Posts

Practice With Consistency

Patanjali tells us that practice becomes grounded when it is pursued consistently, with earnestness, over a long period of time. For many of us, we feel as if this is almost impossible. We may have a busy work and/or school schedule, or maybe kids, family and pets that demand attention. So how are we able to maintain our daily practice consistently despite our daily lives? Now this is where Sutra 1.12 comes in- abhyasa and vairagya. Effort and non-attachment.


In order to create or maintain a practice with consistency, we first must make sacrifices. We need to practice vairagya, non-attachment. Letting go of expectations. If you believe that your practice is only your practice if you have a full hour to move through a flow or have a lengthy warm up, cool down and 10 minute Savasana, this is one of the first sacrifices we need to make. This expectation needs to be released. Some days we may only have ten minutes of free time; so we step on our mat, do one round of Sun Salutations and we’re out the door. Or maybe we only have time after a long day at work when your energy seems to be spent, so it’s legs up the wall and supine twists before you’re off to bed.


If you have children or pets that want your attention, work them into your practice. Instead of disturbing your peace by shooing them away, let them be. Even try to include them if you can. For me, I know my home practice isn’t complete without a cat laying on me and joining my Savasana.


Or maybe distractions aren’t your problem, the only time you have free is after a long and grueling day at work. Is the first thing you want to do when you get home from a busy day to jump onto your mat, flow through vinyasas or power through standing poses and inversions? Well, maybe. But for most people, that’s not the reality. You’re drained, unmotivated and tired. You just want to lay down. So what do you do? Work this into your practice! Take any last drop of abhyasa (effort) you have left. Practice vairagya (non-attachment) by letting go of the belief that a practice only counts if you flow through vinyasas and inversions. Sit your legs up the wall, stretch out the day, then head to Savasana. Is this any less “yoga” than going to class and breaking a sweat or handstands? Nope, it’s not. Sorry to break it to you, but Yoga isn’t simply a workout routine. Yoga isn’t something that fits into a box or category and it sure isn’t something that is the same for everyone. “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.” (Sutra 1.2)

Yoga is simply taking the time to tend to your body, release that which no longer serves you and slow (if not stop) your racing thoughts. So whether to you this means flowing through a well rounded routine or taking ten minutes at the end of the day to surrender, any cultivation of mindfulness and release of “the mind-stuff” is Yoga. Any practice is still a practice no matter how small, and consistency is still achievable even with only ten minutes to spare. Remember that.


In conclusion, the biggest key to consistency is practicing with non-attachment. Letting go of the expectation that you need a full hour or rounded flow to practice. Let go of the expectation that you need complete silence or solitude to practice, and begin working with what you have; whether it be pets, kids, or a busy schedule. Adjust your practice to your own needs, and treat yourself gently when your energy is spent elsewhere. Approach your mat with an open mind, adjust your practice to your own needs, and peace will soon follow.

 

 

FullSizeRender-8

 

After her battle with anxiety and depression led her to seek alternatives, Maddy has been practicing yoga daily for three years. Now she is training to become a certified instructor and shares her journey through YouTube: Sacred Synchronicities and on Instagram: @sacredsynchronicities.

The End of the Road

Coming face to face with your insecurities, fears and anxieties isn’t something you expect to do the minute you land in paradise.

My husband and I recently accepted jobs in a place that is so remote, it is quite literally at the end of the road. Cambutal is a small fishing village on the pacific coast of Panama. Greener than green trees, empty beaches, incredible surf, wild horses, no phone service and a whole lot of Spanish speakers make up this unique place here on earth. Within this petite village lies Sansara, a luxury ocean front yoga and surf retreat where we currently ‘work’ (I air quote this word because it certainly doesn’t feel like work).

I have dreamed about working at this sacred space since seeing an opportunity pop up on Yoga Trade a year ago. After a long time of trying to match dates we finally made it to this tropical oasis. Our home here is incredible, the job is fulfilling, the people are phenomenal and the surroundings are breathtaking. It is everything I dreamed of and more. So, why was it the first two weeks here I felt the need to RUN?

The beginning weeks were a struggle, I cried and cried some more. I was so frustrated and angry with myself. ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ ‘This is paradise, how on earth can you feel this way?’ ‘You finally have everything you ever wanted!’ I felt low, and nervous and scared and confronted. But for the life of me, could not figure out why.

Until one day I finally opened up to a friend here in Cambutal. I explained how I felt and my confusion at the situation. She told me that this happens to everyone when they first arrive. I asked why? She gently explained that because this place is so isolated, you somehow feel more exposed. Without all the distractions from modern life you find your self face to face with the real you. The good, the bad and everything in between. She went on to describe how at some point everyone here has had to deal with underlying issues that they have carried around for years. That everyone has had rise up to meet their fears, worries and insecurities. They have had to really meet themselves for the first time and embrace every side of their personalities. To deal with their past, honour the present and surrender to their future.

And here I was, coming face to face with everything I had been running away from. I have always struggled with anxiety, depression and fear of the future, but this time there was nowhere to hide. There were no distractions, no TV, no internet, no shopping centres or busy, bustling streets. It was just me and my thoughts. Me and my fears. Me and everything I had worked so hard to keep below the surface.

I was comforted at the thought that others had experienced what I was going through, but also petrified at the journey ahead. What if I couldn’t accept myself? What if I couldn’t handle meeting the real me? What if I ran?

But, I didn’t. I stayed. I cried. I meditated. I listened. I cracked. I watched. I surrendered. I accepted. Then, I healed.

The end of the road has been my rebirth.

Because of this experience I am creating like never before. I am writing again and painting again. I have made some big, exciting life decisions. I am growing and learning each and everyday. I am loving deeper and living fuller.

In modern day life we have so many distractions. Anything negative we feel or experience can be dulled through distraction. Alcohol, TV, magazines, FaceBook, Drugs, shopping…the list goes on. What we do not realise is that these negative or undesirable parts of ourself need to be dealt with, they are here for a reason, they want your attention. You can never truly know yourself until you have seen the whole divine, spectrum of your soul. You need to know your dark side in order to shine brighter. You need to understand your fears to fully overcome them. You need to debunk any lies within, to unleash your truth. You need to face your past in order to create a luminous future. You need to deal with any emotional junk to make room for new, exciting and rewarding ideas.

Sometimes it is ok to step into the dark, to experience the bad, to sit with the uncomfortable, to listen to the unthinkable. This is were we grow the most. This is where we get to know ourselves on a deep, profound level. This is the place we spark our brightest light.

If you get a chance this year, disconnect. Disconnect from everything and everyone. Be alone, sit in silence, listen to the whispers of your soul and be brave enough to wholeheartedly accept yourself. Don’t be scared to feel it all.

You are not alone in this journey, you are not broken, you are being reborn.

I had to disconnect from everything to reconnect to myself.

I had to get seriously lost, in order to be found.

I had to reach the end of the road just to see how far I had actually come.

 

 

 

Vicky Simpson is a yoga teacher, travel blogger and avid explorer. She lives a minimalistic, nomadic lifestyle with her husband Micky. Vicky travels the world teaching in yoga retreats, hosting workshops and writing of her adventures along the way.

http://theyogiandthechef.com/

Return To Center

Amidst a time of great change, it becomes easy to find yourself feeling lost. We have all been there. If not, you most likely will be at one time or another. But don’t worry or fear, for this is all but a part of the process. You know the saying “Not all who wander are lost.”? Well although this may be true, I sure am lost. Is “lost” necessarily a bad thing? No, of course not. The word “lost” simply has negative connotations attached to it from years of misunderstanding.


So what do you do when you’re lost? Well, you return to what is familiar to you. Sometimes this leads people to revert back to old habits. I, myself, am not ashamed to admit this is exactly what I have done. Quite recently, as well. When I am lost, I revert back to something I know all too well and something that comes quite naturally to me; my state of anxiety and depression. In this case, I have realized that it is because it gives me a sense of familiarity; a sense of security. We are often taught to react to situations in a certain way. For example, if there’s a conflict in the family or you lose a close friendship, it is often implied that you must feel sad. This situation was “bad”, so immediately you must grieve. There is nothing wrong with grieving. Of course, it is natural and can be a healthy coping mechanism. However, there may come a time when you rely on feelings of grief and depression as a crutch due to their sense of familiarity. Now this is what I’ve done.

Return to center. So, what does this mean to you? To me, returning to center means exactly that. Return to center. “Center” meaning the stillness and contentment of my inner Being; of our inner Being. We all have different ways of doing so. For me, yoga and meditation has helped me immensely. I am writing this right now as a result of a deep yoga session. Before that, I was constantly reflecting back on previous events. What “should” have been done or if things could have been handled differently in the past. I felt lost, and the first thing I needed to do was admit that to myself; so that’s exactly what I did.

FullSizeRender-14
Once again, what do we do when we are lost? We return to what is familiar to us. Although at first I was subconsciously reverting back to the familiar state of depression, I decided to roll out my yoga mat. Through this, I was able to to cultivate mindfulness and slow (if not stop) those negative thoughts right in their tracks. Now I know that we all roll out our mats for different reasons, but I feel as if this is something that can connect us all. Whether you roll out your mat simply to gain flexibility, aid in anxiety relief, or to cultivate awareness, we are all returning to what we know; whether or not this was our sole intention. We return to our inner stillness; our true nature.

The point being, never be afraid to admit that you are lost. There is no shame in being lost, for tremendous growth may follow. The most important thing to remember is to never breed resistance. Accept whatever comes your way as neither good nor bad. If it is what you wanted, express gratitude and say thank you. If it is not what you wanted, say thank you for the lesson and grow. If you find yourself being sucked back into old destructive habits, do not shame yourself. Simply accept this fact and use this awareness to put you back on track. Look within. Roll out your mat. Return to center.

 

After her battle with anxiety and depression led her to seek alternatives, Maddy has been practicing yoga daily for three years. Now she is training to become a certified instructor in hopes of helping others that may be found in similar situations.

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.

img_0233

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.

fullsizerender-1

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.

abi6

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.

abi2

 

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.

img_0232

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

 

 

abi4

 

 

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

IG: @scrambby

The Fit Traveller

One of the greatest things I have learned from yoga and life itself is the power of CONNECTION. I am so grateful for all of the connections in the world and blessed with the connectivity that the path of yoga presents. One of these connections has been with Skye Gilkeson, aka The Fit Traveller. Although as of now we only know each other via the ‘virtual world’, it is amazing to share our passions for being Connection Catalysts within the global wellness community. The Fit Traveller is an inspiring portal for anyone interested in exploration, retreats, nourishment, and a lifetime of wellness. We are grateful to catch up with Skye and learn about her story here:

What inspired the idea for the Fit Traveller?

Many factors played a part in the creation of The Fit Traveller; my personal passion for wellness and travel and my love of journalism and visual storytelling were all key. I knew I wanted to combine all of that experience to create a space that was both inspirational and informative; that helped people better their lives through health and wellness and broaden their horizons and life experience through travel. I’m very proud of the way The Fit Traveller does just that and continues to evolve, guided by that ethos.

Can you tell us a bit how travel and wellness has shaped your life?

Travel has been a constant in my life from a very young age. I grew up in country Australia so I was always on the road, travelling with family or playing away for representative sport and music. Those early adventures had a profound effect on me. I was very independent and very curious. Travel fed both of those traits in abundance. I loved exploring new places and meeting new people. My first significant international trip was at the age of 15. I went on a sports tour to the US and Europe. I made a decision on that trip that as soon as I finished school, I was going to leave Australia to see the world. When I was 18, I went backpacking around the globe for a year with a friend. I then lived in Spain for a year while at university and I have travelled consistently for most of my life in between those big trips and ever since. Travel is a huge part of who I am. I genuinely believe it makes me a better person. So it makes sense that I have shaped that passion into a business. 

italy-dolomite-mountains-skye-on-bike

Wellness has always been an integral part of my life. My mother was a very big influence growing up when it came to healthy eating. We didn’t have junk food in our house – just simple, nourishing food. Even at school, I was always very conscious of eating in a healthy way. Being involved so intensely in sports at school also meant staying fit and being active was just part of my everyday life. I ran a personal training business while completing my post-graduate studies and I loved helping people make small and bigger changes to the way they lived their lives. It is something I’m still very proud of. I have had some personal health struggles too, so I really value my health and hope to encourage others to do that same in any way I can. 

How did you connect with Yoga Trade Travel Rep, Mary Tilson? 

Mary was our yoga instructor during our stay at the Hariharalaya Retreat Centre in Cambodia. There really was something about Mary. I got to know her as an instructor during that time and as a friend and colleague after leaving the retreat center. We were in regular contact and very supportive of each other’s similar paths. That connection grew organically into a business relationship. She is now our Yoga and Wellness Editor and shares her active adventures with our readers when she is on the road. I am very grateful our paths crossed in such a wonderful way. 

What is one of your favorite places you have traveled to this year?

It would be so difficult to narrow down one place to be honest. I have been travelling almost full time for the last year and a half. Most recently, I visited to the Canadian Rockies with The Hubby. I loved that trip as we got to spend so much time being active out in nature. The more time I spend in the mountains, the more I fall in love with it. I have always been a beach girl but the mountains are wooing me more with each trip. There’s really nothing like hiking a mountain with your partner with no one else around. It’s the ultimate indulgence in many ways. 

exploring-the-breathtaking-folgefonna-national-park_

What is your advice to people that want to start a business that will enable them to live a life of wellness travel?

Start small. While it can look like a glamorous life from the outside, it can be very tough. I always say, don’t give up your day job just yet. It’s important to know how you really want to live your life; what your non-negotiables are, what exactly your business and your particular niche is and what you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. Focus on your personal skill-set, formulate a business plan and start with weekends away or short trips and get a feel for how that life would be. It’s an extraordinary way to live, but it’s not for everyone. 

How do you create community while traveling?

I have found social media to be really helpful with connecting with likeminded people while travelling. Going to retreats, group exercise or yoga classes or chatting to people who own small businesses like healthy cafes around the world is a great way to connect with someone you may never have otherwise crossed paths with. I have met some really interesting and inspiring people that way. You have to put yourself out there but the rewards are incredible.

Where do you see yourself and the Fit Traveller in 10 years?

I would love for The Fit Traveller to be a household name in 10 years – a one-stop-shop for wellness, travel, conscious eating, style advice and general healthy living information and inspiration. That’s what we are working towards. 

american-tourister-tuk-tuk-cambodia

Favorite mantra?

“Start where you are”.

Anything else you would like to share?

The Fit Traveller is always looking for new voices so if there are any writers, teachers, photographers or creatives who have a story to tell or some wisdom to share by contributing with content, I would love to hear from them. 

at-guest-hi-res-4

Skye is a journalist, a former personal trainer, a freelance writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a passionate advocate for helping others reach optimal health and wellness. Skye created The Fit Traveller as both a beautiful online space where readers can feel uplifted but also a place that will inspire them to think differently, move differently and perhaps look at their lives a little differently. After launching The Fit Traveller in November 2014, Skye decided she needed to launch herself fully into building The Fit Traveller community and creating the best quality content for readers. Skye and The Hubby hit the road in March 2015 to travel full time. The Fit Traveller hopes to help you create a life you love by showcasing content that is both informative and inspiring – crafted from in-depth storytelling, beautiful imagery and authentic personal experiences. 

CONNECT:

The Fit Traveller | @thefittraveller

4 Benefits of Living a Yoga Lifestyle

Ready for more peace in your life? Get these four tips for why you should be living the yoga lifestyle.

You don’t have to be a yogi to lead a yoga lifestyle. There are amazing benefits to living the healthy, happy lifestyle of yogis. Minimizing stress, feeding your body good foods, exercising throughout the week and practicing kindness with yourself and with others are key components to getting that yoga lifestyle. Read on to learn what you need to do to step off that yoga mat and into the life you want:

Tip #1: Feeding your body

Yogis often are very focused on what they put into their bodies. That’s because what you eat directly affects your yoga practice. Negative substances have a negative effect — even in a short amount of time or with short exposure.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Healthy, raw foods and good proteins that form a healthy diet should be the focus of your meal plan. A very common healthy diet for a yogi consists of feeding your body whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. Yogis often are known to minimize their intake — or abstain altogether — from alcohol and coffee, as these substances can lead to dullness or hyperactivity.

At the end of the day, eating like a yogi is really about doing what is good for your body, clearing your mind, and listening to what kind of nourishment your body needs at each time it is hungry or thirsty. It’s okay to be hungry. It’s good to be hungry. But you do need to practice healthy eating to feel good and have the energy to carry you through the day.

Tip #2: Avoiding stress

The yogi life is all about peace and harmony, and that’s exactly what a yoga practice can do for a person. The meditative quality of practicing yoga leads a person to clear the mind, let go of worries and stresses and to focus on bringing positive energy into his or her space.

You can do this with yoga or you can try stress-free living with many other practices — including meditation, prayer, or an activity that is peaceful and sets you at ease such as cooking or reading. Find that zen activity for you that allows you to escape and let go.

Tip #3: Exercising every day

Exercising to keep the body strong and healthy is a key component of a yoga lifestyle. I love to slip on my Alo yoga pants every day and do something active — yoga, walk, run or simply just stretch.

It’s empowering to put my mind to this practice every day, knowing that I’ll feel good if I just push myself to get active in some way. I try to do exercises that will help me relax and feel good. When those endorphins release at the end of my exercise time, I’m always so glad I made myself be active. You, too, can make this a key part of your life by beginning every day with a dedicated time for exercise or making your lunch hour the time you go to the gym. Do what works for you to get you in the flow of being active.

hike

Tip #4: Being good to others

Finally, yogis make it a priority to exhibit kindness — both to themselves and to other people. This is a hallmark of someone who deeply cares about the yoga practice. It actually begins to change the way you react to other people. I’ve known so many yogis who go out of their way to be generous and charitable to people who really may not deserve it.

At the end of the day, the yogi knows that it is in his power to spread positive energy and that it benefits him to be the best human being he can be to another person. That kind of mindset — that leads to positive change — is a lifestyle that cannot be replicated hardly any other way. It’s empowering, freeing and healthy.

In conclusion, if you’re ready to find more health and happiness in your life, then start practicing the yoga lifestyle today. You don’t have to practice yoga every day or be a yogi to get the positive results you want that can make your life more enjoyable for you and for the people you surround yourself with day in and day out. It’s more about the way you live your life infusing it with these four principles. Your fellow yogis would agree! Get started today with a peaceful, positive journey for your life, and the positive effects will become part of who you are for a lifetime.

 

mel-nat

 

Melanie Nathan is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, writer for Huffington Post and beginner yoga enthusiast. Connect with her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/melanienathan) to learn more.

Being Genuine

We are made up of molecules. All of the parts of our bodies are created by the multiplication of our cells. This goes for our emotions as well. Every single thing we think becomes a part of our reality. Multiplying ideas literally vibrate out from our individual entities. These are expressions and emotions. To keep clear on the subject matter of who you are and how you want to operate on this beautifully wild planet, there is a solemnity to ourselves that must be a veritable truth, this in itself is the act of being genuine.

To create the harmonious balance that we want so much to see in the world, we must deliberately LIVE THAT HARMONY.

Create positive thoughts and they will multiply.

What better a way to create harmony on the planet than by starting with our own thoughts! Create your harmony, be genuine.

Here are a few practice tips to incorporate into your day today:

Be integral with your word. And the easiest way to remember to do that is:

TO SAY WHAT YOU MEAN and MEAN WHAT YOU SAY.

pexels-photo-106257

Go ahead give it a try. Take a micro moment to rethink what you are about to say to the next person you are about to speak to. Be inside of yourself while making any decision.

Another sweet way to activate your positive emotive multiplication is to do something different today – something you wouldn’t normally do. Take a walk and ENJOY the fresh air CONSCIOUSLY — and maybe for the entire duration of your walk. Have intention with every step you take, confirming that yes, my left foot is touching the earth, and how wonderful that is!
You could even go so far as creating a mini-mantra just for this jaunt.

“I am living peace, all is well in my world”

“The beauty of creation surrounds me, I am safe”

The most important personal task is to become a master of yourself, and if you have to fake it until you make it, then so be it! Taking steps to a healthy mind helps brings balance to the network of the planet.

Let the old witch’s credo be known: “DO WHAT YOU WILL and HARM NO ONE” and that includes yourself. Let your positive multiplication begin with you, think of all the incredible love and energy that has gone into making YOU, that’s right, every ounce of water, every vegetable, every cup of tea, into you, and then every single ounce of everything that your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and all way back to your distant ancestors lives that now are all wrapped up in YOU.
The fact that you are sitting here right now reading this is a testament to the miracle of reality!
You have come from a very very long line of miracles. Embrace it, know it, be genuine, and create harmony.

Namaste.

 

image5

 

Abby Tirabassi: artist, ocean lover, born on the gulf coast of Florida, shovel bum in California, surfing in Costa Rica, finding joy daily.

 

IG: @scrambby

 

Cover photo: Megan Kathleen Photography

Getting Clear

Twenty something quits stressful job after years of striving to be the successful, career woman, finds happiness and la la la – you know the cliché. Yes, that’s currently me, however I am struggling with the “la la la”….

From a young age I knew I was going to work hard and make my way towards a generous salary, seniority and to allow my job to define who I was for a sense of entitlement; and that’s what I did. I worked up to seven days a week, sometimes 17-hour days, always checking emails, no matter the day, time, vacation or occasion. My most recent position came with all of the above and every, complacent female in her 20s living in Manhattan’s fantasy – a relocation package to the West Coast.

Screen shot 2016-06-13 at 10.40.05 AM

As a native New Yorker, I had been relishing in the idea of escaping the concrete jungle for some California sunshine. I was offered what would be perceived by most as a dream job and I of course said yes without hesitation. However, it never felt like the right choice. I knew – being who I am – that either way I would have to go and have this experience because I never wanted to wonder “what if?” but it truly never felt right. The company made it very attractive for me to make the move and it was a no brainer, so off I went.

I wore black, Every. Single. Day. And I did not smile in that office, once in the eight months I spent out West. It’s kind of hilarious when I look back and realize how dramatic I was being but, the story I told myself was that I was in the ultimate mourning. I was flying back to New York every other weekend and became an expert at being miserable. The amount of negative energy that permeated out of my skin infected anyone that was near me. A colleague and now dear friend nicknamed me “The Moody Yogi” (pretty fitting) I was forgetting that this was a situation I had put myself in. I made these conscious decisions on my own, no one – not anyone, forced me or insisted that I go. I felt stuck and I felt trapped until the misery was too much to bear and I decided I was going to quit. I didn’t have much of a back up plan other than the fact that I love yoga and I always wanted to complete a teacher training.

Most of my adult life I have struggled with being fully present in the now. I have always been fixated on past events or planning the future. Previously, when I decided I was going to try out therapy, my therapist told me in my very first session that everyone has a book. In this book are the pages that are already written: this represents your past; then you have today, that is half written and a bunch of empty pages following which represent your future. She told me I was petrified of the unknown and she was absolutely right.

Screen shot 2016-06-13 at 10.39.31 AM

So, after I went into my boss’s office and broke the news; I drove back 2,600 miles east and I was off to Nicaragua for a month long, intensive, ashtanga yoga teacher training.

Nicaragua was tough, it was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I’ve traveled a ton and I’ve certainly “roughed it” but this was on a different level. Anyone who has gone through any type of yoga training can vouch for me and agree that it is draining. Not only physically because you’re practicing up to six hours each day and learning so much about the practice and yourself, but mentally because you’re being tested and challenged in so many unfamiliar ways. Mix this with PMS, a lot of different personalities and living in a remote little town in the middle of nowhere with four foreign roommates and every, creepy, crawler that exists in Nicaragua’s climate is nesting in bed with you. I had a mosquito net and one night I thought I was being pretty inventive. I sprayed the net and my bed with the Hercules of insect repellant that one of the girls had concocted. When I awoke, there was a graveyard of species on my bed and on my net. The concoction had worked so well that the critters were dying as soon as they touched the surface. Turns out dead bugs are just as creepy as live bugs. And scorpions. Scorpions in your room are a whole different story but we worked out a removal strategy that I can discuss another time.

“Happiness is within you and it doesn’t matter where you live or what you do for a living because wherever you go, there you are.”

So here I was in Nicaragua, sleeping naked every night for the sheer fact that it was so unbearably hot, eating a restricted diet that included no sugar (take sugar completely out of your diet and see how irritable you can become) taking a shower and brushing my teeth with salt water. Had I not bought such cute colorful yoga clothes prior to my training, I would have been in black, mourning, again. But what the hell, right? I chose to go to this training. I selectively picked the dates and country and signed myself up. I paid for the trip and booked my flight and purchased the necessary study materials. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in a situation where I’ve repeatedly said “how did this happen?” over and over and over, only to remind myself that I put myself in that very situation. The first two weeks of the training were brutal. I was keeping a journal and every day I wrote “today will be the day I break through” and each night I went to bed crossing the days off the calendar, counting down to go home. Again, never living in the present. Always fixated on what comes next. My time in Nicaragua taught me gratitude. For the first time in my 29 years of existence I felt true gratitude and was truly so grateful for all of my blessings and the life I have been given. Additionally, it made me want to be a better human. If I had only walked away with those two things, it was already more than worth it but I had walked away with new friends, a new practice and an experience of a lifetime that in many ways changed who I was as a person.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I’ve come full circle and I have learned that there is so much more to life than work. It’s one thing to be truly passionate for the work that you do and I honestly admire that in many of my peers but I know now, while looking back on all of the years I spent building someone else’s empire, no matter what the paycheck was, never truly made me feel of service. That’s the funny thing, when you begin the journey to self-discovery, self-love and an overall deeper meaning of self; you just want to be a decent human being. That becomes the bigger picture and the ultimate goal.

I still feel incomplete. I feel discontent but I think this is who I am as a person. I am never satisfied and I am always craving something bigger and better for myself. It’s a gift and a curse. But in the same notion, I am the happiest, most fulfilled and most free I have ever been.

Happiness is within you and it doesn’t matter where you live or what you do for a living because wherever you go, there you are. All of you. It’s something I have heard and have been told for years; but now, I truly understand. I take each day as it comes and I’m a little less fearful of the future nowadays.

 

image3

 

Melissa is a registered yoga teacher as well as a Reiki practitioner. She is currently wandering the globe and enjoying life for all of its offers. Connect on Instagram at Melissa_Gee or email at MGee228@gmail.com

10 Healthy Veggies to use in Green Smoothies

Our friends Michael and Kristel at Your Superfoods kindly shared this bit of Green Smoothie inspiration. Time to get green:)

Do you catch yourself often making the same smoothie? Using the same vegetables? Just adding wheatgrass powder to your smoothie? We made a list of the healthiest and most delicious vegetables to use in green smoothies! Check this page to solve ‘tired of wheatgrass’ problem.

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Beet Greens
  • Romain Salad
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Herbs (parsley, coriander, mint, etc)

Glowing Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 10g Super Green Mix
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp. (homemade) almond butter
  • 50g fresh or frozen mango
  • 4 strawberries
  • Handful of fresh spinach
  • 150ml coconut water

To do: 

  • Mix all the ingredients in the blender
  • Enjoy!

This is just one example of a recipe where you can use the Super Green Mix, but there are many other delicious recipes that you can make. Here you can find many other different superfood mixes.Your Superfoods Mixes can be added daily to your smoothies, yoghurt, juices, water, raw cakes, ice-cream or salads!

http://www.yoursuperfoods.eu/

Snow. Surf. Yoga. Art.

We connected with Taylor Godber in the summer of 2014 when she won our #natureinspiredyogi photo contest on Instagram. She truly inspires us with her passion for the mountains & the sea, her creative expression, her commitment to wellness and yoga, and her devotion to make the world a better place. Get Inspired! 

Photo Credit: Ashley Barker and Jessika Hunter

Tell us a little bit about your story…

My Story! Not quite sure what chapter I’m in here or where it really starts and most definitely no idea where it will end. I have called Whistler home for the past 10 years, taylor3moved here for a year and have yet to leave. With the exception of trips to Tofino on Vancouver Island to dip into the water and play in the waves. I’m a sponsored snowboard athlete for a few brands such as; Billabong, k2 Snowboards, Electric, Skullcandy, etc. My discipline or better yet, my passion as a snow enthusiast is in the mountains. Deep in the backcountry, off the beaten path and usually accessed via snowmobile. When I’m not freezing in the snow my heart yearns for the ocean. I’ve made 3 solid trips to the island of the Gods, Bali and a few of the surrounding islands. Part of me most definitely belongs there. The energy of that part of the world will shift your perspective at plain sight and on a deeper level that can only be experienced from being there. Outside of the adrenaline addiction of snowboarding and surfing my other hobbies & passions reside in creative endeavors and wellness. The yin to my yang is painting canvases and creating healthy high octane fuel for my body and others, in the form of food! I find value in eating organic, local, fresh, nutrient rich foods and see it as a gift and priority to be able to nourish ourselves with healing beautiful foods. Which leads me to an item on the bucket list, a cookbook. A wellness cookbook, of course! I write, not as often as I should- on my blog, freelance articles for a few websites, and magazines. Passions into “jobs”, a tool belt that brings in some cash here and there, to keep the dream alive-living! Travel and adventure always on the mind-open to experience life in the front row. A burning desire to see the world, meet new people, and live life to the fullest.

How did you find yoga and how do you “live” it?

Yoga found me. Classes were being offered amongst other fitness classes at my gym. I thought that I would try it out to increase my flexibility. My first class was a power class,taylor7 that kicked my ass. Less stretch more shake and sweat. I started integrating the power classes as my rest days between workouts. Then another yoga studio opened up a stone throw away from my apartment and I figured I would give the 2 week deal a chance. The first class opened up with some pranayama and mantra, I was like “what the heck is this?” It was my first experience of stepping away from the poses and cliche or not, this teacher was magical. She was an older woman and had 20+ years of teaching all over the world. Totally drawn to her “presence” for a lack of a better word, I started rocking out to a couple power classes a week and then some more spiritual classes here and there. Fast forward a couple of years and I was looking to add to my resume to become a lifestyle coach. Yoga seemed like a great skill to tack on to the standing credentials: certified weight trainer and nutritionist. I had a month between moving to the Island to surf and work for the summer. I logged on to the web to find a teacher training and with less than 2 weeks till start date, my first ever yoga teacher and favorite power guru was holding a training in Mexico. I signed up last minute, tried to cram the stack of books, one of which was the bible brick- the Yoga Sutras. I read it all & taylor5didn’t understand much. Committed to 2-3 classes a day for a week to “prepare” for what I thought would be a serious physical journey, since my teacher was known and I had experienced- a teacher that will make you sweat! My teacher training…changed my life. It was an introductory to so much more than the asana (poses) and it pretty much took me for a roller coster ride of emotions and experiences both physically and mentally. It was a shift that changed my perspective to how I live my life. I think that it was the opening comment, you need to do the work in order to help other people make the transformation. Kinda like, you can’t help others if you aren’t helping yourself. Like everything in life, I dove in head first and straight to the bottom to clean up all the sh!t that I had tucked to the side. What a trip that was, ha! With the dark comes the light and a journey with a dozen more wicked people. What I learned & was reminded of, and am continuing to work to apply on the daily:

-be yourself

-be kind to others

-forgive

-find the light in every situation

-set goals

-find balance, create balance

-practice

-love love love

-laugh more

-shanti / peace -carpe diem / seize the day

-contentment

-see the beauty in all

-eat healthy 

-go after what your soul churns for ……….the list goes on.

But collectively it shifted me into a space where I really truly started loving and accepting myself and listening to that voice in my head, my intuition.

Have you ever participated in any kind of yoga trade? What are the positive impacts you notice that evolve from volunteering and travel?

I have yet to participate in any kind of yoga trade. I have had the pleasure of teaching in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on the beach in Tofino, British Columbia Canada, a taylor2couple of sub classes in Whistler British Columbia Canada, and at a surf resort in Bali Indonesia. I love teaching, I often forget that I love it. Something to be re-ignited in the near future, I do believe. If I can help or inspire someone be it through healing a previous injury, finding space in a locked off zone through movement, find clarity in slowing down or through moving meditation, or stoke what needs to be burned away- then I’m down! The whole idea of what you do on your mat can be translated into your daily life, I dig that. We as human beings are instinctually caring. It is in our innate nature to give back and be compassionate. Volunteering not only has an impact on whom we are giving to, but also gives back to us. Spreading the love and helping anyone or anything is necessary to reconnect and break barriers that have been created. Love love love. To travel is to live. To experience and shift our perspectives be it: positive or negative. Through culture shock, food touring, new sunsets, blurry nights, near death experiences, or new personalities. All the while to come to the simple conclusion that we are all connected at some level and all the same and should be loved and supported all the same. We need to give a fu#k about the planet and one another and desperately need to stop sweating the small stuff. Wow, is this world ever incredible!

Any tips for how we can all help improve our local and global communities?

taylor6We all matter. We all have the power to create change. Be it through smiling at a stranger, picking up a chip bag at the beach, putting a coin in an overdue parking meter, working at an orphanage, turning the tap off while we brush our teeth… Everyone has a huge voice and every positive action has a massive affect on the movement towards peace, acceptance, and love.

What inspires you most?

Standing on top of a mountain in the middle of Alaska at the mercy of mother nature herself or feeling the power of a wave hurl on to your legs as you just manage to ducktaylor8 dive. It humbles me and consistently reminds me that life is to be experienced and the planet is to be respected and cared for. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces where all ego slips away and they are completely vulnerable and content, lost in the moment and as present as possible. Traveling and seeing kids play in the dirt and sand with the biggest smiles. Anyone living a simple life, who has understood the difference between needs and wants. People that exercise living life to its fullest and follow their dreams.

Anything else you would like to share…

Create.Travel.Inspire.

 

taylor4CONNECT with Taylor here:

www.taylorgodber.com

IG: @tayeg