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It’s wonderful how something you didn’t even know you needed can show up in your experience and feed your soul. This past weekend I got an impromptu invite to attend Goddess On The Go in downtown LA and I am so glad I answered the call. The gathering happens several times a year here in Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit, and was created by Leora Edut to forge healing and community among strong, passionate, powerful women. The mission and vision driving Goddess On The Go is that every woman on the planet lives her best life. Designed as a day long retreat, the event gives any “goddess” the time and space to connect with other women, check in with herself, release any blocks that need healing, and reaffirm intentions for the future. Through classes, talks, and communion with other women a sacred space is created that can lead to empowerment, self-transformation, and AHA moments. The day included a Kundalini yoga class, a talk and mini-workshop on sensuality, an astrology recap, dancing, and really awesome raw vegan fare including lunch and dessert.
Beyond meeting a bunch of incredible and inspiring women, some of my favorite moments were the kundalini yoga class, and meeting one half of the dynamic AstroTwins duo, as I read their horoscopes via Elle, religiously. If you’ve never checked out their scopes, you’re missing out because they are well written, witty, and always have a positive angle while remaining spot on with the current planetary energy. The food was certified delicious and provided courtesy of The Springs LA, a wellness hub and restaurant coming soon to downtown LA that will serve 100% raw vegan cuisine, offer yoga, and holistic treatments. Overall the the event was cathartic and left me feeling full to the brim spiritually; I highly recommend it for any woman who is going through a transition, needs a break from their daily grind, or is just looking for something different that may spark some inspiration. To get more information about the next Goddess On The Go or find out about dates in other cities visit: http://goddess-onthego.com/.
As you ground and grow in your much less wobblier vriksasana, you hear the instructor utter the words you least look forward to.
Feeling confused and alone, you’ve now lost your drishti. Your eyes wander about the class and eventually toward home girl two mats over, who has somehow managed to get her arms into some kind of contortionist style prayer fold.
With your teacher’s presence near, you make a conscious effort to reset your focus. You frantically throw your arms in the air and think to yourself, this will work for sure.
“Lovely yogis,” your teacher replies.
You feel charged as your hands make their way back to anjanayasana. You’ve made it through another class without flaking out in your expression.
When an instructor calls “fullest expression,” what is being asked of the student? Is the teacher looking for the craziest arms in tree pose? Or perhaps the straightest and highest kicked leg in one-legged wheel? It is very easy to get caught up in the aesthetic of a yoga practice when those words are said in class.
I believe that pouring self: heart, mind, and body, entirely into practice is the way to access one’s fullest expression. At times, coming into one’s fullest expression could mean staying in the in the most basic form of the posture, tapping into the sounds of the heart and the deep rhythm of inhales and exhales.
There is no need to do anything overly taxing, be gentle and allow yourself to flow freely so that you may connect with your inner guide. This is a part of the practice cannot be orchestrated and should be full of your authenticity.
Trust in your breath and be.
~ Namaste, Sihnuu
To learn more about Sihnuu, click here
Hope is what fuels us, it can serve as our life support when we are at our lowest low and keep us charged and focused when we want to achieve our goals. Hope is the root of our passion and the end of our pain. Hope is as necessary as the air we breathe. It is reflective of our drive and desire to live. With hope, our life has purpose.
Facts About Hope
*Hopeful people have stronger immune systems than those who lack hope.
*Hopeful people do well in a variety of social environments.
*Hopeful people are able to achieve their goals more easily. According to universal law your thoughts are your truth. If your thoughts are life is wonderful, your life is well…WONDERFUL!
*Hopeful people are contagious. When you are surrounded by hope you have no other choice but to allow it to rub off on you.
Things to Ask Yourself:
What is the root of my hope? Is it for temporary gratification?
How can I be hopeful and achieve my goals while remaining detached?
Do I have consistent attitude of hope in my life, or is my hope based on a certain outcome?
How to Be Hopeful
- Quiet the chatter in your mind through meditation – While it is good to be with your thoughts, they can sometimes be distracting. Do not allow negative thinking to take over. If you have a negative thought acknowledge it, honor it, release it.
- Know that expectation is a four letter word – Ok, ok, it’s more like 11 letters, but treat it like it’s a curse word as it relates to hope. When expectations are the seed of hope we set ourselves up for potential disappointment. Be happy regardless.
- Practice Positivity – Think of all of the amazing things that are happening in your life right now and drown yourself in all of the greatness that you encapsulate!!
Utkatasana A.K.A. Chair Pose / Powerful Fierce Pose
Strengthens back, thighs, spine, ankles. Reduces flat feet. Stretches shoulders Boost immune system.
1. Begin in Tadasana (mountain pose) with arms lifted and fingers sparked. Engage all of your bandhas and bring length to spine lifting up and out of the pelvis
2. On the inhale lift your toes and activate the legs
3. Exhale and lower your hips as if you are getting ready to sit in a chair.
4. Look down and see all 10 of your toes. If you do not see your toes work to send your knees closer to the back wall
5. Continue to lengthen your sacrum downward sending your belly button toward your spine to prevent over arching.
6. Reach out through the fingertips and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
7. Send your gaze forward keeping your chin parallel to your mat.
8. Allow your inhales to bring length and your exhales to sink you deeper into your hips.
Those with hip or knee problems use caution and try entering the pose with the back agains the wall or a block between the thighs.
~ Namaste, Sihnnu
You can find Sihnuu on Instagram @yogasihnuu
For me the phrase “take flight” in the context of yoga, breath, and daily life has to do with being so fully in the moment that you transcend all the mind chatter, the worries, the emotions, and frustrations. It’s important for our health and vitality that every single day we find a way to “take flight” and release into the flow that life is presenting to us. Nothing ever has to be the way it has always been. Even if the moment just before was horrible, we always have a choice, here and now to make a new decision and allow ourselves imagine a new reality that exceeds our wildest imaginations. We also daily have the opportunity to trust that the flow of life is going to take us to our destination without strain, stress, or struggle. Stop yourself today in any area you feel stuck. Take a breath and envision your dream outcome for that situation or relationship. Breathe it in, release it with love, and allow it to manifest effortlessly. ~ XoXo Raw Girl
On my mat I inhale and I am present. I exhale and I am empty. Here on my mat I am light. I am open to what comes up for me in flow. I explore spaces within my being that need healing and I send love there. I am not my past. I don’t concern myself with the future. I am here and now. I am synchronicity in breath and movement I surrender and take flight. ~ Namaste, Sihnuu
You can find Sihnuu on Instagram @YogaSihnuu.
While out taking some yoga pics in Georgetown saw this quote on the wall and loved it. “Create More Than You Consume.” I really feel like that is the inner mantra for my life. When you spend more time tapping into your inner essence and tuning into plant energy via your diet, it really can enhance your creativity and joie de vivre! We are all meant to blossom and live out our true passion and purpose. Part of what clean eating does is free our bodies of toxicity so that we have more vitality, and become a clearer channel for brilliant creative ideas. When you are freed up from sickness, disease, and bodily concerns you have the luxury of channeling your energy towards something greater. In addition, practicing meditation and mindfulness helps us weed through and release our programmed emotional reactions, and work towards our purpose with more clarity, peace, and non-attachment. The more we release our attachments and desperation for something outside of ourselves, the more we come into vibrational alignment with our desires and attract opportunities, people, and things to help us along our journey. Take a moment today and ask yourself: “Do I create more than I consume?” If not, how can you tap deeper into your creativity? What dreams, aspirations, or skills have you neglected lately? It’s a new day, and if you have the honor of being alive there’s still time to create what your heart truly desires. ~Namaste, Raw Girl
Need a boost in your meditation practice? Or perhaps you have never meditated and would like to experiment with how it can improve your quality of life? Today is Day 2 of Deepak Chopra’s online meditation challenge called “Miraculous Relationships.” I have completed the past three 21 day challenges he has done in partnership with Oprah online and can attest to the fact that they are fantastic. Not only do the meditations delivered daily to your inbox keep you grounded, they also keep you accountable to your practice and can help you get back on the meditation bandwagon if you’ve fallen off. Late last year, I did one of Deepak’s first challenges, and ever since then I have managed to keep my resolution for 2013 and be very consistent with my daily meditation. If you missed Day 1 no worries, they archive all of the past posts. All you have to do is sign up online via https://chopracentermeditation.com/ ! Who’s in? -XoXo Raw Girl
As you all know I’m a yoga and meditation junkie…can’t get enough of it. In addition to the regular Raw Girl posts I’ve enlisted a dear friend and talented yoga teacher, Sihnuu, to contribute some poses and brief meditations on the blog. I may jump right on in and add some of my own thoughts. More to come. Please show your love by clicking the like button.
When practicing the healing art of yoga, it is through the art of “yoking”, or uniting, that we reach that state of eternal bliss we so desire. When developing a union between the mind, body, and spirit we are able to reap the full benefits of life itself. We learn to become masters of our mind creating a calm and tranquil space so that we are able to successfully utilize the body as a tool in order to explore our inner essence: the source of true self. ~Namaste, Sihnuu
Exploring this inner essence can then in turn feed us in our daily lives, where we learn to breathe through our emotions and stressful situations. Remember that cultivating your bliss isn’t just for those moments on your mat, you can always reach for your inner essence throughout your day by simply remembering to BREATHE. -XoXo Raw Girl
You can find Sihnuu on Instagram @YogaSihnuu
Last Wednesday I left DC early with yogi friends and a giant duffel bag full to the brim with vegan snacks to-go for the 2013 edition of Wanderlust Vermont at Stratton Mountain. I had no idea exactly what to expect, but came prepared to sweat a lot, meditate, and go with the flow. It ended up being a truly a soul shifting experience full of aha! moments, dancing, laughter, silence, chanting, and almost too many downward dogs for me to handle. Healthy food was also in abundance and I seriously thought I had landed in healthy living heaven because raw live coconut water, juices, superfoods, kombucha, and gluten-free vegan pizzas were in abundance. On the way to Wanderlust we stopped at a food co-op in Brattelboro Vermont and found Kombucha on tap! While in Brattelboro, I also met a world exercise champion name Bill Kathan who holds the record for the most jumping jacks in an hour and also did over 2 million jumping jacks in one year! Some of my favorite healthy living goodies available at the festival included the cacao lip balm from Navitas Naturals, Coco Libre coconut water, and the kombucha bar from Kombucha Brooklyn. The kombucha saved my life not only because it was amazing, but also because there was no time to eat between classes and it kept me full until dinner time.
Although I have been practicing regularly for a couple years now, I’m not one of those bendy, I can do-it-all yogis. Parts of my body are still very tight, but with time I’m sure things will continue to loosen up. So part of me had imagined all of these super intense yogis doing headstands, scorpions, and everything in between while I opted to lay in shavasana or take child’s pose. When I got there it was so refreshing to see such a wide range of yogis from beginner to masters each getting on the mat wherever they were and doing the best they could. The real mission of practice was driven home for me on the first day, in my final class called “Unleashing Your Potential” which was taught by Dave Romanelli, who goes by yeahdave. Early on in his class he mentioned that yoga these days can seem to be about who has the best outfit, the latest gear, or who can bend the farthest, but at the end of the day if you cannot apply your practice in real life, it means nothing. In short, some of the bendiest people can still be some of the biggest a&$holes in real life. It was important for me to remember and hear that and acknowledge myself. Even if I can’t bend the farthest, I do know that yoga has helped to dramatically change how I am in crisis situations or under any kind of pressure, especially over the last five years.
I can’t exactly say one particular class was my favorite, but there were a few standouts. Ayurveda 101 was completely intriguing to me. I am of the mind that every person is unique and that one diet cannot suit everyone, including being raw vegan. Ayurveda is the old school science that really helps to break down the different energy types and also how we can each fall off balance due to environmental, emotional, or dietary stresses. On my second day, the morning began super early with a very challenging class led by Seane Corn which led to a serious emotional breakthrough. After that every class I took on Day 2 was related to kundalini yoga, which was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan. Although I was not expecting this immersion, I was thoroughly inspired and pleasantly surprised by the day and learned some of the basic chants and meditations involved in Kundalini. By Day 3, I couldn’t move my arms. I decided to go all out in Gabrielle Berstein’s kundalini class in the AM and then skip any additional challenging asana classes. When I cut class I opted for hiking with friends and climbed up to the top of Stratton Mountain. In the evening we got to dance the night away to one of my favorite musicians, Femi Kuti.
So did I find my true north at wanderlust? I would say, yes, emphatically. The entire experience allowed me to focus and dig deep inwardly, introduced me to new disciplines that I am now yearning to study, and also gave me time to ruminate on whether or not my personal dreams and goals are aligned with my inner compass. “Finding Your True North,” to me is about reassessing your values, and being willing to get on a new path or readjust your angle if you’ve gone off course. The best thing about the process is that whatever happens you can trust you are being led in every moment to the people and experiences that will take you further along your life path. -XoXo Raw Girl
To see more photos from my trip find me on Instagram @ TheRawGirl !
Meditation is sometimes seen as a woo-wooey practice reserved for new age hippies, actors who are “spritual”, self-help gurus, and hardcore yogis, but the truth is meditation is for everyone. Just like yoga, which brings the body in alignment with the mind and helps to quite that incessant babbling of thoughts we have going daily that frequently get in the way of our true happiness, meditation cleans house. It’s like setting the reset button for a few minutes daily, that allows you to truly go with the flow, promotes inner peace, feelings of oneness with others, empathy, service, and even boosts creativity. I have experienced firsthand regular daily meditation can be a catalyst for amazing things happening in your life. As you practice and get deeper in the flow of life, synchronicity or seeming miracles became normal every day occurrences.
Going back to daily practice has re-awakened my love and appreciation for meditation as a scientific tool. Every single time you to sit to practice, you are literally rewiring your brain, and tapping further into THE SOURCE of all. As a result of this you may find yourself extremely calm in usually stressful situations, generally happier, optimistic, and attracting people and things that help you achieve your dreams, effortlessly. There are a bunch of meditation naysayers out there who feel like it’s quackery, or object to meditation because they are afraid it contradicts with their religion. This is not the case. Meditation and mindfulness practices have been practiced and incorporated by every major religion. In the Bible it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My favorite Deepak Chopra quote is: “Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening.” Indeed the silence speaks volumes. Creativity can increase and intuition begins to guide daily decisions more strongly. It sounds like a gimmick until you try it. The only way for you to feel the shift in yourself is to sit down and meditate and stick with it consistently. It does not take weeks to start to feel a shift. Each day, you will begin to notice little things. Oh meditation, mediation, how I love thee! Let me count the ways. Below are seven of many reasons (backed by scientific research) why sitting down in silence daily is good for you. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Namaste. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Stay in the Stress-Free Zone. The journal of health psychology published research that not only does meditation make you feel less stressed, it actually reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Rewire Bad Habits. One of the first thing I noticed was that when I kept up with regular meditation it started to shift my emotional responses to situations that were previously aggravating. Going within helps us require bad habits as well as observe our actions and reactions in a way we may have never done before and make conscious adjustments.
- Boosts Your Mental Performance. Research conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara found that college students trained in mindfulness performed better on verbal reasoning sections on the GRE and also had improvements in retention of material. The outcome of the study suggested that mindfulness improves overall cognitive function.
- Can Keep You From Going Cray-Cray. Mental illness and emotional wellness are two issues that are usually highly medicated when you visit a doctor to address them. Well, according to researchers from the University of Oregon, mediation techniques in the form of integrative body and mind training can result in brain changes which protect against mental illness. Due to meditation practice protective tissue increases as well as signaling connections in the brain.
- Sleep Like a Baby. A University of Utah study found that mindfulness training helps people sleep better at night. You know how sometimes you can’t sleep because of the “monkey mind” that can’t stop making to-do lists and generally stressing about whatever happened that day? Well meditation shuts the monkey up long enough for you to get adequate rest and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Gives You a Major Dose of Happy. In general meditation helps to balance out emotions and moods, and has been shown in numerous studies to reduce the risk of depression. It’s great for pregnant women struggling with post-pardom, teens, and really anyone of any age.
- Boosts Your Immunity. By now you should know that optimal health has to do with emotional, physical, and mental wellness. Just paying attention to your diet alone may still leave you at risk for major terminal diseases if you do not manage your emotions and stress in a healthy way. Meditation and mindfulness practices calm you the heck down, so that you can avoid toxic emotions that may cause disease later on.