Thursday, December 31, 2009

goodbye 2009 hello 2010

I cannot believe 2009 is almost over. As always, the year has flown by incredibly fast! I am excited about all that is to come in 2010: so many possibilities...

Today, I finished my list for the Create Your Life*Create a List challenge. I ended up with a little longer list than I had planned. My list has 35 things to do by the time I'm 35. (Originally, I was going to do 30 things, but I just couldn't stop at 30). I have also separated the items on my list into 6 categories:

Connections
Personal Growth/Learning
Health/Wellness
Creativity
Adventure
Yoga/Business
Financial

I will post my complete list tomorrow. Also, if you are participating, I would love to be able to post your list here, too. I think it is fun and inspiring to see what others are wanting to create in their lives! Feel free to e-mail me your list at ldgkarma@hotmail.com

I hope you have a fabulous New Year!

Namaste'
Leslie

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

adventure

In my last blog post, I officially declared my 2010 word of the year: ADVENTURE. Today, when I got my latest Yoga Journal mag, I took it as a "synchronistic sign" that there was a short article all focusing on living life with a spirit of adventure. Here are a few great quotes from the article that articulate my thoughts on adventure exactly:

"At it's core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open haeart and an open mind. It is the ability to take a leap into the unknown with mindfulness and grace. Framed this way, opportunities for adventure present themselves to us every day: walking a new route to yoga class, having lunch away from your desk with a co-worker, organize a volunteer project, taking the kids out to dinner and giving your partner the night off.

Adventure isn't something that's reserved for the extreme athlete or daredevil. It is an epression of your heart's intention and passion for life. It's the ability to think big about who you are, how you live, and what yo can do in the world, whether you're climbing mountains, practicing Sun Salutations, or listening to a friend. It is the willingness to embrace challenge and move toward success. It is the acknowledgment that total commitment does not mean blind faith or brazen disregard, but confidence and belief in the face of challenge...

My practice of mindful adventure is not unlike my yoga and meditation practices. It takes work, but the payoff is well worth the commitment. When you approach everything with the spirit of adventure, you infuse your life with vitality and radiance. You find a level of engagement and awareness with everything around you that is deeply satisfying and joyous. Your summits await." --Matt Walker

Wishing you a year of adventure, too!

Namaste'
Leslie

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010 word of the year

With 2009 quickly coming to a close, I have been thinking about what I want my 2010 word of the year to be. I regretfully do not know which lovely blogger started the word of the year tradition (as I wish I could give credit where it's due), but I love the idea! I have never been one to make New Year's Resolutions as I am constantly setting goals and trying to grow and change in positive ways throughout the entire year; however, I love choosing one word to focus energy and attention on for the whole year.

My 2009 word of the year was action. I know I spend a lot of time in my head--thinking, and planning, and reading, and learning, and thinking and thinking. So, this year, I decided I wanted to focus on taking action. And, it was in this year that I took action and rented a space for my yoga studio. I also had smaller examples of action throughout the year, but opening my yoga studio is definitely my biggest success.

My 2010 word of the year is:

ADVENTURE

I will admit I do not consider myself a very adventurous person. I also need to explain that my definition of adventure may be a bit different than others. You will not catch me sky diving, bungee jumping, parasailing, rock climbing, etc.--this is not my idea of adventure, it's my idea of insanity (no offense if you've done any of these activities--they are just not for me!) To me, adventure means pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, reaching my edge, taking risks, traveling, exploring, and creating an adventurous life!

Do you choose a word of the year? If so, what is it for 2o1o?

Namaste'
Leslie

***I think Christinekane.com just might be the place the idea of a word of the year originated. Be sure to check her out!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

09 christmas in photos







Hope your holiday was filled with lots of laughter & love!
Namaste'
Leslie

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

sneak peek at my list

I have been working on my list for the Create Your Life*Create a List challenge. I am now up to 24 things on my list--only 11 more to go. I can't encourage you enough to make sure your list is a reflection of what YOU really want. When that little voice creeps in and starts to tell you to be worried about what other people might think of your list, squelch it! This is YOUR life, so it should definitely be YOUR list!

Here's a little sneak peek of some things I plan on doing by my 35th Birthday:

*Read at least 5 business related books
*Learn how to knit more than scarves
*Present a yoga/personal growth workshop
*Audio record some of my yoga classes
*Host another soup and wine tasting party

How is your list going?
Namaste'
Leslie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

gifts

This time of year gifts are usually on our minds. Have you thought about the gifts you were given?--and I'm not talking material gifts here. Are you fully using your gifts and giving them to the world? If not, now is the time. You don't have to make huge life changes to start utilizing your gifts. You can start by taking small steps (micromovements, as SARK would say) each week or each day. Don't wait any longer. Give your gifts to the world.

Namaste'
Leslie

photo from Irishize.flicker.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

holiday party pics

My mom and step-dad hosted a holiday party last night. Lots of good food and drink and people. My mom is a creative genius when it comes to decorating. Seriously, her house is full of eye candy during the holidays! Here are some pics (some of which are very silly) from the evening in front of one of her many gorgeous trees.





















































Namaste'
Leslie

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ipod nano love

If you still haven't asked Santa for a Christmas present, and your Santa is generous, I highly recommend the newest version of the ipod nano. My sweet husband got one for me for my birthday, and I am in love! So many very cool additions. I am especially loving the video and audio capabilities. So many possibilities...

Have a blessed day!

Namaste'
Leslie
*photo from files.lesterchan.net

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

swadhyaya & true colors quiz

Two of the eight limbs of yoga include the Yamas and the Niyamas. Because I believe in the importance of practicing yoga on and off the mat, I definitely think using the yamas and niyamas as guides for deeper living are very important. Lately, I've found myself gravitating toward the Niyamas. Essentially, the niyamas are how we interact with ourselves, our internal word. They are about helping us maintain and cultivate a positive environment in which to grow.

One of the niyamas, swadhyaya, or self-education and study is one that I find incredibly important. Essentially it's observing the self in relation to all life. It is so important to know ourselves in order to bring our best to the world. One of the ways I think we can learn more about ourselves is through personality tests. I find that I, personally, really enjoy these types of quizzes. They help me get insight into myself and how I interact with others. I recently took the true colors quiz, and here were my results:

"BLUE--To Love and Be Loved

Your heart-felt communication style creates peace and harmony in the workplace. You know how to bring out the best in others. As a Blue personality you are gifted with tremendous people skilss. You're a heart felt communicator who has a strong need to make a difference in the lives of other people. This strength is immediately noticeable in the way you make connections and bring out the best in those you encounter. People usually feel relaxed and comfortable in your presence. You love to build self-esteem and make others feel good about who they are. You can easily motivate and inspire people to make changes in their lives and reach their potential. This natural talent makes you excel as a counselor, teacher, social worker and journalist, but the list is far greater in the book."

I am a very strong blue, with green following. Interestingly, I had my sweet husband take the quiz and he was green with blue coming in second. If you'd like to see what color you are, click here to take the quiz! I'd love to hear your color.

Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

invitation to challenge vlog

I was having difficulty uploading my newest vlog directly to this post and maintaining a good quality resolution, so click here for my newest vlog.

Namaste'
Leslie

p.s. Feel free to spread the word about this challenge on your own blog, if you'd like! I'd appreciate it. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

on loss and living

This semester has been an incredibly difficult one filled with loss. At the beginning of the year, we found out one of our beloved co-workers had died of a heart attack while with his 10 year old son over summer break. Early in the semester, one of our kids committed suicide. And, most recently, two of our students were killed by their own father. I do not write about these situations today to cause any sort of sadness or pain. I write because this year there has been so much loss that it has been a constant reminder of the importance of living each day to the fullest, the importance of telling our loved ones we love and appreciate them, the importance of showing kindness to strangers, and the importance of paying attention to beauty and life and love each moment. Live fully.

Namaste'
Leslie

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Create Your Life*Create a List challenge

How is your list making going? I now have 10 items on my list of things to do by the time I turn 35....only 20 more to go! It's somewhat challenging to remind myself that this is MY list, and I shouldn't worry or let what others might think be of any influence on my list. It can be so easy to live/create our lives based on cultural/societal pressures and, while often well-intentioned, the pressure of family and friends. I just try to keep coming back to the question: What do I really want in my life?

So, far I have eight other fabulous women who have committed to participating in the Create Your Life*Create a List challenge. I'd love to have more of you along for this journey. I guarentee you'll move closer to creating the life you truly desire if you join! Click here for more details!

Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, December 6, 2009

get your creative juices flowing this holiday

I completely and totally believe that every person is a creative being. I have not always believed this. Somehow as I grew up, I learned the false belief that only those who are actual "artists" are truly creative. I now, thankfully, know this is not the case. I also know that if you've identified with the role of being uncreative or bought in to that false personal story, your creative juices will not flow freely!

So, how can you get your creative juices flowing this holiday season? Homemade gifts are one great way to get creative, give a gift that is truly meaningful, and save a little money in the meantime. There are all types of things you can create and give. If you're having a hard time coming up with something, think about your personal gifts and talents and passions, google homemade gifts, and start doing a little research. Then, take action! In years past, I've made yummy smelling soaps, unique lavender scented eye pillows, and most recently scarves for gifts for family and friends. Here is my sweet husband wearing one of his early Christmas gifts:

So, there is still time to get your creative juices flowing during the holiday season!

Namaste'
Leslie

p.s. If you are looking for a great challenge to start the New Year, take a look at my Create Your Life*Create a List challenge in the post below! I'd love to have you join me in taking action to create your most authentic and best life!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Create Your Life*Create a List challenge!

I just finished reading the fiction book The Next Thing on My List, by Jill Smolinski, and I am now feeling incredibly inspired. (I will not give any details of the book away here that would ruin it for you, if you plan on reading it, so it's safe to proceed.) Essentially the book is about a woman, June Parker, and her journey to start living a purpose-driven and fulfilled life. June's journey involves surviving a car accident, in which her new acquaintance and passenger, Marissa, dies. After this accident, June finds Marissa's list of "20 things to do by my 25th birthday" and sets out to finish the items on Marissa's list by her would-have-been 25th birthday.

I have always been one to love lists and after reading this book, I have definitely been inspired to write my own list of 30 things to do by my 35th birthday. I am also excited about the idea of other fabulous women joining me on this journey! I would love to see what types of things are on your list, as well as, hear about experiences you have as you start to get things crossed off your list. So, if you are interested in participating, here's the skinny:

1. During the month of December begin working on your list. Think both big and small. Be creative. Be brave. Include simple pleasures and indulgences, as well as things that scare you and push you to your toward your discomfort level (in yoga this is referred to as your edge). Let go of any tendency to judge or worry about what others might think of your list. This is for YOU! (Some items on Marissa's list included: Kissing a stranger, changing someone's life, running a 5K, riding in a helicopter, going on a blind date, getting a massage, watching a sunrise).

2. Include as many or as few items on your list as you want; however, as I will turn 35 in just under 2 years, I decided to go with 30 things to do by the time I'm 35. (I would suggest you plan on finishing your list by December 2011 at the latest--as if you draw the process out too long, you may lose momentum)

3.Complete making your list by Dec. 30, 2009. Once your list is complete--type it up, make it pretty, and display it in a place where you see it daily.

4. E-mail me your list (ldgkarma@hotmail.com). If you would rather I not share items on your list, or mention you, just let me know in the e-mail. If you are ok with me including some or all of your list on my blog, let me know!

5. Jan. 1, 2010, start completing items on your list. Feel free to e-mail me updates on how things are going! (Once again, please let me know if you are or are not comfortable with sharing these updates on my blog!)

So, you may be asking yourself, why would I want to participate in this challenge? Here are just a few reasons why:
  • Creating your list will help you define what is truly important to you, and propel you to take the actions necessary to reach your goals.
  • Life is way too short--this will give you direction to live it to the fullest!
  • Sharing the list with others will make you more accountable.
  • It will be a fun adventure!

So, grab a piece of paper, and a pen, (and maybe a few of your best girlfriends) and join me on this challenge! If you'd like to participate--leave a comment or e-mail me at ldgkarma@hotmail.com

I'm looking forward to this adventure with you!

Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, November 29, 2009

enlighten up

I recently joined Netflix. One of the reasons I decided to join was because many of the movies and documentaries I wanted to see are not available at local movie stores. One such movie is Enlighten Up, a documentary created by a film-making yogini who sets out to prove that yoga can transform anyone, so she gets a very skeptical journalist, Nick, to embark on a journey to learn as much as he can about yoga and she follows him around with her camera.

On Tuesday, the much anticipated movie arrived in my mailbox. Perfect timing for the Thanksgiving holiday break. Yay! Tuesday night, I popped the movie into the DVD player, and after about 20 minutes of watching, the dvd got stuck. I took the dvd out of the player thinking it must be dirty and handed it over to my sweet husband to take a look at it. He informed me that it wasn't dirty, it had a big ding in it. After multiple times of trying to get the dvd to work, we finally gave up. I was definitely trying to use some yogic calming breath during this entire process, as I was feeling myself getting increasingly frustrated that I wasn't going to be spending my evening as I had originally planned. I immediately got on netflix website and reported the damaged dvd. By Friday, another copy of Enlighten Up had arrived.

I watched the entire movie Friday night, and...(if you haven't seen the movie, you may not want to read on as I don't want to ruin it for you!) I thought it was interesting and somewhat entertaining, but truthfully, overall a bit disappointing. You see, I was really hoping Nick would be completely transformed and a true believer in yoga. As I, too, so whole-heartedly believe in the power of yoga to transform lives. However, Nick never really bought in to the transforming power of the practice. He did seem to undergo change throughout the making of the film and perhaps his yoga practice helped him make the changes he did; however, he definitely was not a dedicated, transformed yogi by the end of the movie.

One of the scenes that stood out most to me was when Nick was talking with David Life and and Sharon Gannon. David said they have a sign outside their yoga studio doors with the question, "Are you ready?"

Perhaps Nick just wasn't ready. Perhaps he will never be. I wonder how many opportunities in life pass us by because we aren't yet ready. And, what can we do to make sure we are ready when opportunities come our way?

Are you ready?

Namaste'
Leslie

p.s. If you've seen this film, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

gratitude

Just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all those who visit my blog. I have always enjoyed writing (as a kid I wrote poetry, short stories, and even a few kid novels), and this blog has given me the opportunity to get my creative writing juices flowing again. When I began this blog, I really didn't think there would be people who actually read it and follow it. So all you Yogadivasdivinelife.blogspot.com readers thank you for stopping by and especially leaving comments. I love, love, love hearing from you. It is so great to connect with like-minded people throughout the world! I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and you take the spirit of this holiday with you and live it throughout the entire year!

Namaste'
Leslie

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

10 thoughts on whole living

"1. Allow yourself the chance to really savor each moment.

2. Optimism isn't just a shift in perspective. It's an act of bravery.

3. Only you can decide the path worth taking.

4. Don't wait for your mood to change; take action despite it.

5. Approach gift shopping as an opportunity to honor the people you really love.

6. Rather than search for a single miracle food, strive for a varied and delicious diet.

7. You can't grow without pushing your limits.

8. Stop worrying about getting sick; focus on your health instead.

9. Don't believe what you hear. Life is good.

10. No one knows what the future will bring. Put your energy into now."

--from the Dec. 2009 issue of Body + Soul magazine.

Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, November 22, 2009

first vlog!!!

video

Ok, Ladies and Gents...One of my goals has been to start learning how to do more with the technology out there. One of the ways I wanted to do this was by learning how to do videos. (I realize now it isn't that hard, but I just hadn't tried doing it before and was a wee bit intimidated at the thought.) Yesterday, while reading The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, I was on the chapter on taking a risk every day. I am oh-so-not a risk-taker; however, I am opening up more and more to the idea. So, here is my risk for the day: My first-ever vlog. (The self-critical part of me thinks I have a very goofy initial look on my face, I'm leaning a bit too far into the camera, and the background isn't great, but I am letting all that go, and just going with it!)

I hope you enjoy hearing from me in a little bit different way!

How can you take a small risk today?

Namaste'

Leslie

Saturday, November 21, 2009

thoughts on desire

I am in the process of reading The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. On the joy diet, menu item #3 is desire. Here are a few thoughts on desire that I thought were important enough to highlight:

"I think we're all born with a set of preferred activities and talents, but more than that, with an inexplicable inner knowledge of the things we are meant to do and be, the changes we are meant to make in the world."

"The knowledge of your destiny is available to you, well before it actually happens as a message streaming continuously from your heart to your brain, written in the language of longing."

"If we dare voice a dream, we're liable to hear a litany of reasons we can't or shouldn't dream it. By the time we're adolescents many of us have replaced the awareness of our own desires with meditations on the topic 'Why I shouldn't want what I want.'"

"We repeat these claims to ourselves, over and over, because we think this will allow us to avoid pain--the pain of being rebuked by others, of failure, of humiliation, or loss. One of my friends calls this self-imposed pessimism 'inoculating yourself against disappointment.' This is a fabulous idea, except that it doesn't work. Injecting yourself with the fruits of failure from doing anything that might make your dreams come true, and if something good happens to you anyway, it will keep you from enjoying or appreciating your good fortune."

"I can tell you from extensive observation that refusing to feel desire is the only thing more painful than failing to get what you want, and that learning not to yearn, far from preventing disappointment, ultimately guarantees it."

Take the time to get still, and think about it: What do you really desire?

Namaste'
Leslie

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

birthday 33











Great night out with sweet husband and friends! So thankful for all the blessings in my life.
Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2 days and random musings



Only two days until my 33rd birthday. but I will be celebrating all week long! Tuesday night: dinner out with sweet husband. Thursday night: 90- minute massage. Friday: personal day from work...doing whatever I want and feel like! Saturday: matinee of New Moon (dressed in my Twilight series attire) with a few friends and family and dinner afterwards. Can't wait!


I always try to approach Birthdays with the same child-like excitement and awe I had when I was a kid. I don't think the focus of Birthdays should be about getting one year older. I think the focus should be on getting one year better and about recognizing all the blessings both big and small that the past year brought. And, perhaps if it was a rough year, maybe just focusing on the fact that the year is over and it's now time to move on and forward!

As 2010 is quickly approaching, I've also been beginning to think about what I want my 2010 Word of the Year to be. Action was my 2009 word, and considering I finally opened up my own little yoga studio this year, I do think action was a fitting word. I have kind of been leaning toward the word adventure. To be quite honest, I don't consider myself to be all that adventurous of a person. I like the word adventure because it can encompass so many different things: risk-taking, travelling, creating life changes, etc. Do you choose a word of the year? If so, what was your 2009 word? What are you thinking your 2010 word will be?
Lastly, I just have to share a photo of my new luggage. (This is the first luggage set I've ever owned, and when I saw it, I knew it was the perfect luggage set for me: brown giraffe print with hot pink zippers, oh yeah!). I also plan to do more traveling in the year 2010, and I think this purchase will be a constant reminder of that!


Namaste'
Leslie

Thursday, November 12, 2009

what i wish everyone knew fore sure

Birthright
Despite illness of body or mind,
in spite of blinding despair or
habitual belief, who you are
is whole. Let nothing keep you
separate from the truth. The soul,
illuminated from within, longs to
be known for what it is. Undying,
untouched by fire or the storms of
life, there is a place inside where
stillness and abiding peace reside.
You can ride the breath to go there.
Despite doubt or hopeless turns of
mind, you are not broken. Spirit
surrounds, embraces, fills you from
the inside out. Release everything
that isn't your true nature. What's
left, the fullness, light, and shadow,
claim all that as your birthright."
--Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice on and off the Mat
Namaste'
Leslie

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

a little validation

One of the main ideas that I took away from the conference I attended the last 3 days is the need all human beings have to feel validated. So many mental health issues stem from feelings of unworthiness and shame. All people want and need to know they are cared for, they are special, they have been heard and understood, and they are important. Helping others feel validated isn't all that difficult of a task. I know, however, too often in our busy lives we neglect to validate those who mean the most to us. Here are a few simple ways to help validate those who are important to you:

*Listen to them without judgment or advice giving.
*Say, "Thank you for being you." (and mean it)
*Say, "I love you." (and mean it)
*Say, "You are smart, beautiful, and talented." (and mean it)
*Spend quality time with them.
*Focus on their strengths.
*Appreciate their unique talents.
*Make sure they know, without a doubt, they are not alone in the world.

Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, November 8, 2009

get away

Today I am leaving for an annual conference for School Counselors. It's always a nice feeling to get away for a little bit, mingle with professional peers, learn some new info., be reminded of some ideas I might have forgotten, and get out of my routine for a few days.

If you aren't able to get away for a conference or a mini vacation, think about how you can create a similar experience without leaving town:

*go to a coffee shop and read up on professional journals or books you are interested in
*turn off the computer and phone and pop in a yoga dvd at home
*spend a day at the spa getting a mani, pedi, and massage
*participate in an on-line teleclass
*change up your routine
*drive a different route to work
*go out to eat at a restaurant you've never been to
*enjoy yourself and those you are around

Namaste'
Leslie

Saturday, November 7, 2009

karma yoga love

I just wrote a post that I was meaning to publish here, but I accidently published it to my yoga studio blog. So, if you'd like to read about good karma, simply click here.

Namaste'
Leslie

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

where does your energy go

Since I recently finished reading Positive Energy by Judith Orloff, I find myself really paying attention to how I extend my energy. While checking out Oprah.com this morning a quiz about where our energy goes caught my eye. Here was my results:

"How efficient is your life?

Rate each statement according to how well it describes you.

You scored 43.

You are leading an efficient life and have a good chance of feeling comfortable, contented, and controled. There are no drastic embalances in how you use your energy. Each aspect of your existance is given a good amount of positive attention. You have a good deal of energy available for positive growth."

Yeah! My efforts to balance my energy seem to be working! How are you doing in this area of your life? If you'd like to take the quiz, click here.

Namaste'
Leslie

Sunday, November 1, 2009

weekend in photos & welcome november











November is one of my favorite months. Besides being the month of my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, it is also my birthday month (yes, I am very much a scorpio). So, as we welcome in the month of November, make a conscious effort this month to live with a spirit of gratitude:

*be grateful every day

*start a gratitude journal listing 5 reasons to be thankful each day

*do random acts of service

*smile at strangers

*say "thank you" to those you love

*recognize blessings both big and small

*view the glass half full

*enjoy your life

*breathe deeply

Namaste'
Leslie

Saturday, October 31, 2009

i heart books

I have always loved, loved, loved reading. There is something heavenly about having a good book in one hand and a cup of hot coffee in the other. You can usually find me reading about 3 books at any one time: 1 fun fiction read, 1 yoga book, & 1 self-help/personal growth/spiritual book. Currently, however, I am in the process of reading these 5 fabulous books (all of which I highly recommend):



























What are some of your favorite reads?
Namaste'
Leslie