Life should be enjoyed. I try to find small moments in my day, in between work, reading, and writing, where I can pause. I stop everything and soak in the beauty that surrounds me. Living in Hawaii, I am lucky enough to watch the breathtaking sunsets, or jump in the ocean for a quick swim after work, and I always, always, always, take the time to practice yoga (which I love).
I fully understand that not everyone "loves" yoga, but there is something for you out there, your own "love," maybe it is surfing, rock climbing, soccer, basketball, juggling, etc., you get the idea. Taking the time out of your day, everyday, to do what you love is very important.
The purpose of stepping onto your mat is to feel good. Yes, there is also the mind-body challenge, but ultimately the hope is that when you roll up your mat after practice – you feel better. It’s really that simple.
The hope is to leave your mat feeling better, lighter, and happier. Your practice puts those heavy problems in your life into perspective because for 75 minutes of your day (or however long your practice might be), you can’t think of them; you are focused on much more important things like how to balance on one foot or float from down dog to crow. You know you can get through whatever it is you are going through because you just held a handstand for 60-bleeping-seconds.
How often is it possible to completely clear your head of the frenzy of thoughts, to-do-lists, and worries that generally take over your mind? Well, if you are breathing deeply, in the moment, in a handstand, I assure you – your to-do-list will be waiting for you when you are done.
This is why, initially, the postures are so important. You learn the alignment and postures, so that you can arrive to the place where thoughts and worries are no longer holding center stage. Only after the postures are learned and this space and freedom in the mind is felt can you find the space, calm, and focus to surrender in savasana or find a seated mediation.
In essence, your yoga makes you feel strong, whole, beautiful, and full of love, from the inside out. Starting from wherever you are today, you know that in one week’s time, however small the progress might be that it is there. Breath by breath, posture by posture, you are healing, growing, and nurturing your entire body, mind, and soul.
All at once, you face head on your toughest critic and your biggest advocate. And as the weeks pass, you really do begin to feel lighter. You walk with a little more pep in your step. You stand a little taller. You begin to see more love around you and feel even more love within you. Your practice transforms your life. Your practice becomes more about nurturing your trust in love, kindness, and acceptance. Your practice builds trust from within. And as months pass, you begin to realize, to know, from the bottom of your heart, that you yourself are a gift. No one else in this world is exactly like you, and for this reason alone - find a smile and run with it. Enjoy your next practice, because you can!
I believe in eating as close to the source as possible. This means eating lots of fresh, local, and organic fruits and vegetables. Food is meant to be enjoyed and you should enjoy it. If eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables is foreign to you, I promise that over time you will begin to enjoy the taste of whole foods, and more than that you will begin to crave them. I eat a vegan diet, however, I know that food is not a one-size-fits-all aspect of life. I am by no means a radical vegan, in fact, I don't even enjoy being labeled as one. With that said, I do think everyone could benefit by eating a little less meat and more vegetables and greens!
There are countless benefits to meditation.
Health Benefits: Decreased blood pressure and hypertension, lowered cholesterol levels, reduced production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline, more efficient oxygen use by the body, increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA, improved immune function, decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Enhanced Concentration, Memory, and Ability to Learn: Researchers have found that our brains have an amazing ability to continue growing throughout the duration of our lives, we are able to grow new neurons, the quality is known as neuroplasticity.
Create Harmonious, Loving Relationships: Feeling balanced brings a wonderful sense of centeredness, where you say goodbye to the toxic and hello to the love.
Improved Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills: All of my best ideas happen while I am meditating. If only I could stop and write them down every now and then, I’d be a bit richer. The ideas just flow, you are in a state of flow. Many athletes describe this state of flow, where there is little to no effort required, but yet, they are swishing shot after shot and on “fire.”
Decreased Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia: Meditation in a deep state triggers the release of neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins) all of which improve mood, no single drug can do this, and the process is side-effect-free!
Happiness: A sense of calm, inner harmony takes over, you leave a meditation session, feeling a little more love for yourself, everyone around you, and the world. The outcome is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and happiness.
Begin by loving yourself. Acceptance, compassion, self-love, and understanding are all components. Wherever you are today, accept yourself as you are, the good and the bad. Commit to being okay with where you are, from this point on there is only growth. Growth won't happen if you beat yourself up, criticize yourself, or add guilt and jealousy to your plate. By loving yourself, more love will naturally begin to flow into your life. I am excited for you, let's make the world a better place together, by starting with ourselves.
Romantic Love- Your love will be fiery, passionate, and inspiring. The person you love will support you as your reach for your dreams. Your love will give you the courage to go after everything you've ever wanted and be by your side the entire time, saying "you can do it," that person is out there for you. Your love will make you feel like you are the most important person in the world. Your love, will find you, once you've found yourself.