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Michael stays smoke-free and mentally calm through Bikram yoga

“I started Bikram yoga last January because wanted to lose 10 kilos of sexiness and to make sure I didn’t start smoking again. I still haven’t smoked yet and I owe that to Bikram yoga for sure. In 20 years I’ve never gone this long without smoking. Being able to breathe and heal and be good to myself physically and emotionally through practice has been better than smoking ever was.

The greatest benefit I’ve gotten from Bikram yoga is how it quiets the crazy inside me. Bikram calms my mind unlike anything else. Amongst the sweat and poses and savasanas, the jagged edges of my thoughts become smoothed and rounded, feelings become clarified, and the voice inside me becomes kinder and gentler. Bikram is like a sweatier version of Zanax.

I love how no two classes are the same, how a pose one day can vastly differ the very next in feel or fluidness, in difficulty or ease. I love when a breakthrough happens with a pose. It’s the sensation of falling or moving through water, as if the pose is happening to you. You find a new ceiling and a new you.

I love how if I miss class, my whole body feels it, misses it. It’s like driving and slamming on breaks. My body is at rest but feels like it’s still in motion, longs to continue the forward momentum from the previous day.

I love every teacher that has instructed me, corrected me, and encouraged me. More times than not, it has been their encouragement that has kept me going.

I love the sense of community you share with a group of otherwise strangers. It’s the feeling of having survived a great storm, some indescribable test and done it together in one collective spirit, while in your undies.”


Not a creative person? Meditation will change that

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”  – Pablo Picasso.

Creative people. They’re the rock stars, authors, and artists of the world. They’re the ones we look up to for their imagination and their talent.

They’re special, aren’t they? Those creative artists who create the music, books, and art we turn to when we want to dream.

People flock to La Louvre in Paris, one of the most impressive art galleries in the world, oggling the works of artists like Gericault and Da Vinci. They were people born to create works of creative genius. Many dream that one day they may create works that would be one hundredth the creative brilliance of those paintings adorning the walls of France’s most important gallery.

Yet many think that only those alike to Da Vinci and Gericault were born for creative brilliance,  the rest of us are not. Right? If we were born with creative talent we would surely know about it, wouldn’t we? Talent like that couldn’t be hiding somewhere, unbeknownst to us. Could it?

But what if creative talent isn’t reserved for just the lucky few? What if creative talent is actually inside us all?

Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Sure enough, every child is indeed an artist. Give a two-year-old a crayon and they’ll draw you a picture. True, it might be a mangled mess completely uninterpretable until said child tells you it’s a cat, but they will grab that crayon and they will draw to their heart’s content; they will have a go.

Trouble is, most adults will not have a go. Give an adult a crayon and they’ll probably just put it right back in the box and tell you to grow up. It’s like the mere idea of being creative seems absurd to them.

We lose our creativity as we grow old. And no wonder. “Stress is a well-known creativity killer,” says psychologist Robert Epstein, PhD. “Time constraints are another.” As we age we are gradually exposed to both increasing levels of stress and tightening time constraints, and our creativity is stifled.

Stress and time-constraints kill creativity in many ways:

  • Stress prevents the mind from being playful, which is essential to creativity.
  • Stress makes us obsess over worries rather than thinking about possibilities.
  • Stress prevents us from living in the moment, cutting off our main source of inspiration.
  • Stress is tiring, sapping our creative energy.
  • Time constraints mean we’re forced to do things the way we know rather than looking for alternatives.
  • Both time constraints and stress make us hyper-focused on action and results, preventing us from looking outside the box, from considering alternative options, and, ultimately, from being creative.

Put all these factors together and it’s easy to see why the modern world is custom designed to kill the average adult’s creativity.

But that doesn’t mean adults cannot be creative. It just means we have to make a concerted effort to actually use our creative powers.

The key to reclaiming our creativity, perhaps surprisingly, is this: We need to chill out.

Sounds jovial. It’s actually both vital and incredibly accurate.

If we want to be creative we have to let our minds play. We have to stop being so darned focused on the time and on productivity and results. “Chilling out” truly is the answer.

To say we need to “chill out” really means we have to let go of stress so we can be more mentally flexible.

We can liken this to yoga.

Physical stress kills a yoga practice like mental stress kills creativity, and for precisely the same reason.

When we are tense (in other words, physically stressed) our muscles are cramped in one position, making it impossible for them to take up an asana.

Similarly, when we are mentally tense (stressed) the mind is too forced in one position, too focused on one way of looking at things, making it impossible to be creative.

We can solve both these problems in the same way.

When we are tense in yoga we don’t immediately stretch out into full expression of standing bow. We begin by helping the body to relax. Only once the body is relaxed we can then move with more ease and grace into the posture.

It’s the same with creativity.

When we’re mentally stressed we don’t pen A Tale Of Two Cities.  Rather, we have to take steps to relax the mind so that we can start to be more creative.

To relax the mind, we meditate. But in a specific way.

The majority of meditation techniques are focused. These are techniques in which we focus the mind on one thing, such as the breath. This, however, is not conducive to creativity because creativity is not about focusing on one view. It’s about being open to myriad different views.

The opposite of focused meditations is Open Monitoring.

These are meditations in which we do not focus on one thing, but rather we extend awareness to the entirety of our environment. It’s as though consciousness were butter in a warm pan. The butter expands evenly to cover the whole pan. Same with open monitoring meditation. Consciousness spreads evenly so we are aware of our whole environment.

If you have ever found yourself fully absorbed in beautiful scenery you will have experienced open monitoring meditation. It’s the state in which we feel one with our environment, when we seem to breathe with the world, when we are calm and yet aware of the fullness of our environment.

Scientific research proves that open monitoring is an incredibly powerful technique for creativity.

Cognitive psychologist Loenza Colzato studied the affect that open monitoring meditation has on divergent and convergent thinking. These are mental processes that enable us to come up with new ideas and bring those ideas together into one cohesive unit (such as when we conceptualise a story, first brainstorming ideas and then bringing them together into one story).

Colazato’s study showed that open monitoring meditation significantly improved these mental processes. This, Colzato said, showed that open monitoring meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for creativity.

The reason open monitoring meditation boosts creativity is, essentially, because it is freeing. It undoes the damage that too much stress and time constraints do to us.

As adults, it is far too easy to become hyper-focused on productivity and results, always choosing the trusted way rather than being free to experiment. It’s a self-imposed cage in which we cannot see the infinite possibilities that are always within us.

Open monitoring meditation opens the mind, limbering us up like those warm-up moves in yoga. It creates mental flexibility and freedom with which we can realise our creative potential.

Why not try open monitoring meditation today. It’s easy.

To do open monitoring meditation:

  1. Go somewhere quiet and relaxing, a place you would want to be one with (such as a beautiful countryside).
  2. Sit or lie down.
  3. Count your breaths up to 50 just to relax.
  4. Be aware of your senses. Listen, feel, smell, taste, and see the environment around you.
  5. Let your consciousness rhttp://dailycupofyoga.com/wp-admin/index.phpeach out so that you are aware of everything.
  6. If thoughts and feelings arise, let them come and go while still paying attention to the environment.
  7. Continue for 20 minutes.
  8. Notice how you feel more open, more relaxed, and freer.

Practice this technique whenever you want to get in touch with your creativity. It will open your mind and give you the mental freedom and flexibility with which to be creative.

Yin Yoga: A Yoga Practice Every Athlete Should Adopt

Sore muscles, injuries, over-extension of the body…if you’re an athlete then you’re no stranger to these. From running track to weight lifting, chances are you’ve experienced some type of injury or strain throughout your life. Injuries may be inevitable at one point or another, but what if I told you there is a practice even the most trained of athletes could adopt to prolong and minimize injury?

Enter Yin Yoga. A gentle, yet challenging, yoga practice that allows you to drop into your own body, listen, and be present with anything and everything that comes up, both physically and mentally. Yin is a seated, grounding practice, within which poses are held for 3-5 minutes in order to bring mobility to the joints and ligaments. By practicing this style of yoga, athletes are able to work deeper into the muscles to transform the way the body moves.

In most classes you see in Western yoga, students are working with their yang muscles, or powermuscles, which can be similar to an athlete’s normal routine. When practicing yin yoga, students are asked to relax into postures, taking on a more passive approach to working through deep connective tissue and fascia in the body. Fascia, oh, juicy fascia, connects every part of our body together and by caring for your fascia, you are maximizing athletic performance and muscle flexibility.

Yin Yoga offers athletes a chance to find stillness in the mind and body. Given that poses are being held much longer than a yang-style yoga class, a student will notice everything under the sun come up in their mind and body. From sensation in the hips to thoughts about past experiences, yin allows these physical and mental emotions to rise and be released through the power of passive movement. When intimately working with the body by breaking through connective tissue, students will find themselves breaking through old emotional patterns and coming out of class stronger. Not only in the body, but in the mind as well.

Yin can be practiced at home or in a formal class setting, although it is recommended to start in a class where a teacher can hold space for your body and all that arises. We offer Yin every friday night at North Lakes, at 6:30pm, and every Sunday at Nundah, 6pm.

The art of letting go

It is human nature to become attached to things or people.  And it can be very difficult to find out how to let go from these attachments even if we know that they are not good for us. The Buddha even went so far as saying that our addictive behaviour is the root of all suffering.

But why is it so difficult to let go? Why is it so hard to give up a bad habit or an ex-lover? The truth is that most of us suffer from a feeling of inner emptiness that we are trying to fill up with our various attachments – often without much success. One person may eat too much, another may cling to an unloving partner while a third may get addicted to social media. But none of this can fill our inner emptiness.

How can we learn to let go?

The first step to letting go is to take a good, hard look at the things and people that we are so attached to. Do they really fill that nagging sense of inner emptiness? Is our ex-lover really this wonderful person that we make them out to be?

It is amazing how much we can deceive ourselves, believing that things and people will bring us happiness when, in reality, it was never the case. In other words, we need to burst the fantasy bubble that we have built around our addictive clinging and then we need to make a decision to give it up.

Face the emptiness

The next step is to face the emptiness that will appear once we try to give up a bad habit or a person who does not want to be with us. Doing this needs courage but I will now tell you a technique that will make this step easier. When temptation strikes we simply sit down comfortably and relax our whole body and mind. You will notice that the sense of craving is like a contraction in your mind that you can relax and release with every out-breath.

Wrap yourself in love

Then we envelop ourselves with love like a loving mother would cradle an unsettled child. In that way, we give ourselves the very thing that we have wrongly expected from our addictive habits. Only love can fill our inner emptiness and we can get this love directly from ourselves. And once we feel this inner fulfillment it will be much easier to let go and invite healthier habits and people into our life.

A bubble of love

Once we are filled up with love, we envelop the object or person of our temptation with a bubble of love as well and let this bubble slowly drift away until it gradually disappears into the distance. If this is difficult, we simply remember vividly all the negative consequences that will happen if we carry on clinging.

What are the takeaway keys?

The essence of the art of letting go is truthfulness, relaxation and love.

 

The power of gong meditation and sound immersion

A Gong Meditation is often called a Gong Bath. No….you do not undress, nor do you get drenched in water! We like to say you are b-a-t-h-e-d in sound. It is one of the easiest ways to go deep into a meditative state. And this is why:

In a Gong meditation you lie down, or sit, softly closing your eyes and giving your body the PERMISSION to relax.  You are usually taken through some gentle belly breathing, and as the gongs and other sound instruments are played, you drift from a beta, into an alpha and then, a theta estate.

But what are these states/waves related to?

Beta is a 14-40 Hz, waking consciousness and reasoning brain wave
Alpha is 7.5-14 Hz, a deep relaxation brain wave
Theta is the 4-7.5 Hz, light meditation and sleeping brain wave

Most people drift between these states throughout the session while some others will go deep immediately.  It´s not unusual to hear a symphony of snores (!) and deep sighing, from time to time. You finally wake up deeply refreshed, rested yet energized. And almost everyone who attends a session tells us how, besides other positive effects, they enjoyed an amazing night of sleep thereafter.

Gong Meditations are very adaptable:

  • Some sessions have a guided visualization topic that deals with a particular area of life.
  • They  could be accompanied as well  by a Laughter Yoga session or physical exercises to release anger.
  • Can be used as well to cleanse and clear a room, to inaugurate a space or as the closing session for an event.
  • It can be a session for individuals or groups, for staff or for students, and all different ages.

It is, basically, for anyone and everyone. As Grand Gong Master, Don Conreaux, envisions:  “A Gong in Every Home”.

During the session, the facilitator would play, besides the gong/s, intuitively some other instruments such as: singing bowls or crystal bowls, conch shells, bird whistles, feathers, ocean drums, rain sticks, tongue drums, hang drums, chimes, bells, harps, rattles, xylophones and shruti boxes, or a myriad other sound instruments which will bring you into a blissful state of body -mind.

Sessions usually end with a brief, silent, couple of minutes that is called the “Shuniya” or “Sunyata”, literally meaning “emptiness” or “void”. This is the time for the sounds to settle, so the inner peace and the oneness will remain with you for the rest of the day.

We have a Gong Immersion night coming up on Saturday 12th, 6pm – 7pm, at our Nundah studio, and we would love to see you there!

I used to think Yoga was a joke until this one moment

“Take a deep six count breath in… and exhale it out. Pranayama deep breathing…”  

“Uh, pranayama what?”  I was in my very first yoga class and couldn’t help but think: This is ridiculous. Did this yoga instructor just randomly make up a fancy-sounding word to describe the simple concept of breathing? *eye roll* Not only was I sweating profusely, suddenly swimming in a puddle of perspiration on my mat, but I also felt like I was stuck in an eleventh-grade foreign language class. Still trying to wrap my head around pranayama-this and trikonasana-that, I came to the defeated conclusion that this was not my jam. I just had to make it through this one class without drowning in my own bodily fluids and pretend to understand the gibberish meant to guide the wacky practice.  

I didn’t get into yoga because I was “broken” or going through a breakup or even seeking spiritual growth. I simply wanted a supplement to my already-involved training regimen. I perceived yoga to be physically challenging yet a more gentle workout for rest days… and that’s about it. 

I spent the first two years focusing on my physical practice. I didn’t have any interest in “feeling” or being compassionate, loving, and kind to myself. My main objective was to get a recovery workout in on the days I didn’t have functional strength training, and to keep my body supple. Every time an instructor would preach about vulnerability and the idea that “you can only love others as much as you love yourself,” I would cringe. Rather than embrace all of the tools that would contribute to my growth and emotional freedom, I resisted them and became increasingly frustrated with what I considered to be absolute bulls#*t. To be honest, I just couldn’t comprehend why every single instructor felt the need to create an emotional upheaval when I was just there to get in a good workout.

Despite my journey not following the common trend of turning to yoga post breakup, two years into my practice, I found myself going through the worst breakup of my life: my divorce.

All of a sudden, the emotional wall I built came crumbling down. I felt like everything the instructor was saying resonated with what I was experiencing in my personal life. The emotions came on full force, and my mat was soaked with a mixture of sweat and tears after every practice. I felt a loss of control and power I didn’t experience in my other workouts, as I was forced to deal with the hurt, sadness, anger, and regret. My formerly-jaded self might have scoffed, but this new, vulnerable version of me felt a shift. 

The exact moment it happened was in trikonasana during a grueling practice. I heard the instructor say, “Your access to power is through your breath. Follow it, feel it, hear it, be with it.”

As much as I look forward to the hip-opening poses, those are also the ones that are most sensational and regarded as the area in our body where we hold on to our emotions. With the discomfort intensifying, I decided to take the advice that changed everything for me: I started to breathe. I counted my breath. I visualized my breath. I listened to my breath. I just breathed.

It wasn’t that my breath magically made everything better—not even close—but what it did do was make the discomfort manageable.

It wasn’t that my breath magically made everything better—not even close—but what it did do was make the discomfort manageable. It allowed me to stay with the sensations, recognizing that I was in full control of how I chose to respond. In that moment, my breath—this simple, basic thing that we all have access to—became my most useful and powerful tool. Breathing reminded me that all emotions, good and bad, are temporary.

Learning to breathe through discomfort, be it physical or emotional, allowed me to create space for healing and vulnerability. It made me responsive rather than reactive, and it gave me the ability to recognize that I always have a choice. As the saying goes, the only way out is through. Through yoga, I realized I can either choose to avoid uncomfortable sensation and suffer, or I can breathe my way through it, trusting that it will pass in due time.

When I think back to that very first yoga class, I was not only completely confused by pranayama breathing, but I was also annoyed by the loud, obnoxious sound. It’s kind of funny now that what I once resisted is now my sacred tool of survival. It grounds me, soothes me, nurtures me, and allows me to create space to feel and to let go. It’s helped me find myself and is the most powerful component of my yoga practice. It reminds me not to be so quick to judge new experiences, new people, even myself. It reminds me that there is no challenge or difficulty that you cannot overcome—one breath at a time.  

May Newsletter

All Mums practice for free this Mothers Day! Or if you are a Mum. bring your daughter =)

Mothers Day is just around the corner and while a big hug and tender kiss are usually enough for her, it’s always a great idea to spoil her with something special on this date to show much appreciation for all she’s done for us. Sure chocolates and flowers are nice, but how about trying something different this year? Something more useful that lasts longer and she can use frequently. Something that makes her feel like the gorgeous woman she is; or something that enhances her lifestyle but at the same time, won’t break the bank.

If she happens to be a dedicated yogi, then she’ll definitely like one of these ideas specially tailored for yoga mums. Just remember to compliment them with a big hug and tender kiss too!

  • Yoga Mats – An easy and amazing gift for any Mum that practices Yoga; it’s always a yoga accessory she may need or one that is getting old and needs to be replaced. Our mats are top notch and we also have mat bags to carry them to and from class in!
  • Yoga Book – A book about yoga or spirituality is something that could have a long lasting effect on your Mum; it can improve her practice, enhance her yoga journey, and create inspiration in her day to day living. There are many options to choose from.
  • Yoga Clothes – Mum deserves to look sharp and feel comfortable at the studio. There is no such thing as ‘too many’ yoga pants, so its always a safe choice. She could also use a sweater for these colder days; a yoga top to feel good in her favourite asana; or shorts to help her move freely.
  • A yoga pass – we have everything from introductory passes to monthly passes and sessions packs! Introduce Mum to the wonderful practice of yoga, pilates and meditation, or if she’s already a regular, save her on her next payment. She’ll love it! Who doesn’t love see Mum happy, relaxed and glowing after her yoga class?
  • A private yoga class – This is a great opportunity for Mum to go deeper into her practice with one-on-one attention and hands on correction.
  • Practice class with her – She’ll most probably like at least one of the previous ideas; any present is a good way to show that you thought of her! However, spending quality time with Mum is something she will love and make her smile more than any object or subscription you can find. Hop on the mat and enjoy yoga class by her side – remember that all Mum’s (or daughters, if you are already a mum) practice for free this Mothers Day!

In Other News

  • We are looking for a marketing angel to help us promote the studio in exchange for free yoga. We want to spread about our amazing studio and are looking for help in doing so! Contact Sherry on 0422 684 789 if you’re interested
  • Speaking of promotion… please check in when you come to class. Post and check-in when you come to class! Before Yogananda died in 1952 he whispered to his student- “something called social media is coming… and if you don’t post and check in, it’s the same as not doing savasana at the end of class” but worse 😉 Help us promote our family business, we would really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts xx
  • Ongoing Special – Bring a friend for free if you are a member (direct debit, 50 classes, 6 months or annual pass)! They can come to any class on our schedule, it just has to be their first class ever at our studios.
  • By popular demand. we are adding a silent class the last Sunday of each month at Nundah. This class will be at 7am, and will commence the last Sunday of May. Look forward to seeing you there!

 

Topic of the month: You’re body’s “Powerhouse”: What is it?

Inferno Hot Pilates is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with low impact, based on Pilates principles. In class we spend a lot of time strengthening not only the abdominal muscles, but the lower back muscles, the glutes, the muscles around your hips, and the pelvic floor. These muscles work together to create a supportive corset for the trunk of your body. As a group, we refer to these muscles as your “Powerhouse”.

The term “Powerhouse” was created by Joseph Pilates to describe the place in the body from where all movement and energy stems. All movement should begin from the center and move outward to the limbs. It is the Powerhouse that gives us energy, strength, stability and control.

When we strengthen the muscles of the Powerhouse, our posture becomes supported and our shoulders can relax. Our chest opens, allowing it to expand and contract easily with the breath. The neck and head are aligned and can move more freely, and it relieves stress in the hips, legs and feet. So in your next Hot Pilates class, when the instructor tells you to squeeze your bum and tighten up your glutes, pelvic floor, and stomach, tighten them up and find your center!

Carnival Month

Brazil is a place famous for soccer, samba and carnival, a place where joy and energy pervade the air. It’s also a country rich with natural beauty. Brazilians are warm, open people, and they have a unique and powerful connection to the earth. So it’s no surprise that yoga has taken hold in Brazil, and the yoga community is growing strong.

This is especially true in major cities like Rio de Janeiro. Cariocas (people from Rio) live a super-relaxed beach lifestyle, and love outdoor health and fitness. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hop into a handstand on Ipanema Beach, or paddle out for some SUP yoga next to Sugarloaf Mountain? Rio de Janeiro is one giant outdoor playground — or to us, a giant outdoor yoga studio.

When visit Brasil, you’ll understand why. The breathtaking scenery in Brazil is absolutely crying for you to sun-salute it. This month being Carnival, we decided to dedicate our Instagram account to to all things yoga in Brasil! Head over to our page and check it out!

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12 New Year’s Resolutions You Should Make Even Though They Seem Totally Cliche

1. Exercise (/do Bikram Yoga) every day no matter what

What You Actually Do: Have a week or two where you spend an hour and a half exercising every day, then remember why you didn’t exercise before — you have no time! And pain!

What You Should Do: Put aside some time three or four days of the week to exercise. Start small and work your way up as you learn to manage your time.

2. Eat healthy and clean all the time

What You Actually Do: Spend a week or so eating the healthiest foods ever, effectively feeling like your depriving yourself of all the good stuff, then get stressed and binge on potato chips and ice cream. You then think, you messed everything up, and figure you might as well wait until next month to start over.
What You Should Do: Focus on one thing at a time. Start with portion control — make your meals smaller, and then start to cut out sugar when you don’t need it. Substitute healthier alternatives for unhealthy choices (kale chips instead of potato chips) but don’t make your life revolve around them. Let yourself indulge once in a while, just do your best to keep to portion control.

3. Stop procrastinating and get things done

What You Actually Do: Realize you procrastinated before because things are hard, and rationalize that it’s just part of your personality or you just don’t have enough time.

What You Should Do: Make a set schedule for when you have to get things done so that you’re more organized and have something to follow. Promise yourself a treat when you’re done to motivate yourself – 30 minutes watching your favourite series without nagging thoughts of what you should be doing (because you’ve already done it!) is pure bliss.

4. Wake up earlier to get to work or class a few minutes early or on time

What You Actually Do: Manage to get up an hour early the first three days and then remember why you love the snooze button — your bed is amazing.

What You Should Do: Spend one week waking up five minutes earlier than normal. The next week, wake up 10 minutes earlier. The next week wake up 15 minutes earlier, and so on until you reach the time you want. You can even spend two weeks doing each time interval if you’d like. Just take it slow!

5. Save a lot of money, and stop spending all of it on useless clothes and accessories

What You Actually Do: Put aside your first few paychecks and stop shopping completely, then find one sweater you like and go crazy, and realize you just spent EVERYTHING.

What You Should Do: Take a long, hard look at your finances, and think about what is reasonable for you to put away each week. Make sure you leave yourself enough money for food, occasionally going out, bills, and a little extra spending cash. Decide what is right for you: for some people it’s $5, for others it may be $20. Whatever the amount is, put it away in a box or jar at the end of each week. Putting away small amounts of money is much less daunting than taking $500 out of your paycheck.

6. Give up your worst habit for good

What You Actually Do: Try, fail, make excuses for yourself. Next year?

What You Should Do: Find a support group that will help you, and put a lot of effort into making this work. Talk to people and lean on others for advice and encouragement when you feel weak. Realize that you will mess up a few times, but that’s OK. Giving up a bad habit isn’t supposed to be easy.

7. Keep things clean and organized at all times

What You Actually Do: Clean up your room or desk once, then have one day where you need to find something, and make a huge mess looking for it.

What You Should Do: Set aside one day during the week that you devote at least an hour to cleaning whatever you want to keep organized. This will eventually keep you from getting too messy during the week, but it will also allow you some leeway. Also, if you’re trying to keep your life organized, buy a planner and write everything down!

8. Read more books — one new book a month

What You Actually Do: Read a few new books, then remember you have Netflix.

What You Should Do: Make a list of books you want to read, and take your time going through them. Set aside an hour or so to read on the nights you’re the least busy. Don’t rush through books to try to accomplish something. Remember to enjoy them!

9. Get more sleep

What You Actually Do: Spend a few nights laying in bed trying to sleep, then give up. You can sleep when you’re dead, right?

What You Should Do: At least get in bed a little bit earlier than normal so that your body and mind can relax. If you can’t sleep, just let yourself calm down.

10. Cut off contact with that one toxic person in your life

What You Actually Do: Feel guilty and/or sad about doing that, and convince yourself you need them.

What You Should Do: Slowly cut all ties with this person in whatever way works for you, and realize that it’s OK if it takes months to get it done.

11. Do something new and different every day

What You Actually Do: Forget. Every single day. Who has the time to do this?!

What You Should Do: Vow to do something new and different once a month, and realize it doesn’t have to be something big. It can be as simple as going to see a movie by yourself if you’ve never done that before, or taking a road trip an hour away.

12. Spend more time with family

What You Actually Do: Hang out with your family once, get in a fight with everyone, and remind yourself why that was an impossible resolution.

What You Should Do: Hang out with your damn family. Even if they annoy you, they’re still important!

The practice of Gratitude

I was driving on the freeway one day during the height of a stressful period at work when I suddenly felt very dizzy. I quickly pulled the car over and sat on the side of the road. As I listened to the traffic buzzing by me, I felt completely empty and lost. I knew I wanted to leave my job, this was the direction I wanted to go, but a new life meant I would be making one tenth of my previous salary and had none of the perks that come with a powerful job. I had spent most of my life working and going from one vacation to the next, always looking for the next big thing to occupy my thoughts. Wanting was my typical state of mind, but I finally realized that what I wanted was to no longer want. 

 

We hear more and more about people letting go of stressful jobs, relationships, or other interests in order to seek a meaningful life through spiritual practices such as Yoga. It’s a big transition, and often people are not prepared for the realities of losing the identity they had previously known and walking away from titles, status and salaries. It can seem overwhelming and make you doubt your choice – some say they felt more lost and unsure transitioning then they did in the original gloom that initiated the desire for change. Beginning a daily practice of gratitude can help to relax and sooth you through the life-changer, moving you from a state of lack to one that is grounded in the understanding that the universe will provide exactly what you need to thrive in each moment.

Reflecting on what you have and what you enjoy about life (for example, good health, good friends, a place to live, a fulfilling spiritual practice) helps to shift focus towards what you have instead of what you want, opening up life and making it more smooth. When you resist what is in front of you and live in an ideal future or past, you are working against the flow where it is harder to manifest what you need. This resistance can look like frustration, anxiety or impatience

 Simple practices of gratitude

Gratitude changes everything. It can move you from a state of lack to one in which you understand that you have everything you need to thrive in this moment. It helps you see that the experience of life is a gift, one you can cherish each day.

How often do you appreciate what you have? We recommend doing it at least daily, but the more you express thanks for what you have been given, the more you will find to be thankful for. Here are three of our favorite practices:

  1. Begin and end your day with a statement of gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal near your bed that you add to each day. During those times when you need a reminder of what you have in life, take a look through the pages.
  2. Be grateful for your meals. Gratitude is good for digestion. Before each meal, spend a moment honoring all who brought you that food. The farmers, the cooks and mother nature have all done a lot to bring you this nourishment.
  3. Count out the simple things you have. A bed to sleep on, a meal, a friend to talk to — you’ll be surprised to see how much is available to you. When you express appreciation for the small things, you welcome greater abundance in your life.

Practice gratitude during the difficult times, as well as when life flows with ease. Being grateful doesn’t mean challenges go away, but having this perspective allows you to climb to a higher place and get a better view of what you’re going through. After all, challenges are gifts that help you let go of your lower ego and connect with your higher self.

Remember this: The universe never stops providing what you need to grow as spirit. Find appreciation for that alone and you’ll never run out of things to be thankful for.

Namaste x