Thursday, January 31, 2013

January in Review

Does anyone else feel as though January flew by? I feel as though everything slipped very quickly! I kept up with my vegetarian diet 5 out of 7 days per week and the 30 day yoga challenge, although it was definitely a challenge to be on my mat all the time.

I am both proud and disappointed in myself as for my yoga challenge. I'm proud of myself because I truly embraced the practice, I introduced meditation into my daily routine and I reconnected to myself and my mat. I am disappointed because there were a few days that I had to take off. Being sick for over a week made this challenge a real challenge, but I arrived on my mat MOST days and at my meditation altar ALL days. I wish I had more time in the studio then in a home practice, but yoga was always on my mind and I truly did reconnect to my practice!

During the challenge I discovered many things, Kundalini yoga being the first and most exciting! I challenged myself to a slower practice during this challenge and to be open to new and different styles of yoga. Kundalini sure is different from vinyassa, but so far I am feeling a deep connection to this particular practice and an even deeper connection to my practice overall. I am planning on writing a longer piece once I have come to terms with some of my feelings on Kundalini but I feel as though this is the beginning of a nice, long relationship with a new style of yoga.

I have also discovered that I do not need meat in my diet. Occasionally I enjoy it (seafood now more than anything else) but my body feels so much more alive while eating more fruits and veggies. Karthik & I have fallen in love with veggie burgers and are making this 5 out of 7 days a week vegetarian experiment a whole heck of a lot of fun by trying new things! This is why I am so excited to take the YU Challenge in February. I believe I am ready and as I just received Crazy, Sexy Kitchen as a belated birthday gift, I couldn't be more excited!

Challenges aside, I feel much better this month. I am 5 pounds lighter, feel brighter and can feel spring trying to sneak in (snow is coming tomorrow, but today it's 50 degrees)! I am excited to bring my challenges with me to Texas next week for our work conference and to unroll my mat late at night and practice in the hotel with a good friend/co-worker. I'm excited to meditate even while traveling. I am super blessed and excited that my hubby supports me in these challenges and is learning to cook by making me super delicious veggie burgers!!

Although I had a few slip ups this month, I feel more connected to my practice than I have in months. I have a goal in mind for yoga in February which I will share with you in a few weeks and have been keeping up with writing, blogging, yoga-ing and cuddling! I have a BIG beautiful surprise in the months to come and am loving all of my post-it note affirmations, calendars, iphone notes & highlighters that are helping my dreams come true. I love that within my schedule I post yoga, date nights & delicious, healthy meal plans!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!
Life a fabulous life that YOU create.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Those Who Challenge Us Most, Teach

We all have that person who challenges us. They are quite bluntly: an asshole. They rub you the wrong way, they’re never nice and sometimes, they outburst with rude comments for no apparent reason. Often times, they’re people we cannot avoid: the office secretary, your creepy uncle, an acquaintance you see at the high school reunion or even that lady who seems to always be on the same train as you. There will always be someone who is sent to challenge you.

My husband sometimes says that I am the most unyogic yogi he has ever met; which can be true when I’m with him. As he is closest to me, I leave everything all out, all the time. He gets to see me inside and out, good and bad. But I am learning to be a better person every day and a much better yogini as that is how I want to live my life. I am 100% better than who I was and am loving who I am becoming. Now-a-days if I snap in traffic, I immediately breathe and apologize out loud (even if they didn’t hear me in the first place) and remind myself to breathe through whatever situation has arisen.

When I was 18, I was asked to take a road rage driving course. I was caught speeding three times in first two years of driving and the government decided I needed road anger management. If I took the course, my latest speeding ticket would be forgiven. I was the youngest person in class and was one of two people (in a room of 27) who had never been to jail. Yikes! That moment challenged me greatly and the lessons were surely absorbed. I often find myself referring back to them while finding my yogic breath and traveling at 70 mph on the highway.

I have used what I learned throughout my life (especially through yoga), to see these challenging people and moments as an opportunity to learn. In my road rage course, I needed to learn patience and the lesson of slowing down both in my car and in life.

Recently, I was supposed to re-learn the lesson of patience when I became frustrated with a co-worker. I kept telling others and myself that the reason we did not get along was because we have different work styles. It was a great story because I was not putting blame on either of us in the situation. The reality was that I kept putting up blocks. Instead of adapting and compromising, I was becoming upset both physically and mentally when we couldn’t figure out a good system in working together.

I decided to listen to my own advice (sometimes I need to be reminded to take my own yoga lessons). I began to practice yoga in the work place through breath work and patience. I mentally accepted that this person would continue their work style no matter what the situation and I set to work on adjusting my attitude. When something was said that I did not agree with, I took a deep breath and a step back. I adjusted to my environment and through the lesson of patience; I became less tense and able to work more cohesively.

Everyone is sent here to teach us a lesson, even and especially those who challenge us. Listen to the lesson you’re receiving and try to take a step back and breathe. By listening to yourself and taking an extra breath before responding to the person in your environment that challenges you the most, you’ll be able to live a more yogi lifestyle. In turn you’ll be less stressed out, work more productively and have a lot more fun! By remembering that everyone is here to teach us something, we are able to enjoy life that much more!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Magical Mondays

Magical Mondays is back!
Mondays are a beautiful time to reflect, to open our hearts and be grateful. This mornings meditation is all about gratitude and I'm so thankful to be able to share this with you. Monday's have such a bad reputation so let's take it back and give it a better name.
Please write some of your gratitude list in the comments below and join me in this movement for Magical Mondays!
This week has been a lot of fun! Dinners with our parents, a day off from work, a snow day, a comedy show and an amazing tarot card reading.
We met my parents and in-laws for dinner last Monday night in the middle of a snowstorm! We had an amazing time (albeit the yucky weather) and I was even inspired by my dinner to re-create a healthier minestrone soup at home for Tuesday night (I adapted mine from the recipe on skinnytaste)! As it was a snow day, I worked from home and made delicious minestrone in the crock pot.
Tuesday was my first day using my brand new home office. The snow day was the perfect opportunity to try out my new desk and have Apollo curled up at my feet while actually being productive! I was so blessed to have him underneath me with my incense burning and creating reports for work. I loved the feeling of being in the comfort of my own home - a nice treat. The only bad news on Tuesday was that while making our delicious minestrone, I sliced my thumb open on a can. It wasn't anything hubby's kiss and an iron man band-aid couldn't fix however! (Superhero band-aids are so much cooler than plain ones and just in case you're wondering, they help you heal faster).
This weekend we saw one of our favorite comedians, Russell Peters, in Boston and found out that Stephen Lynch is in town soon! The show was hubby's Christmas gift and I'm so glad he enjoyed it! We then met friends afterwards in the city and had a chance to catch up over drinks.
The Little Things
Mid-week sleepovers with my in-laws, superhero band-aids, indian food leftovers, chocolate almond butter, my first Alex & Ani bracelet (the peace sign!), stocking up on Lush bath products, mermaid colored bubble baths, stocking up on home supplies at Target, working from home, meeting friends in the city, snuggling with our furry babies, fires in the fire place, writing my book and blogs, tarot card readings, friends at jammin' yoga and social media breaks!
Make a gratitude list and share it! 
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ishvara Pradihana - I am Spiritual
Click for link
I woke up today and realized I’m a spiritual person.
It has actually taken me a long time to get to this moment and say it out loud and own it. I have always been religious. I love church and have an amazing church family in my hometown. I was the secretary of my youth group and love the feeling I get when I hear the stories of goodness and truth while being surrounded by friends.
When I got to college, I took a Judaic studies class. I’m a Christian by birth, a protestant and a Congregationalist. But I have always had an interest in what it meant to be spiritual. I took the Judaic studies class to learn more about our history and another form of religion. I took it to understand that spirituality is in all of us, no matter which God you turn to. My minister, upon speaking to my husband and I about our different backgrounds said: “It doesn’t matter who you believe in. They all point north. They all believe in goodness and love.”

My husband is a mixture of religions: catholic, hindu and a handful of others. He told me that he knows the difference between good and bad. He understands the meaning of truth and he loves helping others. He just doesn’t love church. He will go and enjoy the stories but doesn’t enjoy the necessity of bringing your heart into a specific location to pray.

I am a mixture of my own form of religion. I will tell people I am Christian, as I love going to my home church and being with my family. But I would be a liar if I didn’t also mention that I pray to Ganesh to help me remove obstacles. Or to Tara to help me become more brave. Or to the God that I know in my heart and in my own description and words and feelings. Or when I meditate and listen to the universal wisdom that is passed down upon me.

As I was getting my tarot cards read yesterday, I realized that I am a spiritual person. I love listening to my heart and to the wisdom around me. I love energy and learning about my chakras. I want to know more about reiki and crystal bowls. I get my tarot cards read. I believe in creating your own destiny but also believe in following the path that the universe provides.

Ishvara Pradihana means the belief in God or the universe. It means that whatever happens is supposed to happen and it will guide you to where you are supposed to be.  In plain English: if shitty stuff happens, it happens for a reason. Something better is coming. Wait and listen.

Ishvara Pradihana is how I strive to live my life.

I came to the realization today that I am much more spiritual than I thought. I love listening to the energy in the universe. I like feeling other people’s energies and always try to keep everyone happy, sparkly and in love with life. I encourage you to listen. Spirituality comes in so many shapes and forms. There needs to be no label. We just need to be kind. If you crave the label, then by all means, please take it. As I mentioned, I love my church. If someone asks me I say that I am a Congregationalist. But if someone inquires and asks more than I will tell them I am spiritual. I love love.

I’m still exploring what spirit means. I’m still researching and learning. Spirit in many ancient languages means breath. So perhaps yoga is exactly where I’m supposed to be in this moment. Today however, I am spiritual. I get my tarot cards read. I light incense. I am a modern age, swears’ like a sailor, high heel wearing yogini who loves glitter and God. Today I am spiritual.

What are you? J

What is YOUR take on spirituality and God? Do you have a belief system you love? A church who is more like a family? Do you believe in kindness? Do yoga? Love love?

Wherever you fall, know you are loved. Know that someone out there loves you. Be it the universe, God, your mom, your friends or your faithful pet – someone loves you and is watching over you.

Follow your dream. Listen to YOUR spirit and make all your dreams come true.

Get out there, do yoga & make life SPARKLE!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Have Trouble Meditating

I have trouble meditating.
I admit it. I understand it’s good for you. I know the benefits. I even have a colleague who pays her teenage son to meditate because it is such an enlightening and amazing practice.
But I hate sitting still. I have questions and would rather ask them over and over then wait to hear the answers. I didn’t have the space. I don’t love sitting cross legged. My spine hurts after a few minutes of sitting up straight. I can hear my own breath. My dog comes in to bother me. I don’t have enough time.
                                    I am uncomfortable.
This is the exact reason that I should be meditating: I am uncomfortable.
I have tried many times to begin meditation but without much staying power. I tired Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge. The first time, I lasted 5 solid days until I gave up. I would meditate in my bed, silently. I would hold my mala beads and think good thoughts. I would touch each mala bead and make a silent wish or give a heartfelt thank you while Chopra told me to quiet my mind.
Then on day 6 I had the chance to sleep in. I was cuddling with hubby & had hit snooze a million times. I did NOT want to meditate! And I knew I couldn’t get my mind to actually be quiet because I was really thinking about laundry and bringing my thoughts back to my third eye when I remembered.
Meditating to me, is like the first few times I experienced savasana. I went scuba diving with octopi and turtles. I imagined beautiful fields of flowers. I spoke to God. I did everything BUT quiet my mind. I imagined lovely things in order to keep myself distracted from the uncomfortable silence.
The thing is, I talk… a lot. Ask anyone who knows me. Anyone who is a friend, an acquaintance, a co-worker or a peer. I can hold a conversation with myself if I have to (and sometimes I do). I picked it up from my dad, who is also a talker. Silence just isn’t our thing.
The second time I tried to meditate, I also tried the Chopra challenge. This time depending on your view, I either did 16 days or 3 days. I did 3 solid days of meditating in my bed and 13 days of listening to Chopra’s meditation in the car on the way to work. Granted, I was not closing my eyes while traveling at 70 mph, but I was listening to his wisdom and trying to keep that with me throughout the day. In this endeavor, I did not have to actually sit with my uncomfortable thoughts but rather sit with Chopra’s wisdom.
This time, however, I decided that enough is enough. I will meditate. If it takes all my strength (which it will, and it is…) and determination, than so be it. I will meditate. I am not doing a “challenge” where there is a particular end in sight.

To me, there are only two ways I could force myself to meditate:
1)      Create a beautiful space. A meditation altar with some of my favorite things! Beautiful lightly scented candles, incense, Ganesha, Tara, rocks & seashells from my favorite beach, a purple blown glass octopus, a pendent of healing from my mom, Goddess cards & various other beautiful items.
2)      Routine. I need to wake up every morning at the same time to meditate. No excuses.

My new mala beads!
Ask me for info if you would like a pair.

I started with the first aspect because that was the most fun! I went to a store down the street from my parents, Circle of Wisdom. It was a tiny little “hippie store" with hindu deities, buddha’s, incense, candles and more. I bought a few trinkets and then went on the hunt for the altar itself. I wanted something that had layers and eventually found a beautiful corner shelf with three tiers. The stones are gray & blue and it blends perfectly into my new home office. I began to set it up the moment I got home. Then I added the things I love most! The purple blown glass octopus hubby gave me last summer, rocks & seashells I collected from the beach, my favorite oils, a mason jar full of pink stones to hold my incense, new mala beads by my friend Connie & so much more!

Then I moved on to the harder part: my routine. Every morning I wake up and take Apollo out, feed Digger, feed Apollo, do the “extras” (change over the laundry, wash last nights dishes, clean/tidy the house) and get ready for work. Sometimes I make homemade coffee on the stove, while others I make a green smoothie for breakfast. All of this takes just a bit over an hour! In order to meditate, I needed to get up just 15 minutes earlier than usual. So I decided to follow Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles advice, and I set an alarm. My alarm used to vary – I would wake up whenever I thought I needed to, varying between 5:02 am & 5:35 am. My alarm is now set from EVERY SINGLE MORNING at 4:38 am! (Clearly I am not a fan of "normal alarm times") That little extra time gives me the ability to say no to my alarm with a snooze button and still make it out of bed with enough time to meditate.
I am beginning my meditations with Gabby’s May Cause Miracles course for 40 days but plan on continuing straight through without her guidance after the 40 days are completed. This is not a challenge, but a beginning. My intention is that I will meditate every day! My intention is that I will learn to sit with my thoughts, the uncomfortable silence & the shame of being a yogi who doesn’t love meditating.
I will meditate.
It’s been 13 days so far. I have gotten up every morning. I have meditated even when I didn’t want to. Sometimes it’s for five minutes. Other days it’s been 15 minutes. I am learning. I will stumble. I may fall. But I will not stop.
I will meditate.

Sometimes our biggest fear is within us. The silence. The uncomfortable idea of being with ourselves and listening to what the universe has to say back to us. The challenge to overcome fear and accept love. To believe in miracles.

As Caroline Myss said: “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” This choice will lead us to our freedom, to love & to a much more open heart.
Challenge yourself. Whether it is meditation, yoga or even learning a new skill – find time to overcome your challenge. Time will slip past whether or not you choose to accept this challenge. Face it with love & overcome. Accept your challenge and become a better YOU.
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why (Crazy) Creative People Don't Do Laundry

Last week I had some amazing energy bursts. It felt as thought my mind was on fire. I couldn’t type, write or speak fast enough to record all of my plans, ideas & inspirations. It was the kind of day where I was physically and (especially) mentally G.O.I.N.G from 4:30am until 10:00pm when my body literally collapsed from exhaustion of inspiring ideas.

Needless to say, I got a lot of ideas on paper. I emailed  many people and did ZERO errands. I bought dinner at trader joes because I was too inspired to cook, I just needed to write. I didn’t do laundry. I didn’t do dishes. Dishes, laundry and eating could wait – I had inspiration that couldn’t be lost!
As I was just about to go to sleep, I was struck by how much I accomplished within my creative world and yet how much I had neglected in terms of my personal life. I realized and completely understood why often times creative people are perceived as crazy.
A friend of mine recently posted this quote: “Normal is a cycle on the washing machine.” It’s reflective t who you are, where you are and what you’re doing. To someone who may not be a writer or creator, bursts of inspiration may not make much sense. The idea that you have so many ideas that you ignore all other aspects of your life is a concept that some people understand and others do not. Hence, normal is relative.
With all that said: To my husband, I apologize for not finishing the laundry. To my car, I know you still need an oil change. To my mom, sorry I forgot to call this week. And to all my fellow (crazy) creative people: your laundry isn’t going anywhere. Just make sure you do it tomorrow or ask someone for help! You don’t want to be a smelly cat lady – you want to be creative, inspired and quirky.
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gracious Gratitude

Today is a gratitude post. Originally I had titled these articles: Magical Mondays. I love the name, but I am grateful every day! I think it is more important to do without title and post gratitude lists when I'm able!

With that said, here is a list of this past week's highlights!

This past weekend I was asked by my doctor to lay low and not do much work. He said the reason I wasn't getting better from this terrible, no-good, awful cold was because I wasn't resting. At first, I was upset because I am not very good at resting or sitting still. However after an hour, I revisited the idea with a more grateful heart. It was an opportunity to slow down and listen to my body.

Pieces of my meditation altar!
On Friday evening, I went to bed at 8:00pm and did not wake up until Saturday morning at 11:00am! The doctor may have had a point, as I had a similar sleeping schedule for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I was able to spend the weekend with family and friends, laying low! I rested, took a bubble bath and completed my meditation altar!

I have been thinking about creating a meditation altar for a while now and while I was visiting my parents, I was able to go to Andover Metaphysical Bookstore, Circles of Wisdom near their home. I found some beautiful pieces as well as a shelving system at Pier 1 Imports for the altar itself! IT. IS. PERFECT. I often have trouble meditating and in creating this space, it allows me to find my center.

Sleepy Puppy, Apollo
I am also grateful for puppy kisses. Apollo has been in our lives for almost a year, and he is an amazing blessing. We bought him a cute new dinosaur toy this weekend (spoiled) and he was so full of love and light while carrying it around. He was full of thankful puppy kisses and I couldn't be more grateful to have him in our lives!

Another blessing is our kitty Digger! He has finally begun to adjust to our new home even though we've been here since July, and is beginning to cuddle even more than ever now. It is so nice to have him back in full swing - fitting in and adjusting to everything.

The Little Things

Pier 1 Imports, meditation altar, rejoining weight watchers, my confidence level (due to eating well and more yoga!), YOGA, spending time with my hubby, mandatory resting, new incense, candles & oils, spending time at Common Sense with Nadia, puppy kisses, kitty cuddles, wearing my glasses, new papaya paintings, Hallmark movies with my mom, boat girlfriends, new cocktails, a clean house, our new office, productive board meetings with the best board members a girl could ask for, productive & fun days at itslearning, Kai, new dishwashers & feeling more balanced!

Try to find at least three new things you are grateful for today.
Write them down.
Reflect and Smile.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Listen for YOUR Opportunities

Journey to Hope was a dream, a fleeting thought I had one morning. Just over a year after this thought, it was a legal 501c3 non profit organization. My dream had become a reality!

I am a firm believer in creating your own world. I believe in fate, God, miracles and destiny, but I also believe that the universe grants us access to opportunities. It is up to US to TAKE the opportunities and create something of our own from it.

When Journey to Hope first came to fruition, it was extremely organic. It happened very naturally but had I not been open to receiving universal gifts, I may never have seen my window of opportunity.

I moved to Cape Cod in the spring of 2011. I was mere days away from completing my 200 hour teacher training and ready for whatever the universe was ready to give to me. Truth be told, it was the first time I have never had a real plan for the future and it was equally the most stressful and exhilerating time of my life.

On the same day I graduated from my yoga teacher training, I also walked in my Master’s of Education ceremony at Cambridge College with a masters in teacher English as a second language. I was supposed to be a “teacher” and in many ways I still am. I had no real desire to step back into the classroom walls, ever again... but I knew I wanted to teach. I just did not know what, who where or how. I had spent 19 years in a traditional classroom with my teaching and schooling experiences. It was all I had known – and yet I did not want to go back. I told everyone I loved that I would look for a job as a substitute amongst wedding planning and teaching yoga. Meanwhile, my brain was spinning a million miles a minute trying to figure out how to do anything but.

I have never felt so alive in teaching yoga. When I teach, I feel my heart begin to expand. My love, my energy and my desire to spread that peaceful message are some of my biggest gifts. Teaching yoga makes me feel whole, and giving back with all of my heart and spirit is what I do best.

Shortly after moving to Cape Cod, I went to the local library to check out a few books on starting your own business. In the beginning, I wanted to open a for-profit studio that would provide non-profit services on the side. I envisioned a beautiful backroom with books for children and comfy places to sit. Allowing mothers who cannot afford yoga and daycare services to have both within our space. I wanted to spend my days teaching yoga for profit and giving as I was able within my own space.

As fate would have it, there were other plans. Upon checking out with my books, I asked if I could hang my {brand-new} business cards on their bulletin board to promote my yoga teaching. The lovely volunteer told me that it was reserved for non-profits only. The next words out of my mouth were organic, almost an accident: “I’m starting a non-profit.”

A few weeks later, I had a business plan, a name, a concept, a handful of board members (who had no idea what we were getting ourselves into) and two locations: the fateful library & a woman’s shelter.

In the beginning, it was an idea, a thought, a concept. It wasn’t fully developed. I was not 100% sure of where it would take me – but I knew it was where I was supposed to be.

We are still evolving and even now I am brainstorming another fabulous project to share with the world. Had it not been for that one librarian, Journey to Hope may not exists. That’s the beauty of it all. Take the opportunities. Listen. And spread YOUR message and dream loud and clear.

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shifting for Miracles

I live my life. Truly live in each moment. 

Dancing to our family beat with my beautiful cousins
As Oscar Wilde said: "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That is all." I have a desire to live, and I always have! Even when I was a little girl, I wanted to try everything. I certainly marched (or danced) to the beat of my own drum. 

As a child, I had a lot of passions. Unlike other children, my passion wasn't streamlined into one activity. I tried everything I could: figure skating, ballet, theater, horseback riding, color guard, chorus, youth group, girl scouts, softball, volleyball, swimming, newspaper and much more. Many folks could have called it indecisiveness or ADHD, but my parents and I thought we would call it a "zest for life."

As an adult, I still have all that passion and yest. Although yoga helps to calm me and streamline some of my thoughts, I still run at a million miles a minute. My friends often wonder how I do so many things: work a full-time job, run a non-profit, practice and teach yoga and still make a home cooked meal every single night... 

I begin every day at 5:00am and do not physically or mentally stop until it is time for bed (and often you can find a few notebooks on our side table in case thoughts arrive in the middle of the night). One of my biggest explanations is that I am a Sagittarius. We are known as the wanderers of the zodiac, the traveler and adventurer. We are full of positive energy, loud (opinionated) voices, optimism and big ideas

The other explanation of my high energy and zest for life is my perspective. In college, I hit an all time low in my life. I was so drained and depressed that some days I could not physically get out of bed. I had hit rock bottom emotionally and when I finally emerged, I vowed never to go there again. For the past few years, I have been working on being happy and spreading my joy wherever, whenever and however I can.

In being happy I don't just rely on myself, I rely on my environment. I am a firm believer that we create our own environments and I have created a life I love by opening my heart to include amazing people, moving to a safe and beautiful neighborhood, working hard and giving back. You are comprised of the top 5 people you spend time with, and my people are AMAZING!

Silly Hubby & I 
My husband can always make me laugh (especially if I'm having a bad day)  my family loves me unconditionally and I am friends with healers, yogis and ambitious young men & women. I also watch and follow many inspirational people in the world community. I subscribe to MarieTV and watch her every Tuesday, I follow The Daily Love twitter and email updates as well as read Gala Darling, OHSheGlows, and SkinnyTaste. I surround myself with love, health and happiness.

While watching MarieTV today, I saw Gabby Bernstein in an interview and heard the best gem: "A miracle is a shift in our perspectives and seeing something with more love." As someone who is very spiritual, I connect with this definition. I also connect to something my minister said a few years ago: There is no such thing as a coincidence, only miracles.

I see my life as a set of beautiful blessings and miracles. I am always grateful for what I have and try to spread my joy to others. I chose to shift. I chose miracles.

I encourage you to do the same. Find happiness. Find bliss. 

If something is bothering you, leave the room. Get fresh air, talk to a friend, take a yoga class. Flip your perspective and chose your own miracle.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Am I Ready for Teacher Training?

"I want to do a yoga teacher training, but I'm afraid I'm not 'yogi enough.' How do I know I'm ready?"

I wrestled with this question for a while when I first decided to begin my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I know the feeling well: you've been practicing yoga for a few years (or months) and you feel ready to be an instructor, you think...

The problem is that you love meat. Some weeks you only practice yoga once a week (while others it is every day) and everyone else in class is much skinnier than you are. They all have ohms tattoos on their wrists and beautiful lotus tattoos on their ribs. Everyone else is a way better yogi than you are. How are you even thinking you're ready? Are you ready? With that attitude: no.

However, with a paradigm switch, the paragraph above could be viewed as such: you're a lover of life, a foodie and a yogi dedicated to yoga asanas as well as a loving and clean life. If you change your perspective, then YES you are ready!

In my own journey, becoming a yoga instructor happened the same way most of my major decisions did, with my gut instinct & natural timing. Simply put: it felt right. I honestly believe that the more you force something to be right, the less likely it is to actually be the right step.

While making the decision to do my 200 hour teacher training, I tried many studios and teachers. I almost decided to become certified with Natasha Rizopoulos. Although she is lovely, a great speaker and full of knowledge, something seemed off with our energies. I appreciated her level of intelligence, her anatomy, her instincts and yet I decided she wasn't my yoga teacher.

I was visiting my moms' favorite studio and realized how at home I felt. The energy was perfect and I love Jen! There were a few spots left in the teacher training program and I put down my deposit two days after visiting the studio! I am so pleased with my decision to become certified under Jen Ryan &
Nicole Grant. I have a well rounded education and felt confident enough to begin my own nonprofit, Journey to Hope Yoga just three months after completing my certification. Now, as I look into my 500 hour programs, I am using my gut and listening to my body.

When you feel right. When you find the perfect (for your) studio. When you're ready - you will know. It's not about your diet (although it may eventually change), or how often you practice, what you wear or who you're friends with. The interesting thing about yoga is that it challenges you and changes you. When you begin those subtle changes, you begin to see the world differently and suddenly everything shifts. The world has more good, you bring more loving energy into all you do.

If you think you're ready, you probably are!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Do I have to be a Vegetarian?

A question I have often heard as a yoga instructor is:
Do I have to be a Vegetarian?

The answer is simple: no.

You absolutely do not have to be a vegetarian to take or teach yoga. It is in no way a requirement.
So why my "sudden" change of heart in regards to my own lifestyle? The decision to be vegetarian 5 out of 7 days of the week has been VERY gradual and it is an experiment at the moment on how my body reacts to this kind of lifestyle.

Many of my friends, peers and co-workers are vegetarians, vegans and raw. For a long time I did not understand this concept. Why eat brussel sprouts when a delicious, juicy steak could be an option? 

I grew up on canned and frozen vegetables (green beans, peas) and potatoes. I hadn't even tried broccoli until I was a senior in college. My idea of a salad was romaine lettuce, shredded carrots (as few as possible), a heaping amount of cheese and sunflower seeds. Not necessarily the healthiest or most nutritious salad.

My former college roommate can be attributed to feeding me my first "real vegetable" : BROCCOLI. It is now one of my favorite veggies (aside from asparagus) and I eat it all the time! When we were seniors in college, she snuck a few pieces into my chicken and covered it with lots of cheese. A second time she made me chicken, broccoli ziti and demanded that I try a few bites. I liked it a lot and decided to be super brave and eat a piece raw: YUCK! The interesting thing that I've learned about trying new foods is that it is okay not to like it. And I do NOT like raw broccoli! I do, however, like many vegetables I never would have considered when I was younger and have been expanding my palate since Karen first fed me broccoli!

My most recent discovery is that I like cauliflower. I found out this weekend when I tried a bite of my uncles casserole and then proceeded to eat 3 servings and re-create the dish at home on Wednesday night! It was delicious. 

There are many reasons I now feel comfortable with this weekday vegetarian transition. One of the major reasons is timing. I like many more fruits and vegetables, I have friends who are able to support me, a husband who tries (and enjoys) veggie burgers and a new found love for cauliflower & brussel sprouts!

I am planning on reading the Crazy Sexy Diet Cookbook as well as The Kind Diet to guide me in the beginning. One of the blogs I read, is doing a series on transitioning to a vegan diet and I plan on paying close attention to Angela's series as I love most of her recipes!

Being a vegetarian is in no way a requirement to being a yogi. I am simply listening to my own body's needs and at the moment I need more vegetables in my life.

What are your challenges to living your best life? What can you do to eliminate or alter in your lifestyle that will stop weighing you down?

Whatever journey you're on, I'm wishing you love & peace throughout your challenge.

Get out there, do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thirty Day Challenge of 2013

I have a confession to make: sometimes I practice yoga only once a week. My schedule for the past few months has been increasingly busy and my commitment to myself has been a bit low.

I decided that I need a few things. First, I’m going to complete the 30 Day Yoga Challenge. My good friend Jill owns Power Yoga of Cape Cod and she started a 30 day yoga challenge movement! We now have 800+ yogis attending this challenge and I have begun today with all my yogi friends. I took a class in Plymouth on my way home from work at a tiny little studio, Latti Datti Pilates.

My second commitment to myself is to eat a vegetarian diet during the weekdays and watch my portion sizes. Being a yogi to me means being my best self. Or as Oprah says: "Live your best life!" I want to feed my body and my soul with good veggies, a lot of movement & a lot of love. It's time for me to slow down and listen to my body.

This will be a crucial challenge for me. I need to be on my mat while taking care of myself. There are often days when my yogi self becomes disconnected. THIS is when we need yoga the most in our lives. The moment we feel our energy leave. The moment we feel a hangry (hungry + angry) headache. The moment we recognize we should have taken an extra breath before speaking. It is in those moments that I need my breath and my practice the most.

I am urging you to join me! 30 days of yoga. Start today, start this morning, start right now.

What are you waiting for?

Get out there, do yoga & make life sparkle.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Toast to 2013

Happy New Year beautiful yogis!!

I hope you have had an amazing, fun and safe few weeks during the holiday season! I am not sure about you, but I am ready to begin 2013. The new year always fills me with excitement for the chapter ahead, but I am feeling extra excited about this coming year!

This past year was a year for the books! Journey to Hope Yoga Inc became an official 501c3 nonprofit, I traveled internationally for the first time, we "officially" moved to the Cape with our first home, we made many new friends, I started a new job, we adopted Apollo Drake & love filled every corner of my heart all year long.

I would like to propose a toast for the new year. A mantra from my goals this year!

May you have love in your hearts.
May you have a wonderful group of friends & family who you can turn to, always.
May you practice more yoga.
May you have more peace.
May we have more peace in the world & our own hearts.
May your fridge always have champagne.
May your bellies & hearts always be full.
May you have laughter.
May you have passion.
May you have good health.
May you have inspiration.
May you give with everything you have: love, energy, goodness & peace.
And may you always be loved in return.

Get out there ~ do yoga and make life sparkle!