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Top 10 beaches in India for Yoga Enthusiasts

I’m sure like me, when you think of a yoga retreat India comes to your mind, which is quite natural because that’s where it all began… I’d often wondered what the word ‘yoga’ meant.  Yoga has its origins in India from the ‘Yuj’ in Sanskrit, which means to unite. Yoga is your path to unite with the spirit of the Universe and its practice brings rejuvenation to the mind, body & soul.

Yoga on a beach? Sounds promising indeed…

The beach setting is idyllic with the sound of the ocean waves gently crashing against the stones, the salt sea air invigorating your lungs, and the soft breeze keeping you cool throughout your Yoga session.

Now it’s time to go for a Yoga holiday in the famed beaches of India…

Cherai Beach, Kerala

cherai-beach

The golden beach of Kerala where the golden rays of Sun play with the blue waters of the ocean. The beach, located near Cochin is lined with luscious green coconut groves and paddy fields. The sandy beach is a unique combination of the sea and the backwaters.  The peaceful, rustic setting is  ideal for spiritual practice of Yoga. Go in for total rejuvenation at the Cherai Beach Resorts & Ayurmana Spa, two prominent Yoga retreats to look out for at the Cherai beach.

Image by  s_smile4ever via Flickr

Anjuna Beach

Anjuna-BeachAnjuna Beach is popular with foreign tourists. The beach is marked by an unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of white sand and black rock that juts out into the Sea. The stunning natural beauty of the beach with swaying palms trees and soft white sands overwhelms you. Pamper yourself at the Satsanga Retreat, Yoga Magic Eco Resort & the Purple Valley Yoga Resort here at the Anjuna beach.

Image by David Jones via Flickr

Sernabatim Beach

Sernabatim-BeachDiscover the sugar ‘n sand beach of Sernabatim in Colva coastline and its glistening waters. The incessant waves create a calming effect which is ideal for the practice of Yoga. For those interested in yoga practice, the Baywatch Resort & the Beach House offers a range of innovative and all-inclusive wellness programmes.

Image by  Ryan Brown via Flickr

Varkala Beach

varkkala-beachStunning cliffs form a perfect backdrop for the Varkala beach lying on the outskirts of Thiruvnanthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. A dip in its waters is believed to purge the body of all impurities & the beach is believed to have medicinal and curative properties. Apart from all this Varkala is renowned for its Yoga retreats. Kadaltheeram Beach Resort, Palm Tree Heritage Resort, Sharanagati Yogahaus etc. to name a few...

Image by Gunnar Geir Petursson via Flickr

Kovalam, Kerala

kovalam-beachWith incredible sunrises and the play of colours of the water, sand and greenery, this long stretch of white sandy beach running alongside the Malabar Coast—Kovalam beach has been Kerala’s most popular destination for years. The beach is a union of three coves, namely the Hawa Beach, the Lighthouse beach and the Samudra Beach. Heal your body & soul doing Yoga at the retreats like Beach & Lake Ayurvedic Resort, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Resort.

Image by Yogendra Joshi via Flickr

Marina Beach, Chennai

marina-beachMarina Beach is arguably one of the best beach destinations in South India. The mornings here are full of people doing yoga. Do your suryanamaskar to the actual sun at the Marina beach. It’s really inspiring to watch so many people practice their yoga here. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre at the Marina Beach is one of the best destination spas and yoga retreats in India.

Image by Gokulnath via Flickr

Juhu Beach, Mumbai

Juhu-Beach-MumbaiKnown to be the one of the most-visited beaches of India Juhu Beach has a peaceful atmosphere and scenic beauty as its unique features.  The sunset is a dream-like vision for anyone who visits the beach. Yoga Sessions at Juhu Beach are conducted by different groups.Try out the Nityam Yoga Centre & Yoga Shala for some awesome Yoga…

Image by Praveen Raj via Flickr

RK Beach, Visakapatnam

rk-beachThe Rama Krishna Mission Beach is one of the most popular beach parks in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The cool ocean breeze, the blue skies & the golden sands weave their magic on you as you walk on the beach sands. The beach is a perfect setting for doing Yoga. Just lie down and de-stress your mind and feel the calmness seep in. Bay Leaf - Ayurveda Spa & Resort is one Yoga destination not to be missed here.

Image by Surendra via Flickr

Palolem Beach, Goa

 

Palolem-Beach-GoaPalolem Beach is the most idyllic beach in Goa surrounded by a thick forest of coconut palms.  This is a unique opportunity to experience Yoga in untouched and idyllic surroundings far away from city lights. Bhakti Kutir, Trimurti Yoga Goa Retreat, Lotus Yoga Retreat , Bamboo Yoga Retreat etc. are the reputed Yoga centres in Palolem  Beach.

Image by Isaac via Flickr

Fort Kochi

fort-kochiCome and practice yoga at a silent beach in the countryside of Kerala. Nestled amidst coconut trees, green bushes and softly lashing seawaters, the Fort Kochi beach happens to be the favorite haunt of one and all. Veda Wellness Ayurveda Spa and Yoga Center, Elephant Pass Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat, Sanatana Yoga Vidyapeetam, Sree Yoga Darshan etc. are few of the Yoga retreats you can check out…

Image by Aleksandr Zykov via Flickr

Now that you have a run-down on the beaches for Yoga which helps you to re-establish contact with your true-self and nature just start planning your Yoga holiday…

Author Bio:

Sunu Phililp is the Inbound Marketing and Creative Head for Paradise Holidays, Cochin - a Kerala based tour operator. She loves reading, exploring new places and trying out new cuisines!

 

Featured image: Jesús Pérez Pacheco

4 Surprising Reasons Why Drinking Tea is Great for Your Health

Some people drink tea on a regular basis and others claim they are not "tea people." There is a huge selection of types, flavors, and strengths of tea with a large selection of health benefits. Once you learn some of the proven health benefits and hear the claims of health, happiness, and wisdom touted by avid tea drinkers, you may decide it is in your best interest to venture into the world of tea. Black, white, and green tea are the most pure and natural forms, but there are countless types of herbal teas touting all sorts of health benefits.

Increased Mental Clarity and Focus

Extensive research has proven that tea increases mental clarity, memory, and focus. A combination of caffeine and theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, black tea, and white tea, help increase overall mental awareness. Some even claim that the mental benefits of tea are so far reaching they can help reduce the risk of heart disease in regular tea drinkers. Try to sip a cup for your mental wellbeing before your next big meeting or study session.

Decreased Cancer Risk

Different types of teas contain a variety of antioxidants containing polyphenols. Antioxidants are responsible for helping eliminate cancer-causing free radicals from your body. To receive the highest cancer prevention benefits, choose whole leaf, non-processed tea. Even processed tea still contains some polyphenols, but many are damaged and eliminated during processing. Many suggest that white tea, uncured and unfermented, is most beneficial in preventing cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory

Tea has many anti-inflammatory benefits to the body that lead to reduced swelling, decreased pain with arthritis, increased cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, weight loss, and lessened water retention. Decreased inflammation due to the flavonol quercetin helps allergy sufferers by limiting allergic response and diminishing swelling. Add some locally sourced honey to your tea bought with Discountrue coupons for an added anti-allergen response.

Reduced Risk of Neurological Disorders

Studies suggest that regular tea consumption helps reduce the effects various neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Green tea contains very high amounts of EGCG, a powerful polyphenol. This phyto-chemical aids in keeping the neurological synapses of the brain healthy and functioning properly. Many people enjoy the soothing aroma and taste of tea, but are unaware of the numerous health benefits. Next time you cozy up with a hot (or relax with a cold) cup of tea, do so not only for your enjoyment, but for your health as well!

5 Stupid Things We Do Every Day That Stress Us Out

Image Credit:  César Astudillo


Adult humans lead busy, busy lives.  Whether you're working more than one job, have a long commute that depends on public transportation, or are trying to juggle your occupation and family time each and every day.  These activities of every day life cause us an immense amount of stress.  Is your train going to be on time?  Did you make sure to pack your kids lunch?  What are you going to have for dinner tonight?  Can you afford your next months rent?  What about that oil change thats past due?  If you’re like most of us, any amount of stress that you can cut out of your life helps you to become a more efficient, powerful, and overall more enjoyable person to be around!  Here are 5 things we do each day that stress us out, stress management techniques that you can easily do to improve your way of life.

1. Sleeping In

If you’re a typical 9 to 5er, one of the more enjoyable parts of your job might be that it allows you a bit more time to sleep in to say, 7 or maybe 8 in the morning before getting ready and rushing off to work.  Before you ignore my advice, take a moment to realize something.  When you are off to work, are you frantically speeding your way through traffic, or running to catch the next train or bus?  All of this causes unwanted stress.  To easily eliminate this stress from your life, try waking up earlier in the morning.  Now, definitely do not try to start waking up at 5am cold turkey, but try 20 minutes earlier for a few days, then bump it to 40 minutes earlier, until you find a time you can wake up peacefully, calmly and enjoy your morning before heading out the door.  Waking up a bit earlier gives your mind a chance to process what you have going on for the day, and helps you to prioritize and establish a to do list.  You can also use this time to get in a bit of exercise if you wish, or enjoy breakfast with a loved one.

2. Checking Email After Hours

Email has become one of the most convenient and easiest ways to stay in contact with people.  Most of us have at least one or two email accounts that we check frequently throughout the day.  Heres why this causes stress:  Frequently checking email after or before work seems like a fine idea at first, whether your trying to stay on top of your game or trying to impress a boss.  But soon enough, you’ll notice you begin interrupting your personal life if you’re constantly hitting the refresh button or glancing down at your phone after the work day.  Try to pick a time throughout the day, maybe take about an hour and set this time as your “email hour” and get through as much of your inbox as you can.  Once the hour is up, simply save whatever is left for the next day.  Once you make this lifestyle change, you’ll begin to notice how much more time this frees up so you can begin enjoying the company of other, real people in your life…Or perhaps it allows you to take up new hobbies.

3. Not Exercising

Exercise is probably one of THE most powerful stress reducers, energizers, and it sets the tone for how your entire day will play out.  For people who don’t have a regular exercise routine, it might seem like a waste of time.  You’re a busy person after all, right?  This might be so, but the truth is, if you really care about your work life, exercise is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to boost productivity and release stress.  Rather than treat exercise as another optional chore, schedule regular exercise into your life each and every day.  Now, I’m not saying it’s time to get a gym membership or pay for anything you know you won’t stick to…Try at least going for a walk or quick jog every day.  Maybe change it up and begin taking yoga classes, pilates, or challenge yourself to begin a weight training regimen.  Rather than telling yourself that you plan to exercise more, simply schedule a bit of exercise into your every day life.  Your body, mind and spirit will only become more efficient, relaxed, and ready for anything life throws at you.

4. Eating Garbage

Along with exercise, what you put into your body is just as important, if not more important than how you move your body each day.  Food impacts brain function, hormone levels, bodily functions, I could go on and on!  In our countries bustling cities, food is hardly scarce.  There are convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants and cafes as far as the eye can see.  We are never more than about 5 minutes away from finding something we can use to satisfy hunger whether that be the 7-11 around the corner or your kitchen pantry.  With this abundance of food, it’s now become easier than ever to mindlessly eat whatever looks or tastes most appealing.  Since humans are wired to want the most bang for our buck, we prioritize foods that contain sugars and fats more so than say, cruciferous veggies and lean proteins.  It’s easy to see why so many of us go about our day eating cereal for breakfast, a donut or muffin at work, fast food for lunch, and pizza or a frozen dinner entree for dinner.  By focusing on consuming foods that nourish your body AND your mind, your hormones begin to stabilize and you can regain control over how well you perform, focus and live throughout your busy life.

5. Not Making Any Time For Yourself

At the end of the day, it’s important to realize you weren’t born to work, sleep, work, sleep, work, and so forth.  There is so much that goes on in the world around us; you only begin harming yourself when you don’t take the time to enjoy all of the beautiful things life has to offer.  From traveling to different parts of the world, trying new foods, meeting new people, and experiencing new things…Life is too short to revolve around work.  Of course, it’s easy to enjoy life and work together when you are truly doing something you are passionate about, but for those of you not at that stage yet or are still finding your passions, make sure to spend time doing things that you truly enjoy.  Set aside time each day to spend time crafting, making music, enjoying a good good book or movie, anything that takes your mind off of work so you can actually be a human.  This gives your mind a break, and helps you to be more productive in the long run.

 

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9 Benefits of Yoga that Help With the Mind-Body Connection

 Image Credit:  Reno Tahoe

Yoga is a mind-body practice that helps you ease stress and improve your well-being at the same time. We live in a very busy world and finding time to take care of ourselves with the right amount of hydration, healthy nutrition and proper sleep can become quite a challenging task. Yoga has the power of recharging your energy when your supply is running low. Its unique combination of breathing and body techniques provides the body with a surge of energy that helps revitalize both body and mind.

1. A Fresher Feeling Brain

Fresher feeling brain:  You need just twenty minutes of yoga to give your brain some relaxing stimulus.  It helps improve cognition as well as enhances your working memory.

2. Lower Anxiety Levels

Life can be quite stressful, especially with a job and kids.  For those who have been able to find some time to incorporate yoga into their daily routine, they have benefitted a lot in terms of lowering their stress levels compared to those who do not practice yoga.  In fact, it helps increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric inside the brain, lower levels of which are known to cause depression as well as anxiety disorders.

3. Improved Flexibility

Yoga involves different many different postures, and with continuous practice of the different forms of yoga, you may be able to achieve increased flexibility in your body.

4. Controlled Blood Pressure

To be able to make yoga control your blood pressure levels you need to be practicing it for quite some time.  Studies have shown that yoga helps lower blood pressure levels in an individual suffering from hypertension.  Yoga can lower blood pressure more effectively than walking or any other form of exercise.

5. Relief From Chronic Pains

Usually individuals working in desk jobs for long hours complain about chronic pain in the neck as well as back. The right kind of yoga and its practice over time can help individuals get some relief from such forms of pain.

6. Better Sense Of Balance

A lot of older adults have found a better sense of balance with regular practice of yoga in its various forms. It has helped women over 65 years of age avoid falls.

7. Aiding Fertility

A lot of problems in conceiving can be caused due to the stressful lifestyle of a couple.  Some of these couples have been known to recently turn to yoga in order to decrease their stress levels which in turn may help them conceive and increase their chances of fertility.

8. Helps Control Heart Disease

The heart is a complex organ and a lot of individuals suffer from heart diseases.  However, yoga, coupled with treatment, is known to increase the chances of keeping heart diseases under control by improving the capacity of the heart to endure physical exercise.

9. Helps With Arthritis

People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may be benefited from ‘Iyengar Yoga’ which uses props as well as positioning supports.
Yoga as a whole has the power to improve your entire body balance – both mental as well as physical. If you want to tune in to your inner self, this is the best way to do it.

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Sam Cohen is a professional blogger and he strongly believes in spreading awareness. Mental and physical wellness is the primary motto of the entire human race. Sam has tried out various methods and tips about wellness and jots down those ideas in his write ups so that many people can be able to apply them in their personal life.

How to Embrace Chaos

Image Credit:  Tina Leggio


 

What Is Chaos?

Chaos…  Uncontrollable.  Uninformed.  Absolute.  Uncertainty.  Did I make you nervous yet?  Think of the last time something chaotic happened in your life.  What did you do to get through it?  How did it make you feel?  Vulnerable?  Sick to your stomach?  Excited?  Congratulations, you’re human.  Periods of chaos is a part of the human experience on this wonderful planet we call home.  The weather, the news, national events, a crisis, local emergencies, family emergencies, unplanned experiences, and so on…These are all factors that contribute to what we experience in our lives as “chaos”.  The dictionary describes chaos simply as this:  “Complete disorder or confusion.”

Heres the thing…Chaos, in all of it’s surprising and exciting glory, is truly what makes us grow as humans.  Chaos teaches us lessons.  Chaos gives us stories to tell.  Chaos give us memories (good or bad).  But most importantly, chaos is something that drives us and excites us in our day to day lives.  If you didn't experience chaos in your life, your existence might seem rather boring.  See, if there’s no chaos, there’s no excitement.  If there’s no chaos, there are no stories to be told, nothing learned, no growth.  From my experiences below, I’ve learned to begin embracing chaos, and hopefully this might inspire you to begin doing the same.

The Story

I was a Senior in college.  I’d just graduated with a teaching degree in music.  Since my program was 4.5 years long, that meant I graduated in December.  Great.  Now I have a whole 6 months plus an entire Summer to dwell on the fact that I most likely won’t find a job teaching until that following September.  So graduation happened, I walked across the stage with smile hiding my uncertainty and nervousness for those months ahead.  Like most college graduates that begin their first job search, this of course meant I had to move back home with my parents for the time being.  I wasn’t too excited about this needless to say.  Going away to school for 4 years, living with your best friends and never having to worry about curfews, waking people up, or throwing the occasional get-together at 2am on a Saturday night was completely taken for granted.  As soon as I was home, I soon realized my college days were over.  It’s game time baby, time to crack down and begin this job search.

Months went by.  Day after day I was applying to 15-20 school districts with hopes of moving into my own apartment by the time Summer came.  How nice it would be to have a job lined up, an entire Summer to move, get settled in a new community, meet some new friends, and be ready to rock by the time the school year started!  Well this was surely not the case.  All in all I probably applied to 500 different schools by the time August came.  With a few short weeks left before most schools across the country began, I was getting nervous.  Then it happened.  After applying to a school in a county, city, and state I had never visited before, I received an invitation to a Skype interview.  This happened on a Wednesday.  The following day, I was offered a position as a Director of Bands.  That Thursday, one I remember like yesterday, will forever be remembered as one of the fastest, most chaotic days of my life.  After confirming the position, my next phone call was to my parents (who were at work that day) to explain the good news.  Immediately after that, I was on google, searching for apartments.  Once I had found an area I was comfortable with living in for a year, my next phone call was to Uhaul, trying to rent a trailer for that FRIDAY!  So the next morning came, and I was up at the crack of dawn loading my entire life into the back of a trailer to relocate to a different world, a different life that afternoon.  The next day, Saturday, I was given a tour of my new school, where I would be teaching, and where I would be living.  My head was spinning faster than a tiltawhirl at Disneyland!  Sunday, globally known as a day of rest, was a day of sweating, creating lesson plans that would get me through my first week, and lots and lots of coffee, for sure enough, school started that following Monday.

There you have it.  One whole week of chaos, nervousness, excitement, and learning.  Aside from starting a new job in an area I’m completely unfamiliar with, there were many tasks at hand that I didn’t think I needed to complete right away until I was moved into my new life…Like where my new bank would be, where the grocery stores were, where I could find shopping or entertainment…etc.  Most importantly, what I learned was this:  The bottom line to embracing chaos is simply realizing that our lives would be so.  Incredibly.  Boring.  Without it!  Once you learn to treat chaos as simply another bump in the road, you begin to look forward to moments of chaos.  I’m happy with how my time here has been going, as there is surely never a dull moment!

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A Clear Mind, and A More Successful Lifestyle

Image Credit:  Richard John Pozon


What distinguishes the winners from the losers? It is not brains. Nor is it riches. The winners inch past the finishing line because they don't quit – no matter how bad they want to. Those who fall by the wayside are the ones who don't realize success was this close. The non-winners in life are people who let their brilliant business ideas rot inside them because they are afraid of failure. The losers in life are those people who stifle their dreams and desires because they are afraid to go against society's conventions. Those who get left behind even after they make a strong start are the people who let their negative thoughts get the better of them and lose focus somewhere along the line.

Fear. Anxiety. Self-doubt. Regret. These negative thoughts and emotions keep us from moving forward in our lives. Yet we all let these clutter our minds and sabotage our chances of living a life of our dreams. Some of us are even lovingly attached to these negative thoughts! We nurture them and let them grow till they become a part of our psyche and begin to define us.

A clear, clutter-free mind is a hallmark of the winners in life. Here's how a clear, clutter-free mind empowers you to become more productive and lead a more meaningful life.

No Fear=Courage to Take Risks

Fear is a debilitating emotion. Unfortunately, most of us harbor a lot of fears. We are afraid of failing, so we stick to time-tested and proven ways of thinking and doing things. We dwell upon our mistakes of the past and fear what will become of us in future, so we try to stay "safe."

Now look at some of the successful people you know. That man who is running his successful bakery business quit a corporate job that paid him a six-figure salary. He now not only earns more but is also living his dream. The best-selling author left college midway to pen her first novel. She went ahead and decided to put into words the idea in her head not knowing whether or not her readers will even like her story.

Fear and self-doubt also plague the winners' minds. But they shrug off these emotions as idle chatter of the monkey mind and get going with what they had set out to do. This distinguishes them from the duds who let their negative feelings prevent them from taking risks, embracing the new, and exploring off the beaten tracks.

No Self-Doubt=Freedom to Follow Your Dreams

What's keeping you from quitting your job and traveling round the world? Are you afraid of not having a steady income, or do you feel compelled to remain in a job you hate because you have to build a tidy nest egg?  A negative mind gives power to others to make it happy or sad. It fishes for compliments and is put off by criticism. It believes acceptance comes from conformity, so it fears swimming against the tide. Its thinking is clouded by self-doubt and feelings of insecurity, so it is afraid to express itself. A cluttered mind is unable to entertain hope.

Winners do not let inhibitions and societal conventions dictate their choices. They do not live to impress others. Nor is their self-esteem tied to rewards and recognition. They go where their hearts lead them. They are happy living their dreams out. Although they don't care about earning millions or making headlines, their enthusiasm and authenticity eventually attract fame and riches.

No Hatred or Preferences=Greater Empathy and More Productive Collaborations

An uncluttered mind is non-judgmental. A non-judgmental person does not describe people or experiences as "pleasant" or "unpleasant." A clear mind is unbiased. An unbiased person can put themselves into the shoes of another person and see their side of the story.

A clear mind also does not harbor hatred or preferences. A person may have been wronged, but he can choose to forgive, forget, and move on while keeping his faith in the essential goodness of humanity. He accepts people as they are, an attitude that comforts others and assures them to be their authentic selves.

No man is an island. You need people to help you get your brilliant ideas off the ground. From suppliers who will provide you with the materials you need to marketers who will spread the word about your offerings, you need to collaborate in every sphere of your life. A clear mind is empathetic. Empathy attracts people and fosters positive and productive collaborations – which will only lead to more success in life.

A clear mind is positive, optimistic, empathetic, wise, and compassionate. Freeing your mind of negative emotions lets you discover the joys of life, be more upbeat, and tap into the limitless reserves of your mind to bring more energy and enthusiasm in everything you do.

There are many ways to clear your mind, whether it be yoga, meditation, swimming or simply cozying up on the couch and reading a book. Whatever works for you, the important thing is that you take action. Be the person you are meant to be. Have a clear purpose, a clear path and a clear mind.

Contributed by Yasmin Ali on behalf of Spirit Charger – a new online resource full of valuable information for the mind, body and soul. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter and don't forget to join their mailing list to receive monthly doses of inspiration in your inbox.

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3 Strategies to Take Control of Your Time in 2015

The beginning of the year often feels like the perfect opportunity for new habits and new hobbies. You are filled with new energy as the new year stretches ahead like a clean slate. All is possible again! And while excitement and new habits are a good thing, what can follow is a thing called too-much. Have you ever looked at a fully booked calendar and sighed in distress? Although it's filled with fun stuff, like yoga and meeting up friends, the calendar is just FULL.

Is your calendar taking control of you?

When you look at your calendar, is it demanding things from you? Sometimes even the best of intentions can turn against us, when not done in moderation. Imagine you have decided to practice yoga three times a week. Your yoga school has the best class on certain weekdays, so you have decided to participate always on those days. During other days you have planned other activities, and the rest of your time is dedicated for hanging out with friends and family.

Sounds balanced, right?

But what happens when your yoga-day rolls around, and instead of having energy, you feel everything but energetic? Your calendar says yoga class, but your body is screaming rest and sleep. You know yoga is good for you and you will feel better afterward, so what's the harm even if you have to push yourself a bit?

Hands up if you have ever blamed yourself in these situations for being lazy (I have my hand up here). I admit, I used to be very harsh on myself. If I did manage to get myself to go to whatever it was my calendar told me to do, I would do it under protest. I was protesting against the younger version of me who had planned all these things without asking me how I felt about it! Alternatively, if I said screw it, I would feel guilty for the rest of the evening for being so 'lazy.'

Off balance

This is how we get off balance. When the calendar you once filled with the best of intentions feels like a book of demands that never seems to give you a break. When there is no room for listening to your body or doing something you love just because you feel like it, we tend to get off balance and even ill.

Your body is trying to communicate with you all the time. By being tired it may be telling you that it's busy fighting a flu. Maybe your body wants you to rest so it has enough energy to heal you. But this quickly turns into a mission impossible when we pretend to know better, and instead of listening, push forward.

Or maybe your soul wants you to stop and stare out of the window for a while. Or do something creative. Maybe there is a large breakthrough on its way, which we miss because instead of enjoying the beautiful sunset we rush to another appointment that was pre-scheduled.

Keep room for spontaneous fun

We live busy lives. And when we are all busy, it can be a challenge to even meet up with friends. The more people you are trying to get together, the earlier you have to book a date. But when that dates does come around, maybe you feel like doing something else.

Whatever happened to spontaneous fun? Leaving room for whimsical activities, impromptu meetings and blueberry pies with best friends. Surely there could be a little more room given to this?

Next time you are staring at a full calendar, whether at work or at home, observe how much balance there is. If it's hard for you to keep slots open for yourself, next time schedule yourself first. How much time do you need for yourself? Schedule 'doing-nothing' and honor it. Don't let anyone stomp on your precious time slots!

Sometimes savasana is all we need

Yoga teaches us to be tuned in with our body. It shows us how to listen and to accept whatever is. We can do a bit of Yin when we need more quiet, and more powerful flow when we feel active. This is a good lessons to practice off the mat as well. Our body is wise beyond our understanding. If your body needs sleep, there must be a reason for it, and it's fine to give into it without blame. Finding the balance in doing healthy things, such as yoga and bonding with loved ones, and also giving ourselves time to do nothing, can be an art.

But maybe sometimes staring out of the window is the best yoga practice we can do. To let loose, to not try so hard, to accept that we are perfect just the way we are, even without a calendar full of ‘healthy activities’.

Sometimes a simple savasana is all we need.

 

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Mindfulness 101: Ten ways to be Mindful (and Happy) in Your Daily Life

  Meditation and yoga are practices that help you to engage in mindfulness . Increasing mindfulness is important for good psychological health. The true transformation from yoga and meditation is when the practice is applied beyond the classroom. It is when the mindfulness is extended towards other areas of life bringing the internal to external situation, where your mind and body tend to be more on "autopilot" and react.

To create change in your life it is important to become aware of the autopilot or “monkey mind” that develops unhealthy habitual thought processes,  so that you can learn to “snap out of it” and change your self.

Mindfulness can help you interact with your life so as to create space to release bad habits and develop a deeper perspective into the functionality of your day-to-day actions.

You can increase the sense of autonomy over your thoughts. When practiced, mindfulness makes opportunity for more love and can generate feelings of bliss, joy and unity within your personal self and your connection with your external environment.

Through journalling, art, therapy, yoga, meditation and travel, I have delivered myself outside of my comfort zone in analysing aspects of my body in movement, my mind in thought, and my existence as a human being within the world. Taking in mantras to train my brain to think differently from my environment, and to release past thoughts that engage me, I have discovered aspects of my life that I generally get cornered into my auto-pilot. From focussing on presence,  I have drawn from the practice of mundane situations, instead of allowing myself to get lost in thought.

When practicing mindfulness, along with yoga and meditation, these tips  can help to remind yourself to “wake-up” from your mental chatter at all times of the day. I have developed this list of moments to help remind us of when to switch up the mental routine so as to create a more relaxed and focussed in experience of life.

1. Wake up with Gratitude

When waking up in the morning, whether it be with an alarm, a pet or a child, we have the ability to attach ourselves to mental patterns right as our consciousness opens up. Whether this be pressing the snooze button or waking up quickly because one is late for work, take the opportunity to presence yourself. Take the time to rejoice in the experience of a new day. One minute of lying awake, but not being quite yet awake, can presence yourself to set up a more calm, mindful and appreciative day.

2. Engage with Food

Most religions discuss the need to give thanks and blessings before eating food. At a psychological level, this act is proven to relax the body, allowing for better digestion and feelings of satiation. This helps to manage your relationship with food, whether it be thinking negative thoughts about your body, helping you not eat your food too quickly, not eat enough, or even to overeat. Developing a positive, more mindful attitude about your food consumption, no matter what your relationship is with it, can bring a sense of gratitude and awareness in the full enjoyment of a meal.

3. Listening

When someone else is speaking, this is your opportunity to be present and to open your ears and actually hear what they are saying. Not only is their information valuable to your experience (whether you agree or disagree), they are teaching you something about yourself.

On another level, while listening to the news, advertisements or music, this is where mindfulness is key. These are great sources for discovery in societal manipulation and can seep into your subconscious if you are not mindfully aware of the words and their influence.

4. Media and Entertainment

When watching a movie or reading a book, you engage with your imagination and project into the reality of an experience that is not entirely your own. This engagement can inspire and uplift us but can also be damaging to self-image, create idolization of celebrities or feelings of comparison within your present life experience. Media is a way to engage with the public in entertaining certain ideals or fantasies about our world. Such as with social media and the virtual reality of identity, mindfulness is important to engage with these entertainment tools healthily and in complete understanding of the truth behind them.

5. Repetitive Patterns

When living in the same place for a long period of time, I notice I develop repetitive mental patterns. Just like travelling to a school I used to attend, feelings and memories of nostalgia combine into my experience. Walking into a certain room triggers mental habits, sitting at the same workspace every day, walking to the store, engaging with friends and family are repetitive patterns that you can wake up to, to find mindfulness in the experience. There are new things happening every day, whether it be the seasons changing, the lighting of the sky, or a freckle on another person’s nose. These discoveries, no matter how small, can change the mundane experience of repetitive patterns in your mind and bring you outside of your accustomed auto-pilot.

6. Standing in Line

The goal of mindfulness is to be present to your thoughts and to your experience. The best spot to practice meditation and mindfulness is while standing in line. How do you interact with the people around you when you are waiting, are you ‘with’ the experience or are you waiting for it to be over?

7. Troubleshooting Technology Problems and Repairs

This is an aspect of life that we all seem to abhor; cancelled plans, flat tires, computer upgrades/crashes, loosing internet connection and troubleshooting device failures can be limiting experiences we all wish to avoid. This is exactly where you can find the opportunity to practice mindfulness, patience and presence to the purpose of which you engage with your technology.

8. Travel

What happens when you are in a traffic jam? What pace do you take when you walk down the street? You travel constantly throughout the day, from one thing to the next, and in these moments your mind can project into the future of where you wish to be. Being mindful of travel is just a way to learn to plant your feet on the ground, look around, breathe and show gratitude to the portions of our lives in which we traverse from one experience to the next.

9. Speaking and Remaining Silent

Taking the time to become aware of the words that you use, helps to create better mantras for your life. Things such as gossip, negativity and complaining can catch up to your psyche and reveal things about yourself that you wouldn’t completely agree with when heard later. Do you ever hear what you’re saying or wish you had said something different? Take in the time to slow your words. Find the space for breathe. Sometimes silence can be the most powerful tool, but also, presence yourself to the moment to direct a greater authenticity in your communication with others and cause for a better use of your words.

10. Experiencing Loss

At many points in life we experience feelings of loss, of losing or misplacing something. This is when the mind can be frantic as it experiences the lack of control in life’s circumstances. In these moments, it is important to focus on the breathe, to relax the mind and allow for time to pass in order to create space for the truth to come up.

Funny thing about the monkey mind is that it is much more trustworthy than we realize, going with the flow and becoming mindful of our autopilot can bring us to a more natural, innate sense of intuition and internal discovery.

 

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4 Nourishing Things To Do While Unemployed  

How to love yourself during an uncertain time.

 

Being unemployed is hard. It is scary and nerve wracking, challenging and at times depressing. It is easy to get discouraged. You may want to throw everything up in the air and give up. Sending resume and cover letters day after day can become mind numbing and frustrating. Getting an interview gives a much-needed burst of energy, and then the fear creeps in and the preparation phase begins. And then maybe you interview one, two, or three times and are told that you were really great for the position but that they just went with someone else. And so back to the drawing board we go. Does this sound like you?

Being unemployed is tough. Trust me, I get it. I’ve wanted to scream and then just cry. Why won’t someone pay me for my skills?!? However frustrating it has been at times, in my 6 months of post-college unemployment I have learned a great deal about the world and myself, and am stronger because of it.

It might be easy to see this time as wasted, as a period of life without direction. Reflect upon these 4 tips to nourish your soul while you job hunt. You will see that it isn’t all bad, and you might end up appreciating this special period of life.

 

1) Change the way you look at unemployment.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

You can lay in bed all night thinking how much it sucks that you don’t have a job, going over your expenses over and over in your head, and driving yourself right into a state of complete exhaustion or depression solely through your negative mental chatter. You can do that OR you can CHOOSE to see things differently. Being unemployed means you have a lot of time on your hands, time that you probably won’t have again for a very long time once you find a job (and you will!). TIME is a GIFT. Recognize it as such. When will you have time like this again? Being employed is great, but realize NOW that once you are employed you might just miss all this time you had for YOURSELF!

So change your perception of how you view your unemployment and unemployment might not seem so bad. You might actually enjoy the journey!

 

2) Do things you have been putting off!

“Let us cultivate our garden” - Voltaire

Dive into your yoga practice, read those books you’ve always wanted to read, call your family every week (or everyday if that sounds nice) for a long conversation, or write that novel you’ve been thinking about for years. Learn something new. Enroll in that French class or learn how to cook. Go on an adventure every week or plant a garden. Write letters to old friends or volunteer to a cause you believe in. Explore all the coffee shops in your city or treat yourself to a date night. Dance around your home between job applications and learn how to feng shui. Discover who YOU are. Do one of these soul-enriching activities a day and I GUARANTEE you will not see unemployment as a waste of time. Further, you are taking the time to work on yourself and to love yourself, job or no job, and those skills and abilities will remain forever with you. Unemployment does not define you. Rather, you can choose to utilize it to SERVE YOU!

 

3) Believe that you can.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” – Henry Ford

It is easy to become frustrated when receiving rejection after rejection (or maybe not hearing anything at all after submitting applications!) and to get down on yourself. Self-esteem is a tricky fellow, and you might find yourself on the low end. Don’t let this get to you. Remember that the people who read your application probably don’t really know you. A rejection isn’t a commentary of who you are as a person. Remember that YOU HAVE A LOT TO OFFER TO THIS WORLD and continue trying. Surround yourself with people that love you and encourage you. Believe the best things they say about you and then tell it to yourself.

 

4) Challenge that inner chatter: utilize mantras.

“Every thought we think is creating our future” – Louise Hay

Become aware of your inner dialogue. What does it say to you? The average person will think between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. What if each and every one of those thoughts was nourishing, self-affirming, kind and loving? What would your life look like? Instead of thinking “I hate this! I’m wasting my time!” try to repeat “I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing." Or instead of thinking “I’m not good enough” you state over and over again “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life, and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it”. Think of the life you can create for yourself. Feel it. Live as though you have already become what you strive to be. You can be your worst enemy or your best ally. Choose your thoughts wisely, as they become your reality.

 

Best of luck with the job hunt. And most of all, remember to love yourself throughout this journey.

4 Reasons Why Having A Routine Can Kick Ass

Free spirit gypsy blowing in the wind? Or a slave to routine, to pragmatism? Why does having a routine seem to get a boring, bad wrap? [wp_ad_camp_1]

In the yoga world where people have Instagram alter egos including words like spirited, gypsy, free-you get the point- it feels even more strange to talk of routine, planning, and being practical. Although yoga is all about being in the present moment, which is wonderful, maybe these "gypsy" tendencies also have a downside? So is being a dreamer and believer with a serious case of wanderlust a bad thing?

While this is a stereotype, and there is nothing wrong with any of those qualities (I happen to fit all of them), there has to be something said for routine. For finding a rhythm. For planning. Here's 4 reasons why routines are essential (even for free-spirited yogis).

 

1. Having a regular yoga practice.

You can have specific days or a number of days that you set aside just for your practice. Use this time to reconnect to yourself and your mat; even use this time to maybe play around with fun poses or poses you're working on!

2. Healthy eating.

Of course having a routine can equate to better eating, especially concerning home-cooking. When you have a rhythm, you know which nights you're able to make a full-blown, fancy meal (maybe even try a new Pinterest recipe) or perhaps just a quick, healthy dish on gym/studio nights.

3. More time with loved ones.

When we know what's roughly going on from day to day, we can make sure that we have time for friends, family, and lovers. When we don't have a plan, we may feel rushed and overwhelmed by the chaos. This can cause us to forget to show loved ones we care, or even worse, it may mean that we lash out at them or totally don't have time for them.

4. Sense of security.

Having a routine seriously helps you feel secure and less anxious in your life. While having a gypsy spirit has its perks too, there is something so lovely and grounding about stopping the jerkiness of constant change and slowing down into a steady pace. When you have more of an idea about what you're doing day to day, even week to week, you can more easily relax both mentally and physically; your mind and body isn't in a perpetual state of fight or flight.

 

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So after months of my own gypsy spirit blowing in the wind and chasing dreams, I realize that even this yogini needs a place to rest her head. To settle down for a little bit. It's time to let seeds grow. To sit back and feel good about your well set plans. Here's to embracing the day to day routine and not feeling anxious about the lack of movement and change.

For now, feel found. Feel whole. Enjoy little, daily expected joys; sip your favorite nighttime tea at exactly 9pm if it makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with letting your wanderlust, gypsy, yogi, free-spirit, dreamer heart have a place to beat slowly and in a steady rhythm.

Image via: @duranloungewear

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