Yoga Journey Update

I know that you have been sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for my yoga journey update.  I am sorry that it’s been so long.  You can now carry on with your life because the update is here.  LOL!!

yoga mat

1 – I absolutely love my Yohola cork yoga mat (affiliate link).  There is nothing that I don’t like about this mat.  It is slip free and I mean NO slipping whatsoever.  Mine has beautiful watercolor designs, which I absolutely love.  They are made in SC, USA.  I can’t say enough about them.  I actually have 2 now; one that I leave at home and one that I take to the studio.  I own both of the Aura mats below:)

slow flow

2 – Slow flow is my jam.  I haven’t tried an all levels flow, but I love my slow flow and Yin classes.  Add essential oils and it is heaven!!

yoga with adriene

3 – Yoga with Adriene is the bomb-diggity of online yoga classes.  Her videos are what got me started in yoga.  I met her at Wanderlust in Boston and she was the sweetest soul with the best energy.  I can’t say enough about her.  She is currently doing a yoga tour called Find What Feels Good.  Love, love, love her!!

yoga studio

4 – I thought that I would be practicing yoga at home forever.  I then got a job as the social media liaison for a local yoga studio and my payment is unlimited yoga classes.  I am so glad that I put myself out there and started to do studio classes because I LOVE it and I’ve met a lot of great people.  Starting my practice at home and getting comfortable was key to my success at the studio.

a never-ending journey

5 – A yoga journey NEVER ends.   You will always be on a path of learning, growing, strengthening and discovering.  That is one of the things that I love about it because even though it is an ancient practice, I am learning and discovering new things every time I hit the mat.

5 Things You May Not Know about Buddhist Philosophy

I have been doing a lot of soul-searching the last 6-7 months. My yoga and meditation practices have been a game changer.  I have also been writing a lot of blog posts on Upwork, particularly posts on alternative and complementary therapies.  Currently, I am writing some posts for a blog that discusses Asian medicines and Asian meditation.  I just finished one about Buddhist philosophy and I found it fascinating.

1.  Buddhism in not a religion.

Many people may call Buddhism a religion, but Buddhists do not consider it to be a religion.  They feel that it is a philosophy and way of life.  They do not worship the Buddha.  Expressions of gratitude are given to the Buddha for bringing his philosophy and Noble Truths into the world.  His statue ‘reminds people to “strive to develop peace and love within” themselves’ (www.buddhanet.net).

2.  many people follow an organized religion and buddhism.

Since Buddhism is a very tolerant, accepting belief system.  It teaches people a “way of life that leads to true happiness” (www.buddhanet.net).  People can be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim…any religion and still follow the tenets of Buddhism.  It recognizes the moral teachings of different religions and adds upon them with the 4 Noble Truths, the Noble 8-Fold Path and the 5 Precepts.

3.  many people live by the all or some of the 5 precepts and don’t even know it.

The 5 precepts are:   1 – not to take the life of anything living, 2 – not to take anything that is not freely given, 3 – abstain from sexual misconduct, 4 – refrain from untrue speech and 5 – avoid intoxication because it means losing mindfulness (www.buddhanet.net).  Living by all of these may seem extreme to some, but many people live by some of them.

4.  the buddha, siddhartha gautama, was born into a royal family.

Siddhartha lived in the lap of luxury, but came to realize that money and luxury doesn’t buy happiness. He left his royal family to journey through studies of various religious teachers and meditation.  Enlightenment occurred after a night of sitting and meditating under the Bodhi tree.

5. the laughing buddha is not the founder of buddhism.

Siddhartha Gautama is what some people may call the “skinny buddha” and he was the founder of Buddhism.  The “laughing or fat buddha” was a Chinese monk name Pu-Tai who lived over 1000 years ago.  He is known for his kindness and giving nature and was given the title, “Buddhist saint” (www.oddlyhistorical.com).

I loved learning about Buddhist philosophy because it really resonated with me. Personally, I am not a big fan of organized religion, but I understand why many people find comfort and faith in those religions.  I love that Buddhism is accepting and tolerant, which I feel is so important in the world today.

Be The Person That Your Yoga Mat Thinks You Are

I just love that quote!!!  So true…when we are on our yoga mats we are thinking positive, healing, profound thoughts that we hope will follow us off the mat and into our everyday life.  Since starting my yoga journey, I have definitely benefitted from my practice.  I do feel calmer and more centered, but I also have had the summer off so I’m sure that is part of it too.  Here are some thoughts that I try to carry off the mat.

*ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE…YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP.
*JUST BECAUSE OTHERS ARE COMPLAINING OR SEEING EVERYTHING WITH A NEGATIVE MINDSET DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THEIR LEAN.  IF YOU ARE AT PEACE, GO WITH IT AND SEE JOY IN ALL SITUATIONS.

 

*I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS ONE ALL SUMMER.  WHENEVER I WOULD SEE SOMETHING THAT ANGERED ME OR BOTHERED ME, INSTEAD OF THINKING OR SAYING A JUDGMENTAL THOUGHT, I TRIED TO SEE THE GOOD IN THE SITUATION OR HAVE EMPATHY FOR THE PERSON OR PEOPLE.

 

*THIS HAS BEEN PHRASED IN DIFFERENT WAYS…ANOTHER QUOTE THAT IS SIMILAR TO THIS IS ENERGY FLOWS WHERE YOUR ATTENTION GOES.  IF YOU THINK POSITIVE, JOYFUL THOUGHTS… THAT IS WHAT YOU’LL MANIFEST.  IF YOU THINK NEGATIVE, JUDGMENTAL THOUGHTS, THAT IS WHAT YOU’LL MANIFEST.

 

When I’m at my yoga classes, this is the beautiful mat that I use.  I just got it and I LOVE It.  It is a Yohola cork mat.  Talk about no slipping!!!  I sweat a lot even though it’s not hot yoga and my hands DO NOT SLIP!!!  It is so great.  This company is in South Carolina and they have a green, sustainable business with great products.  This is the design that I got on my mat, but there are others to choose from.  There are also mats with no design and there are different thicknesses and types to choose from.  I got an Aura mat, but I emailed them because I wasn’t sure if it was the right one for me because my hands sweat so much.  They got back to me with a recommendation.  If these seem like the mats for you, click here (affiliate link) to explore the wonderful world of Yohola Yoga.  You receive a 10% discount with this link:)

If you order a mat, have a mat you love, practice on the grass…no matter how you yoga, I hope that you live your life off the mat with all the joy, calm, love and focus that you have on your mat.

Wanderlust 108 Boston for Yoga Lovers

I attended the Wanderlust 108 festival today in Boston and I can’t even express to you how awesome it was. It was supposed to rain all day and the bright sun came out giving a lovely glow all around the festival. The festival was held at the DCR Hatch Shell, which is where the Boston Pops perform on 4th of July. The setting could not have been more glorious and the energy was so positive and uplifting.

So let me go way back to before this festival came to town.  I was debating whether I was going to go.  I am a HUGE fan of Yoga with Adriene on Youtube and I follow her on Instagram and Facebook.  There was a post on her Instagram saying she was coming to Boston.  Wait!!!  What??!!  She’s coming HERE!!!  The post also said that if you emailed her “Find What Feels Good” peeps you would be put into consideration for a free ticket to the festival.  So after hyperventilating (not really), I sent off an email saying how much I loved Adriene and how she is the reason I got into yoga.

Well, I got an email back saying I was being offered a ticket.  Wow!!!  Not only was Adriene coming to Boston, but she gave me a ticket too.  So I headed down to Boston early this morning with me, myself and I.  I knew it was going to be a good day when I met some yogis in the parking garage and we all walked over to the festival together.  I checked in AND got a FRONT ROW SPOT for my mat.  Yesssssss!!!!

MINDFUL TRIATHLON

This was billed as a “Mindful Triathlon”, the first and only one ever.  The first leg of the triathlon was a 5k run/walk, which I couldn’t participate in because I have some hip issues.  If I did the 5k, I wouldn’t have been able to do yoga and yoga was my reason for being there.  While most people were 5k-ing, I visited the Kula market, which had lots of free samples, food, yoga inspired clothes & jewelry and the Adidas souvenir tent.  You didn’t even need to bring any food because there were so many free samples, including Late July and Yasso frozen yogurt.

YOGA AND MEDITATION

Adriene did a 75-minute yoga class, which was so awesome.  I love her style and have done many of her Youtube videos at home so it was the perfect flow for me.  She is very knowledgeable and also very funny so I appreciated her addition of little jokes here and there.  Adriene is compassionate and accepting and wants everyone to be comfortable in their practice no matter what level they are at.  After her class, there was a 25 minute meditation by Enrique Collazo.  It was a perfect ending to the practice with the breeze blowing off the Charles River.  Just perfect!!!

MEET AND GREET

After the meditation, Adriene made sure to take pictures and talk with all her fans.  She was humble, loving and just downright awesome.  So glad I got to interact with her.  If you haven’t experienced a Yoga with Adriene class, click here.  You will not be disappointed.

The Wanderlust 108 festival will be visiting Brooklyn and Washington, DC in September along with many worldwide locations.  If you love yoga, check it out.

3 Podcasts That I Am Slightly Obsessed With

I have been slightly obsessed with 3 podcasts lately…okay…it’s  full on obsession, let’s be real.  I sometimes get tired of the same songs over and over on the radio and I don’t want to pay for satellite radio.  Also, during the school year (I am a teacher), my ride home can be anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic.  This is my PERFECT time to listen to podcasts.  **Warning/Disclaimer or Whatever You Want to Call It**…these 3 podcasts do use explicit language so they are not what you want to listen to when you’re picking the kids up from school or carpooling.

By The Book

OMG…this is the best podcast ever!!! Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer read different self-help books and then LIVE them for 2 weeks.  The follow the rules, activities, mantras…whatever the book tells them to do.  They then talk about their experiences and then recommend whether to read the book or not.  The podcast is interspersed with conversations with each of their husbands along with other family members.  As it states, it’s half self-help show, half comedy show.  Some explicit language in this podcast.  They also have a Facebook group that you can join called By The Book Community.  ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PODCAST!!

Truth and Dare

This podcast is all about female empowerment.  Their tagline is speaking our truth and daring to change.  The two millennials who host the show are Allie Van Fossen and Carly Talbot.  Even though they are young, they have old souls and they talk about issues and problems that women of various age groups can relate to.  This podcast has a lot of explicit language so if that sort of thing bothers you, I’m giving you fair warning.  Allie has an Facebook group called Live Your Journey and it is wonderful, especially if you are a yogi, like daily inspiration, enjoy meditation, etc.  It is an extremely supportive and welcoming group.

Your Kickass Life

This is a podcast hosted by Andrea Owen.  She is a life coach and she discusses many issues and self-help strategies that women of many ages face.  This podcast can also have its fair share of explicit language.  Andrea often has guests on the podcast that talk about different areas, such as therapy, finances, books they’ve written, etc.  She also offers her life coach services if you are on the lookout for one.   When you see her picture, you may think…how can this beautiful blond know anything about what I’ve gone through in my life?  She looks like she has it all together and then some.   Actually, she has had a pretty tough life, which makes her more relatable and she really doesn’t take herself too seriously.  I really like her:)

Guest Post: Zen Malas

This is a guest post by Crystal Dayton of Zen Malas.  We connected because we make similar jewelry products.  I make mala necklaces and she makes mala bracelets.  Check out her story and social media.

Zen Malas

In 2016, I started getting really interested in crystals and their healing powers and I used to travel places to buy different bracelets. At this time, I also left my cooking job to pursue my graphic designer business. Then I started making a blog to showcase my work. I started doing some meditation and looking into a lot of self-improvement which lead to starting my Jewelry Business in July.

I found once I started making these malas and posting them a lot of people were really interested in them. So, I started looking into the meanings of each mala. I found it very interesting how each stone represented a different meaning.

MY SOCIAL MEDIA 

Etsy shop

Instagram

Facebook

My Blog

Healing Crystals: Part 2

I wrote a post on healing crystals several month ago and at that time I said I’d be back with a follow-up.  It’s been a while and I am back with the next installment.  I’ve learned even more about crystals since I opened my Etsy shop because I have been making meditation malas based on the healing qualities of the crystals and stones.

AMETHYST

Amethyst may be one of the most well-known crystals because it is also a birthstone and widely available stone.  I use this stone a lot in my malas (above) because of it’s many healing qualities.  Amethyst is a powerful and protective stone.  It is beneficial to the mind in that it can help with focus, decision-making, tranquility, balancing emotions…it is a do-it-all stone.  This beautiful purple stone is wonderful for meditation and it is one of the most spiritual stones.  I especially loved the colors and banding on the piece in the upper photo.

SODALITE

I use Sodalite in many of my malas (above) because of its wonderful blue color.  This particular stone in my photo has a lot of white, but many of them have mostly blue.  Sodalite, like Amethyst, is good for the mind in that it gets rid of mental confusion…who doesn’t need that??!!!  It calms the mind, which allows new information to come in.  Put on top of a computer, it blocks the electromagnetic pollution that emanates from within.  It brings emotional calmness to the user and calms panic attacks, among other attributes.

MADAGASCAR SMOKY QUARTZ

As you can see, smoky quartz is a translucent stone.  I have used this stone as a counter bead in some of my malas (see amethyst mala above).  Quartz is very common and comes in different colors.  Each color has a different healing quality.  Among other things, smoky quartz relieves fear, improves depression and calms emotions.  It teaches you to leave behind anything that no longer serves you.

CHALCEDONY BLUE LACE AGATE

This picture does not do this stone justice.  It is a beautiful light blue color.  There are many different types of agates and this is one of the many.  Blue lace agate is a throat healer and helps with verbal expression.  It counteracts anger, infect, inflammation and fever, among many other uses.

All of these healing crystals have other healing qualities that I did not include in the descriptions.  I chose to write about the qualities that I chose them for.  If you want to read more about crystals and their healing qualities, I recommend The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall **affiliate link**.  Great photos and explanations of many crystals.  She also has a 2nd and 3rd edition with additional crystals.

Keep Calm and Ocean On

As I sat on the beach looking out at the ocean this morning, my happier place, I couldn’t help but get into a meditative state.  When the waves came in, I felt the positive energy come to me.  As the waves went out, I could feel that negativity being washed out to sea.  I could match the waves to my breath, too. Breathe in…waves in; breathe out…waves out.  Maybe this is one of the reasons that I love the beach and ocean so much.  Such a perfect metaphor for living.

Some of the waves started out very fierce and looked somewhat dangerous.  They would crash violently, making a huge splash.  Once they crashed and then made it to the shore, however, they were calm and smooth.  At times, this is how problems may seem in our lives.  We feel like the problem is fierce and we confront it as it comes at us.  When we do this, it is bound to knock us over.  When we give it some time and a little distance, it levels off and drifts away.

 

While gazing out over the ocean, I noticed how the paddleboarders were at one with the ocean waves.  They would paddle out, stand tall and just let the current lead them.  They didn’t fight the waves or current, they just went with it.  When I saw other people try to fight the waves or go against the current, they were not successful.  Another metaphor…just ride the current and let it take you where it needs to.  Don’t fight it and you may end up in a place of true calm and peace.  It was amazing how easily those paddleboarders just rode the rise and fall of the ocean and let it take them on a beautiful journey.

It’s funny because growing up, I lived close to the beach, but didn’t spend a lot of time there because I have fair skin and I always had to cover up so I didn’t get burned.  I also hated the sand all over me.  Now that I am older, I just love the sunshine on my face and don’t mind the sand at all.  It has become a place of relaxation, calm and peace.  I still live close to the ocean and spend a lot more time there, even going on vacation to other beaches.  This is even where I got the name for my blog.

 

Where is your happier place?

5 Affirmations that I Try to Live By

I have been on a true self-care, getting to know myself journey the past few months.  I have discovered great coaches including Gabi Bernstein, Allie Van Fossen and Rebekah Borucki.  One thing that they all live by and advocate about is positive daily affirmations…and why not?  A few positive words every day are food for the soul.  As I stated in my post title, I TRY to live by these.  One of the things I LOVE about Rebekah/Bex is she is the first one to say that her life is not perfect and some days are suck-ish.  I LOVE that.

1 – i am like a boat in the ocean

This is one of my all time favorite Rebekah Borucki (Bex) meditations/affirmations.  I LOVE the beach and the ocean so this is perfect for me.  I can visualize the boat and I when I feel overwhelmed, I can use this to calm myself.

2 – Energy flows where attention goes

This is a Gabi Bernstein-ism that I also love.  She may not have invented it, but these are words she definitely lives by.  So if I am thinking positive, uplifting, joyous thoughts…that is what I will manifest and that is what will show up in my life.  My work BFF and I tell us this all the time during the school year, especially when we get into a negative mindset.

3 – her success is not your failure

This is probably one of my all time favorite affirmations and I often forget to use it.  I see this affirmation connected to the one about comparison being the killer of joy.  If you often feel bad when others have success because you often feel that you are not enough or you don’t do a good job, stop.  Just because someone else is having success or is happy or has joy in their life DOESN’T mean that you can’t have it too.  You can be just as successful, happy and joyous if not more so!!!

4 – i am calm, i am at peace

Another great Bexlife meditation…told you I LOVE her.  This is perfect for ANY time you are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, scared, unhappy, etc.  Close your eyes and say this to yourself or speak it out loud.  It is guaranteed to ground you and make you feel much better.

5 – whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy

This should be the last sentence of every valedictorian speech in every high school and at every college commencement speech.  You MUST be happy or get some type of happiness in whatever you do.  If not, you will waste time that could have been joyous and fruitful.  I know that you have to pay the bills, but be sure to have SOMETHING in your life that you are passionate about and that brings you JOY:)

Guest Post: My Yoga Journey – Who I Was and Where I Want to Be

Welcome to Lia Johnson-Baker from The Yogi Turtle.  She is doing a guest post on my blog.

introduction

Hi my inspiring people, my name is Lia and it’s honestly such an honor to write a guest piece for Kim. I’m excited to getting to know everyone and hopefully help the best way I can. I am an inspiring person and yogi with big, big dreams. I’ve been doing yoga for almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most life changing lifestyle I have ever done. Now I say one of, because I do a lot of things. Scuba dive, save sea turtles, play music. But yoga is one of the things that stick and balance out the other activities I do in my spare time. Yoga has made me more patient, open minded, more forgiving, and most of all inspiring person and yogi with big, big dreams.

I’ve been doing yoga for almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most life changing lifestyle I have ever done. Now I say one of because I do a lot of things. Scuba dive, save sea turtles, play music. But yoga is one of the things that stick and balance out the other activities I do in my spare time. Yoga has made me more patient, open minded, more forgiving, and most of all e who reads this, Where I was, and where I’m going.

first start

I first started getting into yoga around November 2015, It was a pretty cool studio called Apex. It was nerve racking at first, because of course, like everyone else that has tried yoga, or working out in general, you had to have muscles or be flexible before going in. Not the case at all, I could definitely feel the transition in energy when I came in those doors, tt was indescribable experience. Though the class was difficult for a beginner, it was one of the most memorable classes and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t tried take a class at least once.

My awesome yoga instructor Ceiara Cartony is truly amazing, she’s very kind and patient and she has had a complex journey that she shares that is truly relatable. After that first class, I wanted to learn more so I started to take private lessons from her. It was then after a year I because advanced in my poses and I decided after I learned crow pose, I wanted to start a blog.

I wanted to get my story and journey out there because I feel like I can inspire people in where they want to go in life, or find out who they are as a person and how they can better themselves. It was difficult at first because I was still trying to figure out who I was (and still am) I’m more open to trying new things and experiment and be more open minded. The first leap of faith I did was starting my own blog. It may not be perfect but I feel like it’s me and my story and journey is out there.

the yogi turtle

After I created my blog, I wanted to find out more about other yogis, events, etc. That’s where Wanderlust came in. I took my first spontaneous trip to my neighbor state, GA and did my first 5k, tried vegan food and kombucha for the first time. This was something I never thought that I would be able to do 6 months ago and I would definitely do it again. I’d love to become a yoga instructor someday and help and give back to others the more I learn about myself.  

Getting into yoga and staying on that journey can be very difficult. Yoga is not just about the physical practice, that’s just the icing on the cake. There’s also being open and learning about the philosophy, finding your own path to where you want to go. I encourage to try at least once, and be open to it. It’s a wonderful experience and you definitely want to share it with others.