5 Ways to Seize a Fresh Start

mala-beads-yoga-tiny-devotions-photographer-photographer-richelle-hunter-photography-summer-of-soul-181The idea of embracing a fresh start can be two fold – filled with excitement of new possibilities and change, and at the same time, interlaced with feelings of uncertainty and doubt.  When I was entering a phase in my life this past year where a fresh start was needed, I flip-flopped between these two extremes what felt like every five minutes!  Throughout the transition process, I found some ways that allowed me to focus on the excitement and leave the doubt behind…

1. Start small. A fresh start does not necessarily mean a huge, life-altering event (move to a new country! Start a brand new career!)  A simple change to your exercise routine, a relationship with your loved one, or with yourself, can produce the same rejuvenating feelings as a major change.  There is no need to wait for a “perfect” moment to begin.  Start now, and start small.  Find little things to incorporate into your day that will align with the path you are ultimately seeking.

2. Embrace the fear and uncertainty. Yes, these feelings are going to be there, and the more you give into them, the louder they are going to scream and convince you to stop moving forward.  Instead of letting these emotions overwhelm you, let them be part of the process.  Sit with these sensations, acknowledge the uncertainty – in fact, own it! – and use the fear as a sign that you are moving the right direction.

 3. Gather your tribe Find people who will support you- those who have gone through the process of starting fresh.  Use them to silence out anyone who may be questioning your decision of whatever change you are making.  Surround yourself with those who uplift you, those who you can count on to be there when those pesky feelings of fear and uncertainty become a little too loud in your head.

4. Be prepared and be ready to work. Hopefully the members of your tribe that you gathered will tell you this, but this whole fresh start thing does take work!  For example, when you make the decision to begin a new job or career, make sure you are prepared and able to support yourself during any transition period.  Starting over in a completely new town? Make sure that it is one that has the resources to support you and your vision.  Dreams and visions are often the catalyst to start down a new a path – action and hard work is what will make them a reality.

5. Be ready to change! This whole process will change you!  You will feel empowered from overcoming the doubt and uncertainty.  You will trust yourself and know how to stand on your own two feet. In the wise words of J.W von Goethe “We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.”  Cheers to new beginnings!

khSince a young age, Kaitlyn Hochart has been fascinated by the intricacies of the human body. This fascination originally brought her to a career in nursing, and eventually to the mat as a yoga practitioner, teacher, and life long student. She has over 400 hours of yoga training, including 200 hours of in-depth anatomy, alignment, and adjustment studies with internationally renowned yoga teacher Tiffany Cruikshank through her Yoga Medicine teacher-training program. Combined with six years of experience as a registered nurse, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge of the human body as it manifests in our yoga practice with my students and fellow teachers. 

Why 108?

10707013_924351350912559_1751746405_nEver done 108 sun salutations during a yoga class? Or wondered why there are traditionally 108 beads on a mala?The number 108 is auspicious and spiritually significant in many traditions. Here’s a few reasons why the number is so magical…

Heart Chakra: Chakras are the intersections of energy lines in the body, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to self-realization.

Upanishads: It is believed that there are 108 Upanishads, texts of wisdom from the ancient sages.

Desires: There are said to 108 earthly desires.

Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and the 36 related to the future.

Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

Goddess names: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.

Sun and Earth: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

Chemistry: Interestingly, there are about 115 elements known on the periodic table of the elements. Most of those, around or higher than the number 100 only exist in the laboratory, and some for only thousandths of a second. The number that naturally exist on Earth is around 100.

Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

Breath: Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 by 100 is 10,800. Multiplying 2 x 10,800 equals 21,600.

 

Kindness is Contagious

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4 Ways to Find Inspiration Daily

223e2a68d99cafe186c67b03e6bc2c3cAs a writer and yoga teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for inspiration. I love watching people in creative yoga poses, passionate discussions with friends (using apps like the new Conversation Starters by Danielle Laporte) and sitting at cafes with large floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the view and people watch for the afternoon.

Inspiration is something I always need as I never want my well to run dry, so I’ve created a quick list of places we can find inspiration in a pinch.

 1. Pinterest. My favorite place to draw in inspiration would be Pinterest! It is such a creative hub full of everything you could need. In the past few months I have used it to style my newly PINK and blonde hair, create a few fun vegetarian dishes for our family and grab fun quotes for my Facebook pages. I have also used it to create a bit more style in my life. As I LIVE and breathe in yoga pants, it’s nice to have a few “days off” outfits.

But here’s the trick my boho friends – some days you need to re-inspire yourself. This is when you need to look at your own pins. What inspired you weeks ago, or yesterday? Instead of constantly searching for the new, see if you can find some inspiration from a few days past. The same goes for old notebooks, blog posts or emails – check it all out and see what inspired you in the first place.

 2. Get outside! In nature. In the city. By the ocean. People watch. Listen to others stories. Sit in an urban garden. Watch the stars. Hear the stillness of the lake or the crunch of the leaves underfoot. Tune in and be present to the world around you. Step away from your computer. Go LIVE, connect and breathe into each moment. Or as Emerson says in my favorite quote: “Live in the sunshine, Swim in the sea and Drink the wild air”

10632365_1535952673301109_401587611_n3. Write a bucket list. This is one of my favorite things to do! I LOVE writing lists and do so for everything: to-do lists, Core Desired Feelings, a themed word for my year ahead, seasonal goals and intentions etc. I am constantly finding inspiration by plotting out what it is I want to do and how I want to create a life I love. By digging deep every few weeks or months, I am able to connect to how I want to feel and what it is I truly want in life.

The biggest key here is visibility. I always use a beautiful card each year and create a list of fun goals, intentions, to-dos and wishes. I place this card on my desk at work, or my meditation altar in order to see it all the time! This is why I choose a beautiful card; it’s something I want to view often to connect with my own inspiration and intentions.

 4. Go on a date. You can go on a date by yourself or with a loved one. If you’re alone, bring your notebook. Record musings of your day, conversations you’ve overheard and drops of the chai tea you let loose over your thoughts. If you’re with a friend get creative: think outside the box, bring along that same notebook and make some BIG plans. Instagram your delicious lattes and promise one another that you have #bigthingsbrewing. Dream big and then talk about those dreams OUT LOUD. If you’re out with your honey, do something unique. Go pumpkin picking. Explore Six Flags in the fall. Drink lattes after a late night movie. Watch the stars as you hold hands and fall back in love.

Your life is truly yours to live. You get to choose whether you want to snuggle in with a delicious mug of chai and use Pinterest for hours on end, or if you’d like to explore the world as you watch it spin around you. Get out there boho babe and CREATE inspiration by being you. Live life out loud, have FUN, connect, breathe and play.

1157699_383157768473367_247012539_n-199x300-150x150-150x150Jenny Ravikumar is a yoga teacher, blogger and studio owner of Barefoot Yoga Shala. As a teacher and self-proclaimed boho mermaid, Jenny has been bringing her yoga lifestyle knowledge to the online world for years through her blog, jennyravikumar.com. She specializes in helping women dig deeply into self-love & care, while also explaining yoga philosophy and love on her blog and through her courses/private online groups. You can catch her teaching 6 days a week in Massachusetts or pouring love all over the internet 24 hours a day.

From Hana with Love

It was something we never thought we could do (which has made it all the more powerful).

When our founder, Diana, tried to make it to Hana, Hawaii back in February she had to turn around at the halfway point after suffering from severe motion sickness.

Even though she was feeling a strong unexplainable pull to get there, she surrendered to her body and said to her husband “there’s probably nothing there I had to see anyway” (she was wrong).

A few days later while flipping through photos on Instagram she was e-introduced to our Tiny Devotions Ambassador Eliza Darling (who she then discovered lived in Hana).

Eliza embodies the spirit of Tiny Devotions. She is a beautiful yogini filled to the brim with energy, truth, strength and magic.

Diana instantly knew that this was the missing Hana piece and regret started to set in that she hadn’t made it.

Then the idea came to bring Hana to our Tiny Devotions community. It was partly selfish (we wanted to experience the free spirited, raw, and gorgeous life of untouched Hana ourselves). But it was so necessary for us. Anything you can’t do, is usually something you must do. We made some calls, pulled some lei’s and we got the breathtaking, awe inspiring photos to prove it.

If there is still a modern day bohemia it’s Hana, Hawaii and we are so thankful that Quincy, Eliza, Iris, Jess could bring it to us (and you)…

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4 Natural Ways to Boost your Energy

923815_953524334663153_482527648_nWe’ve all experienced that point in the day when you just want to crawl under cozy blankets or at least have a quick cat nap, but a million errands have your name written all over them. I love naps so I’ll totally get 6 or less hours of sleep and mid day I’m paying for it if I don’t get a nap in. When I feel my body wanting to shut down here are my four favorite things to do to rev up my engine and finish my day strong:

1. Find a hydration station. Most of the time when you feel low on energy it’s because you’re dehydrated. Next time you’re feeling low energy before you grab a cappuccino, drink a quart of water. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you feel. Another great way to make sure your energy is always up throughout the day is to schedule your water breaks. That’s right! Put them in your phone like appointments every 4 hours and you’ll stay well hydrated throughout your day. I like setting my water breaks for 8am 12am 4pm 8pm and I always have the most energy and look my best when I’m well hydrated.

2. Grab Fast Fruits. Let’s say you’ve hit your water breaks but you just haven’t had time to get a good meal in and the energy tank is on empty. The second best thing to rev up your energy is fruit. If you’re a little emotional and feel low there’s nothing like the color, smell, and juiciness of fruit to boost you back to your bright and beautiful self. I love tangerines, pineapple, and bananas. Try keeping a fruit bag in the car of apples, oranges and bananas or store strawberries, pineapple, or watermelon in the fridge for a fast energy boost.

3. Dance. I know you think I’m joking but it’s one of my favorite ways to boost my energy. When I’m in the car all by myself and the traffic isn’t moving I just turn my music up and sing out loud to my favorite artist. If you’re in the office try going over to your co-worker and starting the electric slide (If you don’t know how to do the electric side please stop life now and learn…you’ll thank me later.) Dancing increases circulation and if you’re not that good your laughter will boost your energy as well so you have a win win situation.

 4. Workout in the morning. Studies have shown that working out in the morning burns more calories and increases your heart rate for the rest of the day. You can toss in your favorite workout video, go for a walk around the neighborhood or hit the gym. No matter what you choose you’ll have more energy for the rest of your day if you warm up your engine in the morning.

MG_0024column-150x150Koya Webb is an internationally recognized holistic health and wellness coach, author, motivational speaker, and professional fitness model who is helping revolutionize raw/vegan cuisine, yoga and the holistic living landscape.

Website: www.koyawebb.com 

Instagram: @koyawebb

Facebook: Koya Webb

Free Zen Takes Toronto

In a city divided by politics and culture, Torontonians are unified by their commitment to being busy and staying stressed.  The trouble is, many have no idea that they’re committed to this lifestyle and that they may, in fact, be addicted to stress.

Tuja wellness decided to do a little social experiment by trying to bring 30 seconds of relaxation to a city known more for going than for letting go. As a yoga and meditation teacher, I planted myself in the financial district with a sign that said “Free Zen.”  The producers for tuja wellness assured me that it could do no harm. In the worst-case scenario, I’d embarrass myself and have to nurse a few emotional wounds after a day of aggressive rejection.  But, I was reminded, in the best-case scenario, people would remember that it’s the simple things – a deep breath or an unexpected detour – that can release stress and open up an opportunity to change your whole perspective on the day.

So, did I find the best or the worst case scenario on the busy streets of Canada’s biggest city?  Luckily, we videotaped the whole thing so we could share the results with everyone.

Courtney Sunday writes the Everyday Mindfulness column for tuja wellness and teaches yoga and meditation in Toronto. 

10 Creative Ways to #PayItForward with Tiny Devotions + S’well

 

SwellIt’s no secret that kindness feels really, really good. Hearing a genuine compliment, receiving a thoughtful gift or reading a kind letter, makes us feel loved, supported and awesome! That’s why Tiny Devotions and S’well are teaming up this weekend to bring you the #PayItForward social media challenge.

How does it work?

 Step one: Be randomly kind! Treat someone in your life to a random act of kindness. We have a seriously inspiring list of creative ideas below to get you started.

Step two: Snap a pic. Take a photo of yourself paying it forward. Post it to your fave social media outlet using the hashtag #PayItForward and tag @TinyDevotions + @SwellBottle.

Step three: Win! We’ll be choosing one lucky winner and gifting them an epic prize- pack that includes a Swell water bottle and a Tiny Devotions Manifest Collection bracelet!

 10 Creative Ways to #PayItForward

1. Write an anonymous love letter, seal it with a kiss and send it or leave it strategically for someone to find.  Get really detailed and specific with what you love about that person.

2. Buy a gift card at your fave coffee joint and give to the barista. Tell him to use it to buy drinks for the rest of line!

3. Think of your favourite inspiring quote or mantra. Write it down on a piece paper in big block letters and post it somewhere public. If the words you chose are powerful to you, chances are they’re exactly what someone else needs to hear.

4. Raid your wardrobe and donate last season’s clothes, or items you no longer wear to a local Goodwill or second hand store. Someone in need will definitely appreciate your killer sense of style.

5. Buy a bouquet of flowers and deliver them to someone you see every day, but often overlook. This could be the security guard at your office, your bus driver, the woman who does your dry cleaning…doesn’t matter! Flowers make anyone feel loved and special.

6. Make it your mission to genuinely compliment EVERYONE you speak with in a day.  Get specific and get creative with your praise.

7. Treat a friend, co-worker, or family member to a delicious home-cooked meal, or bake something delicious and share it with members of your yoga studio after class. Nothing tastes sweeter than a meal made with love!

8. Write an epic and positive review online for a local business you visit regularly! They will be over-the-moon with appreciation.

9. What’s the last book you read that made an impact? Pass it off to a friend. Maybe it will be as meaningful to her as it was to you.

10. Make sure the subject of your random act of kindness pays it forward to! Keep the positivity flowing.

Finding Bliss in Bali, Kundalini Style

wanderlustmalaI just recently was lucky enough to travel to Bali with my boyfriend for three weeks. In answer to your question, yes it was as dreamy as it sounds. Prior to jetting off, my mind was filled with the thoughts of beaches, pristine rice fields and breezy afternoons spent meditating (think, Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love). Bali most certainly did not disappoint and I know with certainty that it is a place I will have to visit again in my life.

In my research leading up to the trip, it became clear that checking out a yoga class while in Bali was a must. Bali is the home to many renowned yoga teachers, schools and retreats. My boyfriend and I splurged and spent two nights at the gorgeous, Desa Seni Eco Village. Desa Seni is a popular spot for tourists and locals to enjoy organic meals, relax in authentic Balinese cottages and of course, practice yoga.

I carefully studied the yoga schedule, and decided to try a class I was not as familiar with. While home in Vancouver, I love a sweaty Vinyasa Flow or Hot class. I have only practiced Kundalini once, so decided Bali would be the place I would learn more about this form of yoga. Despite being intimidated by a sea of experienced yogis, I joined them for Kundalini on a beautiful Bali morning.

desaseni1Before entering into practice, our instructor gave us a brief introduction to Kundalini. This tiny, tanned, glowing yogi explained that Kundalini practice involves repeated movements and chants with the intention of awakening and strengthening the spiritual and physical body. She said that “if you aren’t feeling some sort of discomfort during your practice, you are probably doing something wrong.”

This discomfort kicked in almost immediately as I bumbled through chants (note to self: learn Sanskrit) and felt my arms nearly light on fire as we moved them up and down, in circles and every other which way for minutes on end. In addition to warning us of the potential for pain, our instructor explained that some people claim to experience a unique sense of euphoria during and after Kundalini practice.

As we moved towards the end of class, something funny happened. While chanting (I learned to fake it) and pushing my body through repetitive, taxing motions, I felt an energy buzzing through myself and the yogis around me. The more I leaned into the discomfort, the more exhilarated I felt after the posture was over. I left that class feeling amazing and alive.

desaseni4The post-Kundalini bliss lasted a few days and over that time I began to think about the parallels between this practice of yoga and travel itself. Like Kundalini, travel involves discomfort, uncertainty and sometimes pain. I experienced mind-numbing jet lag, was pummelled by a wave while relaxing on the beach and learned the hard way that my stomach and Indonesian pizza are not friends.

But, as I worked through these travel woes I also felt near perfect moments like watching the sunset on Lombok (an island off Bali), swimming in a pool, in our private pool with my lovely man and seeing countless Balinese people greet me with some of the most genuine smiles I’ve ever seen. These moments and my post-Kundalini endorphins would not have felt the same without enduring some discomfort beforehand.

These feelings of bliss may not always require some prior struggle, but in my experience they often do. Whether it is in travel, your yoga practice, or life in general, the good can sometimes come with some struggle. I wore my Wanderlust Mala, throughout my trip in Bali. Whenever I look at it, I am reminded of this beautiful contradiction. You don’t need to travel to Bali to experience this. Embrace the discomfort of a new job, yoga class (I highly recommend Kundalini!), or whatever feels foreign or scary to you. I guarantee you will get a least a little bliss out of it.

Liz works in Digital Engagement at lululemon athletica.  Books are her one true love, with Pinterest as a close second. Expressing her thoughts and wisdom through writing is what lights her up. Her goal is to one day work as a freelance writer. See what she is up to on Instagram, @lady__lizz. ?

5 Apps to Boost your Meditation Practice

Craving some calm? Need to pump a little zen into your daily routine? We’ve rounded up our favorite meditation apps to help you de-stress and do your best. Go and get your bliss on!

Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 4.22.46 PM1. Calm

Cost: Free, subscriptions begin at $4.99

Every day bring it’s own chaos. Between meetings, emails and deadlines it can be hard to find time to be still. That’s why Calm is so awesome.  Guided meditation session’s range from two minutes to 30 minutes and you can sneak them in between meetings, or settle in for a longer session if you can spare the time.

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2. Spirit Junkie

Cost: $1.99

Spirit Junkie’s are no stranger to Gabby Bernstein, a NYT bestselling author, life coach and motivational speaker who’s on a mission to teach the world about the power of miracles. The Spirit Junkie app allows you to wake up to a new affirmation every day. Set a reminder anytime to surface today’s affirmation or choose from any of the hundreds of previous affirmations to turn inward and shift your perception. Save your favorite affirmations, and share with friends to spread the love.

Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 4.24.51 PM3. The Mindfulness App

Cost: $1.99

With meditation apps, as with life sometimes, the bells and whistles can get in your way. The Mindfulness App is straightforward and simple. Guided meditation sessions can span from 3 to 30 minutes. Silent meditation sessions alert you with gentle bells. You can personalize your own meditation session too. The app even reminds you when it’s time to meditate, so you can keep up a regular practice.

 

Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 4.25.18 PM4. Simply Being

Cost: $0.99

One of the biggest distractions when trying to meditate is the stream of thoughts running through your head. Pushing thoughts out of your mind requires skill and practice. Having someone — in this case, a calming voice from the app — guide you through your meditation session may help you find calm more quickly. With this app, you can pick a session length, choose to have a guide or not, and even add soothing, natural sounds to the end of your meditation session.

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5. Omvana

Cost: Free

What’s relaxing and calming to one person may be aggravating and irritating to another. That’s why Omvana lets you customize your meditation sessions with the sounds, noises, and quotes that inspire and relax you. This app contains thousands of audio tracks, beats, and sounds that you can blend together in the app’s mixing board. If a stranger’s voice is unsettling, you can even record your own voice and use it to guide your meditation sessions instead. This app is fully customizable to help you create a more relaxing, enjoyable meditation experience.

Did we forget to add one of your favorite meditation apps? Tell us what it is in the comment section below!