This past weekend not only did I get to dive into my YOLI SUP yoga training (quite literally into Lake Union in Seattle) but I got to try some pretty awesome products in our "swag bag". The one I cannot get enough of, nor stop raving about, is Coola Suncare's 30 SPF unscented matte tint. It's a velvety mineral sunscreen that is like nothing I've ever tried. I'm very fair skinned, like -burst into flames - lobster- tan - kind of girl, so I have sensitive skin, i burn easily and my face can get pretty nightmarish after time in the sun and water, but Coola had me covered! It even makes a great primer, immediately smoothing out the skin. It contains Rose Hip Oil which helps fight free radicals, Evening Primrose Oil which helps to calm the skin, Flax Seed Oil that helps improve elasticity and retain moisture, Natural Shea Butter which smooths and hydrates, and the plankton extract rejuvenates the skin. Made for all skin types and tones i was thankful to have this tucked into my on-board bag. Water resistant up to 40 minutes, it covered my yoga on liquid practice as well as practicing on and off board rescues with my fellow trainees. Great product. love love love. Thank you Coola, and to Melissa Longfellow and Jenn Perell from Yoga On Liquid International for the hook-up!!
It's no secret that I love Star Wars, I cruise around town in my Jeep with Vader at my back.
I've loved star wars since i was a very young "jedi" so I find it a bit funny that i am able to relate star wars to yoga.
Last night I was reviewing the Gunas, or yogic natures or energies, for my upcoming exam. I started to think about this galaxy far, far away, how the jedis used the force to maintain it's sattvic ways. And how Darth Vader, although often misunderstood, epitomizes the dark side (with or without cookies). He is Tamas. He is evil, dark, and rotten.
Then you have Yoda. All knowing, enlightened, wise, and good he is. Yoda is ultimately Sattvic. We all strive and try to be like Yoda, but "do or do not, there is no try".
Luke Skywalker, our young hero, is filled with desire to see what was out there in that big, bold, universe and to become a great Jedi, this was bold, and passionate, and down right rajasic. Not until young Skywalker learns the way of the sattva guna and even the "force" beyond all of the gunas and after many long, rajasic battles, the universe is finally restored back to the realms of it's sattvic nature.
And further yet we all have ALL of these qualities within us, that we must keep balanced, if Yoda's light saber wielding skills went to his ears he could have tipped into a rajastic realm, but he maintained vision and balance, remained wise and steadfast and true. Maybe if Anakin wouldn't have been so angry and been true to his ujjayi breathing he wouldn't have choked Padme into unconsciousness, thus breaking her heart and will to live, if he would have backed down off that passion and ego he could have been a great hero and used his powers for good leading to a pure and sattvic life.
But maybe it was late. Maybe i had studied too much or too long and was slightly delerious, but i certainly won't forget the Gunas on this test for
In a galaxy, far, far away
were those yogis trying to balance
forces of nature, or gunas, to bring back peace to their
beautiful and once
gooooooooood niiiiiiiiight sweet yogis!
Well here it is, yet again, another New Year's is upon us. Resolutions, gym memberships, cleanses, clean eating, smoking cessation, and organizational techniques are all about to get kicked off in 2015. Why is it that we wait until New Years to kick off our big changes that we truly know we should be doing anyway? Or why do we wait until Monday to start our new habit or make that change? Is it purely ritualistic? Will it make our goals any more attainable? According to the University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 8% of the people who make new years resolutions are successful in their goal. 8% ?!?! Soooo then we turn to Mondays, right? We'll start our new eating habits, diets, exercise routine on Monday and by Wednesday we are telling ourselves, NEXT Monday we will start. My belief is that any day that ends in "y" is as good as any. If you fall off the wagon tomorrow is another day, no need to wait until Monday.
Tips on how to keep your resolutions:
Be Realistic: Now i don't usually say this, but when we are talking resolutions, it's OK to aim low here. Start small, and continue moving, conquering your goals will only get the ball rolling to change, so don't be afraid to set the bar low. Baby steps can lead to great, lasting change.
Be Clear and Specific with Your Goals: If you want to lose weight, select a certain number of pounds to shed, then set mini-goals and dates on which you aim to accomplish each goal. Want to save money? Determine the amount you will put aside each month and identify changes you'll be making to get there, whether that means skipping your morning cappuccino or eating weekday dinners in instead of dining out.
Go Public: Tell people your goals, and how you plan to attain them. (and I don't mean by putting it on Facebook blast) Accountability is a hefty motivator. When you're falling off from a goal, family and friends can help you get back on track or they can continue your success with encouragement. Even one "goal buddy" can help you achieve success.
Be Prepared: There are going to be days that you just don't want to follow thru, there will be temptations, and it's ok, we are all human. Just be aware of what you are going into, Birthday for a co-worker with cake? maybe just have a small slice vs the whole corner piece. Going out for drinks? People are going to want to go out and light up, throw some extra hard candies or suckers in your pocket to get you thru without a cigarette.
Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself: This will not help you achieve your ultimate goal. One bad meal won't make you gain back 10 pounds. One day not at the gym won't foil your whole plan. Keep going. One day at a time.
Sticktoitiveness: You got to have the want to keep going. Stick to your goal. Why did you set your goal in the 1st place? What do you ultimately want to achieve? You got this, you are stronger than you think. If it seems to daunting, make it thru 24 hours, you'll be surprised how 24 hours builds on one another.
and lets not forget that it takes 21 days for a new activity to become a new habit.
And maybe you are one to not even make a new year's resolution, maybe you don't want to be bothered with the hype, maybe you are awesome enough, maybe you don't need a specific day to decide to be better or healthier, regardless we can all improve, we are all striving to be better us's, whether it's just being kinder, or being more mindful, or being more present in our daily lives, so if and when you decide to make a change, maybe it won't be on New Year's, maybe it will be on a Monday, or any other day that ends in "y" for that matter. May you rock all your "y" days.
Happy New Year!
Teacher Training is quickly drawing to a close and as i have been teaching classes here and there for practice, I find that the most difficult thing to do while teaching, on top of giving proper cues and adjustments and remembering the sequence, has been being true to who i am. In fact it's really been about finding myself altogether.
Finding my voice was the one thing I thought I wouldn’t have to worry anything about. To teach a yoga class, I would learn the postures, the breathing, the cues, the proper form, how to adjust, how to correct alignment, the philosophy, the history, the tradition, chanting, Hindu mythology, the texts, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yamas and Niyamas, the Sutras, (just to name a few things we've touched upon and learned), I was on board. For all of it. But I never thought about being authentic and finding my own voice. How does someone teach you that? I felt like an imposter teaching my first class at my home studio. My mentor, sitting on the side observing, I was in her place at the front of the room, I had never really seen the room or bodies from that perspective in THAT room, and at that point every authentic bit about me flew out the window. Now I’m sure this is part of anyone being nervous and teaching for the 1st time in front of their mentor, maybe, or I hope anyway. But how does one begin to fill shoes, that are maybe too big for her. You can't fake it til you make it in this case, like every other "job" i've had since i've left college. Yogis know. They can smell fake, and see thru the bullshit.
You know when you feel you are born to do something? It still takes work, and if you have passion for that work, it really isn't work at all...
"Now play the game... Your game... The one that only you was meant to play... Then one that was given to you when you come into this world... don't hold nothin back give it everything... Now's the time... Let yourself remember... Remember YOUR swing"
And sometimes someone else's words speak perfectly to what you want to say, my dear Janne Robinson, you rock!
Yoga Doesn't care via Janne Robinson
"Yoga isn’t about our lifestyle, our beliefs, our weight, our diet, our flexibility, how spiritual or enlightened we are—yoga is just about showing up and doing our dance on our mats.
Yoga doesn’t care what your hair looks like.
Yoga doesn’t care if you wear Lululemon or Spiritual Gangster.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are vegetarian, if you eat meat or know what Kombucha is.
Yoga doesn’t care when the last time you practiced was—yesterday, six months ago, never.
Yoga doesn’t care what kind of mat you have, brand new or eating away at itself.
Yoga doesn’t care if you show up cranky or exhausted.
Yoga doesn’t care what religion you believe in.
Yoga doesn’t care what color your skin is or what gender you choose to love.
Yoga doesn’t care if you wear mala beads.
Yoga doesn’t care what the tag on the back of your pants says.
Yoga doesn’t care if you don’t know what yoga means.
Yoga doesn’t care how much money you have, what house you live in, what car you drive.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are flexible.
Yoga doesn’t care if you fall over in Trikonasana.
Yoga doesn’t care if you fart during practice.
Yoga doesn’t care if you ever make it into head stand.
Yoga doesn’t care if you feel uncomfortable saying Namaste and Om.
Yoga doesn’t care if you drink super food smoothies or drink coconut water.
Yoga doesn’t care if choose the back corner or the front row of the room to practice.
Yoga doesn’t care if you stay to meditate.
Yoga doesn’t care if you can put your leg behind your head, or lick your own ass.
Yoga doesn’t care if you know what Ujjayi breath is.
Yoga doesn’t care if you smoke cigarettes, and drink whiskey.
Yoga doesn’t care if you need to leave class halfway through because you’re dehydrated and need to get water.
Yoga doesn’t care if you have a man bun.
Yoga doesn’t care if your monkey mind takes over.
Yoga doesn’t care how old you are, the color of your hair doesn’t affect your practice.
Yoga doesn’t care if you juice or cleanse.
Yoga doesn’t care if you shake the entire 60 minutes.
Yoga doesn’t care if you only feel comfortable doing yoga in Mexico.
Yoga doesn’t care if you spend the entire class in child’s pose.
Yoga doesn’t care what political party you vote for.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are single or divorced.
Yoga doesn’t care if you like Rumi.
Yoga doesn’t care if you like your teacher.
Yoga doesn’t care if you complete a 30 day challenge.
Yoga doesn’t care what version of wheel you go up into.
Yoga doesn’t care if you shop at whole foods.
Yoga doesn’t care if you remember to shave your armpits.
Yoga is just happy you show up."
--- Show up. Today and everyday.---
I get asked a lot if Yoga is a religion?
So I answer them with another question... Riddle me this...
"Do you need it to be religion?"
In my opinion Yoga is whatever you need it to be. If you need peace, you can find peace, If you need acceptance, you will find acceptance. If you need exercise, yoga can be exercise. Whatever you need it to be in that moment, is what it will be. And it will change, almost every time you step on your mat.
Pretty beautiful, isn't it?
"Prayer is when you talk to God, meditation is when you listen to God" - Diana Robinson
Yoga, here in the West is typically practiced for it's physical movement and health benefits. To practice yoga asanas (poses or postures) can definitely help achieve better health and a fit lifestyle. But in your practice when you are also learning to be more mindful, to be more kind to yourself, and non judgmental of yourself on your mat, yoga (which actually means to join) unites mind, body, and spirit so it is no wonder that it may spill over and affect your life off the mat as well as on the mat.
Annnnnnd because you're probably asking at this point, "you mean yoga can be more than just movement? I will 'splain a little more...
There are 8 limbs to yoga, and asanas ,being just one.
In brief, the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, go a little something like this:
So as I said before, yoga can be anything you need in that time of need. It can be in gratitude, and it can be in suffering, it can be to get in touch with your spirituality, but it can always bring a better you, a truer you, on and off your mat.
"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in". - Leonard Cohen "Anthem"
No one ever said that yoga teacher training would be easy, nor did anyone say it would be all asanas and pranayama or puppies and rainbows.
Today was hard, in a much different way, we each told "our" story of how we have related to the yamas. As each woman told her story, all I could think of was how true Maya Angelou's quote is: "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike".
Each of us, afraid to share, to open the dark spaces we keep hidden, the "ugly" or "broken" things we all have but try our best to bury or hide. And as each story was told, my heart became so full. I love each and every one of them. For their courage, for their vulnerability, for in fact being a bit broken and better, for it. And being able to see myself in each one of them. Fears. Hurts. Insecurities. Miracles. Secrets. Forgiveness. Transgressions. Expectations. Disappointments. Betrayals. Lessons learned. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
In Japan there is an ancient art, called Kintsukuroi, which fixes broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. "As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise". It is deemed more beautiful for having been broken. It is a respected, treasured, and valued piece of pottery.
We too are alike.
Each story, as painful to tell, to hear, and to feel, was and is, part of what makes us the amazing people who we are today. As much as we keep these stories buried deep within us, in truth this is also what makes us shine. "For there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". It is each and everyone of our jobs to let our light shine, for others, hell, the whole world to see.
Shine on, my friends, Shine On.
(Shine on and Stay Gold (like Johnny suggested in "The Outsiders")
If we follow the golden rule "treat others the way you want to be treated" but do it from a place that you hope in turn that people will treat you that way, you will probably end up disappointed, as expectation more often than naught equals disappointment. Rather if we treat others from a place of love simply because we love, love without expectation, you put the love out there, and it does not stop. Love is energy, energy that can be felt, and once put out there into the universe, continues to move through us and grows. Maybe it will come back to you or maybe it won't, but I can guarantee positives will abound.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world" -Gandhi
There are some that dislike the saying "breathe in the good, exhale the bad", i get it, i do. If we are breathing out the bad, where is that negative energy going?? But is our negative, always negative to everyone around us?
I breathe out the bad because it becomes toxic in me and swallows me whole. It would consume me. We "breathe" out the bad, by sobbing, or by shallowly, vaguely, or maybe quite bluntly, write about OUR pain on a public platform like Facebook, maybe someone will make a mean comment about us, our families, our lives, or our personal decisions. We then lash out in anger for everyone to read.
Breath in its very definition is breathing in good oxygen and releasing the carbon dioxide that we as humans is toxic to us. But in turn plants, flowers, veggies, and fruits need our "bad" to live and in turn they give us good, to continually take in. And what a beautiful process. So by breathing out the bad, maybe we help someone else in pain in the process. By us letting out the "bad" whether it is being pissed, or sad, or heartbroken, for the whole world to see and read on social media, I'd like to think we've helped someone grieve somewhere else. Have you not in turn received love and light from those also wounded in pain, suffocating on their own bad because they keep it in? We "breathe out" all over social media, and maybe never thought that maybe it helped more than it was hurting anyone. I'm not talking about being mean to be mean, or ignorant hurtful comments, I'm talking about the raw human emotions we put out there.
That's why I choose to still breathe in the good and exhale the bad, because it would kill me if I didn't. Life is not always perfect, but it is not always suffering either. It is a perfect balance of give and take and breathing in and out.
We are all works in progress, my hope is that we may all bloom to our full potential, to be our radiant selves, so that our light may brighten others.
A Blooming Yogini is someone on a journey to their authentic self, a union of mind, body and spirit to a more healthy, thriving , and vibrant you.
Live. Love. Bloom.
Casandra Barnes - The Blooming Yogini