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. 

Sustainable Yoga Travel – It’s Our Responsibility

“Surfing Macroeconomic Theory: Waves attract surfers. Surfing attracts energy. Energy attracts people. People attract capital. Investment attracts development. And so it goes. A quick survey from outer space would likely show an inordinate number of major coastal cities expanding outwards in concentric waves from a quality surf break.” — Steve Barilotti, Author

While yoga and surf travel have become leading niche markets in the global tourism industry, rarely do we stop to ponder the impact our destination lifestyles have on the coastal communities and natural environments where we travel to indulge our soulful meanderings.

Have you ever noticed that many of your favorite international yoga epicenters are also world-class surf spots? And similarly, do you find it strange – or even admittedly comforting – that many of these places, as they grow and develop to cater to surf and yoga tourists, end up looking and feeling the same in terms of accommodations, food and available amenities? Interestingly, yoga tourism tends to follow in the wake of surf tourism, after the initial exploratory phase when infrastructure and amenities begin to take root and surf destinations turn into towns built around surf and yoga experiences for tourists. After all, both surfers and yogis are often chasing the same sort of environment for a pristine nature immersion away from the crowds. In that search, however, we end up contributing to the complete transformation of both cultural and natural landscapes in the places we love to travel for surf and yoga.

As a sustainable tourism consultant, I’ve written extensively on the detrimental impacts of surfing tourism on coastal communities around the world, calling for locally defined standards for sustainable tourism and alternatives to development in surfing destinations. Now that yoga travel has become an international phenomenon to be reckoned with, it’s time we also interrogate the foundations of our travel-to-practice-and-teach-yoga lifestyle while exploring the potential for greater sustainability in the ways we approach our next yoga travel adventure.

First and foremost, let’s be realistic and not sugar-coat the environmental damage associated with the jet-set travel lifestyle common to many of us living a semi-nomadic yoga life. Fossil fuels and carbon emissions are the leading cause of climate change, and every time we hop on a long-distance flight to live our dreams in yoga paradise, we are contributing to the irreversible destruction of the planet. In addition, most of us are guilty of consuming more single-use plastics while traveling than when we’re at home. And, we’re less likely to prioritize sustainable producers if it means forfeiting convenience while we travel. Often, the result is a net increase in unsustainable consumption habits when travelling versus staying at home. While we practice mindfulness on the yoga mat, it’s also our responsibility to be mindful of our consumption habits when traveling, taking care to support Earth-minded service-providers and producers wherever humanly possible. Just because you’re not at home doesn’t mean you should let your sustainability priorities slide by the way-side.

Next, it’s important to be aware of how we carry our modern lifestyles and cultural attributes with us in the places we travel to practice and teach yoga, with powerful (and not always positive) effects on local people and the natural environment. Among the challenges that local communities face as more and more visitors flood to previously isolated locations are: loss of culture as locals seek to emulate the modern lifestyle and attain tourism-centered livelihoods, social inequality and marginalization resulting from upward pressure on prices forcing locals out of tourist zones, and rampant development responding to heightened tourist demand with little concern for nature. While we fulfill our yoga travel dreams, it’s important to be honest with ourselves in recognizing the impact we have on local places and people, no matter how positive our spiritual intentions may be.

Yes, surf and yoga tourism can help create jobs for local people and potentially contribute to deeper spiritual awareness as locals begin learning to surf and practicing yoga themselves. However, it’s most frequently the case that the majority of businesses in surf and yoga destinations are owned by foreigners and not by locals, which contributes to deep social inequalities and further marginalization of local people as the town grows and develops around tourism. This is why seeking out locally owned businesses and service providers is a vital first step in bringing greater sustainability to the way we travel – in yoga destinations and beyond.

What can we do?

There are a few ways to lessen your footprint while travelling, all of which relate to adopting an attitude geared toward minimizing excess consumption and respecting local ways of life and livelihood. This means prioritizing locally owned businesses and behaving as if you are a guest in someone else’s home wherever you go. Do your homework when booking accommodations and tours, as well as in choosing places to eat and shop, supporting locals as a means to improve their economic wellbeing and ensure that more money stays within the town’s economy. Eat local as much as possible, avoiding the imported goods you are familiar with at home. After all, there’s a reason you’ve left your comfort zone, and eating local is one of the easiest ways to contribute to greater sustainability while you travel.

Learn the local cultural standards and attune your actions accordingly, taking care to stay respectful in honoring cultural differences. Take an interest in the culture so local residents can feel that their way of life is beautiful and intrinsically valuable, not somehow backwards or less than in the ways it differs from the dominant modern lifestyle. This will also contribute to a more authentic travel experience if locals see that tourists are taking a real interest in their culture and not just looking for the same creature comforts curated to mimic modern amenities and help tourists feel at home.

And finally, hold your foreign service providers and fellow travelers accountable to sustainable practices, including waste water treatment, solid waste management, minimizing consumption and avoiding the use of single-use plastics. If you see foreign business owners cutting corners on essential sustainability practices and harming the natural environment in the process, say something. As a guest, you have an important role to play in helping hold business owners accountable to the environment, especially in places where regulation is lax, non-existent or unenforced.

Similarly, bring your own containers for to-go orders at restaurants, and ask the juice bar to fill up your water bottle instead of using a disposable plastic cup. Most importantly, avoid the temptation to lecture locals about sustainability – they are not to blame for the piles of trash left by visiting tourists. Instead, lead by example and encourage your travelling yogi comrades to do their part in leaving as little trace as possible in the places we love to practice and teach around the world.

When it comes to sustainable yoga travel, we are the change we have been waiting for.

 

 

Tara Ruttenberg is a writer, surfer, yogini and sustainability consultant in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Tara created Tarantula Surf (www.tarantulasurf.com / @tarantulasurf) as a space for authentic story sharing and engaging with new living paradigms.

How Every Yoga Teacher Can Benefit From a Permaculture Design Course

As a student and teacher of yoga, I am consistently  called to continuing education. This January, I completed a Permaculture Design Course at Punta Mona: A Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies. It is situated in a unique and remote location where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea in Costa Rica. The property has one of the largest collections of useful plants in the country and is a beautiful place to deeply connect with nature. Besides the center and facilitators being top quality, there are also these draws: daily yoga classes, the ocean front location, and the fact it’s called “The land of freedom!”

What is Permaculture?

“Permaculture is the art of designing beneficial relationships.”  -Starhawk

“Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.”   -Wikipedia

We can create and nurture beneficial relationships many places in our lives; in our gardens, our home design, our community, our businesses, on our yoga mats, etc. Permaculture can be applied to all aspects of our lives and society. It teaches us to observe patterns so we can design our lives with a holistic mind set and return back to the basics and live simply.

Permaculture helps us gain practical life tools to see the land as a canvas for opportunity and to see the Earth with fresh eyes. Practicing this philosophy is a great step in an important life long journey to see the world in a new way.

Permaculture Ethics:

Earth Care: Cultivating a deep respect for nature.

People Care: Self care for ourselves and others.

Future Care: Living with the intention to create a positive legacy.

Fair Share: Letting go of the competitive mind set and thinking about ‘co-opertition’.

The basic curriculum in the course includes class topics such as; ethics, principles, design, soil health, water strategies, plants, energy, earth works, and social systems.

How Permaculture Compliments a Yoga Practice:

-Ignites progressive thinking and regenerative design.

-Empowers leadership and positive action.

-Encourages creative problem solving. “The problem is the solution.”

-Inspires a return to the basics. Simple living.

-Builds resiliency practices.

Participating in a Permaculture Design Course creates space for amazing potential to birth new projects and collaborations. It is a wonderful place to build lifelong friendships that have optimisitc solution based perspectives.

Grow. Expand. Take Action.

Create your guild!

Deepen your practice as a student and a teacher by blending Permacutlure Design into your life on and off the mat.

Visit this educational paradise!

Punta Mona:

puntamona.org

FB: puntamonacenter

IG: @puntamona

 

 

 

Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

 

Yoga Business: How to Create Location Independence and Sustainable Success Catching Up With The Yoga Nomads

We feel extremely fortunate to know Anne and Brandon, aka The Yoga Nomads. We have been friends thru the Yoga Trade community for several years now. This inspiring couple left their successful jobs in Corporate America to follow their passions for yoga and travel. Following their hearts has allowed them to live their truth and create an incredible yoga business resource that helps yoga teachers build fulfilling careers. It has been amazing to learn, grow, and explore while on parallel tracks. The number one question many of us on this ‘yoga traveler’ path receive is, “How do you do it?” It often takes a lot more than just showing up to teach a yoga class to make this kind of lifestyle work. We recently caught up with Anne and Brandon to share some of their wisdom, real life experiences, and insights on how to create sustainable success as a roaming yoga teacher or wellness professional. 

 

Tell us a bit about how you are able to sustain your flow of yoga and travel…

 

Very carefully…!

 

Mentally & Physically:

Healthy daily routines: This is the foundation of everything we do. Without these practices, it can throw our lives off balance, especially while traveling. These include:

Daily meditation, eating nourishing food, staying hydrated, practicing yoga, being physically active, reading, podcasting and in general: learning! (Travel helps us learn so much about the world and ourselves, which influences everything we do!).

 

Financially:

Teaching yoga & The Yoga Nomads biz

In 2013 we made a decision to leave the corporate world for a more fulfilling work/life balance, seeking out meaningful work while getting to explore the world. We worked hard for a combined 10 years in corporate america so had a cushion to work with as we started The Yoga Nomads. Originally a blog showing yoga teachers how to travel + teach, we started making a name for ourselves in the market as this idea was just starting to become popular (traveling and teaching). Since then, our focus has shifted a bit to help yoga teachers create websites and build sustainable businesses. We earn the majority of our income on The Yoga Nomads through 1:1 yoga business coaching and we have an online course about how to build a website.

What is the number one piece of advice you like to pass along to aspiring traveling yoga teachers?

 

Build a website! This will help you stand out in a saturated market, get better teaching gigs abroad, and help you network while you build a business that sustains you as you travel.

 

How do you build community as a nomad?

 

We are both extroverted people so building community wherever we go comes naturally. One way we do this in the yoga space is by seeking out all the studios in the area we are traveling to and getting to know the owners, teachers and staff. We attend their classes, share with them our mission at The Yoga Nomads and ensure we leave connected online by exchanging emails, websites, social media, etc.

 

But because we live in a digital world, building community online is also important. We build community online by staying active on social media (actually genuinely engaging in FB groups, etc.), sending out a weekly newsletter to our email subscribers, and initiating and participating in challenges on social media.

 

Why are the qualities of; open to learn new skills, diversification, and commitment to mindful business responsibilities important for yoga teachers?

 

Because these are all qualities of successful entrepreneurs! And if you want to make it as a financially independent yoga teacher, it’s imperative you start thinking like an entrepreneur. Yoga teachers are entrepreneurs too!

 

 

Becoming ‘location independent’ is so hot right now. Can you share some knowledge on how someone interested in this kind of lifestyle can get started working toward this?

 

 

It is absolutely #trending right now! This makes things easier for those looking to make a change as there are plentiful resources on how to do it.

 

Before considering plunging into a location independent lifestyle, we recommend considering what your strengths are and what you are really good at doing/producing. Then begin to consider if these things are something you can take with you on the road or online.

 

Also, be sure to test the idea out at home first. Make sure you’re able to acquire clients and earn and income before you leave. Although traveling and working sounds amazing, it is actually quite difficult to balance travel and working full-time online. This is also why we highly recommend traveling SLOW. Slow travel fosters quicker growth for your business, as you’re not constantly moving around and changing work environments.

 

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

 

As more people are getting curious and serious about their health, the industry for yoga teachers and wellness entrepreneurs is going to grow exponentially.

 

To continue to remain successful in your niche, yoga teachers and wellness entrepreneurs will need to take control over their own brand. This means building a website and creating a strong online presence. Having a website as your backbone will allow you to take full ownership over your current or future products and services and will act as your 24/7 marketing machine.

 

Furthermore, the crossover appeal is going to rise as well. With creating a healthy lifestyle becoming more popular (yay), yoga teachers with additional trades (nutritionist, chiropractor, bodyworker, etc.), will be servicing the same people with multiple offerings. The question is how can you be a part of that change as the world gets healthier?

 

What locations are on your current yoga travel bucket list?

 

Colombia, Switzerland, Australia…and more islands…!

 

Anything else you would like to share…..

 

If you don’t already have a yoga website and are curious about what it takes to create one, we put together a beginner’s guide for you, for free!

 

 

 

 

Anne and Brandon are a nomadic yogi couple from Minnesota. After a successful stint in Corporate America, they teach yoga instructors how to create their own website & build a fulfilling yoga career. Co-Founders of The Yoga Nomads and CreateBeautifulYogaWebsites.com

Download our FREE Beginners Guide: How to Create a Yoga Website you LOVE (7 steps).

Panama Sail Adventure: Living Yoga at Sea

Five years ago in Indonesia, on the very same trip the idea for Yoga Trade was born, I also met Captain Bryan Blaze. His sense of adventure instantly captivated me. Bryan, a seasoned sailor, was living part time in Indo and part time in Panama. In 2012, I remember him telling me about a passion project he was focusing on in Central America. We kept in touch intermittently. It has been inspiring to stay in contact with a fellow free-spirited entrepreneur who has persevered and made a grand vision a reality. Bryan is the Founder of Nirvana Surf Yoga and captain and owner of the Green Flash Catamaran based out of Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Last March, divine timing was on our side and a group of incredibly creative yogis came together in the archipelago to board the Green Flash to spend 3 nights of living yoga at sea. In addition to Bryan and I, our group was comprised by; Diego, an acro yoga teacher, traveler, and photographer from Venezuala. Judita, a globetrotter, ocean lover, and sailor from the Czech Republic. And Simone, a wellness travel educator, photographer, and soul sister from Oregon. This experience was one for the books and a good reminder that sometimes the most profound yoga revelations come when we integrate yoga into our everyday activities and adventures.

All photos by Simone Levine and Diego Barbato

Our first night was spent moored just off of Bastimentos Island. The beauty of the first light and colorful glow awoke me in the morning. I rose and went to the deck to watch the sun rise over the jungle island. It was amazing to practice meditation with the sounds of sweet hooting birds and gentle waves making playful sounds against the boat. Together we snacked on a light and healthy breakfast and then went to land to share a lovely asana practice at Red Frog beach.

 

The journey continued as we headed toward the Zapatilla Islands and eventually further south. Although we did not score swells ideal for surfing on this trip, we were blessed with phenomenal water clarity and we happily immersed ourselves in all its glory. Daily activities included; cruising around on the SUPs, snorkeling, and swimming. We tapped into our childlike states attempting flips and back dives off the boat. We took some goofy underwater mermaid shots and even played a round of underwater karaoke. We explored an uninhabited island and were graced by the presence of beautiful sea life.

The colors of the water from these days will continue to inspire my dreams and and imagination beyond this lifetime.

 

Our last night we ended up in a stunning bay where a local village resides. The new moon and favorable conditions delivered shooting stars and magnificent bioluminescence. The following morning we paddled into land and took a short hike to yet another picture perfect beach. We played around with some acro yoga, body surfed, and connected with a few local people. In the afternoon, the winds began to pick up a bit and we enjoyed a peaceful sail. My favorite memory comes from this afternoon…while swaying in the hammock listening to the sound of a tibetan chime, I realized we were flowing in synch with a pod of dolphins! Sailing has a magical way of bringing us in touch with presence and gratitude for this amazing world in which we live!

 

 

 

Benefits of Integrating Yoga and Sailing:

 

RELATIONSHIPS

While living on a boat, there are not many places to run or hide. This dynamic allows relationships to become magnified. Not only the relationships with ourselves but also our relationships with others. This can be challenging at times, but this also causes growth. Constant changes and ‘unknowns’ are thrown into the mix while sailing. As individuals and as a group we must adapt and deal with the situations at hand. The art of designing beneficial relationships is our choice, and being on a boat can help unveil work that needs to be done while helping us form special human connections.

BALANCE

Simple balance poses such as Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana), take on a whole new personality while cruising on water. For yogis who have practiced for a while, sailing brings unique approaches to postures. It is a great way to work on strengthening our smaller, secondary muscles. Also, being in the middle of the sea allows us to observe in great depth our emotional and spiritual balance. If you have yet to experience much sailing or time on the ocean, it is a great way to view things with new perspectives.

 

EXPLORATION

The ocean is teeming with life. Humans have barely scratched the surface when it comes to ocean exploration, and to some, the ocean feels like the final frontier here on earth. What better place to practice yoga than a place like this, where we can simultaneously explore our inner world while appreciating and exploring our outer existence here on this planet.

 

LEARN NEW SKILLS & LIVING YOGA

There is so much to learn about sailing. Navigation, wind, mechanics, etc….and this is only the beginning. Just like yoga, and many things in life, sailing allows us to be a forever student. It allows us to strengthen our problem solving skills, keep positive mindsets, and make do with what we have. It can give us confidence in realizing we do know more than we think if we have patience to reach new discoveries. Also, we can practice living our yoga by becoming aware that what we get out of an experience is a direct result of what we put into it.

 

BE IN TUNE WITH THE ELEMENTS

Living in fresh air and on a boat makes it easy for us to get in tune with the natural elements and our own circadian rhythm. Waking up with the sunrise, stargazing at night, feeling the winds, riding the currents, and becoming intuitively in touch with the swell, helps us feel deeply connected. It is from this place of deep connection that creative energy and flow is the most potent.

 

SUSTAINABILITY

By being immersed in and surrounded by mother ocean, it allows us to naturally form a deep respect for her and the entire natural world. We become more aware of the impact many modern life normalities can have, and start looking to alternative and more regenerative ways to live and thrive. Pondering, ‘all we need is less’ can be quite easy to do while sailing on a boat, and a great place to begin our pledge to living more simply and sustainably.

I left Bocas Del Toro with a full heart and beaming with gratitude for this opportunity and for the time spent with old and new friends.

Take your practice deeper by integrating yoga philosophies into everyday life.

There is a place inside of you where magic grows…KEEP THAT PLACE ALIVE!

To join in on a yoga at sea adventure or to bring a retreat group of your own on the Green Flash Cat, visit Nirvana Surf Yoga for more information:

NIRVANASURFYOGA.COM

 

 

 

 

Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

 

Article Photography by: Simone Levine and Diego Barbato

 

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.

abi6

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

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

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

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

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

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

abi2

 

Know this and grow with it. Feel it.

Sulking gets us no where. LOVE MOVES.

Let the shadow push you to the light.

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

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

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

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

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

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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

 

 

abi4

 

 

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

IG: @scrambby

Sustain the Flow: Doug Swenson

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Swenson in South Lake Tahoe, California where he holds annual yoga teacher training courses. As the years pass by, I am becoming more and more inspired and intrigued by people like Doug who have dedicated their life to the path of yoga. Doug’s passion for connecting with nature and his enthusiasm for life is contagious. Here we catch up with Doug as he shares some wisdom on how to ‘sustain the flow‘. Thank you for shining bright Doug!

When did you get introduced to yoga?

 

I was first introduced to yoga in 1963, when I was 13 years – my parents belonged to a church group (Unitarian Fellowship) which was a diverse group of ideas – with no one certain concept. Ironically one member of the Group was a Yoga master, Ernest Wood and he would teach some of the kids yoga a few times a month.

 

How has your yoga practice changed over the years?

 

My yoga practice is constantly evolving and changing, much like all of life. Specifically my practice has become more refined and very expansive, to touch every aspect of my everyday life, helping me to embrace more clarity, awareness and gratitude in all ways.
 
Most important – I am not so focused on doing the best asana, yet feel deep appreciation for just doing yoga under a tree and the amazing feeling of clarity I am rewarded with, this is a heavenly gift.
doug3
 

What are your tips on how to “sustain the flow”?

 

I assume you mean the (vinyasa of life), which can be represented as a river flowing to the sea. We can be conscious and aware in life, or just walk around mindlessly, not paying any attention to what we are doing and how our existence creates ripples in time. My suggestion is to live simply, create a sacred bond with nature, and adopt the highest quality vegan diet. Most important in this computer age – embrace gratitude for simplicity and try your best to get off electronics whenever possible, touch the earth and breathe light.
doug1
 

You travel A LOT….what helps keep you grounded while always on the move?

 

I stay grounded by embracing a mostly raw vegan diet, drinking fresh squeezed green juice, and enjoying daily fitness, including my own personal yoga practice.

Words of wisdom on the importance of COMMUNITY?

 

Community is the fabric of society and yet community is also the dark side to persuade humans to fall from grace. In any group – you have to be strong with an independent and progressive mind, be respectful and mindful of others and yet – Be the Light and you will never be afraid of darkness.
 
Learn to be the one with the good influence, not the one who is the gravity of failure, self-destruction and ecological disaster. Everyone is different, I am more of a loner, or recluse, most of the time, because I learn more about myself and find great joy in quiet time and self-reflection – this is where I draw my strength to interact with society.  
doug6
 

What does “living in the current” mean to you?

 

To me it means the moment is eternity, yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not arrived, so by being present we are more successful in all ways. Reflect on the past as a learning experience and priceless moments, then envision the future as a positive path and yet all the while – most importantly life this moment right now.  

“Life is what happens ~ when we are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

It can also mean – being a part of the life force energy – being prana.
doug5
 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

 

To me time is only a number for mathematicians to stimulate the brain – I do not think in years – humans are much too busy counting steps of the sun, as the moments pass by and you miss the bus. I only aspire to see myself and all things in greater light!!!   
doug9
 

Who or what inspires you most?

 

Mother-nature, moonlight on the midnight ocean, sunrise in the Mountains and playing on waves with dolphins. The simplicity of picking wild berries on a warm summer day and the gift of true love.
 

What mantra resonates with you most right now?

 

I rarely follow the path of others – So will jump the fence on this one and say:
 

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time – you might just find you get what you need “ – Rolling Stones  

doug4
 

Anything else you would like to share?

 

Yes, a philosophical poem I wrote:
 
Be The Light
If the desert would give back
This sand, like a mother’s touch of warmth
Yet cactus just dreams of a watery life
And ask why – as the night whispers
~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow needs our love, our kindness
And genuine integrity – this flower slow dances
Like a homeless thought, lost between time
Ego fishes for answers and yet – finds no truth
~~~~~~~~~~~
The taste of yesterday’s richness
Touched stray mountains – where sunbeams seek peace
It is not enough – to be the love of the wind
We must find the heart in preservation and be the light…

 

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Doug Swenson began his study of yoga in 1969. He has had the fortune of studying with many great teachers including Dr. Ernest Wood, K. Pattabhi Jois, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, Ramanand Patel, and others. Doug is a master yoga practitioner, philosopher, poet and dedicated health advocate. He has incorporated influences from several different yoga systems along with his passion for nutrition and the environment to develop his unique approach. Over the years he has authored several books; “Yoga Helps”, “The Diet That Loves You Most”, “Power Yoga for Dummies” and “Mastering the Secrets of Yoga Flow“. Doug is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance and travels extensively offering workshops, retreats and teacher training courses around the world. Doug’s classes are always invigorating and inspirational and his supportive style of teaching and keen sense of humor send his students home with a smile on their face and a softness within their heart.

http://www.sadhanayogachi.com/

YogActivism: Peggy Oki

Cover Photo: Matt Dayka

The Power of YogActivism

As yogis we have a special responsibility to use the increased awareness and energy that can come from our practice and put it towards something positive. If we’re not careful, yoga can at times lead to a self-centered sense that it’s all about us. On one level that is certainly true, our thoughts and actions do have a very definite impact on our life and the lives of those around us. Collectively our thoughts and actions weave together to create the society we live in. When we make a committed decision to engage the aspects of ourselves that we need to work on, it’s important to also find ways to externalize that effort out into the world. Injustice exists in the world, perhaps it’s all just the gears of karma slowly churning their way through the universe. And perhaps the passion you feel in your heart for a particular injustice are those same karmic gears at work inside of you. Calling you to take action. Calling you to stand up for what you believe in and make a difference, however small it may seem. Through yoga we learn that given enough time, our bodies will start to respond to the practice. Softening, opening, strengthening. If we apply that lesson to the places in our lives where we feel called to action, amazing things can happen.

Living our yoga combined with a consistent effort toward social change we feel passionate about = YogActivism

In this episode of Radio Lantern, a podcast that explores and illuminates the many pathways to a fulfilled life, Angelo sits down with Peggy Oki, an activist and Founder of the Origami Whales Project who puts her energy where her heart is and works tirelessly to affect change in an effort to help save our oceans and the beautiful sentient beings who inhabit them. Through yoga and surfing, Peggy is able to weave joy into her life while she makes the difficult journey of the activist.

Listen to the podcast here: PEGGY OKI

 

 

Video by: Angelo Regalbuto

Home Free Yogis

After an epic El Niño sunset surf session in Santa Barbara, I decided to wind down with some yoga. Being new to area I ventured to the DiviniTree studio having no expectations. It was there I met the inspiring souls of James and his partner Krista who were in town preparing for Lucidity Festival. James was subbing the class I attended, and in that moment it was just what I needed. Come to find out, we all have a lot in common; enjoying a life of purpose and growth while living nomadically and home free. Grateful for the opportunity to catch up with James as he shares some of his insights, knowledge, and experience as a roaming yoga teacher… 

Cover Photo: Setareh Vatan Photography

What life events led you to become a traveling yogi?

I became a traveling yogi out of a desire to participate in creative opportunities and fun adventures that present themselves, from festivals and snowboarding, to workshops and exploring new places. Instead of spending a lot of time working to pay rent and having to say no to invitations to create and engage with life, I chose to open my world and hit the road. It didn’t make sense to be paying rent somewhere I wouldn’t be at half of the time anyway, and I wanted to experience more freedom and availability for projects, people and spontaneity. Living nomadically means following my path and being in the flow. I’ve realized if you give space, have trust and allow, there is so much potential for life to show up for you, things reveal themselves if you give them time.

What has allowed you to continue to live nomadically?

I am able to be a nomad by needing little, being frugal, having lots of community support and continuously developing relationships and skills. There are great resources already in place to experience the world “outside the box”, such as Craigslist rideshare, couch-surfing, Yoga Trade and mostly having a strong network of others who live alternative life-styles, including yogis, festival goers, earth guardians, and those not seduced by the typical American Dream, of consumption or ownership through acquiring debt. After all, it’s all borrowed anyway, the more things you own, the more your things own you.

 

What are the benefits of being a nomadic yoga teacher?

I am free to follow my intuition and be guided by Spirit because I’m not committed to a job. It’s like having an “open relationship” with employers; we can work together, rather james5than me working for them. I have more opportunities for collaboration and co-creating events; offerings become more a choice than an “obligation”. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing people show up that I wouldn’t connect with if I was just staying at “home”. I don’t have a boss. I am empowered to share the message my way. I get to spread yoga, particularly yin, in different environments, like at studios and transformational festivals, to out-reach yoga through collaborating with organizations, like teaching yoga in prisons and free yoga in the park. Creating different events and offerings stretches my creative and organizations skills.

Another benefit of being a nomadic yoga teacher is my expenses are low, which allows my life-style to be sustainable; I make decisions based on inspiration, creativity and choice rather than finances. I have the opportunity to enjoy fun free activities and experiences, like going to the beach, park or a hike, and being able to say yes to things that arise. People wonder what they’ll do when they don’t have a job, but consider all the things that show up that you have to say no to because you have to go work. I love the freedom to explore and say yes, to connect and share inspiration.


Any hardships you deal with being a nomadic yoga teacher?

It’s more challenging to create certain types of routine, you have to be more innovative, creative and have foresight with things like food, laundry, showers and basic necessities that are easily provided with a home. Also, like in most industries or careers, it is easier to build students (clients/customers) when you are still and consistent. I have been able to build a student population that appreciates my teachings and respects my life-style choices. Everything takes more work when it is a single offer; creating titles and descriptions, negotiating price and percentages, scheduling and marketing. When you are a teacher that has regular classes it is more of a routine to go to work.

There’s a challenge for me with some people because when they know I am transient, they are less inclined to engage with me, be vulnerable or build relationships. Some people have trouble comprehending where you live when you’re a nomad and there can be judgments from that. On the other hand, I meet a lot of folks who are inspired and interested, they share my excitement and love to be connected to what I’m doing. I’ve learned my quality time with people is often better because I’m either coming or going, there is a recognition the time we spend together is valuable, maybe because of it’s rarity.

How does your partnership with a fellow yoga teacher inspire your teachings and life?

My partnership with KristaLove is inspiring because of the level of accountability we hold. We are committed to honesty, transparency, authenticity and clear communication. We support each other to continue to practice this way of being in our partnership and other realms of life. We are in an Open-Relationship; for us this meansjames6 rather than denying our thoughts and feelings to ourselves or hiding them from each other, we openly share what we are thinking and feeling, and openly receive the other’s thoughts and feelings without reaction and with compassion.

Our relationship is uplifting because we share similar aspirations, particularly in spreading the power of yoga. We share values of how we want to live in the world, dietary practices and a commitment to enhancing our individual connections to Spirit.

I enjoy witnessing Krista’s growth in her practice and teachings. I love receiving her teachings because I know she has intelligent sequencing and a deep knowing of the practice that comes from years of experience. Krista reinforces my alignment with myself, in my asana practice and in romantic partnership. We create opportunities to unpack life, to be curious together and to teach each other things we’ve learned before we were in partnership; it’s amazing to be a teacher and a student for each other. A perspective we both share of partnership is the chance to have a mirror, someone to hold a clear reflection to receive and integrate feedback. We love having fun, sharing emotional and physical intimacy, and celebrating personal and collective growth. We choose to see relationship as spiritual practice, a space for true presence, a catalyst for healing and growth. Even if there are moments we need space from each other, we give that space to support the Love that is there.

Implementing partner yoga as part of our practice has been a potent avenue to assist and support each other. Our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage goes beyond yoga for both of us; it incorporates the necessity and benefits of touch and affection. Krista’s interest in conscious sexuality and responsible relationships has allowed me to reflect on how little people get touch, particularly outside of family or romantic relationships. As affection advocates, we are inspired to create a culture of affection and connection. We’ve learned platonic and romantic touch and affection support our health and well being, the neurochemistry of affection is fascinating! Check out our blog “Home Free Yogis” to learn more. I love being a Yoga Ambassador with her, co-facilitating workshops, assisting each other’s classes and educating others on how to teach yoga safely, effectively and creatively.

 

Tell us more about your current projects…

One of my biggest callings and passions is being a Yin Yoga Ambassador, spreading the transformational power of yin yoga, along with teaching many other styles of yoga. I james4have multiple offerings for sharing yin yoga, from specialty seasonal classes, introductory workshops for those new to yin or wanting to learn more, and teacher trainings that concentrate on sequencing, meridians and creating well-balanced classes.

My partner Krista and I are excited to share our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage. This practice uses the power of yin yoga to open and balance the body and move chi, while applying elements of Thai Yoga Massage to increase stimulation and enhance the practitioner’s experience by supporting their unique shape. An important element of Yin Yoga Massage is sharing touch through teaching people to assist and massage each other with compassion.

I am also thrilled to be a collaborator with YogiTunes, an affordable online resource for yoga teachers and studio owners to play conscious music, with the profits going directly to artists because the rights are owned by the organization (which is becoming more of an issue as far as legality of rights and playing music in classes). I am a YogiTunes DJ with multiple themed playlists made by incredible producers and musicians I find inspiring.

I am the creator of the Sac-Sierra Yoga Pass, a multi-studio passport good for a single drop-in at over 40 studios from the Sacramento area to Lake Tahoe. This was inspired by my desire to create a bridge for the yoga community to share offerings, rather than being competitive or individually business-minded.

Another major collaborative project I’m a part of is Lucidity Festival, a transformational gathering in its 5th year in the hills of Santa Barbara, CA. The folks who produce the event are raising the bar as far as conscious festival production. I am inspired by their integrated way of working together which is highly effective and forward thinking with the systems in place for alternative conflict resolution to help the community thrive. They are moving towards larger aspirations, including and not limited to, supporting artists and artisans, offering alternative education opportunities, acquiring and creating sustainable community and shared land projects. Festivals are a play-ground for experimentation as we move towards re-establishing a village. Lucidity is an incredible experiment I am grateful to be a part of.

And I am always seeking ways to continue to network the yoga highway as a yoga ambassador, through supporting transformational festivals, conscious artists and continuing to share and teach. I’m excited for upcoming creations, like downloadable yoga classes and Yin DVD’s to reach a broader audience and more!

 

Why do you think we are seeing more wellness events and yoga as an aspect at transformational gatherings?

Transformational gatherings by nature are supporting people’s conscious evolution through personal and collective transformation. This culture is growing because people are acknowledging they want more out of a gathering than just a party. There is a genuine desire to connect and experience community. There are more spaces for elders to come and teach, and for families with children to experience music, art, education and creative expression. This demonstrates a recognition that community means multiple generations and lenses of perspective.

Wellness offerings are increasing at festivals as well as contributions in art, yoga, massage, permaculture & sustainability, do-it-yourself workshops, professional education, and a more holistic understanding of intimacy and relationships through offerings and human relationships. These festivals are a space to re-establish the village, the collective perspective. The stereotypical options we are given by mainstream culture are less attractive to people. We are waking up to the knowing that there are more options than what we’ve been told, rejecting the limited view of ways to be, and awakening to their authentic, unique and creative truths.

 

Who or what have been your greatest teachers?

Reading the Tao Te Ching has been one of my greatest teachers. This simple yet profound text encourages a contemplative way of being, to be a witness and observer of life. It gives examples of the watery, fluid like quality of existence, and I try to use that example in my life by creating fluidity and freedom.

Ram Das is another of my favorite spiritual teachers. He is an incredibly accessible, james1funny, and non-dualistic Western teacher who is a bridge, bringing Eastern philosophy and wisdom to the West.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen monk and international peace activist, revealed to me the Truth behind Buddha’s message on the lack of independent origination, he calls it inter-being, which means nothing arose independently, nothing is isolated. Everything you identify with has been influenced by others or something before you, you are connected to everything in the realm of form: physical, thought energetic, emotion. And we are all one in Spirit.

Finally, my puppy Stitch is one of my favorite teachers because he take nothing personally, is unconditionally loving, is happy to see every living thing he comes into contact with and his natural disposition is to be playful and curious.

Life and its series of trial and error, pitfalls and successes, has taught me that as you move with your own flow, sometimes against the current of “traditional culture”, truth will always support you.

 

If you could share one sentence that the whole world would see, what would it be…

Trust your Intuition.

 

Anything else you would like us to share…

Festival culture, collaborating in the yoga world and learning about sustainability, and conscious relating allow me avenues to be a bridge builder and thread weaver, to create a more supported, connected and authentic world. I invite you to step into your unique expression of life and do what you love and are called to. It is through this that you will offer your best to yourself, humanity and our planet.

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James Kapicka is a yoga ambassador and event producer with a passion for bringing together community in a way that supports acceptance and forgiveness as we learn to evolve as beings. Through sincere and heartfelt expression, he creates an environment that empowers students to stay in their integrity and trust their intuition. James offers sacred ceremonies intended to facilitate personal growth and healing through the unconditionally giving of authentic self in a way that protects innocence and promotes creative play and expression. His classes, workshops, and events center on profound re-evolutionary change both within and in how we exist in society and in our relationship with Mother Earth.

Lakey Peterson on Yoga & Life

Lakey Peterson is one of the world’s leading female surfers. Beyond being a superior athlete, she also has passionate commitments to community and helping the planet. Here Lakey shares some of her insights on wellness, the environment, and what inspires her most. Thanks for taking time to share and for being YOU Lakey!     

How do you think all athletes can benefit from a yoga practice?

I think yoga is such a great way to slow down your mind. Often times as an athlete you are doing so many things in a day from training, interviews, emails, watching footage, surfing (or whatever sport you do) that you forget to just take a moment and breathe. The mind is so powerful and I find in yoga I always finish a class with a clear head and ready to go again.

Do you have a meditation or visualization practice? How does it help your surfing?

Yes! I think that meditation and visualization are so powerful. Your mind is strong and you have to exercise it like the rest of your body.
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Advice on how to stay grounded and healthy while traveling?

After you fly always do some form of exercise. You need to get your blood pumping and sweat out everything. Also, bring your own food on the plane. I never eat plane food. I bring an avocado, apple, nuts and drink a crazy amount of water.

Any insights on how we can all serve the greater good of humanity and the environment?

We really need to be aware of how much plastic we use. It is the biggest issue in today’s world. Start using your own coffee cup in the morning, bring your own forks and knives so you don’t need to use plastic ones, and try to challenge yourself to not buy anything in plastic at the supermarket. Its nearly impossible but really eye opening. Also, when you are out and about pick up five or more pieces of trash every time. All of these things add up, get involved and spread the word. It’s a team effort!

“We really need to be aware of how much plastic we use.”

Tell us about your vision at The Salty Coconut

Its really been a fun project for me. I just want to inspire people to be healthy! It makes life so much better and brings so much happiness to people. So that’s really why I started it. Right now I am really focused on my surfing career and the last 6 months I have realized how much I want to put all my eggs in that basket. So I am actually at a bit of a standstill with the site, but will be a big focus of mine in the future!
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Who have been your greatest life teachers? What inspires you most?

My mom probably. She has a pretty crazy life story and she is still so strong! She always does the right thing. I really think she has taught me the most in life and inspires me a lot.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’ll be 31! Thats crazy! Haha…By that point, I want to have a family. I still will surf for fun of course and hopefully be involved with the industry in some way. I would love to be working a ton with The Salty Coconut then as well, and hopefully building my business in that way and inspiring others.
Lakey’s interests not only lie with surfing. She is an all-around athlete and deeply committed philanthropist, connected to several non-profits that serve the greater good of humanity and the environment. She has raised funds for H4O (Hands4Others) and lakey5worked hands-on in the implementation of their clean water systems in 3rd-World countries. She sits on the Advisory Board for Ocean Lovers Collective and is a spokesperson for the SCA (Student Conservation Association), which is the largest volunteer organization for students in high school and college, to help keep our national parks and trails pristine. Lakey is also deeply passionate about raising awareness and money for children’s cancer and is connected to several children’s hospitals in Southern California. Lakey also has her own yearly surf contest for young kids in her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. She wanted to be able to give kids a chance to experience the ocean from a young age and have a fun day at the beach with family and friends. Last year, close to 250 kids came to the event, with the goal for more and more to attend each year.

CONNECT WITH LAKEY:

Lakey Peterson

The Salty Coconut

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All Article Photos By:  Willie Kessel Photography