The Inner Spark

Letting go, moving on, closing a chapter, becoming a new person, starting from scratch, changing direction or starting down a new path. Whatever phrase fits you best…we will all at some point experience “it”.

We all have, at some point had to ‘let go’ in our lives and it is likely there will be many more to come, however it is the letting go part that truly scares us, as we are forced to trust what the future brings. We are fearful of the unknown and of making wrong decisions that may lead to ‘failure’. This often results in us clinging on to what we used to have and finding reasons to continue hanging on to it.

We seem to forget the saying that, “every time a door closes, another one opens”. When we are faced with a scary situation, we delve so deep into it, that we fail to see the bigger picture and so allow our emotions to take control and lead us blindly.

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Your emotions are the tears of your heart. Let them surface, allow them to flow but don’t let them take control. Consciously and mindfully tell yourself, “Sadness is running through me”. Be aware of the emotion, accept it and just as consciously, let it go again.

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When a scary “moving on” situation arises in your life, take a step back. Although it seems hard at this very moment,

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Right now, life is giving you the chance of starting over new, of recreating yourself and the life you are living. Peeling off all those outer layers and embracing the YOU, you have been from birth. The YOU that through all your life’s happenings has hidden in the deepest most sacred corner of your heart and is now breeching the surface like a free diver catching a breath of fresh air.

There is never really an end to anything…not even death can be called an ending. What is an ending anyways? Ever wondered? I ask myself that question every time I close a chapter. To me, it means change and yes, change can be scary but change can also be exciting. It depends how you wish to see it and how you let it into your life.

In fact, what you call an “ending” is in reality, a multicolored, sparkling, glittery, loud and clear, explosive ‘new years’ style firework wake up call; from you, to you.

So brush off the dust and move your sweet ass into gear and explore the vast wonderland hidden inside you. To be more precise; it is a blessing in disguise.

There is no other beautifully bittersweet way to make you realize that you’ve grown. Congratulations! BAM!! In reward, change is knocking at your door. You have become something bigger and now life wants you to take action according to your personal growth.

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Don’t go and cut your hair, move home, buy a cat or talk more spiritually. Sit•And•Listen. There will be a constant struggle with your emotions telling you otherwise, telling you to go back to who you used to be. That’s ok. These emotions are again, •just•running•through•you•not•defining•you•. What will define you are your actions. Whether you choose to listen to that inner ticking time bomb, that silent firework, that wake up call, or whether you will allow your emotions to take control again.

No matter what you choose, your emotions will always be there with you and that is the greatest gift we have.
Don’t get me wrong but that •Inner•Spark• though, will only arise occasionally, just once every so often, here and there…if you care to notice it.

Maybe it’s in that silent morning hour when the world is still asleep but your mind is wide awake, or when the sun disappears behind the ocean and contentment is running through you. Maybe it appears when the elevator door closes in front of you and you realize it is just you and the four walls around you or maybe it arrives when life just wants to tell you, it knows better than you do.

My question to you my friend is; will you listen? Will you trust? Will you have faith?

 

 

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Danae Borsani is a German/ Italian Yogi, lives on Mallorca and is a passionate Yoga teacher and Blogger, soulseekergirl.com about what she does best: The Art of Yoga, Food, Travel and Health. She inspires her readers toward a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.

So, You Want To Make A DIFFERENCE??

So, You Want To Make A DIFFERNENCE??

First of all, you are alive; accept it.

The absolute most important thing is to know is yourself.

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

Live it.

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

Number two, some suggestions:

Quit smoking FOR THE AIR, let your body benefit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Know this and grow with it. Feel it.

Sulking gets us no where. LOVE MOVES.

Let the shadow push you to the light.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make a difference and:

“Know Thyself”
–Socrates

 

 

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

IG: @scrambby

A Consolation to the Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we don’t even know how it works!

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

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

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

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

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

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Mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

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YOUR TURN…

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

 

 

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

IG: @scrambby

Heart Activism

 

It wasn’t clear to me at first but I was amongst great activists – humans utilizing this precious life and the power we all have to ignite change through positive action.

“Action is movement with intelligence.
The world is filled with movement.
What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”
– Iyengar

Ekuthuleni is an ecological retreat space set in the foothills of the Pyrenees of Southern France where people are doing just that- actively connecting the practice of inner work with outer action.

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Nathan & Zohar, the facilitators of SanghaSeva Retreats, focus on how meditation can carry into making conscious actions in the world. This summer I participated in a Sustainability & Simplicity Retreat at Ekuthuleni. The first week we immersed in the practice of silent meditation and then in the second week we intentionally put our practice into action while using our bodies as tools to work with organic materials found on the land to build a straw bale sanctuary. We investigated how we can live a low-impact lifestyle in our environment – allowing nature’s needs to speak louder than human desires.

I slept in a tent on a wooden platform amongst the forest, showered my body under the rays of sunshine with solar-heated water and used composting toilets.

We nourished our bodies with the veggies from the garden.

We nourished our hearts and minds in meditation on a platform amongst the trees.

This simplistic way of living in nature allowed us to relax into the clarity of how supported we are by the Earth and how blissfully uncomplicated life can be when we can realize how much is already provided for us by nature.

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I learned that through the practice of listening we are able to become aware of opportunities we have in life to contribute – even if it’s by choosing not to participate in things that we view as destructive or counterproductive.

“When you have a pro-peace rally, I will be there.” – Mother Theresa

Activism is directing your energy towards the things you are FOR rather than against in this world.

Flash forward to yoga with women and children at the Refugee camp in Calais, France.

I intentionally do not watch the news and before the retreat I was not even aware that such a place existed just north of where I was standing – 10,000 human beings in need of support – that I now felt able to contribute to.

At the camp I often felt the temptation of my mind to comprehend the whys and hows of the perceived inequality and injustices of this world – but instead, with practice – I was able to bring my focus back to the precious human beings in front of me that I was fortunate enough to meet.

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This is my form of activism – union through human connection – regardless of what you call it – yoga, creativity, dance or play – embracing the joy that exists in the moments where we are able to let go of the mind’s stories of who we think we are.

The shared happiness that is not “mine” or “yours” but in the spaces in between that do not rely on the names on our passports or the stories we have bought into of who we are based on where we are from, what we do, or what we have.

Beyond acting to aim at the faraway destination of reaching solutions for the entirety of humanity and our planet – we can find the potential power that exists within us all to make choices that are coherent with the things we wish to see in the world right now.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

The practice of meditation allows us to see more clearly that we can be great activists by simply waking up to what is already right here and leading a life where we actively follow our heart.

 

 

 

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Sacha Bryce is a Toronto-based 500-RYT travelling yoga teacher and life enthusiast – with a mission to share the practice for the benefit of all beings!
Find her on instagram @sachabryceyoga

Embrace the Unknown

Location: Palmar Tent Lodge, Isla Bastimentos, Bocos Del Toro, Panamá

Living on a beach in the jungle for over a month in a rural, environmentally conscious setting proved to have its challenges. Sand is to the beach, as glitter is to arts and crafts. It sticks to you everywhere you go, you wake up to it in your bed feeling like sand paper between your sheets, and it doesn’t rid your body in the foot-pump shower of cold recycled rain water you’re allowed once per day. There is no AC, in fact the only air conditioned room I ever stepped foot in during my time in Bocas Del Toro was to use the ATM in town. There is constantly a layer of moisture or sweat (or both) on you at all times. Plus side to that is I never needed lotion for dry skin. And things don’t dry here, EVER. The first week I hand washed my clothes, hung them out to dry, and three days later they were holding the same amount of moisture, and therefore molded. Everything molds at some point, even my passport has turned an unappetizing shade of green. Thank goodness for the laundry service in town. For $4 they take a bag of your laundry and wash, dry and fold it for you. The only bad part is I lost my favorite shirt this way. It’s a risk I was willing to take though, all of my clothes smelled of mildew and sweat and salt water combined. There are trails of leaf cutter ants on nearly every path you step on. Although the thought of being bare foot all day seems luxurious, one wrong step and your toe will be stinging for days. Those ants are workaholics, and they show no mercy for disrupting their business. Speaking of bugs, I resided with bird spiders and tarantulas, cockroaches making themselves at home in the kitchen, bats sleeping over my head in the living room, and crabs greeting me every morning for my bathroom routine.

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And yet with all of your surroundings wanting to kill you, living on a beach in the jungle was surprisingly adaptable. I suppose the human kind can instinctively adapt to any environment, if given time and patience. The first two weeks I was really doubting the living arrangements, and the last three I learned to embrace it and the conditions actually made me so much more grateful for the luxuries we have in this world. I forgot what a warm bath felt like, and instead found joy in eating freshly chopped coconuts on the beach. I forgot about wearing makeup and the need to impress others with the right outfit, and instead gave up ‘looking good,’ and felt confident in my own sun-kissed skin and miss-matched outfit. Basically if any of your clothing items were dry it was a good day. During my time in Bocas I learned to not only let go of needing the material items of this world, but I also have a much greater appreciation for the little things most humans take for granted, such as a dishwasher or working Internet.

I gave up all of the comforts of life back home in the United States to witness the natural beauty of our planet, and to search for my contribution to this world, doing all that I know and love to do: teach yoga and write. Somehow traveling and living in the elements really sheds the layers, clears the smoke and allows you to get to the root of your being. It’s not over, heck no, this is only the beginning of what I’m out to discover. Social media and articles may perceive the adventure I’m undertaking to be a walk in the park, every second of every day being some extravagant exploration and constantly undergoing life-altering experiences. But in reality it’s the opposite. What I’ve discovered so far during my long-term travel is that it does have its ups and downs, situations of hard decision making, days of doing nothing and then feeling bad about it. It’s exactly the same struggles I face living back home, but it’s heightened at a much greater scale. And if you don’t fight against it, you have the ability to learn the lessons of life very quickly, and that life is so much more beautiful.

You make close friends in a matter of days or weeks and then you have to let them go, let their own journey unfold. A lesson in non attachment. Back home you maintain the same friendships for years and then something happens where you don’t see that person, and you can’t handle it. There have been a couple of casualties of items that were dear to me, including my beloved 40 ounce HydroFlask that I used not only to keep me hydrated, but as a weapon when full of water. That bottle also served as a reminder of my yoga home in Houston, Texas, BIG Power Yoga. I got the water bottle when I first became a member, and bedazzled it with stickers along the years of my time there, from yoga teacher training to full-time manager, representing a different era of my journey. This deep loss has really struck a chord and has allowed me to practice this life lesson in non attachment more than ever. I have to trust that water bottle served its purpose for me in my life, and now it’s time for it to move on to its next purpose.

I’ve learned a huge lesson in embracing the unknown. The first couple of weeks my type A personality got the best of me. I woke up in fear of what the day would bring, because my only plan was to teach yoga at 5 o’clock. With a few days of depriving myself of having a schedule, I transformed from the need of keeping a calendar to control my every waking moment, to rising out of bed and thinking “I wonder what today will bring.” Seriously, the moment I realized I was saying that to myself, I finally realized what living actually is.

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I soon discovered that if you learn to let go of controlling what your day is going to look like or should look like, then the universe has the opportunity to step in and guide you in the direction you’re meant to go. By doing this I’ve had the opportunity to do so many things I never could have planned for. Yacht parties, driving an ATV through the rainforest, eating next to a deep sea speargun fisherman whose catch of the morning was on my plate, hanging in a hammock on a catamaran, stand up paddle boarding around the perimeter of a tiny island, staying up late around a bon fire and then letting it burn out to be in awe of the Milky Way constellation and the millions of stars scattered like confetti in the sky. Not one of those things were planned, were ever an agenda or something I checked off my list. And yet they are now a part of me, and I was in the experience of belonging in those moments as if they were always meant to happen.

That feeling of letting go cleaned the slate of my need to know what’s going to happen next. I still have no idea of what I’m supposed to fulfill during my time traveling or what it’s supposed to look like on the other side. But what I’ve gained is so much more valuable. I’ve learned a lesson in trusting the process. I’ve always known to do that, but now I know what it actually feels like in my body. It literally feels like a weight lifted off of me, that I’m not supposed to know what I’m supposed to do, and that’s ok. I believe that I am supposed to be right here for a reason, and leave it at that. I can allow myself to be with that truth and then let the universe take charge of guiding me by listening, feeling the sensations in my body when opportunities arise.

I’ve gone completely yoga teacher on you by this point, but the lessons I learned on my mat before this trip, the lessons I’m teaching to my students during this trip, and the lessons I’m allowing to sink in as I write this article, are all boomeranging back to me and showing me their effectiveness each day. These lessons are what have gotten me to this point in my journey, and I know they are what will carry me through all of the difficult situations, beautiful moments, and leaps of faith I have only tapped the surface of thus far.

It’s becoming clear to me, how I’m experiencing all of this life exploration is more important than what I’m experiencing. You can keep pictures to commemorate memories and great experiences in your life, or you can hold on to what you felt, what you learned from that experience and implement it throughout your entire life until your very last breath.

 

 

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Steph is a yoga teacher from Houston, Texas. Currently she is traveling through Central America teaching yoga wherever her heart is led to. Steph teaches vinyasa and yin-style classes and is committed to her students feeling rinsed out and restored!

Give Your Face to Sunshine

Give your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows’, is an Aboriginal proverb I learned as a kid and always kept with me, but do I actually agree with this statement?

 

Without the shadows you could not step into sunshine, without the dark there will be no light, without the bad how can you really see and appreciate what is good?

 

It is not wise to continuously chase the shinning sequined tail of the fire dragon of good times. Being able to deal with and move through the dips and lows, helps bring balance to life.

 

There are things to be gained from negative feelings and moments, there is energy to be shifted, it is as much of a part of life’s practice as anything else.

 

When you feel low you close yourself off to the world and your loved ones; this is a downward spiral, allowing no light in to nurture and love the demon that needs attention.

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The beauty of the day is turquoise with diamonds sparkling in the sea and sand, butterflies floating of a soft breeze, the warmth of the sun gives life and creative flare. Night draws in and the days nature sleeps, out come the bugs, the spiders and creepy crawlies, the frantic flapping bat, the moths and roaches all drawn to the artificial lights of porch and street bulbs.


Why are we scared of the dark? Why does the black of the unknown fill us with fear? What if you look through this black and acclimatize your eyes to the shades of the deep colors and silhouettes, what else can you see?

The yin moon beams giving guidance to dark places.….on the other side of panic I know there is calm and beauty.

So yes, give yourself to sunshine and you will not see the shadows but know that they are there and even if you turn around it will be okay to look into them while feeling the sun on your back.

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Hannah Goodman is a yoga teacher from Cornwall.  She is currently traveling in Indonesia. 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
“Not all those who are lost wander.”
– Hannah Goodman

http://www.yogagrounded.uk/

Movement, Evolution and the Unveiling of Dharma

When I first stepped up to the mat upon my mother’s request five years ago, I never ever expected my life to drastically change the way it did. That room full of 30 women and no men, scared the hell out of me, but with my mother by my side I fought with my body for the next 90 minutes until my ego was battered and bruised, until finally Savasana came and saved my soul. For the first time in my 18 years of existence I started to breathe, and with that the first stillness I had ever really experienced washed over me, I was both fascinated and hooked. It took me 3 years of practice to understand how much of an impact yoga was having on my evolution. My whole perspective upon existence was both simplified and enhanced by the healing yoga brought me, my Dharma began to be unveiled. Every time I lived outside my truth it brought me friction whereas when I was openly expressing and enjoying my expression, my life would flow freely and synchronicities would be more frequent. Yoga continues to ripen my existence and has unveiled purpose within my life. It has re-gifted me my profound connection with nature, not to mention to my higher self. Best of all, I have unveiled that my duty here is to share this beautiful tool of consciousness with the world.

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Fast forward five years and I am living in Guatemala, teaching my own open air yoga class in the mountains above Antigua. Yoga has helped me in the manifestation of a living paradise both internally and externally. It has taken me from the deepest depths of my consciousness to the most spiritually saturated pockets of India. The reason I feel so drawn to helping people find the true essence of the path of yoga is that it gifts me the opportunity to change people’s lives and helps in adding rungs to the ladder of a positive evolution. I praise people encouraging any sort of movement and connection with the human body out there in the world, as I believe they are going to be the pioneers of the new world.

Quantum physics theorizes that your external world is a projection of your inner world. This means that when we look at things collectively, the world is a reflection of the majority’s state of consciousness and to me that signifies an immense amount of suffering eminent within the human race. That means that every time I get the opportunity to connect somebody to themselves or something higher during a yoga practice, I do it as though the survival of the planet depends on it. If we humans continue our fascination with external sensory stimuli and the over-indulgence in the Muladhara chakra our future looks bleak. That is why being able to give someone tools for the cultivation of peace and the alleviation of suffering within themselves is so incredibly satisfying for the soul not to mention crucial for our evolution.

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I am quite new to teaching, having graduated Yoga school in early 2015, yet already I am beginning to look at yoga from a new perspective. I now see yoga as a stepping stone onto the path back to the unconditioned self, call it a tool for awakening. I am able to lift my head and peer beyond the structured and sometimes monotonous western Asana practice, shifting my focus more to the emphasis of movement as a whole. Bringing the deeply suppressed primitive energy into expression and converting darkness into light. I am looking to bring yoga out of the studio and into the world. This is why I feel such gratitude and burning Tapas towards the Yoga project here in Antigua. Practicing up on the mountain amid the clouds, active volcanoes, and old growth forests offers me something more than a regular structured studio practice. We are able to offer our energy straight back into nature for interconversion, we establish an entheogenic bond with the earth that just cannot be felt within anything other than nature. My Dharma is to assist in humanities cohesion with nature and I feel like more and more people are being called forward for this duty.

This is one of the most exciting times in history to have incarnated onto the earthly plain, and those being called forward to assist with the reconnection of man with himself and nature have a vital role to play in our evolution as a species. I thank everybody doing the work both on themselves and within the world from the bottom of my heart. May the path of Yoga guide us forward and shine light upon your Dharma. I implore you to begin practicing in Nature and to assist in breaking down the barriers of segregation between what is fundamentally movement. We all have our divine path awaiting us and I have Yoga to thank for unveiling mine. Keep moving, breathing, and connecting on all planes of existence.

Om Namah Shivaya

 

bestbaba

 

 

Lewis is a Travelling Yogi and Entrepreneur from the Margaret River region of Western Australia. He teaches an organic infusion of Hatha Flow and Power Vinyasa at the Hobbitenango Community in Antigua, Guatemala.

Find him on FACEBOOK ~ or Email ~ yogawithlewis@gmail.com

5 Life Lessons I Learned After Leading My Third Yoga Retreat In Costa Rica

I recently taught my third yoga retreat in Costa Rica at Blue Osa Eco-Resort and Spa, and I have to admit, leading retreats has gotten increasingly easier.

During the first retreat, I was on edge the entire time. “Are people happy? Am I doing everything right? Am I spending enough time with everyone? Does everyone feel included?” I felt I had to be “on” the whole time overseeing everything. By the third retreat, I realized I don’t need to be present every second.

During this last retreat twenty participants showed up with a disarming willingness to be present. We shared vulnerable parts of us, and we got to re-invent ourselves in a safe, welcoming environment. We also played tons of BananaGrams and colored Japanese postcards, among other things.

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By the end of the retreat I felt a sense of relief and pure joy, mixed with sadness for being separated from a wonderful group. I did it! After all emotions had the appropriate time to sink in, I was left with these five realizations:

1. People And Experiences Are What Matters Most In Life

Without the participants, the retreat center loses its essence and remains just a beautiful, empty space. The connection is where the magic lies. In the same way, memories filled with emotion and interaction are a lot brighter than the ones reserved for objects. Meeting other people constantly inspires me to realize that in the end, we all are share similar stories and struggles.

2. People Want To Have Fun

It’s just as important to participate in mindful activities as it is to not take yourself too seriously. To let go of expectations. To not not care about how you look during barre class. Or what you sound like while chanting a mantra. Leaving time for spontaneity and irrationality is a must to understand that the very nature of life is often times unexplainably beautiful.

3. Sometimes You Gotta Be A Leader

I am not usually someone who wants to be in charge. However, teaching retreats has taught me to step in a leadership position. Quit the indecision and work up confidence and guts! People on a yoga retreat want to be lead and they need structure. They are trying to get away from constant problem solving and being in control. They can’t be bothered with logistics and big decisions, so learning to take charge of others in these situations is helpful.

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4. You Can’t Control Everything

Even though I plan everything as precisely as possible before and during the retreat, unpredictable things happen. We had a guest leave within 24 hours because the jungle was too much. Several guests’s flights were delayed and their connection were missed. Not everything can go as planned, and we must stay open to facilitate, but also step back and let things unfold.

5. Community Can Be Formed Away From Home

Community is a subject close to my heart. All twenty of us arrived for a week of fun under the sun. And we all left feeling that we had new friends to enrich our lives. While community in the traditional sense is usually set in one place, we can find a unique type of community in several places around the world, and the connection is still going strong (thank you technology).

As the saying goes, teaching is a huge learning experience. Leading a yoga retreat is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about yourself, test your skills and yes, learn from your mistakes too.

 

 

Valentina-Rose-Bio

 

 

Born and raised in Italy, Valentina is a full time yoga instructor who divides her time between Marin County, California and Matapalo, Costa Rica. When she isn’t hosting yoga retreats or blogging Valentina can be found trail running and baking quiche.

Valentinarose.me

Instagram: @valentinarose1111

From Ashram to the Andamans

A Yogi’s Transformational Journey through India

I’m not your typical world-traveling yogi. There aren’t too many 40-year-old women leaving everything behind for a taste of adventure. I mean, unless they’re having some sort of mid-life crisis, which I am not. No, really.

However, after recently becoming an empty-nester (I started young!), and after recently divorcing my husband, I felt the need to explore life differently, a new way to think, a new way to be. (yes, I’m aware that part does sound a bit mid-life crisis-like)

Yoga was a big catalyst for this new way of being… I had been practicing daily for a couple of years and was getting stronger by the day- mind, body and spirit. I felt the next step was obvious, to become yoga certified.

So I began the search for teacher certifications. Initially, I wanted go to Bali, Indonesia. Maybe it was because of reading Eat, Pray, Love– but I had this image of Bali being this goddessy-glamourous place toThe-Flying-Elephant-yoga-studio study yoga, and who knows maybe I’d find love there. I wasn’t looking for love, I was (am) already in love but the man of dreams didn’t (doesn’t) love me back. Anyway, I digress.

I found a few options for yoga training in Bali, but for whatever reason- doors kept closing. So I thought, maybe that’s my sign to stop looking so far away and just find training nearby in Florida where I live. But again, doors kept closing and nothing seemed to be working out. As I was taking a long walk on the beach one day- a thought became crystal clear: I needed to go to India to study yoga. Duh! Why wouldn’t I go where yoga originated?

I have a friend who quit her job, sold all of her possessions, and is now travelling throughout India. I remembered her telling me about a small ashram that offered yoga teacher training AND it was cheap. So I found out the name of the place, emailed them, and almost too-perfectly everything just sorta lined up. Tuition- check. Airfare- check. Indian Visa- oh, shit. No one told me how time consuming this part would be and after all the waiting there’s a chance I could be denied a visa. But just in the nick of time, the FedEx guy showed up at my door with my visa-stamped passport. Whew! (By the way, I highly recommend anyone traveling to India to get their visa FIRST. This will save a lot of stressing out!)

I read all kinds of blogs from people who had travelled though India. I spent a lot time working myself up over a bunch of stuff I didn’t need to be worrying about… but it did help me to prepare for my trip. And somewhere during this time of searching blogs, I came across an awesome blogger “This American Girl”, and that’s where I heard about Yoga Trade. I signed up and immediately found a posting for a yoga-exchange opportunity in the Andaman Islands. I had never heard of this part of the world but as it turns out, it’s a cluster of islands between India and Thailand but it is considered part of India. Perfect! I’ll be getting my teacher certification about the time they need an instructor at this resort on Havelock Island.

I remember telling my friend, the one who quit everything and moved to India, how I planned on going to Havelock Island in the Andamans after my training at the ashram. She responded with “are you sure you’re not just wanting a cookie at the end of your India trip?” I hadn’t looked at it that way at all. I saw what looked like this amazing paradise where elephants swim and the water is the loveliest iridescent turquoise, yes, but it was also a wonderful opportunity to get some hands on experience after my ashram training.

After weeks of going back and forth, and trying to organize the travel from the mainland to the islands (it’s not easy to get there)… it was finally set. I would be going to an ashram in south India for three weeks, then I would make the journey to one of the most remote places on the planet- the Andaman Islands.

As I write this, it’s now been two months since I’ve been back from the most exciting adventure of my life. And here’s my observation. Life at the ashram on the mainland and life in the Andamans on Havelock Island, couldn’t be more different.

At the ashram, we had a disciplined schedule. Up at 5am to “shower” (it’s a bucket with a cup for rinsing) and get ready for our asana practice, yoga history and philosophy throughout the day, volunteering at a rural school-house, and an all-vegetarian diet with little to no sugar or caffeine and definitely not any alcohol.

Whereas, on the island, 8am for yoga but many times people missed class because they were up too late Havelock-Beachdrinking the night before, Nutella pancakes for breakfast, prawns as big as your head on the barbeque, the wine is flowing and cigarette smoking is quite common.

The ashram life allows you to reflect on everything, why am I here, what am I doing? I had dreams of conversations with goddesses, I faced my demons head-on, and I came to peaceful conclusions of letting some things (and relationships) go. Spirituality thoughts seem to overtake any thoughts of the flesh.

On the island, all I could think of was how unbelievably grateful and happy I was to be alive. I met new friends, I met a very young, very attractive Indian man, made out in the ocean and on the beach, had totally different kinds of dreams and felt lots of love.

Now as I reflect on these two experiences, I would like to somehow be able to balance my life somewhere between the disciplined schedule of the ashram in India and the carefree frolicking on Havelock Island.

Vegetarian diet with almost no sugar or caffeine most days, but sometimes Nutella crepes and espresso for breakfast or a late-night dinner feast and the wine is flowing.

Practice yoga and meditation for hours but occasionally skip the mat and go swimming in the ocean with a gorgeous boy as we kiss with the crashing waves on us.

Get up early most mornings enjoying peaceful solitude but not missing birthday celebrations, nights on the beach watching the full moon, and staying up late talking with new friends about love, life and God.

How can these two places be so close and yet so far away? But I think the drastic contrasts of the two helped me learn something about myself. I’m not a typical yogi. I’m not a typical anything, really. I’m just me. I’m somewhere in between these two lifestyles. I’m not following “the path”. I’m making my own path as I go along. Yes, I could stand to incorporate more discipline into my life but I also need to make time for carefree living too.

And as it turns out, my friend in India was right, I did get my cookie.

 

angie

 

 

Angie is a yoga certified instructor with a passion for traveling and learning about new people and new cultures. She teaches yoga on the beach at sunrise in Florida, USA and organizes yoga retreats around the world.

Connect with Angie:

Instagram

 

 

Reasons to Start Living Yoga Today

Yoga is an entire science of living which works on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. The movement towards living yoga is one which brings back the depth to the practice, helping us navigate our relationships with the world around us, offering tools that promote mindfulness and present moment awareness, and ultimately paving the way to more joyful living.

Here are 5 reasons to get started:

 

1. You become what you repeat.

While it’s unfortunate that there is a misconception, particularly in the Western world about yoga as a purely physical practice – I do still believe that the growing number of mary3people rolling out their yoga mats is something to be celebrated. I like to think of yoga asana, or the postures as the gateway drug. We start with the physical then learn to integrate our energetic body through conscious breathing until eventually our mind settles into deeper states of concentration. For this reason, BKS Iyengar refers to the body as the “vehicle to the soul”. In the same way that stretching and deep breathing create space in the body, meditation helps ease the mind by creating a sense of inner spaciousness. We learn to simply observe as feelings of stress, anxiety and fear arise before reacting. This means we have the control to choose how to respond. Rather than blowing up when things go awry, we can shift gears into a more calm, relaxed state. Thanks to neuroplasticity, it’s possible through regular practice to actually rewire our brain into these positive thought patterns even outside of our practice. Or to put it simply, we become them.

 

2. Wake up!

In between a series of long-held, intense balancing postures in class the other day, my teacher, Shy brought us into a standing position where we could rest for a few breaths mary1with the stability of our two feet grounded on the floor. “If you’re not enjoying this right now,” he paused, “Wake up!” I laughed out loud… guilty. My mind and body were already agonizing in the posture coming next. This is a strong reflection on the way many of us live our lives – hung up on the past or stressing about the future. Yoga snaps us into the present so we can make the most of every moment. After all, the only time we are guaranteed is right now.

 

3. Your vibe attracts your tribe.

Cultivating positive energy through yoga and mindfulness allows our practice to be of service to others. It’s contagious. Buddhists recognize the Sangha, or community as one of the Three Gems alongside the Buddha, the teacher and the Dharma, the teachings, all of which further us along our spiritual path. This support network is even more valuable as advancements of the modern world have made it easier to isolate and disconnect from the world around us. Instead, we can utilize the online yoga community to increase our Sangha to a global scale, allowing for cross-cultural connections and an overwhelming amount of online resources for sharing knowledge.

 

4. Acceptance: No mud, no lotus.

Yoga does not promise to fix us; it’s a practice of acceptance. Similar to the way the lotus mary4flower can only emerge from the muddy floor of the pond, yoga brings awareness to the difficult areas of our life and trains us to accept them so we can grow from them. We become grateful for even the most challenging situations life throws our way. Imagine that. It is through this process that we begin to experience our true nature, the union of all aspects of the self and the world around us.

 

 

 

 

 

5. For the benefit of all beings.

You don’t have to be an activist or a yoga teacher for your work to be of service to others. Living yoga and mindfulness practices allow us to go out into the world acting from a place of love, compassion and understanding. In many cases, simply not contributing to violence or hate is enough. It is only through the wisdom gained from our own experience that we can start to change the world around us.

 

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Mary’s passion for yoga has taken her across the world from the U.S. to Southeast Asia & India where she leads retreats, private lessons and co-leads 200-Hr Teacher Training. You can visit her website for more details on where she will be next.

http://www.marytilsonyoga.com/