Wednesday, December 31, 2008

mindful questions for the new year

I've been reading The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden--a book I actually won from Nina at www.naturallynina.blogspot.com. (Thanks again, Nina!) In this book, Louden discusses the importance of asking mindful questions to help guide us along our life's journey:

"Asking questions is how we think--it's part of the narrative process of making meaning that our brains use to construct some semblance of reality...The questions you ask yourself influence your thoughts; your thoughts influence your mood; and your mood influences what you believe or feel is possible--that is, the actions you take. Marilee Adams, in Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, summed it up well: 'The ability to interntionally shift our internal questions puts us in charge of our own thoughts.'...

Asking questions of real worth can penetrate your self-limiting stories about who you are and what is possible like nothing else can--especially when coupled with an awakened body and shifted heart. You're using three of the most powerful tools human beings have--while working with your brain and body to create greater health on all levels...

Mindful Questions for Every Day

Use these questions for in-the-moment life organizing and whenever you need to make a choice throughout your day. Some of these questions are terrific to ask when you are feeliing off, out of it, overwhlemed, clutching, clenching, judgmental, victimized, fearful, exhausted, shut down, small, like you're living in a box, focused on what other people need or want from you, or in any way out of the present moment.

Where am I in respect to this moment? Where am I in respect to me? What is this moment calling from me?

What do I need to know right now?

What do I want?

How can I be gentle with myself in this situation?

What does my body need right now?

Spirit, what do I need right now?

Where does my energy want to go next?

How do I choose to spend my energy and time?

What am I gettting out of being so busy/frantic/overwhelmed?

How can I give myself permission to enjoy this moment?

Here are a few for high-stress situations:
What choice will keep me sane?
What would I be proud of?
What can I be satisfied with?
How can I nurture myself today?"

I definitely plan on using these midful questions to help me stay focused and grounded in the upcoming year. In her book, Louden goes on to talk about allowing...this is something else I am going to be working on--when asking these questions, rather than getting all heady about answering them, I'm going to do my best to mute my sometimes very analytical and practical mind and try to allow my heart and more intuitive self come up with the answers.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Louden's book:

"...one of the quickest routes to a life your don't love is listening to and relying solely on your mind..."

Live from your heart.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Friday, December 26, 2008

karma lotus flower thoughts

My sweet husband is, in general, a very, very thoughtful man. This is one of the many reasons I love him. He is also a very thoughtful gift giver. This year he gave me the beautiful and meaningful karma lotus bracelet in the photo from http://www.dogeared.com/. He also got me a necklace from http://www.satyajewelry.com/ that has a black cord and a small garnet, small silver om symbol, and small silver lotus flower hanging from it. Lastly, he bought me the book Meditations from the Mat--the book is made up of 365 short meditations, offering ways to integrate the mindfulness yoga teaches into everyday life. I plan to read one each morning of 2009 to get my day started. Three very thoughtful and perfect gifts. I am blessed!

Here is the karma lotus bracelet saying at the bottom of the photo above--something I will keep in mind when wearing it!:

"the lotus emerges from murky chaos, through purifying water, and up into the light of the sun, as you make your way toward brilliance, remember to keep your circle positive and loving"

Namaste'
Yogadiva

home from the holidays


We just returned back to our home from our holiday celebrations. We spent two nights at my Mom's house, and we are very lucky to only have a 40 minute commute. We are also lucky to have two little pups that travel well. (I think we wore them out!)

Our Christmas celebrations were filled with love, laughter, good food, and drink. Once again I'm reminded of how blessed I am.

I will post later (I now feel the need to get all my stuff unpacked and squared away) on some of my favorite gifts from my sweet husband! No matter how nice it is to visit with family, it's also always good to come back to our home.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, December 25, 2008

holiday blessings

Wishing you a peace and love-filled holiday. Believe in miracles and magic.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Monday, December 22, 2008

hip time

Chilly winter weather (it's 18 degrees here) can result in our bodies being tighter and more contracted than normal. All of us have certain areas of our bodies that are tighter than others, and for me, relatively speaking, my hips tend to be T I G H T-tight. So this afternoon, I put my yoga mat down by a nice, warm fire and got some hip opening yoga on. I just finished the 26 minute yoga hip opening sequence and my hips feel deliciously D I V I N E-divine! Here's the link if you're feeling like you need a little hip time in this wintery weather:
http://www.yogajournal.com/video/64

Enjoy!

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, December 21, 2008

strengths & enthusiasm

Marcus Buckingham, a career consultant and coach, was on The Oprah Show Friday, and I was instantly enamored...not just by his devilishly handsome good looks, but also by his energy, enthusiasm, and message. Essentially, his message is that in our lives and work we should be playing to our strengths. While I realize this isn't neccessarily a novel idea, his approach was new and exciting .

Answer this question: What are your strengths?

Now, think about moments and activities in your daily life and work in which you feel good, alive, excited, and energized. According to Buckingham, these are your strengths...those things in life that make you feel good and full of energy. I've always thought about my strengths as those things I am good at doing, not necessarily what I am doing in those instances that make me feel good and fill me up. Once we adapt our definition of our strengths, we then must figure out how we can start to implement more of our strengths into our current lives or restructure aspects of our lives to include more of our strengths. When we do this, we are more fulfilled and in-line with our spiritual calling.

While I typically don't make New Year's Resolutions (because I think it's important to consistently reflect on my life and set goals and intentions that align with my values and aspirations rather than just do this at one set point at the beginning of each year), I do intend to really focus in 2009 on using my true strengths to the fullest. I am setting the intention right now to create a life for myself in which I integrate more of my strengths--instances of feeling goood, alive, and enthusiastic.

Marcus Buckingham has a free on-line seminar at www.oprah.com/workshop. I highly suggest you check it out. I know I will be participating in it over the next few weeks.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Julia Cameron:

"Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us. Enthusiasm (from the Greek, 'filled with God') is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself. Enthusiasm is gounded in play, not work. Far from being a brain-number soldier, our artist is actually our child within, our inner playmate. As with all playmates, it is joy, not duty, that makes for a lasting bond."

Wishing you many moments of enthusiasm and enjoyment in life. Live your strengths.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

snow day list

I love snow days! It is a wonderful feeling to get up and have an unexpected day off work to fill at home exactly as I please...a day to hibernate and fill with simple indulgences! Yippee! (I realize I sound as excited as a kid. I am, and I hope to always have a child-like spirit!)

This morning I've been reading my Jan. issue of Real Simple magazine which is full of lists. Here is my very own list of snow day (or any day spent at home hibernating) things to do:

*read Twilight (yes, I finally purchased the book and am enjoying it thoroughly!)
*sip hot cocoa with marshmallows
*watch the Today Show
*take a nap
*blog and read blogs
*download Christmas music and create a Christmas tunes playlist on my i-pod
*give myself a manicure and pedicure
*make home-made pizza on whole wheat tortillas
*do some sun salutations to keep the energy flowing
*enjoy my puppies sleeping soundly on my lap

I hope you have a day to hibernate soon, too.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Friday, December 12, 2008

unplugging our energy drains

Here is a yogathought for your Friday from Beryl Bender Birch:

"Learning to unplug from negative or draining situations and melodramas is important to pulling the prana [energy] back into the body. Everything we do that lets prana drain out weakens us in some way. And if all our prana is tied up in some unhealthy or inappropriate obsession or desire or aversion, then we don't have enough left over to direct toward whatever it is we wish to create for ourselves. We cannot begin the process of creating our own reality unless we reclaim some of our prana. But seeing how we lose this prana takes skillful means. And disconnecting from these things that take our life force isn't as easy as unplugging a toaster. Unplugging entails a slow gradual clearing of our vision, which then enables us to see how we waste our energy through our thoughts and actions."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

wanting

I am currently rereading Beryl Bender Birch's book Beyond Power Yoga: 8 Levels of Practice for Body and Soul and loving it. Her other book Power Yoga was the first ever book I read about yoga, and it greatly influences my teaching style to this day. Her second book delves deeper into yoga philosophy and the eight limbs of astanga yoga. I am always amazed at how yoga and yoga philosophy, a practice that began thousands of years ago, is still so applicable and essential to everyday peaceful living today.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Beyond Power Yoga:

"Since success, therefore, is not really what we want, deep within ourselves we grow tired of it. You can never get enough of what you don't really want, and if you place success and fame and fortune first in your life, you'll keep struggling for more and more."


Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, December 6, 2008

now is the time


Now is the time...the time of year when lights and decorations go up, malls are packed, traffic is often backed up bumper to bumper, and the hustle and bustle is on.


Now is also the time to practice yoga on the mat and off. Now is the time to have a positive, loving approach to the holiday season. Now is the time to get still. Now is the time to listen. Now is the time to move. Now is the time to breathe. Now is the time to feel. Now is the time to be awake and alive to life. Now is the time to be grateful. Now is the time to give. Now is the time to receive.

Holiday blessings!
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Friday, December 5, 2008

more gratitude

Here's your Yogathought for the day:

“Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Being relieved of the endless wants and worries of your life's drama, even temporarily, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of life blossoms into a feeling of being blessed, not in the sense of winning the lottery, but in a more refined appreciation for the interdependent nature of life. It also elicits feelings of generosity, which create further joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too guarded, and it builds the capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.” --Philip Moffitt

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, December 4, 2008

grace

There are examples of grace all around us--if our eyes, hearts, and minds are open to see, expereince, and feel them. Sometimes I know I get so focused on the to-do lists of the day that I'm missing examples or opportunties for grace in my life.

Here is a mantra that I actually have posted on my refrigerator as a reminder to be open:

"I am open and receptive to the power of grace in my life now. I ask to be shown clear examples of how this energy is operating in my life." --Cheryl Richardson

Ask. Believe. Receive.

Grace and peace be with you.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

self compassion

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"Be gentle and forgiving with yourself, abandon any and all shame, and refuse to engage in any self-repudiation." --Wayne Dyer

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, November 30, 2008

first snow

It was so nice to wake up this morning to a thin blanket of snow on the ground. I finished putting up Christmas decorations yesterday, and now that it is snowing, I am ready for the Christmas/winter/holiday season. As much as I would like to live in a place where winter only lasts for 3o days (does such a place exist?)--as this gives me just enough time to enjoy sitting by the fire, sipping hot cocoa, and layering on clothes, hats, and gloves,--I cannot imagine living somewhere where there weren't the four seasons to enjoy and remind one of the cycles of life.

Enjoy your day. Stay warm and cozy.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving prayer

Thank you
for my life, my body, my health, my home,
my husband, my family, my friends,
my practice, my pets,
my journey, my lessons, my growth,
my style, my soul, my breath,
my being,
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

give thanks

As we approach Thanksgiving, one of my most favorite holidays, here are some thoughts on gratitude:

"Nothing purchased can come close to the renewed sense of gratitude for having family and friends." --Courtland Milloy

"To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven." --Johannes Gaertner

"Whatever we are waiting for--peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance--it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart." --Sarah Van Breathnach

"The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure ,wonder, and even ecstasy."
--Abraham Maslow

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." --Eckhart Tolle

I have made little cards out of card stock for each member of my family. On each card is one of the above quotations about gratitude. Under the quote there is space for each person to write a list of things they are thankful for. I think this will be a nice way to try to keep the focus on giving thanks rather than just eating and football.

I fully believe that giving thanks is one of the secrets to a long, healthy, and joyful life:
Live with a spirit of gratitude.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Monday, November 24, 2008

do yoga

I found this list written by yoga instructor Erica Rodefer, on yogajournal.com. It made me smile, so I thought I'd share it with you this Monday morning. Enjoy!

10 Reasons to Do Yoga

1. You noticed your shoulders creeping up toward your ears . . . again. Yoga helps manage physical, mental, and emotional signs of stress.

2. Your yoga mat really brings out the color in your eyes. ;)

3. If someone gives you one more thing to do you feel like your head might explode. Yoga lets you slow down, take deep breaths, and encourages you to do one thing at a time.

4. You're worried about the state of the world. You can make an impact simply by setting an intention, taking care of yourself, and emitting a positive energy into the universe.

5. If you ever want to touch your foot to the top of your head, you better start practicing now.

6. You ate pizza and popcorn for dinner last night. The increased awareness yoga class brings will spill over into other areas of your life—just like the soda you spilled onto your keyboard while you were checking your email.

7. A yoga studio is the perfect place to pick up girls. (If picking up girls isn't your thing, it's also a really great opportunity to make new friends.)

8. Two words: Yoga Butt. You can be one of "those people" who look fabulous in spandex. And even if you're not, a regular yoga practice will bring out all of your most beautiful features—inside and out.

9. It will make you more popular. Trust me. People will like being around you more when you're calm, balanced, serene, and uplifted from your post-yoga buzz.

10. A Monday yoga class will set the tone for a great week! It takes just an hour to align your body, mind, breath, and spirit.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, November 23, 2008

you are your guru

When instructing yoga classes, I always encourge yoginis to view me only as a guide, and to know they themselves are the experts on their bodies--only they know exactly what they are feeling and experiencing in each moment and in each posture.

As a counselor, people often assume my role is to give advice; however, from my philisophical standpoint, my role is to aid the person who is having a problem in figuring out for themselves what he or she needs to do in any given situation.

With all the messages we receive from family, friends, and the media it can be easy to forget that we are the experts on our bodies, our minds, and our lives. There are many teachers out there, and it's important to be open and learn from them, but ultimately we can and should be the guru in our own lives.

Here are three yogathoughts for the day on this topic:

"I know this could be a surprise for my mom, but I have to reveal it. I'm no longer my self. So please stop talking about what I think because I don't think that anymore. Thanks in advance." --Stephen Hawking

"Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness." --Shakti Gawain

"To know what you prefer insteand of humbly saying Amen to wht the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." --Robert Louis Stevenson

Trust and embrace your inner guru.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

sweet cigars and santosha

Sweet Cigars...this is the birthday dessert I had instead of birthday cake. It is funnel cake sticks in a lemon custard with fresh berries. Yes...I realize it's full of sugar and not a very healthy choice, but it was my birthday. (At least it had fresh berries, so it's semi-healthy, right!?!)

On a much more healthy note, I went to a 90 minute eclectic hatha yoga class last night. This particular class is titled eclectic hatha because the instructor mixes it up a lot and you never quite know what you're going to get. Last night's class ended up being a very slow and deep yoga class. We were on the floor the entire class and held every posture for 2 minutes. After about the first 20 minutes of class I concluded that the entire class was going to continue to be a slow, deep stretching class. After my initial disappointment at this realization and my yearning for a more physical, fluid, sweat-inducing yoga class, I experienced a yogic ah ha moment. I recognized my attachment to wanting my experience to be a certain way, feeling disappointment that it wasn't that way, and was then able to completely surrender to what my experience actually was.

I found myself practicing santosha--or contentment. With this surrender, acceptance, and contentment came so many sweet and juicy sensations I know I would not have had if I had stayed in a place of thinking, resisting, and judging. The class didn't end up being what I expected or wanted, but it was exactly what I needed. I know if I had stayed in that place of discontentment, I would have missed out on the yumminess of the entire experience.

Practicing santosha is definitely important both on and off the yoga mat. We live in a society that consistently promotes discontentment. Truly, in the media there is almost always an undercurrent of the expectation that one should never be satisfied or content in life. Sadly, this discontentment with what is, is a sure way to be miserable, and there does seem to be a lot of miserable people out there. Once again, back to my strong belief that if everyone had a regular yoga practice we could change the world!

A few last thoughts about santosha...Contentment does not mean complacency. It does not mean stagnation. It is a place of serenity and connection to the moment. It is a step towards emotional maturity and peace. It is a moving with the flow of life, rather than against it.

Wishing you much sweetness and santosha in your life. Goodnight.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, November 15, 2008

servant or master

"I will still practice (yoga) 'til the last breath of my life so that I do not become a servant of the mind, but rather a master of the mind." --B.K.S. Iyengar

I must admit lately I've been feeling much more like a servant of the mind than a master of it. I am at least aware when my monkey mind (swinging from thought to thought to thought) has taken over, but I have been struggling to get it to stop. This past week, I talked with a lot of upset kids, and I often feel like I too easily absorb the energy of those around me. Between this energy and my monkey mind, I am feeling unsettled. I will continue to breathe and check in with present, so that I will have a few moments when I can say I'm the master of my mind rather than a servant to it.

On a completely different topic, I am so excited to see the sun shining today! For the past three days, it has been very overcast and cold, cold, cold! Winter has definitely arrived. Last night, hubby built us our first cozy fire of the winter season. Love, love, love the smell, sound, and ambiance of a fire. Yesterday, I also got a little birthday cash from my dad, and I was thrilled to find the cutest ever arm warmers and scarf at Target last night...perfect for the upcoming winter months.

Here are a few things I enjoy during the wintery season:

*warm, cozy, fires
*lampe berger "heavenly spruce" scented oil
*fun arm warmers, scarves, and hats
*cute coats
*yoga flow in a well heated room
*hot baths
*lounging around the house in my warm, soft robe with slippers
*hot cocoa

Here is a mantra for the day:

"I always have the ability to take a breath, be still, and be the master of my mind."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

delight

Yesterday afternoon when I got home from work, I was excited to see my newest edition of Yoga Journal in my mailbox. I just finished up reading it from cover to cover. On the very last page there is an interview with B.K.S. Iyengar, a 90 year old man who created the Iyengar style of yoga. Here is a bit of wisdom from the interview with this yogi sage:

"From the perspective of someone turning 90, what do you think is essential for a happy life? Uniting the energy of the body with the energy of the soul. There is a difference between happiness and delight. Happiness is at the mind level. Delight is beyond the mind. When you see a sunset, you don't see it from the mind. You see it beyond the mind, from beyond yourself--it's an experiencing state. My asana is all beyond the frame of mind, not within th frame of mind. That is delight. Happiness is sensual happiness. But delight is spiritual happiness."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, November 13, 2008

service

Here is your yogathought for the day:

Fully embracing and giving your authentic self to the world is the greatest act of service possible.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Monday, November 10, 2008

recovering perfectionist

I have struggled with perfectionism most of my life. Now that I'm into my 30s, I feel like I'm definitely on the road to perfectionism recovery. It has taken a lot of work, but it's definitely been worth it. I know I have times when I fall back into old perfectionist tendencies and thoughts, but overall I'm doing well.

Here are a few thoughts on perfectionism from Julia Cameron's fabulous book, The Artist's Way. See if any of these ideas resonate with you:

"Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop--an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole."

"The perfectionist writes, paints, creates with one eye on her audience. Instead of enjoying the process, the perfectionist is constantly grading results."

"To the perfectionist, there is always room for improvement. The perfectionist calls this humility. In reality it is egotism."

"Perfectionism is not the quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will every be good enough--that we should try again."

"Usually, when we say we can't do something, what we mean is that we won't do something unless we can guarantee that we'll do it perfectly."

"Question: What would I do if I didn't have to do it perfectly?"
Answer: A great deal more than I am."

"We've all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living, but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining."

Think about it.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, November 9, 2008

totally inspired

This evening I found myself going to the local movie gallery in hopes of finding an uplifting and inspiring flick. I didn't have a particular movie in mind and was delighted to find one copy of Kris Carr's documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer. I just finished watching it, and I am completely humbled and inspired. Carr's courage, truthfulness, determination, tenacity and strength in the face of illness and disease is absolutely amazing. I plan on keeping her message of living fully and living well in the forefront of my mind. Next time you're looking for an inspiring movie, I highly recommend you seek this one out!

Live fully. Live well. Goodnight.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

sacred sunday

This morning I slept in until 7:00 a.m. (yes, that is sleeping in for me). It felt heavenly. Hubby is out in the woods, so the pups and I have the house to ourselves. I am lounging in my newly purchased pjs from Victoria's Secret. I got a $10 off coupon for my birthday month and these cute satin tied pj bottoms were on sale for $20, so I got them for the bargain price of $10.00 + tax. I adore the cute little ruffle that's been added to the bottom of the pant. I own two pair (ok, maybe I have a pj addiction, too) of the older version without the ruffle, and was excited to see the cute addition.
I am sipping my decaf brew, smelling my "Winter" scented home fragrence oil (from Bath and Body Works), listening to a chill chick music playlist I created, and blogging. It's a wonderful life!
Here is your yogathought for the day:
"Listen to your inner callings, ignore how others might want to direct your life energies, and allow yourself to radiate outward what you feel so profoundly and deeply within you. There is a reservoir of talent, ability, and intelligence inside of you that's endless and inexhaustible."
--Wayne Dyer
Wishing you a sacred Sunday full of bliss!
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I am

Here is your yoga mantra for the day:

I am light.
I am love.
I am responsible for the energy I bring to every experience.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, November 6, 2008

moving into stillness

While in Barnes and Noble on Tuesday, I picked up Erich Schiffman's book Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness and immediately knew this was a book I was adding to my must-read list! Here is just a short excerpt on stillness:

"Imagine a spinning top. Stillness is like a perfectly centered top, spinning so fast it appears motionless. It appears this way not because it isn't moving but because it's spinning at full speed. Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in--when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing."

Wishing you much stillness, peace, and joy.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

glorious day

I have the day off from work, and I decided instead of making plans , I would have this be a "do what ever I feel like in the moment day." I can tend to be a very planned and scheduled gal. I definitely believe each of us needs these types of days at least once every two to three months. Our lives can get so busy, so scheduled, so cram-packed full that we can easily forget how to listen to what our intuition and feelings are telling us. We can easily forget to take time to enjoy ourselves! Today, I have no responsibilities, no plans, no to-do's (except to vote of course), so I can totally go with the flow.

I woke at 6:45 a.m. this morning and showered, made my morning cup of decaf brew, watched the Today Show for 30 minutes, vacuumed the floor--yes, I actually felt like and wanted to clean the floors--walked to the voting location and voted, walked back home, and now I am downtown at Panera Bread, sitting outside (it is a beautiful 65 degree, sunny, fall day) having a yummy bagel. The energy in the air today is of excitement, anticipation, and hope. I realize I am so very blessed to be able to have a day where I can do whatever I please and to be able to vote for our next American leader. It is definitely a glorious day.

Here is your yogathought for the day (it actually came out of a fortune cookie):

"Utilize what you have been given."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, November 2, 2008

feelin' the flow

Yesterday I attended a 2 hour yogaflow class, and I am definitely feelin' it today! I haven't been this sore in a while...especially my bum, back, and shoulders. Anyone who thinks that yoga isn't a workout should definitely attend a yogaflow, ashtanga yoga, power yoga, or bikram yoga class--and be prepared to sweat!!!

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting what you are doing. This is the ultimate." --Chuang Tzu

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, November 1, 2008

wise words

Your yogathought for the day from Haviz:

Find A Better Job
Now
That
All your worry
Has proved such an
Unlucrative
Business,
Why
Not Find a better
Job.
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, October 30, 2008

excessive joy and gratitude

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day in October. Time is sure flying by. November is my birthday month--yes, I am a Scorpio--and I am very excited about having another birthday. (I completely believe we are only as old as we feel--and yoga keeps me feeling very young and very alive.) November is also the month of one of my favorite holidays--Thanksgiving. So, my November birthday and Thanksgiving intention this year is going to be all about living each day of the month with excessive joy and gratitude. I'm starting off on Nov. 1st by treating myself to a 2 hour yogaflow workshop. I will be attending this workshop rather than teaching it, and I am already completely psyched about it!

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"Yoga is the fountain of youth. You're only as young as your spine is flexible." ~Bob Harper

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

living your truth

Yogathought for the day from Wayne Dyer:

"Suffering the consequences of living according to someone else's wishes doesn't make any sense; rather, you need to oppose the external opinions that try to force you to be what you're not intended to be."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Monday, October 27, 2008

music's good for the soul

The summer before last I purchased an ipod nano. This is definitely one of my all time favorite technological gadgets--I'm not much of a gadget type girl, but I love, love, love having all my music right at the touch of my fingers on one cool device. I also appreciate the ability to easily create playlists, hit shuffle and listen to a wide variety of my music, as well as download podcasts.

I always enjoy knowing what other people are listening to as well as being introduced to new artists and music, so I thought I'd share a small sampling of my favorite ipod tunes:

Favorite Yoga Music:
Yoga Rhythms: music to energize the flow of yoga
Yoga Groove
Yoga Rhythm by Soulfood
Yoga One
Yoga Moods
Le Spa Sonique
Yoga Planet
YogaFit's Music for Peaceful Paradise

Favorite Female Artists:
Madonna
Nora Jones
Sarah McLachlan
Fiest
Yael Naim
Enya

Favorite Male Artists/Groups:
Coldplay
Robin Thicke
Nick Drake
David Garza

Hope you have a music and love-filled week!

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, October 25, 2008

swap striving for arriving

In yoga, it is important in every posture to balance the effort we put forward with surrendering. As we are getting into a pose, we are putting forth effort but there is a point when we must stop trying, stop striving, stop doing and just arrive, just be in the posture--be there unattached to the results of our efforts, no judgments, no self-criticism, just pure bliss in being exactly where we are.

This, I know, is much easier said than done--both on the mat and off. Every time I find myself unahappy with the results of my efforts, or questioning why situations are not happening as I would like them to, I have to make a conscious effort to stop these thoughts and know and trust that there just might be a bigger and better planner out there for me than I by myself. I have to remind myself that perhaps I should stop trying so hard to create something and just allow myself to arrive right where I'm supposed to be--right here, right now.

In Wayne Dyer's book, Change Your thoughts--Change your life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, he discusses the idea of trading in striving for arriving. Here is your yogathought for the day from Dyer's book:

"Letting go is a markedly distinct physical and psychological experience, much different from striving. Let go of your demands, along with your beliefs that you can't be happy because of what is supposedly missing in your life. Insisting that you need what you don't have is insane! The fact that you're okay without what you think you need is the change you want to see. Then you can note that you already have everything you need to be peaceful, happy, and content right here and right now. Relax into this knowing..."

Relax into this knowing.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

another confession

In addition to my nail polish confession I made a few posts ago, I also have a few other purchasing habits I am almost embarrassed to admit. I will only admit one of them on this post: I have way too many magazine subscriptions.

A few summers ago when I took a graduate class in career counseling, we learned that a good question to ask when trying to help people figure out their interests and possible career ideas, is what magazines they get or purchase regularly. When I think about it, my subscriptions are a pretty good indication of my interests and passions.

I currently subscribe to:

Yoga Journal
Body + Soul
Instyle
O magazine
Simple Living (this one was a gift, and I love it)
Inside Columbia (this is a community magazine)
People (this one I'm most embarrassed about, and I do plan on letting the subscription expire)

I really enjoy each of these magazines for different reasons. In fact, I got my newest issue of Instyle today, and I'm looking forward to beginning to read it tonight!

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." --Maya Angelou

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

fascinating story

If you are not familiar with the story of Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, it is absolutely fascinating and definitely worth exploring. I was first introduced to her story through Oprah's Soul Series on XM radio, which I believe is still available to download. She is a guest on Oprah today, and I once again am in absolute awe when listening to her story.

Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard trained brain scientest who suffered a stroke. Essentially, she describes how the left side of her brain (the side that deals with present and past, thinking, and speaking) stopped functioning--her life and identity as she knew it was stripped away. She was left living with only the right side of her brain (the side that deals with "being", with presence, and with pictures). She couldn't walk, talk, and didn't know her name. But, she describes how she was in a state of total bliss. She knew she was alive. She knew she was life. She knew she was whole and well. She has made a full recovery and written a book describing her experiences. I have not yet read her book, but in listening to her discuss her experiences and feelings of "being" rather than "identifying," I find many, many connections with Eckhart Tolle's philosophy in the book The New Earth. I am definitely adding My Stroke of Insight to my "must read" book list!
Here is a yoga mantra for the day--repeat it five times minimum (and as much as needed throughout the day):
"I am alive. I am life. I am whole and well."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Monday, October 20, 2008

trust

Here is the yogathought for the day from Wayne Dyer:

"Trust in the Intelligence that beats your heart 50 or 60 times every minute and at the same time turns planet Earth once every 24 hours, keeps the planets aligned, and creates every millisecond."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, October 19, 2008

all about personality

My last visit to the Pink Heels website, http://pink-heels.blogspot.com/ prompted me to check out http://www.mypersonality.info/personality-types/ and take the personality test. I've taken this test a few times before and have typically found that my results defined my personality as an ENFJ--E (extrovert) N (intuitive) F (feeling) J (judging). Although my E (extrovert) score and I (introvert) score were always very close. I consider myself a social person, and I enjoy being around people; however, I do find that my energy is refueled more by being alone than with others. I definitely need that alone time in order to feel like being social.

I would encourage you to take the test--even if you have taken it before. It's also important to understand exactly what the descriptions mean. On the surface, the J (judging) type wasn't something I was pleased about, but after further reading, I learned that judging did not mean judgmental, but instead indicated that I prefer order, organization, structure, and I am responsible--which I would agree with completely. This is one of the many, many reasons yoga is so good for me. It has helped me learn to be more flexible and go with the flow!

When I took the test this last time, the results showed I am an INFJ's (the I--introvert--actually won!):

"INFJs, making up an estimated 1% of all people, are the most rare type (males even more so). They are introspective, caring, sensitive, gentle and complex people that strive for peace and derive satisfaction from helping others. INFJs are highly intuitive, empathetic and dedicated listeners. These traits tend to act as a "tell me what's wrong" sign on their forehead, hence the nicknames Confidant, Counselor or Empath. INFJs are intensely private and deeply committed to their beliefs.

INFJs tend to be devoted to what they believe in and seek work where their needs, values, and ideals can be deeply engaged. They move on the wave of their inspirations and are determined to see that their values are worked out in their lives. They will work toward their goals individually and, when needed, will put together a team of other highly dedicated people like themselves."

Overall, I would say this is an accurate description of my personality. I would love to hear the results of this test for all you lovely ladies out there in blog land...

Have a blessed day!

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Friday, October 17, 2008

fabulous fall evening and autumn berry manicure

The perfect fall evening...

soup on the stove simmering
hubby making pumpkin pie
chill music playing on xm radio
stemless wine glass with a little pinot noir
beautifully manicured nails drying as I type this post

I have to admit--I have a problem. Maybe even an addiction. I cannot stop buying finger nail polish! Truly, I probably own at least 30+ nail colors. I actually haven't counted because I'm not sure I want to know the real number. I have almost every shade you could imagine. Even when I treat myself and go to get a professional manicure done, I typically want to take my own polish, so I can touch it up throughout the week. I love how I feel when my fingernails are beautifully manicured. Tonight, I gave myself a manicure. It looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. I used a gorgeous color called Autumn Berry. It is a rich, reddish, purplish, bronzy mixture. Almost the color of my glass of wine with a little bronzy, gold added. I purchased the color last year, and it is still one of my all time favorites--especially for this time of year.

For those of you who also enjoy beautifully painted fingers and toes, here are the steps I used to give myself tonight's manicure (I always like to know what other fabulous ladies are using):

1. Filed nails so they just barely pass the edge of my finger tips. I like a mostly squared, with a little round tip. (Once my manicurist said the tip should match the shape of your cuticle. I make mine a little more square.)

2. Applied OPI Chip Skip

3. Applied Revlon 480 Autumn Berry nail color--GORGEOUS color

4. Applied Sally Hansen Mega Shine extended wear top coat

5. Finished off with OPI Drip Dry drops

Viola--I'm done!

I hope you, too, are having a fabulous fall evening.

Here is your yogathought for the day--from Julia Cameron on the necessity of carving out alone time when we need it:

"We strive to be good, to be nice, to be helpful, to be unselfish. We want to be generous, of service, of the world. But what we really want is to be left alone. When we can't get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon ourselves. To others, we may look like we're there. We may act like we're there. But our true self has gone to ground."

Craving some me-time? Find it, even if only a few minutes--it's your responsibility to yourself and others!

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, October 16, 2008

being woman

When I got my mail today after work, there was a political ad in the mailbox. I have been receiving these for months, and truthfully, I typically do not pay much attention to them. I know who I will be voting for on electon day. This one, however, caught my eye.

It read, "Women Are Paid Just 77 Cents for Every Dollar a Man Makes."

Then, when I turned on Oprah I saw today's show was about Women Who Changed the World, including Gloria Steinem and Maria Shriver. I took these as signs that I should post today about being woman...what I wouldn't give to be able to sit down around a large round coffee table with a cup in hand and have a conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, and Maria Shriver. While I'm dreaming about it, I would probably also add Madonna and Seane Corn to the list.

Gloria Steinem has paved the way for women to live the fabulous lives we lead. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that life wasn't always this way for women. And let us also not forget, as women, we still have a ways to go.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Steinem herself:

"It isn't about women having to do it all. It's about women not having to do it all."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the secret, asparagus, and faith

When I got home today, there was a brand new asparagus pot sitting on the kitchen counter. When I asked hubby where it came from he said his parents gave it to us as a gift for him taking care of their cats while on vacation.

To tell you the truth, I didn't even know asparagus pots existed until this past summer when I discovered them in Target while shopping for wedding gifts. For those of you not familiar with this type of pot, it is tall and allows you to cook asparagus standing straight up. I really like asparagus, and we eat it frequently, so I showed it to hubby and said I'd like to purchase one. We decided to wait, as it was definitely a want rather than a need. However, many times since then when cooking asparagus, I had thought about how handy having the special pot would be. I never mentioned it again to hubby or his parents.

I always find it so interesting how sometimes we get exactly what we ask for...so I am always very careful in what I ask. I also try not to second guess things when I don't get exactly what I want--at times, this can be incredibly challenging. Instead, I try focus my attention on trusting that there is a force (God, Allah, the universe, Spirit--whatever you use to describe it) who has much bigger and better plans for me than I can ever imagine. Perhaps some would say this is a naive way of thinking. To me, it's all about faith.

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want." --Margaret Young

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

mating for life

Something worth reading and thinking about: (This is an exerpt from a New York Times article written by Nicholas D. Kristof. You can read the article in it's entirety here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/31/opinion/31kristof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

"I’m a farm boy who grew up here in the hills outside Yamhill, Ore., raising sheep for my F.F.A. and 4-H projects. At various times, my family also raised modest numbers of pigs, cattle, goats, chickens and geese, although they were never tightly confined.

Our cattle, sheep, chickens and goats certainly had individual personalities, but not such interesting ones that it bothered me that they might end up in a stew. Pigs were more troubling because of their unforgettable characters and obvious intelligence. To this day, when tucking into a pork chop, I always feel as if it is my intellectual equal.

Then there were the geese, the most admirable creatures I’ve ever met. We raised Chinese white geese, a common breed, and they have distinctive personalities. They mate for life and adhere to family values that would shame most of those who dine on them.

While one of our geese was sitting on her eggs, her gander would go out foraging for food — and if he found some delicacy, he would rush back to give it to his mate. Sometimes I would offer males a dish of corn to fatten them up — but it was impossible, for they would take it all home to their true loves.

Once a month or so, we would slaughter the geese. When I was 10 years old, my job was to lock the geese in the barn and then rush and grab one. Then I would take it out and hold it by its wings on the chopping block while my Dad or someone else swung the ax.

The 150 geese knew that something dreadful was happening and would cower in a far corner of the barn, and run away in terror as I approached. Then I would grab one and carry it away as it screeched and struggled in my arms.

Very often, one goose would bravely step away from the panicked flock and walk tremulously toward me. It would be the mate of the one I had caught, male or female, and it would step right up to me, protesting pitifully. It would be frightened out of its wits, but still determined to stand with and comfort its lover.

We eventually grew so impressed with our geese — they had virtually become family friends — that we gave the remaining ones to a local park. (Unfortunately, some entrepreneurial thief took advantage of their friendliness by kidnapping them all — just before the next Thanksgiving.)
So, yes, I eat meat (even, hesitantly, goose). But I draw the line at animals being raised in cruel conditions. The law punishes teenage boys who tie up and abuse a stray cat. So why allow industrialists to run factory farms that keep pigs almost all their lives in tiny pens that are barely bigger than they are?"

Just something to think about.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

this afternoon

I will be tuning into Oprah this afternoon after work. Those of you who know me well, know that I am a big Oprah fan. I don't neccessarily agree with everything she says or does, but I do believe she is one of the biggest forces of good we have in the US today.

Today's show is a Lisa Ling Report: How we treat the animals we eat. To be honest, a part of me doesn't want to watch...that part of me that knows it's easier to remain in blissful ignorance. However, I will be watching and learning, and know I'll have more to think about after it's over.

If you happen to be near a television when Oprah is on today, perhaps you will tune in, too.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, October 11, 2008

creatively chic fashion

One of the ways I have expressed myself throughout the years is through my fashion choices. After purchasing a home, I found my fashion budget greatly reduced. Lately, I've found myself wanting not only to look creatively chic--I've decided this is how I would coin my recent style--but also to feel comfy. So, how do I look creatively, chic while feeling comfy, while on a budget?

I have purchased a few black wraps and throws--at discounted prices, of course--gotta love TJ Maxx and Marshall's. I also purchased a bunch of inexpensive cami's in a multitude of colors. I have mustard, cranberry, black, and white. I purchased two light-weight scarves--one in charcoal grey and one violet and silver striped. I already have a drawer full of black bootcut yoga pants that can look dressed up or down. Then, I start to mix and match. I also throw in different earrings, bracelets, and rings. Viola'--I'm feeling good, looking good, and ready to go: creatively chic!

If you haven't lately, perhaps it's time to explore your own style. What makes you look and feel fabulous? Fall is a perfect time to begin mixing and matching and layering your clothes and accessories for beautiful looks.

Here is your mantra for the day:

"I am beautiful inside and out and deserve to be dressed beautifully."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, October 9, 2008

shine on


Here is your yogathought for the day from another one of my all-time favorite yoga inspirations, Baron Baptiste:

"You don't need permission to shine. That's the biggest mistake we make in life; we think we need someone's approval to be magnificent or to just own what is true to us. But we are all not only capable of radiating light and love, it is our moral responsibility."

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

breathe, relax, & smile

Yesterday afternoon I subbed a yoga class at a local gym. After finishing up class, and thinking I couldn't possibly feel any yummier or juicier, one of the yogis proved me wrong. She came up to talk to me and ended up saying I reminded her of Bryan Kest--one of my all-time favorite yoga teachers! This absolutely made my day! Nine years ago, when I started exploring yoga and educating myself about the practice, he was one of the most influencial teachers I studied. He has definitely been an inspiration.

A few years ago while attending a workshop with Kest, he said something that has stuck with me, and I often use in my classes. (This will be paraphrased.) So for all you yogis out there, imagine you're in the middle of an athletic and challenging yoga class, perhaps even imagine being in one of your most difficult postures. Now, imagine hearing this:

In all postures we should be challenged yet at the same time relaxed and calm. If I were to take a photograph of your face right now and send it to a loved one, they should not be worried about you. If they would be, perhaps you're trying too hard.

Saying this always gives people permission to relax and even smile or laugh while practicing yoga. Sometimes we take things a bit too seriously--and as a recovering perfectionist, I am definitely guilty of this much more often than I'd like to admit.

So, next time you're in half moon, revolving triangle, or even in an uncomfortable or challenging life situation, take a moment and think of Kest's words. Ask yourself: Am I trying too hard? Am I taking this situation or myself a bit too seriously?

If the answer is yes,
Breathe
Relax
and Smile.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

my first ever blogging award!

I am so excited to say I just received my first-ever blog award from Caroline at http://thezeninyou.blogspot.com/. Thank you, Caroline! I definitely appreciate it. You made my day! If you haven't checked out Caroline's blog, definitely do so! It is filled with interesting information, insights, and beautiful photographs. Truly, it's a must-read for me daily!

Speaking of my day, I think it is so interesting I just yesterday posted on equanimity. My equanimity was sure challenged today--way too many things going on at the same time. I made it though and did remind myself on multiple occasions to try to stop the incessant chattering in my mind and JUST BREATHE!

Now that I have returned home and back to my state of equanimity, I need to get down to business and pass this award on to others, so I will proceed with the blogging award rules:

Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you have posted your award. Share 6 values that are important to you and 6 things you do not support. Grant the prize to 6 people.

6 Values important to me:

*Gratitude--recognizing grace in my life daily

*Creativity--knowing we are the co-creators of our lives

*Truth--knowing truth, speaking truth, living in truth

*Love--spreading it to everyone we encounter

*Acceptance--of self and others

*Compassion--for self and others

Six things I do not support:

*violence in word, thought, or action

*negativity

*judgement of others when we haven't walked in their shoes

*silencing our inner truth to appease others

*manipulation

*a sedentary lifestyle

(On a side note, I must say coming up with the 6 things I don't support was hard. I really try to always focus my energy and thoughts on the positives and all that I want to create more of in my life!)

Now...here are my 6 blogging award recipients (drumroll, please):

Naturally Nina at http://naturallynina.blogspot.com/

Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Blog at http://crazysexycancer.blogspot.com/

Kimberly Wilson at http://www.kimberlywilson.com/blog/

Pink Heels at http://pink-heels.blogspot.com/

The Skeptic Yogi at http://skepticyogi.blogspot.com/

Dirty Footprints at http://dirtyfootprints-studio.blogspot.com/

Hope you enjoy checking out these wonderful ladies' blogs as much as I do! Thanks again, Caroline.

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

"Yoga does not expect us to flee from the world and retire into the Himalayas. It assures us: the refuge you seek you will never find in the outside world. It is within you. Leave the stormy world of the senses behind you, raise your consciousness to the central point of your being and realize that here alone is the force, here alone is the peace and here alone the refuge you are seeking." --Selvarajan Yesudian

Namaste'

Yogadiva

Monday, October 6, 2008

equanimity

Equanimity is an even, balanced state of mind. A mind that is free and open. It cannot be upset by gain or loss, praise or blame, pleasure or pain. It is calm and patient.

Praciticing yoga can help us begin to experience moments of equanimity. An equanimous mind is definitely a useful state of mind to cultivate in the midst of an often chaotic, busy, and stressful life.

I am thankful for all those moments, no matter how brief, when I experience equanimity. I am beginning to recognize my inner state of equanimity when dealing with situations that used to result in feelings of anxiety, stress, and worry.

I am discovering that equanimity is true freedom--freedom from the addictive patterns of thought. I have found that although defined as an even state of mind, it is actually an experience that occurs not in the mind, but in the moment, in the breath.

Wishing you many moments of equanimity this week.

Ask. Be open. Believe. Receive.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, October 5, 2008

gratitude list


Cuisinart panini maker
baked sweet potato french fries
fabulous fall weather
open windows
comfy and cute clothes
Paul Mitchell straightening iron
Leaves scented candle from Bath and Body Works
fabulous french press decaf coffee
grocery cart filled with healthy, wholesome food

Wishing you a gracious, wonderful day.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

on and off the mat

What yoga means to me
on the mat and in the world
strength
grace
presence
power
surrender
acceptance
growth
flexibility
compassion
intuition
stillness
opportunity
possibility
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

satya

"Let's tell the truth to the people. When people ask, 'How are you?' have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way: if people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.'" --Maya Angelou in Letter to My Daughter

I found this excerpt in my Oct. issue of O Magazine to be somewhat amusing. I realize in our culture it's the norm to ask people how they are, and I've actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about this somewhat strange way we communicate. Truly, most of the time when I am asked this question, I can tell the person really doesn't want to know the actual answer, as I've noticed too often he or she is already walking away or on to another task before I've even answered. I've also felt slight discomfort when I've answered the standard, expected response of, "Fine," when that was actually not the case at all. Lately, I do tend to answer, "fabulous" or "great" when I'm feeling that way, and I often get a funny look of surprise from the person as if she was thinking, "What on earth is going on with you that you'd be fabulous?" Due to my discomfort with this somewhat odd exhange of words, I find I rarely ask people how they are in casual passing--unless I'm really wanting to know and have the time to listen to their truthful response. I also feel like every time we answer, "Fine" when that isn't the case, we aren't really speaking our truth. I know this seems like a little thing, but sometimes the little things can add up.

In yoga philosophy, the term "satya" means truth. It is so important that we use words, thoughts, and actions mindfully and are honest with ourselves and other people.

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

May we know truth.
May we speak truth.
May we live in truth.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, September 27, 2008

grace

To start your weekend, here's one of my favorite affirmations/prayers from Cheryl Richardson's book The Unmistakable Touch of Grace (I have it hanging on my fridge for a daily reminder):

"I am open and receptive to the power of grace in my life now. I ask to be shown clear examples of how this energy is operating in my life."

Have a beautiful day.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, September 25, 2008

weekend of yoga and pretty toes

This weekend I am retraining Yogafit Level 2. Although, I've completed this training before, anytime Yogafit training comes my way, I try to go since I can save on travel and hotel money. I always take some new ideas and inspiration from teacher trainings. I do wish we had more of these in the mid-west. Who knows...perhaps some day I'll start a mid-west based yoga teacher training of my own.

Since my bare feet will be spending 16 hours with a group of yogis this weekend, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure this afternoon. Throughout the summer, when I had more time and in an effort to save a little money, I gave myself pedicures. This is the first pedi I've had in months from someone else. It was heavenly! I went to the local cosmetology school to get the pedi because it is less than half the price of a regular salon...so I still was able to save a little money, too. It's so important to find ways to pamper yourself frequently...you are worth it!

Here's a yogathought for your day:

"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."
--Somerset Maugham

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, September 21, 2008

coffee shop blogging and not so mean girls

I am very excited to say I am blogging from a coffee shop this morning on our new HP Pavilion dv5-1000us Entertainment Notebook. Yes, little events like the capability of blogging from a coffee shop excite me which is probably one of the reasons I tend to be a happy, contented person in this life. My hubby and I have been discussing purchasing a new laptop computer for a while now, and this week we went ahead and made the buy. Our old laptop was one I purchased over 5 years ago when I began graduate school. In computer years, it was a dinosaur. It also weighed way too much for me to comfortably lug it to a coffee shop to enjoy.

So now, what to write about? How about mean girls? This is something that's been on my mind for the past few weeks due to counseling high school girls who are caught up in mean girl drama. With the advancements in technology and the creation of myspace it seems that there is a whole new venue for female bullying. It makes me sad.

This morning I was reading Body + Soul magazine and there was a short article on gossip. It stated all people gossip and one of the reasons we gossip is in order to create a bond with the person we are sharing the information. I agree with this to some degree; however, I feel it's important to share information that is truthful and with no intention to harm. This is why it is so important when communicating with others we do so from an ego-free place of presence--a place I believe can only come from maturity, introspection, and a commitment to living a spirit-filled life.

Since my intention with this blog is to create a positive, thought-provoking, spirit-filled venue to write and be read, I don't want to focus on the mean girl phenomena, but instead on the wonderful women I have found through the blogging world who support one another, uplift one another, and are about empowering women to be the best we can be by building each other up. My hope is for all of my sophomore gals, as well as myself and all other lovely ladies out there, to find our own power and use it in positive and healthy ways.

Here are my 3 favorite blogs to read that do exactly this:

http://www.kimberlywilson.com/blog/
http://pink-heels.blogspot.com/
http://thezeninyou.blogspot.com/

Here is your yogathought for the day (I think I've used it before, but it's one of my all-time favorites--not sure where it came from though.)

Before you speak, ask yourself:
Is it kind?
Is it neccessary?
Is it true?

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

yoga thought

"Without exception, begin every day of your life with an expression of gratitude. As you look in the mirror, say, 'Thank you, God, for life, for my body, for my family and loved ones, for this day, and for the opportunity to be of service. Thank You, thank You, thank You!" --Wayne Dyer

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

going with the flow

This afternoon I subbed a yoga class. The energy is always interesting at the beginning of classes when I sub. I can feel the participants thinking:

Where is the regular instructor?
Who is this person?
What am I in for today?
Darn it, maybe I shouldn't have come.

(I must confess these are all thoughts I myself have had when finding my regular beloved instructor isn't teaching that day.)
However, by mid-hour, I can feel everyone starting to relax, loosen up, and go with the flow. By the end of class, all the participant are right there with me in yummy yoga land. And, after class people are asking where I teach regularly, thanking me, and telling me they enjoyed class today.
I truly cannot describe how satisfying a feeling it is to know I've been able to assist some fellow yogis in becoming present, relieving stress, surrendering to the flow, and refueling themselves for all of life's joys and challenges. It is a blessed feeling, I am grateful for always.

Here is your yogathought for the day:
"Man is not free to refuse to do the thing which gives him more pleasure than any other conceivable action." --Stendhal
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, September 14, 2008

laughter's good for the soul

"I meditate, I do yoga, I chant,
and I still want to smack someone!"
I found this on Nadine Fawell's blog: http://nadinefawell.wordpress.com/ and had to post it on mine. I know all of us who practice yoga regularly have times when we feel exactly this way.
Enjoy!
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Friday, September 12, 2008

sick day & no guilt

I am at home sick today. Early this week, I noticed my energy level was at an all time low, and I felt very sleepy. I did take it pretty easy and tried not to push myself too hard, but by Wednesday night I could tell I had a cold. Yesterday I was stuffed up and tired but still felt well enough to go to work. Last night I went to bed at 7:00 p.m. and early this morning I could tell I definitely needed to rest some more, so I took a sick day from work. I pretty much slept all morning. I just got out of the shower. I do find when I'm sick with a cold, after I sleep for a long period of time, if I shower and put on a little make-up, I do feel a bit better.

There was a time in my life when I felt guilty about staying home from work when I was sick. This mind-set has changed primarily due to an incident a few years ago. At that time, I knew I had a bad cold and continued to go to work (because the world cannot go on without me in it, right?) only to have that cold turn into walking pneumonia--which forced me to be in bed and miserable for an entire week--there was no way I could work with pneumonia. If I had rested when the cold initially started, I do not think I would have gotten pnemonia. It's interesting how if we do not listen to what our body is telling us, it will eventually force us to listen. Now when I am feeling sick, I rest and don't feel a bit guilty about it.

Guilt is an interesting, and most of the times worthless, needless feeling. In Sanskrit, the language of yoga, there isn't a word for guilt. The concept simply doesn't exist. I have tried to embrace the idea of living my life guilt-free (as I've mentioned in an earlier post, I'm still working on saying no and not feeling a tad bit guilty). It's a very freeing feeling to know that as long as we live our truth and are compassionate with ourselves and others, there is not one reason we should need to feel guilty. And, even if we aren't always living our truth or being as compassionate as we can, we still don't need to feel guilty about it or beat ourselves up about it, we just need to step up and make changes for the better.

As Maya Angelou states, "We do what we know. When we know better, we do better."
Have a guilt-free, happy, healthy weekend!

Namaste'
Yogadiva


Monday, September 8, 2008

fabulous fall

Fall is arriving, and I am so excited about it. I have the windows open, apple scented oil burning, and can feel the cool breeze and hear the wind blowing the trees. I'm looking forward to buying some mums to plant and pumpkins to carve. With each change of the season, I am once again reminded of the importance of embracing change, surrending to the flow, and trusting life.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, September 7, 2008

yoga inspiration from Seane Corn

Yesterday I posted about some of my personal sources of yoga inspiration. Seane Corn is one of my all time favorites. You can check her out on youtube by clicking the following link:

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, September 6, 2008

seek inspiration


Typically we think of young children and teenagers needing positive role-models. I think it is important to have role-models no matter what your age. Finding human beings who inspire you to be the brave, creative, wonderful person you were meant to be is essential in creating your fullest life.

This picture is me with one of my all-time favorite sources of yoga inspiration--Bryan Kest. He was one of thes first teachers I studied when beginning to learn about instructing yoga. He probably doesn't know what a positive role he has played in the course of my life. It's interesting how you might not ever know who you've inspired and made a positive impact on. I just try to trust that if I am working on myself, living life from a place of truth and integrity, and being compssionate with others then surely I'm making a positive impact.

Here are some of my other yoga inspirations:
Beryl Bender Birch

Baron Baptiste

Kimberly Wilson

Seane Corn (love, love, love her!)

Instead of a yoga thought, how about a few yoga questions to ponder:

Who inspires you? How can you live a life that inspires others?

Wishing you inspiration and peace.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Friday, September 5, 2008

fabulous friday


Wishing you a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

"Play is the exultation of the possible." --Martin Buber

Don't forget to schedule some play time!

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, September 4, 2008

conscious eating

Since reading Kathy Freston's book, Quantum Wellness, I have started what she calls "leaning" into a more conscious way of eating. I have always considered myself a person who intentionally strives to be a spiritual being, but for some reason, until reading her book, I had never really thought of eating as a spiritual activity. Since finishing her book, I have started to eat primarily whole, non-processed, organic food. I gave up caffeine (I still have my decaf cup of coffee in the morning with a little sugar--I haven't been able to give it up totally--and soy milk). I also have greatly reduced my meat intake. As far as meat goes, I have pretty much only been eating seafood and farm raised animals, occasionally. For me, at this point I'm making the conscious choice to focus on the fact that I don't want to put anything in my body that is associated with violence or cruelty. For some reason, until this book I hadn't really wanted to think about or recognize the cruelty some animals suffer--she forced me to open my eyes. I'm hopeful I will keep up this approach to eating. Since making the change, I definitely feel much more healthy, alive, and well.

With this being said, I am very aware of how people react when talking with them about my new more conscious way of eating. I would never want to sound preachy or try to push my views on other people. I also think everyone has a right to make choices and create the life they want to live. I don't judge others for their personal choices, just as I hope others don't judge me for mine.

If you are at all interested in exploring this idea of conscious eating more, I'd recommend you check out Kathy Freston's book. I found it to be informative and reader friendly. It made me think and make some conscious changes. I'd also recommend checking out the following website: www.farmsanctuary.org

"Farm Sanctuary works to end cruelty to farm animals and promotes compassionate living through rescue, education and advocacy. We envision a world where the violence that animal agriculture inflicts upon people, animals and the environment has ended, and where instead we exercise values of compassion."

I just finished watching the "It doesn't have to be this way" video under Farm Clips on this website, and I felt compelled to write this post. If you chose to watch, please know that it is graphic.

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

"One of the key points that I've been trying to make in this book is the need for conscious living. Meditation, cleansing, self analysis, exercise--it's ll focused on one goal: living your life in a fully conscious way." --Kathy Freston

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

yummy yoga

I attended a 90 minute yoga class last night. It was divine. I believe fully that yoga could change the world one person at a time.

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

"Expect your every need to be met,
expect the answer to every problem,
expect abundance on every level,
expect to grow spiritually."
--Eileen Caddy

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Monday, September 1, 2008

creative affirmations

I just finished reading week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety of The Artist's Way and can already tell I'm going to gain a lot from working through this book. Today, I will be purchasing a writer's notebook to write my morning pages--what Cameron calls stream of consciousness writing. She states it's necessary to write 3 pages of morning pages every morning. Afterwards, she encourages writing creative affirmations (a girl after my own heart!).

Here are a few creative affirmations from her list:


My dreams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.

Creativity is the creator's will for me.

I am allowed to nurture my artist.

Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.

My creativity always leads me to truth and love.

I am willing to learn to let myself create.

There is divine plan of goodness for me.

As I listen to the creator within, I am led.

I am willing to experience my creative energy.

I am willing to use my creative talents.


Here is your yoga thought for the day:

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." --Pablo Picasso

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Sunday, August 31, 2008

new read


Friday evening I took a trip to one of my all-time favorite stores, Barnes & Noble, and purchased The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. While I wouldn't ever label myself an "artist"--I believe whole-heartedly that we are all creative beings in our own unique ways. I primarily use fashion, my hair, teaching yoga, home decorating, and writing as a way to express my creativity. Sadly, as we grow up, we start getting messages from adults that there are much more important things to do besides being our creative, wonderful selves and we often lose touch with that part of ourselves for good. I am committed to making sure I remain in touch with that part of myself, and I think this book will be helpful with this endeavor.
Here's an excerpt:

"BASIC PRINCIPLES

1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.

2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life--including ourselves.

3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives.

4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.

5. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.

6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.

7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.

8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.

9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.

10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity."


Yoga thought for the day:
"We must accept that this creative pulse within us is God's creative pulse itself."
--Joseph Chilton Pearce
Happy creating.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, August 30, 2008

giving and receiving gratitude

Yesterday I received a bouquet of fresh flowers from a student and her family for helping the student make a decision. Helping students is just part of my job; however, this unecessary gesture of gratitude completely made my day--I LOVE fresh flowers! I do buy into the idea that to some degree what we give we get--and just two days before I had posted about living my life with a spirit of gratitude only to be thanked in a very special way by this family.

The world would be a much different place if we focused our attention and energy more on what we have rather than what we do not, on what good people do rather than on the bad, on being compassionate with ourselves and others rather than judgmental. I don't think we need to put on a happy face and have blinders on, but we can focus on small changes in ourselves that can make a difference one person at a time.

How can you show gratitude today?

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

attitude of gratitude

I have always believed in the importance of living with a spirit of gratitude; however, I just recently started a gratitude & affirmation journal. (I am just a bit journal obsessed--as I now have 3 different types of journals: a regular journal for writing whatever I feel like writing about, a personal growth journal where I respond to any type of personal growth book I'm reading, and now, my gratitude & affirmation journal). Every night before bed, I write 5 reasons I'm thankful. Every morning when I wake up, I choose an affirmation card (I created these this summer), and I write the affirmation 5 times. I have been using this journal for almost a month now, and I really appreciate how it is such a simple way to help me start my day off with a serene and positive attitude and end my day in gratitude.

Today, I am thankful for:

*the smell of fresh cut grass
*inspirational podcasts
*journals
*my sweet hubby
*only 2 more days of schedule changes at work

Goodnight.

Namaste'
Yogadiva


Sunday, August 24, 2008

all about balance

Here's a wise word from one of my favorite yogis Baron Baptiste:

"The idea of relaxing, doing less, and going with the flow can scare us. We feel that we are hardly measuring up and doing enough as it is. We say to ourselves, 'If I do less and become more passive I'll never achieve anything.' But a relaxed energy has its own kind of power. Our personal force is strongest when we balance action with relaxation, like a bow and arrow. The bow provides tension from which the arrow releases. Neither is as effective without the energy of the other, and combined they carry you forward with astonishing power and grace."
Have a balanced week.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Saturday, August 23, 2008

feeling alive

With the daily to-do lists and responsibilities of life, it is easy to forget we are alive...we can become numbed, robotic beings going through the motions all day before crashing into bed. When I am teaching yoga classes, I am always aware of being totally present and fully alive. It is a wonderfully divine feeling.
It is so important to do activites that remind us we are living, breathing, growing, fully alive beings! Sometimes we need to try something new--that pushes us to our edge--or other times we just need to make sure we are engaging regularly in activities that remind us of our living presence in this world.
Breathe, Live--You are Alive.

Namaste'
Yogadiva

Thursday, August 21, 2008

just for fun

I am a
Daffodil

What Flower
Are You?

According to this quiz, I am a Daffodil which means I have a sunny disposition and am normally one of the first to show up for the party. I don't need too much attention from the host once I get there as I am more than capable of making myself seen and heard.

I always like to take these sorts of quizzes to see how well they describe me. Overall, this one is fairly accurate. Click on the question "What Flower Are You?" to take the quiz and see what flower you are...

Namaste'

Yogadiva

puppy love

This morning it was pouring rain, so my little pup Olivia refused to go outside to potty. Yes, she is a bit of a dog diva and doesn't like to be wet. So, hubby and I were a little distracted with trying to get her to go out, and we actually forgot to feed the pups. We ate our yummy spinach, red pepper, and feta quiche (made from eggs from the farmer's market) for breakfast, hubby tried to get the diva dog out one more time-without any luck, and then we left. It wasn't until about 9:00 a.m. I realized we hadn't fed the dogs. This was the first time this had ever happened. (I was also a bit distracted this morning as this was the first day back at school with kids.) Thankfully, hubby's Mom was able to come over and feed the puppies and let them out--so all is well.
Olivia is now resting comfortably by the couch, and Ziggy is chewing on a treat. Animals really are such a blessing.

Here is your yoga thought for the day:

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened." ~Anatole France
Namaste'
Yogadiva

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

thought for the day

Here is your yoga thought for the day from Wayne Dyer:

"Use your own inner hunches to determine if you're in the right place with the right people: If you feel good in someone's presence, meaning that you feel inspired to be a better and more joyful person, then you're in the right place."

Namaste'
Yogadiva