am now more than DCIM103GOPROG3799553.happy with every decision I have made in the last two years to take a leap and change my life according to my needs and my life callings. How did this all come together? I remember one winter day, when I sat in my room in Berlin on the wooden floor listening to music and feeling a little blue. Things were going well overall with my job, friends, family and I had my free time well organized to be a balanced mix of sports, teaching yoga, farmers market visits, art and music shows, and cooking dates with my flat mates. Pretty good life, but why does it feel heavy and strange at times? Is that just how it is? My decision was to explore this situation and find answers. I took out a piece of paper and wrote down EVERYTHING that makes me happy, makes me smile, things that energize me. My ‘Happy List’ was born.

The list was long and everything was allowed on there, everything that came to mind right in that moment – materialistic wishes or belongings, feelings, random words, colors, people, surroundings and so on. After about 5 minutes I decided I was done for the time being and when I looked at my list I realized that my everyday life here in Berlin is not really a reflection of the things that make me happy. How can that be? I chose this life. I made it all happen.

For a while I forgot about my ‘Happy List’ again. Also, unconsciously I knew every single word on that list and how much meaning it had to me. One more flashback: (hang in there) One Monday morning back in the office in Berlin I found a YogaTrade IMG_5837Newsletter with a job opening popping up in my inbox: Yoga Instructor Wanted AND Retreat Manager Wanted. Two positions that sparked my fire! ‘If I could do both, I could create a great balanced life for myself.’ And needless to say it wasn’t located anywhere close to the German winter but in sunny Cambodia. Traveling and exploring new countries happened to be things on my ‘Happy List’. In 5 minutes total I put all my power into an email to this center in Cambodia, explaining why I was perfect for both positions and sent all my information over. As I was typing the words seemed to jump on the screen and very effortlessly formed this lightly put direct email. It simply felt right. Click: SEND. Done. A smile flickered over my face before I had to rush off to a new project at work, phone calls, meetings and work emails.

For the next few weeks I didn’t think much about the job in Cambodia, as I was very busy and I didn’t really want to get my hopes up. This whole thing felt so far away from where I was and what I was doing. Emails are a funny thing to me as well – it doesn’t feel very personal to me sending emails. You send it off and wait. Maybe I haven’t fully adapted to the cyber age of communication and other elements of life.

Long story short, I was offered the position a few weeks later! Basically both positions and it made me jump. It was very exciting. I looked at my piece of paper and the only thing this job didn’t include from my ‘Happy List ‘ was water close by, a lake, or the sea. But that was fine with me, all the other 20 things are part of this new life. I quit my job the next day and prepared for my trip. Flights, insurance, canceling my contracts in Germany and full of anticipation started to get very light in my everyday life in Berlin.

Ever since, I began living a life that I love with all my heart. A life that took me to Cambodia, Bali, Gili Islands, Thailand and so many other places. I found a healthy lifestyle with enough room for my personal development, yoga, and a job. A life full of purpose, connection and sun, based on a piece of white plane paper with black maker scribbles all over it. It has been a journey of self discovery and love. Something very simple like the ‘Happy List’ and the world’s timing changed my life. The ‘Happy List’ and a moment of pausing and digging deep to understand the true motivation of my heart and spirit.

Get to know yourself and write a ‘Happy List’.

What is on your ‘Happy List’ and where will it take you?

Thank you Yoga Trade for great opportunities and connection. It is a true inspiration.

 

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Maike, from YogaWithMaike, is a traveling yoga-entrepreneur, a seeker, inventor, and life lover. She has been teaching yoga in many forms and shapes. Her love for holistic living and balance leads her to new adventures every day.

Connect:

yogawithmaike.com

Talking Story: Lauren Duke

Lauren Duke is an inspiring yoga teacher based out of the eclectic town of Encinitas, California. She is the Founder of Yoga Bergamot, a studio that is committed to making yoga accessible to everyone in a special place where donation based yoga can live strong. She is a devoted teacher and student, deeply involved in community events, and married to Chris Miller, the Co-Creator of Vuori Clothing. Here she shares some light on her experiences and life. Thank you Lauren for your words about the journey. We look forward to reading your books in 10 years;)

Tell us a bit about your yoga story…

Yoga is changing for me all the time. The definition is relative to my experience and my experience is always in flux. I never knew the moment before the last few years. I spent my younger years in survival mode. I missed a million moments. I was too busy worrying about everything.   I got into yoga before it was trending.  I noticed the physiological benefits, although when I was 18-19, I wouldn’t have been able to explain that. It’s become my muse and is a constant reminder of what I want to stand for and how I want to live my life. I’m human. I make a lot of mistakes, although I make way less then 10 years ago. Yoga is the awareness and development of spiritual maturity which is the recognition that we are in control of choice making. I think yoga is a practice of knowledge and our ability to learn skills and apply information prudently so we can make the best choices for ourselves and our communities.

What inspired you to create a DONATION based yoga space?

Well, one of my first teachers was Rusty Wells and that’s how he ran his platform for yoga. Then when I moved to San Diego I started teaching at a donation based studio and it closed down. I felt protective of the model and everyone that needed it to be able to practice and decided to just keep it going. To be honest, It was just an instinctive survival response. It’s a model where there is a lot of reciprocity for both the student and the teacher. It protects and is in the best interest of the teachers and students as well. I set my model up a little different though and I think that’s why it’s been so successful. It’s a cooperative which means the teachers rent the space collectively to be able to pay rent. It takes the pressure off of me knowing that everyone is pitching in. Also, it incentivizes the teachers to grow their brand and their business and to make their version and voice of yoga both authentic and unique. Because they pay rent, they also need to make sure they bring people in so they can make it worth their while. On the other end as a student , there are no commitments and no questions. We just ask everyone to be honest. We do believe that there needs to be an exchange between teacher and student. We live in a modern world where we have to pay bills and rent and taxes. Unfortunately it’s not free but giving people the opportunity to choose what they can afford, I feel like takes a lot of pressure off students. Now there are no excuses. You can just practice even if you can only afford a dollar. I used to have a student give me a check for $2 every time she came and then after years she finally got on her feet and now pays $20 every time and is so grateful that she had the opportunity to practice even when she had nothing. It’s a pretty sweet model and feels very communal and tribal like bartering. It’s the antithesis of the current capitalist model. You don’t become a yoga teacher to get rich but if you are dexterous and dynamic and passionate then anything can happen!
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Do you offer any types of work exchange/work trade at Yoga Bergamot? What benefits do you notice from “trading”?

We do offer work trade at Bergamot. We have bartered so much over the years. Our whole brand and website and photography is all from a trade for a training and yoga. It’s a community love affair at Bergamot and I think everyone really recognizes how important it is to help the studio keep running and help to maintain its success. The students feel like they are a part of it. Also we trade for cleaning and classes. I’m all for trades but I have very high expectations and it’s under the pretense that everyone will hold up their end of the deal. I don’t really tolerate slackers. It takes a village.

Any thoughts on environmental issues and how the yoga community can be of service?

Well community is a powerful thing. When people unite and they feel like they are a part of system and recognize how their actions effect the bigger picture, anything is possible. And fundamentally that’s what yoga stands for – the recognition and awareness around how one thing affects the next. Like the domino affect.  So if students are actually living this philosophy then they are taking action amongst the issues that need attention.  This starts with the individual becoming mindful about all products they are using, how and what they are eating, recycling, picking up trash.  My goal is not to just share the path and its ideals with people but rather empower people to actually take action and make a difference. That’s what Ghandi did. Some people think one person can’t make a difference with their actions but I think Ghandi and mother Theresa would certainly disagree.

What is your definition of happiness?

Happiness is relative. Life isn’t the same all the time. Shit happens and someone’s life’s not so happy. But my definition of something that can’t really be defined with an lauren5absolute -such as happiness- is the ability to be here now.  The ability to be present. It’s very simple and cliche and zen but it works. In the moment, often there is no pain. When you are sitting watching he sunset but stewing on something else – happiness is gone. But when you can embody the moment – to me that’s the ultimate. It’s basically what I work on everyday from the way I embody my posture or breathing practice or the way I interact and treat people. I want to be able to drop in – no matter what the experience is. But happiness is fleeting just like everything else. Unless you live in a cave and don’t go into modern day living it’s impossible.  Anyhow there’s no certain absolute definition. But I will say I’m happy when I’m here (just Right here) and not there (as in not present). It’s nebulous, but I get it and that’s all that matters really. 

If you could go back in time, what would your current self tell your 16 year old self?

I would tell my younger self to just “chill the fuck out.” It’s all gonna work out. And also to spend more time building my brains then my looks. Looks are just the tip of the iceberg. I think people are way more beautiful when they have something to say and stand up for their beliefs and have spent time getting to know their emotionality which is just the gateway to heartfelt spirituality.  “Look deeper,” I suppose I would tell that very sad, distracted, tenuous girl.  Underneath there was always so much more but I needed to take time to know and understand it. It takes life and heartbreak and death and experiences to develop that knowing.

“Look deeper…”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years I’ll be an author. Still teaching yoga of course but taking my experiences to the next level. I’ve had a crazy life. I have something to say and to share and I’m determined to do it.

What are you most inspired by right NOW?

Right now I’m seriously the most inspired by philosophy. I’m taking two online philosophy courses right now with Christina Sell and Noah Mazé. The physical practice is just so symbolic. With the dissolution of the richness of the yoga philosophy in the teachings of current yoga, the ideals of what the physical stands for are lost. I’m totally nerding out on how there’s such deep symbology in the postures. It’s all about the actions. I’m less involved these days with how to show up perfectly in each pose and more concerned with being fastidious about the actions that stand for how we live. Building poses will remind us of that. We actually have so much control, especially if we are paying attention to what we are doing. It makes such a difference to go through each pose with deep awareness of how it effects you and how the breath affects you and how one pose affects the whole system of poses.  It’s so deep it blows my mind. Still!  So I’ve come full circle. I used to care so much about doing a handstand. Then I figured it out and realized that it was so much deeper!  It’s not about nailing the posture – it’s about being available and participating in your experience. These days I’d rather nail savasana or a meditation. These days I’d rather show up awake so I can be better for my community, my husband, my family and my friends. That feels more like ruling at life.

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Committed to sharing and sustaining both the spirit of yoga and the donation based yoga system, Lauren is the Founder of Bergamot Yoga. With over 1,000 hours of training through several different systems including; Hatha, vinyasa, and Anusara, her method of teaching is a blend of yoga depending on what feels relevant to her students, her individual practice and her own life. She is known for her raw disposition, detailed Instruction and fun-loving nature. You never know what you are going to get but it’s guaranteed to always be challenging both in your body and in your heart.

CONNECT:

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www.yogabergamot.com

www.vuoriclothing.com

Finding Yin & Yang

There are cold, wintry nights and then there are bright, warm summer days. There is effort and there is ease. There is starvation and there is food waste. The universe is comprised of yin and yang. Dark and light, strong and weak, sad and happy–these are all opposing forces that rely on one another in order to exist.

Yin and yang are two halves that complete each other. Nothing is completely yin or yang, as each aspect contains within it the starting point for the other aspect. Just like day turns into night and night turns into day. Yin is darkness, shade, receptivity and reflection, while yang is sun, light, energy and strength. You can’t have one without the other, especially in your life.

Find Balance on Your Mat

Yin-yang yoga is all about finding balancing on your mat. No, I’m not talking about being able to hold that headstand for 3 more breaths, I’m talking about finding the soft, warm and cozy halfway point between work and relaxation, play and perfect posture, mental focus and meditation. Yin is typically the reflective and restorative part of the class, with lots of deep holds to expand flexibility and remove energy blockages in the body. Yang is the active, energetic, hot part of the class, which improves muscular strength and stamina. To me, it’s the perfect marriage between challenge and release.

If yin-yang yoga isn’t for you, you can still apply the Taoist concept to your regular practice. Find ways to soften in a muscularly-draining pose, take child’s pose when you’ve sweat up a storm and need rest, or feel energetic during Sun Salutations to move on from deep releases and passive poses. Strive for balance, always.

Find Balance in Your Life

The more consistently you practice finding a balance between effort and ease on your mat, the more you’ll be able to find peace in the craziness of your everyday life. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately with work meetings, social engagements and exercise, (a.k.a. living in yang), maybe it’s time for some stay-at-home nights to restore and relax your mind and body. Stressing with that work assignment or essay that you just can’t seem to finish? Stop trying so hard and start applying ease to your actions.

In fact, you don’t have to apply ease, you just commit to feeling the simplicity and ease in all that you do. So, instead of viewing that assignment as a super difficult task you’ll never complete, take it one step at a time and breathe through it knowing you’re capable of finishing it. Bring just a little drop of water to your fire so you don’t extinguish your flame too early. Go with the natural ebb and flow of life and always make a commitment to finding balance, peace and presence on and off your mat!

YOGA-ERYL

 

Eryl McCaffrey is a Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher from Toronto, Ontario. She’s also a Freelance Writer, who’s passionate about health and wellness. Eryl believes in the power of love to heal and advance the world. Her blog: twofeetheartbeat.wordpress.com

5 Magic Ingredients for Everyday Happiness

To create a delicious meal you must use the right ingredients to enhance the desired flavors. Life is the same way. There are certain ingredients that magically can IMG_8908change your life if you are willing to try. Learn to listen and you will discover the magic.

1. Gratitude.
It is not the happy people who are grateful; it is the grateful people that are happy. It is as simple as that. Whatever happens on the outside there is always something to be grateful for. Make it a habit to write down what you are grateful for every morning or every night. It can be whatever you feel thankful for in the moment. There is no right or wrong answer. For instance it can be the sunset that night, the beautiful breakfast that morning, a good night sleep, your pet, and so on. It doesn’t have to be a long list, don’t feel like you have to include all and everyone in your life every time you write. The key is that you truly feel gratitude for whatever comes to mind in that moment. Writing is a powerful way to manifest. Your subconscious mind is continuously creating new neural pathways in your brain when you commit to change, which is the key for breaking and making new habits.

2. Unconditional love.
Live without judgement towards yourself or others. Allow life to happen with one key factor present: unconditional love. When you learn and experience what unconditional love feels like, you will create wonders for yourself and others. The first step is to start with you. True unconditional love for oneself is the fundament for loving relationships with others. Make a habit of smiling to yourself when you look in the mirror and say out loudly; I love myself, I am beautiful, I am proud of me, or any other positive affirmation that feels right to you. Another tidy twist is to write down positive affirmations in a notebook or on stickers that you can place wherever you prefer. Perseverance is the key to create change. There are many good books to read for inspiration and education, one of them is “You can heal your life” by Louise L. Hay.

3. Breathe!
There are several benefits from oxygenating your body. All the cells in your body are dependent on oxygen to thrive, so you are giving them exactly what they desire to be happy, healthy and harmonious. DoingIMG_8476 breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and yoga is wonderful to de-stress and feel in ease with yourself – mind, body and spirit. Create your own space and mindfully concentrate on your breath. Allow yourself to let go of the outside world during your practice. Embrace all sensations in your body, observe them without judgement, just let life be.

4. Optimal nutrition.
“Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food” – Hippocrates. It was well known then, but our modern society seems to be ignorant of the fact that the quality of our food is essential. Nutrition these days are a labyrinth of diverse diets and opinions of what to eat and what to avoid. Instead of choosing a blind path you might get lost on, make it easy for yourself by following one simple rule: eat foods that is as close to nature as possible, foods that feels good to eat. Natural and nutritional whole foods will benefit your mind, body and spirit in ways processed fast food cannot. You don’t have to follow a strict diet and focus on what not to eat, because that will often lead you to desire the “filthy foods” even more. Instead use an 80/20 or a 90/10 rule where you eat natural, nutritional and delicious foods most of the time, and allow yourself to have whatever you are craving once in a while. After a period of time with your new eating habits you will feel and see the positive changes, thus no longer be eager to engage in habits that doesn’t engage in a happy and healthy you.

5. Humour.
Laughter is the best antidote to stress, pain or conflict. The physical benefits of laughter go further than just getting toned abs (but that’s a pleasant bonus for sure). Laughter boosts the immune system, prevents 1507379_627583300657955_5558489470614083180_o-copyheart disease, decreases pain, and relieves stress, anxiety and fear. Laughter builds a perfect platform for happiness and joy – so embrace your inner child and start playing!

Stiina is a certified Yoga teacher, freelance writer and nutritionist. She has lingering lust to live for health and happiness after experiencing the contrast herself – thus her passion to help people to discover their biggest potential was born.

http://www.stiinayogalifestyle.com/

Gratefulness- Kṛtajñatā

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day, we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Don’t take your life for granted lovelies! No matter what you are going through, remember there are millions of us who are experiencing either the same or even worse in their life’s right now. Think of a couple of kilometers away from you, there is a child dying because he or she didn’t have enough water to drink during the past days. We on the other hand, move a single finger and have water pouring down on us for hours and hours! Did you have breakfast today, showered and got dressed for work? You’re lucky! Not everyone has that chance. Hardly even proper clothes for their job or even a job at all. You think your job is hard and you don’t like it? That is fine, quit! Do something you really love to do but be happy you ever had a job.

We are all loving humans, no matter how you express your love but do be aware of the things you take for granted. Don’t take you friends for granted, once they’re gone you will notice what you are without them, or the water you can simply buy in a supermarket. Don’t take your body for granted, every step, should be considered. What if, you wake up tomorrow morning and find out you can’t move your legs anymore? What would you give to just have one more day with them and really, really appreciate them? Go for a run, swim or walk through town with them.

So yes, this might sound “dramatic” and maybe you’ll think “I know, I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before” but have you really been aware of it? Have you changed your thoughts towards gratefulness?
Have you woken up one day, looked in the mirror and said one thing every day which you are grateful for…? So, don’t just sit around and think you are grateful. Say it out loud, even if its just to yourself, write it down, make it real!

After reading this, take your note book or a piece of paper and write down 10 things for which you are grateful for. It can be anything at all. Then, keep it somewhere safe and now, every morning you wake up photo-42and step out of your bed, tell yourself one thing which you are grateful for, for this day.

Love & Harmony

 

 

Danae Borsani a German/ Italian Yogi, lives on Mallorca and is a passionate blogger (soulseekergirl.com) about what she does best; The Art of Food, Fashion, Travel, and Health. She inspires her readers towards a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.