Be YOU! 

I don’t idolize many people but there is something about Danielle LaPorte that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s her sassy attitude or that fact that she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. Ever. Regardless, that woman knows how to light a fire under people and get them to go for what it is they desire in life. 

This quote from “Firestarter Sessions” is one of those quotes that speaks to the depths of my soul:

So many people are looking for it: their Big Life Purpose.
Becoming YOU is your purpose. 
YOU are the very purpose of your existence. Realizing what lights your fire and floats your boat-that’s your life purpose. What else could it be? 
If it gives you true joy (not the seemingly happy high that is fleeting, but the reliable, always-there kind of satisfaction) to rock that guitar, to make people laugh, to discover the world, to make things a little more beautiful wherever you go, to feed, to stir it up, to clean it up, to execute the plan, to bank the cash, to be a compassionate citizen, to explore nonstop, or purely to seek pleasure…….then, that’s your life purpose! 
Your life purpose is what you say it is. 

So, ask yourself. Are you living your life purpose?? If not, what are you going to do to change that right now?  Stop waiting for your life to be how you want it to be.  The fire has been lit…….the time is now!! 

Simplicity

//Simplicity//

This has been one of my mantras for 2015. Just keep it simple.

Admittedly, Ive spent a lot of time (and money) purchasing things that only gave me a temporary amount of happiness and inevitably ended up crammed in a drawer, lost in a pile or left somewhere in my house to collect dust.

My husband introduced my to a concept called hedonic adaptation. To sum it up, it simply means: We all have a level of happiness that we maintain on a regular basis. Its how we spend a great deal of our time as we go about our daily activities. But then, we see something new and shiny (a brand new car, a house, boat, fancy electronic device, jewelry, etc) and we (falsely) think if we purchase that item, it will significantly increase our level of happiness. And, in fact, it will. But, only for a short time. Once the new wears off we are back to the same level of happiness that we were at pre-purchase of that “had to have”, “life changing” item.

Here’s an example for you:

You go to your favorite clothing store and you a see a pair of shoes that you absolutely must have. You know you shouldn’t spend the money but you think to yourself, “These shoes are awesome and I’ve just got to have them.” So, you do it. You bite the bullet and fork over the dough thinking that these shoes are going to change your life. So you rock your new shoes and you are loving them (and all the compliments you get while wearing them) but then, they start to get a little dirty and they just aren’t as fun anymore that the new has worn off and they eventually end up in your closet, forgotten about.

Yep. I would be lying if I said that never happened to me (which is why I have more yoga pants than I care to admit).

The point is, we don’t need possessions to bring us happiness. Those don’t stand the test of time anyways.  We don’t need our belongings to define who we are. We are incredible people that have so much to give and we don’t need be judged by what kind of house we live in, car we drive or clothes we wear.

Once I got clear on what it was I wanted, I realized that I would much rather collect experiences, not meaningless objects that eventually get thrown out or donated. Its amazing how little money I spend now that I understand that I don’t need possessions to make me happy. I’ve actually found more happiness watching my bank account grow than I did when I was constantly buying things that didn’t even matter to me.

I want simplicity. I want belly laughs and happy tears. I want to explore. I want unforgettable adventures with friends and family. I don’t want to be tied down by all of my possessions and I dang sure don’t want to spend my days working in order to “keep up with the Joneses” or have the latest and greatest product on the market. I wouldn’t be able to keep up anyways.

Don’t let what you own define who you are or determine your happiness. Find freedom in knowing that less truly is so much more.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius

Yin/Restorative Yoga for Athletes

This is a really great practice to do especially when the body is starting to feel fatigued. Yin is excellent for increasing mobility in the body, especially in the joints and hips as well as lubricating and protecting the joints in order to help prevent the body from getting injured due to repetitive motions found in your specific sport. I’ve put suggested time frames for how long you should stay in each pose, but ultimately you will need to listen to your body and only do what it allows you to. Take breaks when needed and be sure to relax and enjoy each pose.

Savasana– Lie on your back with the arms and legs extended. Take up space with your entire body. Turn your palms to face up and let the shoulders and hips melt into the floor. Close your eyes and start to draw your awareness to the breath. Focus on extending the inhales and exhales. Notice if there are any areas in your body that are tight or tense and concentrate on sending the breath into those parts of the body. Spend as much time as you would like here.

Bananasana– Reach the arms overhead and clasp the hands behind your head. Start to walk both feet over to the right edge of your mat (keeping your hips in place) and then follow by walking the shoulders to the right, creating this banana like shape with your entire body. To deepen the stretch, cross the left ankle over the right. Stay here for 2-3 breathing into the left side of the body. To release, come back to center and repeat on other side.

Supta Padangusthasana-Place a strap, belt or a towel around the ball of your right foot. Keep your left knee bent, sole of foot on the floor. Walk hands up strap and wrap it around the hands enough so you can relax with the shoulders and heavy on the floor. The weight of the arms will create enough tension to hold the foot up. If you would like to take this a step further, begin to walk the left forward, bringing the heel onto the mat. Spend 2-3 minutes here and then release and switch sides.

Butterfly– Come up to seated and place the soles of the feet together. Slide them away from you to create a diamond like shape with the legs. Allow your back to round as you fold forward and lightly rest your hands on your feet or on the ground. Let your head hang heavy toward the floor and if you have a block (and flexibility allows) you can place it on the feet and rest the forehead on the top of it. Stay here for 3-5 minutes and then press your hands into the floor and slowly roll up. Before moving, take a few deep breaths to allow the spine to neutralize.

Toe Squat- Begin by sitting back on your shins with the feet together. Tuck the toes under and spread them away from each other. Rest on the balls on the feet and let the hips sit back onto the heels. This is a very intense stretch as it gets into the fascia on the bottom of the foot. Breathe deeply into the stretch and relax as much as possible. Try to stay for 2-3 minutes. To release, come out slowly and lean forward placing the hands to the ground in front of the knees. Lift the hips and release the feet. You can even sway the feet from side to side for a few moments.

Ankle Stretch– Sit back onto the heels again but this time the tops of the feet will be on the floor. (If you have any knee or ankle pain, omit this pose). This might be enough of a stretch here or you can place your hands in front your knees and press into the hands to lift the knees a few inches of the mat. This pose is also fairly intense so only hold as long as you’re able and gently release by lowering the knees and stepping the feet back one at a time into plank pose.

Sphinx– Lower from plank onto your belly. Place the forearms onto the mat with the elbows just below the shoulders and lift the chest. If this doesn’t feel well in your lower back, walk the elbows a bit forward; which will lower the chest closer to the floor. If there are any sharp pains or aches then release the chest to the floor. Simply lying on your belly may be a good enough back bend for you. Remain in this pose for up to 5 minutes pressing down gently with the forearms, pelvis and toes. To release, lower the chest to the floor and rest your cheek to one side for a few moments then press up and come onto your back.

Reclining Pigeon-Once on your back, bend the knees and take the feet to the floor. Cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Stay here if this stretch is enough or draw the left thigh closer to your belly and take the hands to the back of the left leg. Stay here for 3-4 minutes sending deep breaths into the stretch. Repeat on second side.

Viparita Karani– Keep the hips on the mat and begin to draw the knees toward the chest, taking the hands behind the thighs and gently start to extend the legs overhead. Keep a soft bend in the knees and if you feel supported enough here, you can lower your arms to the mat. Allow the head and shoulders to relax into the floor and breath into the backs of the legs as the hamstrings open up. This is a great pose to do at the wall where the weight of your legs can be completely supported. Stay here for 3-4 minutes and lower down by bending the knees and extending the legs long onto the mat.

Savasana-as long as you would like.

Enjoy!

Bliss Jammin’ 

  

My two most absolute favorite books in the entire world are The Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte. If you’ve never heard of Danielle, your world is about to change. Drastically. Or at least mine did the minute I picked up my copy of The Desire Map. 

Let’s rewind to about a year and a half ago. I had just become a lululemon athletica ambassador and was fairly new to teaching yoga. (Why on earth lululemon wanted me, I have no clue!). I sat down with some of their employees as well as the other ambassadors and we did a visions and goals exercise. I had never really taken a step back to look at what my future goals were. In fact, I didn’t even have a clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. At first I was stressed out about being vulnerable enough to write my goals on paper for others to see. 

I thought to myself, “Crap! I’m going to be held accountable here. What if I don’t succeed?”

Long story short, I started to do a lot of fun daydreaming about what my future could look like. I eventually wrote out my 1, 5 and 10 year goals for lululemon to display in their store with all the others employees. I kept all my goals pretty low key. It was almost as if I was scared to dream too big. I stayed conservative. Cookie cutter. Boring. 

At that time, a good friend introduced me to Danielle and her books and since I was already pretty giddy about the vision and goals stuff I had just done, I decided to dive right into the books. The Desire Map is all about setting goals based on how you want to feel. You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing the feeling that you hope achieving that goal will give you. Danielle’s words are incredible powerful and motivating and she really gives you that swift kick in the butt that everyone needs to push them past where they want to be. That kind of uncomfortable, holy crap, this could actually happen place that we don’t allow ourselves to step into very often. 

The book leads you through a pretty indepth exercise of determining how you want to feel in multiple areas of your life: 

  • livelihood & lifestyle
  • body & wellness
  • creativity & learning 
  • relationships & society 
  • essence & spirituality

You come to learn what your core desired feelings (CDFs) are and then you can use those to determine what actions you need to take (i.e. goals/intentions) in order to feel exactly the way you want to feel. 

I learned my CDFs are:

  • Open to receive
  • Ignited 
  • Balanced
  • Confident
  • Abundant bliss
  • Connected 

And once I got clear on exactly how I wanted to feel I could set intentions for the future in order to ensure that 1,5,10,20,50 years from now, I will feel exactly the way I want to feel. This was a HUGE game changer for me. It completely shifted my thinking. Pre Desire Map, I was just writing down things that sounded good. Some were things I felt I needed to do in order to make others happy or some of the goals just sounded like they might be fun. But a chunk of them were not aligned with my core desired feelings, at all. 

I have since read the Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions three times and am constantly inspired by the words in each book. I have crossed off multiple goals in the past 18 months and each time I do, the fire just burns deeper and deeper. There is something incredibly rewarding to look back at goals or intentions you have set for yourself and be able to say “done!”. Cross it off the list, move on to the next big thing and keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop pursuing what it is that lights you up. That thing that gives you butterflies in your belly. The ideas that keep you up at night because you are so damn excited to share them with the world. Do it! What is stopping you? I can tell you that the only thing getting in your way, is you. You can do anything that you set out to do. Guaranteed. 

Set some time for yourself to think about how you truly want to feel. Light a candle, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some groovy music and get to know yourself and your CDFs. Once you determine what these are (I would suggest to just pick a few) marinate on them for a while. Days. Weeks. Months. Meditate on them. Write in your journal about them. Put them on post it notes around your computer or on your bathroom mirror. Look at them every day. Multiple times a day. Once you’ve determined that these feelings are completely aligned with how you want to feel with all your heart, you can start to determine what you need to accomplish (aka your goals) in order to meet your CDFs head on. So dream. Dream as big as possible. Make a plan and live each day getting one step closer to being completely aligned with your core desired feelings. Ride that incredible wave of bliss. This is your story. You get to decide how it’s written. 

Whenever you start guiding yourself by caring about how you feel, you
start guiding yourself back into your Stream of Source Energy, and that’s
where your clarity is; that’s where your joy is; that’s where your flexibility
is; that’s where your balance is; that’s where your good ideas come from.
That’s where all the good stuff is accessed from.
—Abraham-Hicks