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Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

Yoga Trade is excited to announce our Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

One lucky member will receive free admission (5 nights shared glamping accommodation, three meals a day, all workshops and classes) to Deep Ecology of Wellness, April 9-14, 2019 at Punta Mona, Costa Rica. ($950 value)

Deep Ecology of Wellness is a unique and special retreat gathering (limited to 100 participants max). It is will be held at an off-the-grid botanical center where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea. A space for Yoga Teachers, Wellness Professionals, Permaculturists, and those with a desire to learn from around the world to come together in an intimate and natural conference setting. Enjoy Movement, Yoga, Nature Connection, Community Building, Continuing Education, Storytelling, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Joy. Check out the incredible line up of passionate teachers HERE.

HOW TO ENTER:

(Please read directions carefully, it’s a 3 step process)

1. To enter, log into your Yoga Trade account and LEAVE A REPLY (post comment) below at the end of this BLOG post. In the comment, state why you are excited to attend the Deep Ecology of Wellness event! Within your comment, feel free to also share about your own experiences with Yoga Trade. You must be a Yoga Trade member to post a comment. (If you are not currently a member, you can sign up at yogatrade.com)

2. Visit the Facebook page for this event (https://www.facebook.com/events/329849784255275) and mark that you are either ‘GOING’ or ‘INTERESTED’.

3.  Finally, SHARE about this BLOG/EVENT GIVEAWAY post on at least one social media platform of your choice (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You must share this link:  https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-wellness-giveaway/

That’s it. You’re Entered!

Thank you for contributing to this flourishing community. We look forward to growing together!!!

The WINNER will be chosen at random (random.org) and will be announced on December 18th, 2018.

*Only ONE entry allowed per person. You must be a real human to enter. The giveaway is only valid for persons age 18 and above. The event ticket is not transferable to another person if winner is unable to use. The event ticket includes full admission (shared accommodation, food, and classes), and does NOT include transportation to the event or other travel costs. The event ticket is not redeemable for cash. 

Finding Salvation in the Storm

The following is the story of my journey from a life plagued by burnout, addiction, depression and anxiety into a life of self-healing and finding salvation through yoga and a plant based diet.

I moved to Oakland to attend a graduate school program that would prepare me to be a public school teacher in urban communities. I was very intentional about the route I took into teaching. I choose a program that would provide me with a year of supervised student teaching and one that explicitly included courses on the profession of teaching and how issues of race and inequality impacted teaching and learning. I was a bright eyed young teacher and believed that with the proper training I would be prepared to work in some of the harshest conditions in the country. I wanted to teach because I wanted to create a narrative in my classroom that countered the narrative the larger society had about the students I worked with. I believed deeply in the importance of the work I was doing and I was committed to doing all I could to best serve my students. All the training in the world never be enough to prepare me for the conditions I would encounter as a teacher. Because I was young and didn’t yet know myself, I did not have the tools to deal with the emotional stress and trauma of the job.

In some respects, I had a lot of success as a teacher. I took on extra roles outside the classroom. I was creative with my curriculum, and I had strong relationships with my students. I was often described as passionate, dedicated and caring. Early in my career I had a colleague pull me aside to tell me that I needed to protect my passion because it would lead to my burn out. I remember feeling resentment at that statement as I felt like my passion set me apart from other more experienced teachers who appeared to me as more withdrawn from their work and therefore not as effective.

In my first year teaching one of my advisees was shot and killed. My room became the place where students came to mourn. I was tasked with holding space for her friends who were grieving her loss. The classroom does not exist in isolation from the community it serves. I became immersed in the constant trauma, violence and loss experienced by the students who graced my classroom. I continued to take on extra roles outside the classroom and seek ways to ease the pain of my students, all the while ignoring my own. I felt like the harder I worked the more I could do to help my students. I could not have been more wrong.

Numbing my emotions with work, alcohol and unhealthy relationships became my way of coping. I also developed an Adderall addiction, as I was fueled by the idea that the more productive I was the more valuable I was as a teacher. I was taking high doses of Adderall every day and using alcohol and marijuana to fall asleep at night. I was completely neglecting my physical, emotional and spiritual needs all under the façade that my work was more important than me.

I was on a one-way track to a breakdown, which thankfully came. I landed in a psychologist’s office reading me the results of my psychological evaluation. I was suffering from severe burnout, depression and anxiety as well as a substance abuse issue. The psychologist was ready to prescribe psych meds on the spot. At this point I had moved home and began practicing yoga twice a day. I had also begun to change my diet, and stopped taking Adderall all together. After my experience with Adderall the last thing I wanted was more pills. I told the doctor that I wanted to see if I could use yoga and diet to manage my mental and emotional health.

Two years later I am free of all substances and am more happy and connected to my passions and purpose than ever. I have been able to create a life for myself where my health and happiness are at the forefront. I traveled to Costa Rica to become a certified yoga instructor and currently teach regular yoga classes at a local studio here in Baltimore, Maryland. I am currently enrolled in a holistic health-coaching program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and am excited about expanding my capacity to support other peoples wellness journey through coaching. I have also been trained to teach yoga to people in recovery through Y12SR’s training. I have established a strong support group of people supporting me on this new journey. I am proud to say I am currently managing my addiction, depression and anxiety with yoga and a holistic lifestyle.

There was a moment of darkness when I could not imagine how I would ever move forward. My entire identity was wrapped up in my teaching career and my students. I had completely run myself into the ground. But I am here to tell you that there is another way to live, and that sometimes our biggest obstacles are actually here to direct us towards a life beyond our wildest imagination. You can find salvation in the storm. Yoga, a plant based diet and holistic self-care practices have saved me from a life of addiction, burn out, depression and anxiety. I am proud of my transformation.

At the end of each yoga class I teach, after savasana, I invite students to roll onto one side into a fetal position. I remind students that fetal position is a posture that symbolizes renewal and rebirth and is a reminder to us that every day, every practice, every breath is a chance to begin again. What will you do with yours?

 

Maya Semans is a former inner city high school English teacher turned yoga instructor and holistic health coach on a mission to share the power of yoga and wellness with women and communities impacted by burn out, addiction, and trauma. Located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Connect with Maya on IG: @ana_may_a

 

Maya participated in our Mentorship Program with Mary Tilson. Receive a consultation with Mary when you sign up for the Yoga Trade PLUS membership.

LEARN MORE:

Yoga Trade PLUS

Pat Bailey: Live The Life You Love

Living the life you love is a delicate balance of following your heart and dedicated work. The most inspiring humans I connect with are living this balance. Pat Bailey is one of these humans. Pat is a student and teacher of yoga, a traveler, a poet, a photographer, and an amazing business woman. She has created a life she loves thru manifestation, devotion, and consistent effort. Here we catch up with Pat to learn from her experiences and creative offerings. HELL YES PAT! Thank YOU for shining bright and sharing your wisdom!

What led to the creation of The Hell Yes Life? Was there a defining moment?

I created The Hell Yes Agency, an Influencer Marketing Agency, a few years ago after figuring out how to monetize my brand as an Influencer and creating a team doing the same. The Hell Yes Life was born, as an extension of this brand, at the end of last year to encompass all of the “Hell Yes” things I am doing, and to share my wisdom and expertise in various ways. I wish I could say there was a “defining moment” that led to the creation of my current projects, but it was and is more like synchronicity and a culmination of 46 years of living, learning and teaching that has come together as a practice that evolves and changes daily.

Can you give us some insight into how you combine yogic principles and entrepreneurship?

For a long time, as a corporate person and maybe like many people, I juggled my personal feelings and approach to life with the 9 to 5 corporate paradigm. My heart projects and longing to live a deeper, more meaningful life were always on the back burner while I was going through the motions of working for a secure paycheck. It never felt authentic to me and eventually, after several attempts, I decided to jump and trust and I left the corporate world to create and live a more authentic, heart-forward life. As I was getting closer and closer to jumping I completed my 200HR Bhakti Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training with Rusty Wells, and it was here that I began to hear my heart clearly.

It was natural to begin creating this life I wanted to live with my heart first in a yogic way, because I am a yogi first. And, more than that, I knew that I was on the right path, and continue to feel this way, because there was no compromise or putting anything on the back burner this time – I could be all of the parts of me at once combining yoga, business and creative endeavors that my heart loves. Because choreographing this dance, balance, beautiful blend of two complimentary things comes easily to me I knew this was something I was supposed to share with others. I feel deeply that this is part of my dharma.

The two are interdependent, not separate. When we separate yogic principles from anything entrepreneurial is when things are harder, not authentic and maybe (I would argue) not as successful or fulfilling for us.

Kindness, Truthfulness, Righteousness, Wisdom, Simplicity, Gratitude, Humility and Self-discipline are core “yogic principles,” and the traits of most successful entrepreneurs.  The work that I do with students in my Hell Yes Academy is based on these principles and applying them to branding, and creating a more heart-forward and authentic life. I begin, just like every yoga class begins: with an invitation for students to set clear intentions for what they want to experience/create. And every bit of the three months together is a blending of yogic principles and successful business, branding and entrepreneurial skills.

Why do you think a lot of yogis struggle with their relationships with ‘business’ and money? Any tips on how to work through this?

I’ve thought a lot about this, both personally as a yogi and as a entrepreneur and coach. It is unfortunate that so many yoga teachers struggle with this because it is keeping them from living their dharma more deeply and sharing their talents, skills and practice with more people.

In my experience, yogis struggle with the promotion of their “business” and accepting and/or asking for proper compensation because they feel like it is not “yogic.” When I hear this I instantly think and feel like they are not acting from their heart space but rather their ego space.  If in your heart as a yoga teacher you feel deeply that you are living your dharma by sharing your practice with as many people as you can, then it is your absolute, divine responsibility to promote what you do to everyone you meet in order to fulfill this dharma. The fact that this intention is seen as, or turns into, a “business” somehow clouds the intention for some. If this is the clear intent, then you aren’t promoting your “business” or collecting compensation for yourself, you are doing this for a higher purpose.

There is incredible grace and beauty in humility and sometimes many of us navigating yoga and business find it hard to balance the two. A successful yoga teacher, living her dharma with confidence and heart, promotes her yoga as a business from her heart space and graciously and humbly accepts the hard-earned compensation knowing she is deserving because she is utilizing her wisdom, life and vessel to do so. Do you see how a shift in thought, approach, and clear intention can change how you think, feel and maybe act on this subject?

I invite yoga teachers who struggle with promoting their business, or themselves and asking for/accepting money to do it, to think about their dharma, their intentions for sharing their practice, and to do the asking and earning from their heart place – not their ego. There are plenty of causes and organizations to donate excess compensation to for yoga teachers collecting more than they need. Imagine a yoga teacher collective consciousness that stepped into this shift in thinking, that shared their practice/dharma with more people, and that gave their excess to deserving causes.

How important is manifestation to you? Do you practice it daily?

Manifesting is everything to me. Realizing that I am creating my reality every moment with a single thought is powerful. When I feel out of flow, off balance, sad or anything that is not authentic, I remind myself that I have the power to shift this with a single thought. This has been a lifelong practice for me ever since I was a little girl.

Because the power of manifestation, the practice of doing so, and the positive results are so important to me, and the outcome of the life I have created and model living, I incorporate this teaching into my work with students, on and off the mat.

Can you share some of the positives and negatives of living life as a digital nomad?

A few of the most positive aspects of living life as a digital nomad are the adventure and the incredible freedom, independence and empowerment that it gives you. When you let go of a home, a place, a set/small community, the idea of an office, etc. and you open up to the possibility of having all of these things and more in a bigger place and different way: anywhere in the world, this is an incredible feeling. Big magic and shifts happen when you surrender into this intention; the world literally opens up to you. I feel this happening every single day and this, and the feeling of lightness and open possibility, are my very favorite things about being a digital nomad.

A common misconception about being a digital nomad is that it’s easy, and many people don’t realize that in order to do it successfully you have to plan ahead and create revenue streams for yourself which you can earn while being anywhere in the world. If you can combine passive income, and on-going income with opportunities while you travel this is ideal. And, because this sometimes takes more work and hustle than the traditional 9 to 5 corporate job, it is not easy.

Digital nomads are true entrepreneurs, and in my opinion the ultimate independents. One of the compromises of this way of life is sometimes community. If building a solid community in one place to share your practice is an important intention for you this will be difficult if you choose to be a digital nomad. Instead you might set an intention to build smaller communities around the world, and a larger “global” community.

How do you maintain a healthy relationship with technology?

With A LOT of discipline! Because being online, and plugged into the grid is a big part of what I do dharma-wise and for my livelihood, I spend a lot of time utilizing technology – technology is also an essential part of being a digital nomad. How I balance a healthy, spiritual, creative and happy life while utilizing technology daily has everything to do with the routines, habits, rituals, and schedule/intentions I set and practice every day. I share this technique and some inspiration for doing this with my students in the academy. It comes down to discipline, some days I’m better at this than other days – it’s a practice!

What does a typical morning look like for you? Do you have morning rituals?

Yes, I believe in the power of a morning ritual for setting the tone and clear intention for the day.  Doing this every morning has saved me some days when I feel isolated, anxious, unsure, etc. I meditate every single morning, this is part of my morning ritual. The first hour of each day is a no tech hour, it’s my yummy time to go inside of myself and find love there for me. I started this devoted practice three years ago when I was healing from a broken heart and now it is part of my daily habit/ritual. This grounds me when I feel out of flow. Sometimes I add a listen to an inspirational podcast or video to the end of this meditation and it becomes moving meditation. I might do this while practicing yoga, making breakfast or taking a shower. I try to have a modest, healthy breakfast each morning. After this, I plug in much like someone might read the morning paper. The morning paper for me consists of blog articles from a running list I have saved, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (in that order). The end of my morning ritual always includes setting a clear intention for the day and reminding myself that my job as a manifestor and spirit living a heart-forward life is to be happy as much as possible each day, and I make a very short list of 1 or 2 things I will accomplish for the day. Then I start my day.

If you could tell all aspiring entrepreneurs just one sentence of wisdom, what would it be?

How about two (long) sentences? I think Patanjali’s wisdom is most powerful for all of us but especially for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly in the yoga/heart space:

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

What trends or changes do you foresee within the next 5-10 years for the yoga and wellness community/industry?

I’m very excited that the conversation about “mindful work,” and “mindfulness in the workplace” is now prevalent and nearly mainstream. The conversation began in a whisper about three years ago, and now many CEOs, start-ups and even bigger companies and brands are recognizing the benefits and outcomes and the conversation is now broad, bold and really creative and exciting. It is because of this that my teachings and approach to yogic branding are appreciated and respected.

The collective shift happening right now to move away from old paradigms and into more heart-forward, heart-based living with the lovers of these lives designing their own lives will continue. Every single day an old wall dissolves and innovative alternatives are erected. This is because more of us want something deeper, something more meaningful; this is because we are all listening now more than ever before – collectively and globally, but especially in the yoga and wellness community/industry.

Because the grid is being redesigned, the sky is the limit! The most aware and innovative and ready professionals in the yoga and wellness community/industry will be creating and hosting transformative “experiences” instead of the traditional “retreat” and they are doing this already, right now. Offices are now in cafes and on the beach, yoga is happening virtually and it is becoming medicine prescribed by doctors to patients. The value of yoga is increasing, and this will continue. The practice and teaching of yoga is increasing, and this will continue.

Who and/or what inspires you most right now?

I am inspired greatly by free-thinkers, innovators, and disruptors. I look to them to stretch my way of thinking, to challenge what I think and know to be possible. I am in-awe of Jason Silva and mesmerized every time I witness one of his videos knowing that I am watching someone in pure flow sharing it with the world in a courageous and impeccably authentic way. He inspires me greatly. I am inspired by Tim Ferris and his invitations to think about how we think about work. My current muses also include writers like Rupi Kaur, Arthur Rimbauld and Ayn Rand.  They are bold, courageous, independent and incredibly talented.

Tell us about your upcoming New Year’s Retreat with Mary Tilson…

Xinalani is a very special place, I discovered it on retreat myself with Rusty Wells, my teacher, a few years ago. The energy of this paradise in Mexico will set the tone for this retreat that Mary Tilson (Yoga Trade Travel Rep) and I are creating to share with students. For me, one of the most exciting things about this experience is that I am co-creating it with Mary, a yoga teacher and forever student, that I respect greatly. Together we are blending teachings for a practice on and off the mat that will invite students to take ownership of their lives and begin thinking about ways that they can create, and as the retreat is called:   “Live the Life You Love.”

The retreat takes place at the end of the year, December 30 – January 6, a very important and auspicious time for cutting cords and setting clear intentions, for celebrating and letting go.   Mary and I will be taking every opportunity during this time together to share our wisdom and create sacred, inspirational space for the group to feel empowered and supported to follow their hearts and it is our hope that each person leaves with a plan for ways that they can begin living a life that they love.

 

Connect with Pat:

Live the Life You Love

IG:

@patbailey

@thehellyeslife

She Will Rise

Kelsey is the Creator of She Will Rise: a community of women who are rising from the ashes of their past into the brilliance of their future. The community offers Trauma Therapy, Group Coaching, Retreats, and a Podcast. I met Kelsey in 2010, at a very dear place to my heart, Yandara in Baja, Mexico. I was there for one month taking a training and she was there teaching and working. Her strength and vibrance inspired me. We did not really stay in touch but years later, life brought us back together. We had both continued on the paths of living yoga and were simultaneously working on creative projects within the wellness world. Love had led me to the location that she was living. The connections that are made through yoga and wellness are amazing, and it is exciting and magical to grow and evolve together. Here we catch up with Kelsey, to learn from her story and wisdom. Thank you Kelsey for sharing your bright light!

Tell us about the inspirations that led to the creation of the She Will Rise Podcast…

 

On my own path of recovery I didn’t like or fit into the conventional systems or route, they just didn’t work for me. I had to make it up as I went a long and find my own way. I now call this intuitive recovery.  I had to learn how to listen to my heart AND ALSO my body AND ALSO my soul. It was hard for me as I didn’t meet a lot of people doing what I was doing and I felt like I was crazy at times. I knew that what I was doing was working for me but I lacked support and I felt very alone. As I developed the She Will Rise Intuitive Recovery Programs and Retreats I found other women offering amazing things too. I have always been comfortable sharing my story and I saw other women were starting to share theirs too. I thought, “what if there was a free resource for women where they could listen to other unique stories of recovery and have access to many tools and techniques so they could find their own unique and intuitive way through their trauma?” That is when the She Will Rise Podcast was born.

 

How has yoga helped shape your path?

 

I have heard a lot of people say that yoga saved their  life, I truly believe it saved mine. I was 23 and suffering from some pretty serious injuries from snowboarding. I couldn’t sit down for longer than an hour and I would wake up in pain every day. My friend dragged me to an Ashtanga yoga class after much convincing. I had dabbled with yoga by myself for many years before but never really went to classes. So I went and I cried the whole class because it hurt but felt good at the same time. I woke up in no pain so I went back. My body got stronger and had less pain. Then I tried a yin class…it was emotionally excruciating for me and I cried through every class for months. I was going to 6-8 classes a week because I was feeling so much emotional and physical relief. I was sold and in a year decided I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I have had some of my greatest physical healings, emotional breakthroughs and spiritual awakenings in practicing yoga and I can see myself having it in my day to day practice for the rest of my life.

Why do you feel called to create a space specifically for women?

 

I am a woman who has experienced a lot of abuse from men and I know a lot of other women have experienced the same thing and do not feel safe when men are around them. When women gather and are in a safe and sacred space to open up, magical things happen. The way women or female identified people feel, create, heal, dance and play is unique and it is different. The essence of who you are whether feminine or masculine needs to be initiated, honored and held with love. There is something remarkably strong about a compassionate sisterhood based in holding the highest vision for each other and I want to be a part of that.

How has the process of holding these conversations with women helped in your own growth and healing?

 

I believe our stories are medicine. When we hear a woman’s story of what she has been through it helps us feel like we are not alone and we might find the tools or words of inspiration that we are looking for. This is also true for me. I learn SO much from every woman I interview, their strength, courage and vulnerability deeply touches the parts in me that need just that to keep going. The friendships that are being made from the interviews and also the programs are so supportive, it is truly amazing.

Do you have any words of wisdom for women in wellness that are thinking about starting their own creative entrepreneurial projects?

 

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Don’t be afraid to hire someone who can do a task in an hour which would take you days. Stay connected to your values and practice integrity. Base your business around this. Look to others who are inspiring to you and surround yourself with supportive people. Stay away from comparison and jealousy of other women in the same field, there is absolutely enough clientele for you and the people you are meant to work with are out there waiting for you. Promote and support your colleagues; cross promotion is a powerful tool. Find a deep WHY.  Why are you are doing what you are doing?  Align the ‘why’ with your values and write it down everywhere!

 

WHAT and/or WHO sparks you up most right now?

 

All the amazing women I am interviewing for the podcast.  They are all so different, some of them students, mothers, big and little business owners, entrepreneurs, and they all have an amazing story to tell. They inspire me so much! I am also deeply immersed in earth based magic and ceremony and learning more to live with the circadian rhythms, following the moon cycles and living with the seasons. Then there are the animals in my life, my dogs, and the horses I work with and ride. I am now offering Animal Communication as a part of the programs I offer and it is profound the healing and therapy animals have to offer us.

 

 

Learn more and connect with Kelsey and this beautiful community:

Kelsey is a recovered addict and sexual abuse survivor who is dedicating her life to breaking the silence around these issues by sharing her story and supporting women to work through their trauma. She is the Creator of She Will Rise. Hear from courageous women who share their stories of a painful experiences and traumas, and how they work through it. The She Will Rise Podcast offers tools, resources and gifts to listeners. Stories are medicine. Together we are stronger.

www.shewillrise.community

IG:  @shewillrise.community

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.

 

 

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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.

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.

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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.

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

You Are Ready Now

“If not now, when?”

This is a question that has stayed with me ever since my 200-hour teacher training back in 2013. When I was applying for the training I remember experiencing constant flashes of doubt and fear. I had only been practicing yoga for a few years and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to become a teacher. I mean, my handstand was almost nonexistent, and I have never in my life considered myself to be flexible, and standing in front of a classroom full of people expecting me to tell them what to do?? Yeah, right. Teacher? Me? No Way.

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But my teacher, she told me something different. With a smile she asked me the question: “If not now, when?” I’m sure I had a look of confusion, and shock, painted across my face, but then she said the words, “Caitlin, you are ready now.”

It’s easy for us to come up with excuses for why we aren’t ready now… It’s even easier to sit back and wait until we think the timing is juuuust right… Basically, it’s easy to stay confined within the walls of our perfectly constructed comfort zone.

But easy is not what makes us grow.

The harsh reality is: we may never think we are ready. And if we stay trapped in that mindset, waiting until the perfectly ripe moment, life will surely pass us by. Fast. The chances will have expired and we will have to live with regret, thinking about all the things that could have been if we were just willing to go for it.

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You are ready now. You are ready for whatever it is that you have been putting off: a new job, a yoga teacher training, traveling to a new country, meeting new people, or stepping into a whole new way of being. Drop the limiting beliefs and transform the feelings of self doubt into compassion, curiosity and motivation to experience something new.

Give it a go, and let yourself be open to what’s possible. Sure, new things can be scary, challenging, and even awkward, but it’s the scary, the challenges, the awkwardness that will eventually lead us to growth. Because when we allow ourselves to stay with those feelings and learn to not run away from them, they lose their ferocity and they become a little less intimidating.

And we realize that deep down inside, we knew we were ready all along.

 

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Cait Lawson is a 26-year-old yogi, surfer and entrepreneur currently living in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Her goal as a yoga/SUP yoga/surf instructor is to empower others to drop their doubts, to discover their own strength, to let their true light shine.

Connect:

http://www.sunburntandsalty.com/

Yoga for Self-Confidence: Bending to Breakthrough

 

Everyone has experienced a sense of insecurity—missing the winning goal; unrequited love; unexpected unemployment…the list goes on and on. It’s human nature after all, to recognize and learn from our experiences…and move forward.

However, when these experiences build-up over time, growing into a lack of self-confidence and paralyzing fear, it can conquer us in a life-altering way. The reality is, we all have experienced and will continue to experience these moments throughout life. The secret to our ability to move through fear and muster the courage to take steps and action that will re-build our confidence is knowing what tools you have on hand when faced with these challenging times.

Developing a strong practice and connection with the postures of yoga is not only a means of physical exercise, but is a holistic tool that has been around for thousands of years helping people move through life challenges that can impact one’s self-confidence, ranging from anxiety, to depression, addiction and fear.

Attending yoga class whether in a studio or a gym can be intimidating. Often times, new or even existing yoga students are afraid of the media images that promote yoga class as hours of sitting still or body postures that look humanely impossible.

When in fact, the practice of yoga is meant to serve as the opposite, time on your mat that is dedicated personal space to move physically and create an opportunity to connect more closely with yourself, ultimately finding comfort in your own presence.

Yoga can boost your self-confidence through:

Stress Relief & Emotional Management

There is a lot more to yoga practice than getting into shape physically—in fact, this isn’t the main objective at all. One of the major causes of mental overload is stress, which can be a trigger for depression in certain serious cases.

Yoga can help you release these stressors through a series of meditative and relaxing breathing exercises, which can increase the circulation of oxygen in the mind and body, thus enabling your overall flow of energy.

This may help you recognize and process your stress more effectively as it arises, which in turn will eliminate your fear and boost your self-confidence.

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Body-Positive Community

Yoga helps people of all ages to create a peaceful and inviting space together, outside of society’s expectations. Many body-image issues are related to the need for control, whereas yoga is about fostering the courage to let go. Silencing the mind and focusing on the breath and the body can break the habit of perfectionism, and instead creates a deep appreciation for your body’s positive capabilities.

Attending local yoga classes are a great way to have fun with like-minded friends and to build new relationships that are not rooted in physical appearance.

Release of Negativity

Yoga allows us to pause and silence the mind for long enough to actually reflect on our bad habits and negative thought process — and better understand how these may be driving our actions. We often paint lesser images of ourselves at a young age when insecurity is heightened—especially how we’re portrayed by others —which can trigger self-loathing. Often as we move through adulthood, we’re still carrying those skewed portraits of ourselves, despite their falsity.

Yoga can erase the whiteboard and offer a clean slate for newfound self-acceptance; a chance to bend until you break through all of the bull—negativity, rather, that’s been standing in the way of your hopes and dreams.

What if I Can’t Find Time to Make it to a Yoga Class?

If it seems impossible to carve out time in your schedule to take a yoga class or follow along to a yoga video at home, try taking your focus to your breathing in moments that challenge your peace of mind. Something as simple as focusing your mind on the words, “inhale” and “exhale” as you breathe in and out can help to pull you out of the mental story your mind is weaving about yourself, your abilities or the circumstance triggering the emotions, and bring you mentally, physically and emotionally grounded back in the present moment.

Performing a set of simple breathing exercises, postures and meditation can help you to begin to bend mentally, emotionally and physically to break through self-doubt, fear, sadness…whatever negative energy is holding you back from where you want to go, be, do and experience in this lifetime.

Bend so much that you have a breakthrough.

 

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Dr. Jodi Ashbrook is the owner of Open Doors Yoga Studios in Hingham, Massachusetts, founder & CEO of The BE Brand ® and President of Dr. Jodi Inc. She is passionate about creating experiences where people can grow, reflect and believe in themselves.

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