There are 23,040 breaths in each day. How many are you aware of? That is equivalent to 16 breaths/minute. Make an effort this week to go outside into #theairoutthere. Lululemon's winter slogan has really resinated with me. I lead a meditation on behalf of Lululemon on the benefits of presence, nature, and breathing in the air out there atop Kuliouou Ridge Trail for a group of local influencers in the community. Step outside, forget the fluorescent lights, wifi, concrete, and enjoy a few deep breaths in the air out there.

XOXO,

laura mary

Aloha Yogis,

I cannot believe 2016 is nearly over. It has been a year of highs and lows. The lows basically revolved around rehabbing my way through a serious injury. I learned a lot and my injury has impacted the way I teach, practice, live, and view the purpose of my teachings. The highs, were plentiful, but the true highlight was being engaged to Derek. I cannot wait to officially be a Linsley and marry my best friend in 2017. Cue the cliches...but it is true, he inspires me to be the best version of myself, always.

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Here are a few other highlights from 2016. I almost felt the need to take out my planner to review because so much happened. In February I taught Vision + Goals at Wanderlust Oahu which was once a big “one-day” type of goal for me and it happened.

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At Wanderlust, Lululemon asked me to be their ambassador and it has been one wonderful year in partnership and collaboration with this inspiring company.

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2016 also marked my first ever Go Deeper Yoga + Goals retreat on the Big Island, I am already gearing up for the 2017 Go Deeper Retreat!

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I taught a retreat on Maui exclusively for Lululemon ambassadors past and present where we camped and got real with our goal setting.

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I taught a few Vino and Vinyasa events this year. I am happy to say it is still going strong in fact, it is growing; What began in 2014 as a small 30-something size class has grown into a 300-something size class!

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I took my teaching to the East Coast this year and taught in New York City, Saratoga Springs, and Boston.

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I taught a few fundraiser events this year, one that stands out was Downward Dog for Diabetes. The class raised money for research on juvenile diabetes and was a huge success.

diabetesA new event popped up, run by my student and dear friend which she dubbed “Mai Tais and Meditation” stay tuned for more on this class series!

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One more 200-hour teacher training is in the books and it was such a special group of yogis this year. They have grown into brilliant teachers who are now sharing their gifts and knowledge with the world. I love the ripple effect of my job. Being in a career of service is important to me. I know that whether I teach a group or one on one and impact someone’s day positively, they will carry their practice with them and impact everyone around them - in a ripple effect.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to have continued teaching various army platoons this year which always leaves me feeling inspired and grateful.

Several trips to California and the east coast later, I am happy to be staying put in Hawaii for a while, including the holiday season! With that said, I have some BIG goals for 2017. I am excited just to be writing this to you. I will be able to share these goals in due time. For now, I will share what is happening in the next few months, mark your calendar:

 

Vino and Vinyasa - FREE class

Moana Surfrider - Waikiki, Hawaii

January 17, 2017

 

Vino and Vinyasa - FREE class

Moana Surfrider - Waikiki, Hawaii

May 24, 2017

 

Go Deeper Yoga + Goals Retreat

Kapaau, Hawaii

May 26-31, 2017

 

200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Honolulu, Hawaii

August 2017

 

XOXO,

laura mary

Fall 2016 Newsletter

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Fall2016

I deserve everything I dream. Go big. My playing small does not serve the world.

After having a very inspiring friend visit me this week, I am reminded of the above mantra. I am here, you are here, to do something BIG. What is it exactly? Well, I am not sure yet. I have some longer term goals that I can say truly light me up, but they are longer term. It’s great to have a mantra to guide and motivate you towards reaching a goal. It carries the vibration of excitement and an inspiring energy which reminds you that your dreams exist to be reached. But how? How in the short term, or in the now, can we take steps to reach our dreams? And why don’t we all just go full throttle ahead towards our dreams?

Sometimes the fear of not reaching our dreams inhibits our action. We can be paralyzed by the daunting realization of the many hurdles that stand between us and our dreams. Here is what I am doing, and I would love for you to join me.

Practice doing something this week that takes you one step closer towards reaching your dreams. These tasks are meant to be somewhat uncomfortable. You will be challenged. Finding the time to get started might mean staying up late or waking up early to get real and put words on paper about what your dream looks like and what avenues you can take to get there. It might mean a social media post on where you are headed to put the word out into the Universe. It might be a goal-focused conversation with your partner or best friend. The question is how do we begin today, if we haven’t given thought to our dreams? The answer, we set goals! Let’s move intentionally through our day, our week, to take active steps towards our goals. You can post-it note your mantras and repeat them until the cows come home, that won’t be enough. Dreams don’t work unless you do. Mental and physical sweat is a prerequisite to living your dream.

My BIG goal is to write a book, one day. I always timeline it as one day. Time stamping such a large goal is frightening. But as I say in yoga class, why not today? We never know how long our journey will be, why put anything off? There are plenty of action steps I can take today that are even more intimidating than the larger goal itself of writing a book. Nonetheless, I’ve timestamped my biggie as a 5-year goal!

I got really real this week and wrote/updated my 1-5-10-20-year goals. Today my dreams are bigger than my fears, and my actions are louder than my words. Rather than simply write and talk about my goals, I am going to be about them. I am committed to daily writing of some sort. I am committed to a daily sweat too. Enter: #autumnalgoals ...

I will chronicle my journey on my instagram account @lauramaryyoga. If you are really into vision and goals work, I have a separate instagram account dedicated to these visiongrams @lauramary_creates.

Last year, I was so singularly focused on rehabbing and healing my ankle, I lost sight of my why. Why am I here? What am I here to do? What is my purpose? I got caught up in thinking why me? I was thinking about how frustrating it was that this happened to me. I forgot that life doesn’t happen to you but for you. I keep coming back to this idea, it has been pivotal for me on the daily. When I notice myself feeling like a victim, I come back to my bigger WHY and remember that life happens for me not to me. I have definitely been challenged over the last year and I’ve grown stronger because of it. I can't lose sight of the fact that I've also reached some big goals over the last year (Wanderlust, Lululemon, Go Deeper Yoga Retreat, 200-Hour Teacher Training Curriculum, Ambassadorships). I feel inspired to continue growing.

As it turns out, my graduate school thesis was on the topic of exercise motivation and life goals. Now, in full circle, my current work life involves exercise (yoga) and life goals (my vision and goals work). It is this rocking combo of physical and mental sweat that lights me up. My thesis findings revealed that across all subgroups there was a relationship between intrinsic motivation and the perceived importance of physical fitness. Furthermore, within the subgroup of “active" participants (university athletes, club sport, and intramural) there were higher intrinsic aspirations compared to the ”non-active” participants. Intrinsic aspirations were consistent with life goals and motivation. When compared to all other motivation subgroups, the importance of physical fitness had the highest correlation to life goals.

Why does this all matter? The relationship is important as we are all seeking fulfilling lives with high levels of well-being and happiness. Higher levels of well- being are demonstrated amongst individuals who report goals related to self- acceptance, affiliation, community feeling, and physical fitness; Conversely, low levels of well-being and happiness are found for individuals whose goal orientations are focused on financial success, attractiveness, and popularity (Kasser, Ryan, & Schmuck, 2001; Sheldon et al., 2004). Go figure, it’s intuitive, we already know all of this so let’s translate it to action.

Practice working out to work in! Sweat every day, physically and mentally. The two are inextricably linked. Write your goals down. Rock your #autumnalgoals and watch this year as they begin to happen for you!

Goal on,
laura mary

 

 

Photograph by Lululemon, Chelsea Abril
PS- The scar you see on my right ankle in the photo above reminds me...life happens for you.

Fall is around the corner

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Hello Yogis!

September is here. The kiddos are officially back to school. Not mine, but yours! It is time to get serious about the way we are spending our time. Fall is right around the corner. Even though I live in Hawaii, when I let my brain register that it is fall, I am able to feel a crispness in the air. With this feeling, I am brought back to how I felt growing up on the east coast during the fall - inspired. Between the beginning of soccer season + purchasing new school supplies (always my favorite part about the new school year) + a few new stellar outfits - I always felt optimistic. Though, I don't feel any change in temperature here in Hawaii, in fact, it feels hotter and more humid than usual, I do feel this "school year" is going to rock! I find that because my brain registers that it is fall, it is conditioned to ready me for a year of growth, optimism, strength, and achievement. I feel this optimism in my mind and body.

Some big events are on the calendar this "school year" including my brother's wedding in October, my own wedding in 2017, my second Big Island yoga retreat (Go Deeper 2017), and ongoing home renovations. Yes, I am happy to report that we frequent Lowe's every Saturday!

Teacher training is well under way and I am absolutely loving, loving, loving each moment. Every time I lead a TT, I remember the WHY behind yoga, including why I fell in love with yoga many years ago. It also reminds me of all of the ways I can better live my yoga. Last weekend we covered yoga anatomy and yoga mythology. Coming up this weekend we are diving into more yoga anatomy and Ayurveda. As we head into the week 5 lecture series, I feel pretty darn grounded and happy to be doing what I am doing. Yes, #joblove is completely accurate.

Several yogis expressed interest in a February 2017 yoga teacher training. As we say in yoga, the seed has been planted. I am thinking, planning, and fairly close to opening enrollment for a February 2017 TT. Yep, that's right. If you are interested, please email me at info@lauramaryflynn.com to get the conversation going.

Why wait for January 1st to feel inspired and get going? Start today! Let your brain and body remember that Fall means fresh new beginnings and get going. You have a whole "school year" of opportunity ahead of you. Don't wait, start today, get inspired and get moving!

With Gratitude,

laura mary

August Possibility

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Hello August,

I am excited that you are here! Last year, August became one of my favorite months of the year. It marked the beginning of my 200-hour yoga teacher training which I hosted at Power Yoga Hawaii. It also marked the beginning of my first ever social media challenge - a lifestyle challenge. This year the teacher training begins on August 20th, but nonetheless, August still carries the vibration of possibility for me. I am greeting you (August) with gratitude, as Day 1 of the #AugustLifestyleChallenge is to start a gratitude practice.

I practice gratitude...when I think of it, on Thanksgiving, when I need it, often, but not regularly, not daily. I chose to place the gratitude practice first in the 31- day social media challenge because I feel it is a practice which if implemented daily for an entire month will yield a major shift in overall happiness.

A student gave me the transcript to George Saunder's 2013 Syracuse Commencement Speech. It touched my heart, I shared his message in my Thursday Beach Yoga class at Magic Island. Have a read, if you are looking for some inspiration. Here is the New York Times blog on the speech. I paid more attention this week to how I was acting or not acting with kindness in various situations. I dare you to not feel inspired to be kind. Enjoy!

"Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you).

And I intend to respect that tradition.

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking them to do one of their old-time “dances,” so you can watch, while laughing, is ask: “Looking back, what do you regret?” And they’ll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they’ll tell you even if you haven’t asked. Sometimes, even when you’ve specifically requested they not tell you, they’ll tell you.

So: What do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like “knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?” (And don’t even ASK what that entails.) No. I don’t regret that. Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much. Do I regret the occasional humiliation? Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl? No. I don’t even regret that.

But here’s something I do regret:

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. 

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Here’s what I think:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

Now, we don’t really believe these things – intellectually we know better – but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

So, the second million-dollar question: How might we DO this? How might we become more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc?

Well, yes, good question.

Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left.

So let me just say this. There are ways. You already know that because, in your life, there have been High Kindness periods and Low Kindness periods, and you know what inclined you toward the former and away from the latter. Education is good; immersing ourselves in a work of art: good; prayer is good; meditation’s good; a frank talk with a dear friend; establishing ourselves in some kind of spiritual tradition — recognizing that there have been countless really smart people before us who have asked these same questions and left behind answers for us.

Because kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.

One thing in our favor: some of this “becoming kinder” happens naturally, with age. It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really. We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality. We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we’re not separate, and don’t want to be. We see people near and dear to us dropping away, and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away (someday, a long time from now). Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”

And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit. That’s one reason your parents are so proud and happy today. One of their fondest dreams has come true: you have accomplished something difficult and tangible that has enlarged you as a person and will make your life better, from here on in, forever.

Congratulations, by the way.

When young, we’re anxious — understandably — to find out if we’ve got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you — in particular you, of this generation — may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high-school, in hopes of getting into a good college, so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can . . .

And this is actually O.K. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously — as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves.

Still, accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.

So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.

Congratulations, Class of 2013.

I wish you great happiness, all the luck in the world, and a beautiful summer."

With Gratitude,

laura mary

 

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Glow Flow was a BLAST this year. Power Yoga Hawaii held their first ever "Glow Flow Remixed" at the Republik (the most popular concert venue/club in Honolulu). I was honored to teach the event. With an amazing sound system, an LED light, and glow painted bodies - we got our yoga on.

I made sure to request that some Justin Beiber remixes made the evening's playlist, and Dorian (DJ extraordinaire and owner of Power Yoga Hawaii happily obliged). It was so fun to move and flow freely to live music, in a club, with amazing energy, and we can't forget the glow paint.

Here is a clip of me teaching, Dorian DJ-ing, the rocking ambiance, and the flowing yogis.

With Gratitude,

laura mary

 

day 1 - gratitude list

 

#AugustLifestyleChallenge, DAY 1, August 1st - Write a gratitude list. In the words author Melody Beattie, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Today, the challenge is to write a gratitude list. I want you today to begin a gratitude practice. Here is how:

  1. Write down 5 people in your life to whom you are grateful. Imagine their faces as you think about them.
  2. Write down 5 positives in the negative. Life is one big choice, success seeds disruptions, loving risks loss, creating risks failure. For example, adversity powers transformation. Look at your struggles as necessary hiccups or full-on face plants placed in your life to help you grow. What went right when things when wrong?
  3. Write down 5 pieces of gratitude in the mundane. This could be your comfy bedspread, the palm trees outside, 8-hours of sleep, or the aroma of your morning coffee. Cultivate gratitude for the simple things.
  4. Say thank you to 5 people who seek your help. By asking for your help, they improve your self-esteem and it encourages you to act with virtue. Also, research suggests it improves our physical and emotional well-being. Loved ones can be counted twice, because it’s a reciprocal relationship of giving and receiving love.
  5. Write down 5 aspects of your life that you are blessed to have...for millions of others don’t have what you do. Think...food, clean water, children, friends, eyesight, a job, teeth, a healthy heart, a car, or a roof over your head. If these aspects of your life were taken away what would life be like? Fill up with gratitude.

***Be as specific as possible gratitude works best when you are able to find something tangible and real. Be grateful for your significant other for the lovely flowers they gave you on your birthday, for your coworker who greeted you with a smile yesterday when you needed it the most, the list will go on and on. Have fun!

Don’t forget to tag me (@lauramaryyoga) and #AugustLifestyleChallenge and your local supporters: @lululemon, @drinkjugolife, @noelanihawaii, @poweryogahawaii, @corepoweryoga, @bananbowls, and @dreamfloathawaii. Happy Day 1 of the challenge, I will post daily the night before!! Reach out to me with questions at info@lauramaryflynn.com.

A gratitude practice does not mean that every day from now on is going to be roses and butterflies, no. It means that you will notice the abundant blessings around you and by doing so you will feel contentment (santosha) in the moment. Each of us has a happiness set point to which we will gravitate towards throughout of lives (Brickman & Campbell, 2013).

No matter how much we acquire or whatever feats we reach, you won’t feel lasting happiness. Our brain is wired to continue acquiring more, researchers refer to this as the hedonic treadmill. Others propose a model of happiness as a thermostat, where after we acquire something, our expectations adapt to the new state, and happiness falls back to the same level as before. Though research also suggests that this fleeting happiness has the benefit of keeping people motivated to incrementally seek higher goals, a gratitude practice can enhance the whole experience.

Practicing gratitude for what we have (even as we acquire more) helps your mind, moment-to-moment find happiness. Most strikingly, 40% of the variation in happiness is determined by intentional activities (Diener, Lucas & Scollon, 2013) aka a gratitude list. One of the simplest and most rewarding intentional activities you can do each day to increase happiness is...a daily gratitude practice. On an even more awesome note, happiness that originates in gratitude makes your loved ones happier (Amit Sood, 2013). Your efforts will multiply the effect for your whole family.  

What are you waiting for? Start your gratitude list today!

With Gratitude,

laura mary

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IT'S BACK! At the end of the 2015 ‪#‎AugustLifestyleChallenge‬ there were so many inquiries as to whether or not I would host another one... Beginning Monday, August 1st, 2016 is the SECOND annual #AugustLifestyleChallenge. Do you want to join me? It is going to be 31 days into a journey of self-love.

Last year was my first time both participating and hosting a social media challenge! I received emails and comments about how the challenge was shifting people day to day. One participant attributes having met her now serious boyfriend to her participation in this very challenge. It's an adorable 'cute-meet' story! 

How does it work?

Each day I will post to my instagram page (@lauramaryyoga) the subject of the daily lifestyle challenge. All you have to do is participate in the daily subject + post a photo of the activity (in some creative form). In order for me to see your post - please make sure you tag me (@lauramaryyoga) and the supporters and include the hashtag #AugustLifestyleChallenge

Prizes are being provided by the following amazing local companies: Lululemon, Jugo Life Juice, Noelani Hawaii, Power Yoga Hawaii, CorePower Yoga, Banan, and Dream Float Hawaii. At the end of the challenge, I will choose winners based on participation and creativity. Email me with questions info@lauramaryflynn.com or comment here.

With Gratitude,

laura mary