As we unrolled our mats for another day of yoga teacher training in Montanita, Ecuador, the floor became covered in stripes of black, gray, some blues and a hot pink.
As I unrolled my multi-colored chevron mat my teacher took notice and commented on how different and beautiful it was. I told her I’d wanted a mat that was bright and uplifting. Although we were on a beautiful beach, it was rainy season and I needed a lift away from the gray clouds. She hadn’t given much thought to using our mats as a tool for stabilizing our mood or self-expression and it inspired a conversation about beautifying our space and specifically where we practice – our mat.
We use clothing, like our bright, patterned yoga pants, and accessories, like scarves and mala beads, to represent or to remind ourselves of our intentions, passions, attitudes, and beliefs. Some take it further and get beautiful intricate – and permanent – tattoos of mantras, yogic symbols, and deities. So I ask, why not bring that same expression to the mat?
Thankfully, companies like Yoga Design Lab are pushing the envelope with stunning designer mats and yoga accessories aimed at inspiring that beauty in us.
It’s refreshing to see a company applying the same logic to such an integral part of yoga. Color is at the very core of yoga…just look at our chakra rainbow. I love practicing color meditation working upwards through all seven or focusing where I feel unbalanced. Yoga clothing embraced the rainbow a few years back, stepping away from a white linen clad gurus and black yoga pant clad western yogis.
Like all of you, I spend a lot of time in Adho Mukha Svanasana and having something beautiful to set my gaze upon definitely lifts my spirits and tailbone a little higher.
Michelle Hurley is yogi and world traveller. She has been traveling South America consulting with emerging companies and non-profits the last two years. She is currently taking a month off to do her yoga teaching training in Ecuador.
Intentions and Creating Your Wildest Dreams: My Top 7 Tips on Creating the Life of Your Hearts Desire.
My best friend and I decided we were going to make a movie. Together, we wrote the script when we were supposed to be filling out worksheets in science class. I borrowed my dad’s old video camera – the one with the mini bungie cord wrapped around it to prevent the tape deck from popping open. We climbed up the hills behind my house and trekked through the riverbed taking snapshots of scene locations. She made dolls out of puff balls to represent each character. We were twelve years old.
As adults, we don’t need to go in search of our wildest dreams as much as we recover them. The seeds of our heart’s desire were always there with us. Yet, without cultivation, so many have stayed tiny seeds and we have forgotten about them or misplaced them. Or perhaps, they started to sprout and turned out to be something different than we expected – oak trees instead of tomato plants, thorny roses instead of delicate poppies. So how do we find those seeds buried deep within us and make sure they get the nutrients they need?
Dream like a kid:
Give yourself time to flop down on the grass and watch the clouds.Make a mess for the fun of it.
Do anything you would’ve loved to do as a kid: When we practice being limitless and free, our thoughts become limitless and free as well. When our thoughts become limitless and free, our lives become limitless and free.
Make it visual:
Get out your glitter and glue.Finally make that vision board or any kind of visual representation of what you want out of life. Perhaps, you make a single 3D object or only post one quote. Remember: no rules or limits. Just put together a visual reminder of what is possible in your life. Think of it as your north star. If you can’t imagine where you want to go, you won’t know what direction to start moving in.
Do something wild everyday: We can get so hung up on how our dreams are too big or too impossible. We start living from a place of lack and fear – a place of “I can’t do that.” Be a little naughty. Be a little nutty.
Do something you’ve always wanted to do but you were afraid that it wasn’t sensible:
Eat a dragon fruit.Read a teen novel. Buy a hammock. Paint a wall orange. You don’t have to go jumping into the deep end of your dreams.Dog paddle out. Little risk by little risk. You’ll still get there.
Let go of the outcome:
Decide right now to love the process of moving in the direction of your dreams. My best friend and I never finished that movie. But it is still one of my most cherished memories. And, this year, I optioned my first screenplay and she became an amazingly creative elementary school teacher. Who knows what will happen? You will never lose your experiences. You will not be lesser for trying even if things don’t end up looking like you expected. Even if your roses don’t grow this year, enjoy getting your hands dirty in the rich, moist earth. Kids know the mess is half the fun and who cares about the result. So, remember what you already know. Reconnect to passion, not expectation.
Forget what other people think:
Following someone else’s path will lead you to fulfilling someone else’s dreams. Remind yourself that you are unique. You have your dhrama and other people have theirs. This is not a post on fulfilling your most vanilla dreams, your safest dreams, the dreams your mother approves of. This is a post about wild dreams. Wild dreams should ruffle a few feathers and raise a few eyebrows. Wild dreams should go tearing through the house. These dreams are not hemmed in by the captivity of convention. They’re not worried about being polite. They were born to run free and all you need to do is enjoy the ride.
Danielle Orner is a Cancer survivor, yoga teacher, vegan, actor and writer. She has explored yoga, veganism and living authentically to heal from cancer and see beauty in a completely different way. See more of her powerful life below!
Confessions from A Boho Fashionista: Go to your Guru! 3 Soulful Steps to Get Closer to Your Inner Guru
They’ve got all the answers. Some wear beautiful scarves and gemstones from far off islands. They sing magical songs that speak to the sweetest part of your soul. She’s your yoga teacher, who can endlessly chatarunga with a little grin; She’s your green queen coach who whips up a kale smoothie in a snap. She sits silently, channeling peace and love through her third eye into her heart chakra. She’s your guru. We each have a guru that we adore with all of our bohemian hearts, but here’s the catch—the guru is you! You have access to an inner guru that’s inside of your yogi soul, and it just takes a few special steps to unlock her.
Here are my 3 Soul Steps to Get Closer to Your Inner Guru
It just takes a couple of moments each day to slow down and take a look at all of the extraordinary things in your life that you have to be grateful for. This is a practice, so when you’re firing up your ‘slowing down’ process, it can be tough. Don’t give up! Take a little but of time in the morning or before bed for your gypsy goddess-self to slow down and tap into all of the goodness in you. You’ll start to notice what a wonderful world your living in, and all of the guru qualities that you possess.
A modern day gypsy lifestyle has got bohemian babes moving pretty fast, and sometimes we don’t have the chance to listen up. What does this mean? It’s a little extension of your ‘slowing down’ practice, but this time you’re really getting to know your inner guru. Listening to all of the whispers and signs that appear on your auspicious path is an offshoot of slowing down. Suddenly you’ll notice inner encouragement when you slow down, listen up and trust yourself. Have you ever felt a whisper in you that told you everything was happening just as it was meant to? Did you ever just know that things were going to be ok? That’s your inner guru speaking to you, and that whisper (or shout!) happens when you listen up.
When we getting moving in ways that we feel passionate about, like dance, yoga, running, or hula-hooping, we’re getting into the flow. You may have noticed the last time you were breathing and moving, that you felt connected and things that didn’t make sense before suddenly fell right into place. This is because moving actually slows down your busy, boho-brain, and gives you the chance to get to know your inner self. Next time you find yourself questioning a decision, get moving, and notice the answers flowing.
We all have a guru (or two) that we love, but the real guru is you, boho babe. Take these 3 simple steps with you to connect back to your inner guru and get into the flow!
From your Resident Boho Fashionista, Libby. xx.
At the time I didn’t know it, but I think what initially brought me to my mat during my college years was the need for self-love. As a teenager I played sports and danced ballet. Both of these physical activities were highly competitive and certainly contributed to my lack of self-esteem (along with the acne and BAD haircut). Now when I arrive on my yoga mat, I remind myself that yoga is not a competition and if I’m having an off day, I won’t be judged for it. In a world where we are constantly being told we are not enough, yoga allows me to find compassion for my authentic self. I am whole and perfect just as I am.
Elephants. I love them and the fact that they are endangered breaks my heart. A couple years ago I had a vivid dream about elephants being poorly treated at a circus so I started teaching community classes in order to sponsor 10 elephants at a nature park in Thailand. Every time I get upset or frustrated about something petty in my life, I think of the elephants and what I can do to help support them more. Putting my energy into bigger issues helps me gain a greater perspective on the world.
What advice do you have for all the yogis out there?
lots of dark chocolate, get into nature at least once a day, and remember, the greatest practice of yoga is self-observation without judgement.
What is your favourite mala and why?
My favourite mala is the Swarovski Illumination Mala because it represents healing and self-love. I think that only when we love ourselves fully and freely can we then begin to radiate love outwards. The mala reminds me how deeply we are all connected as we are all on the same path of healing and harmony. When I lead yoga retreats, I do everything in my power to ensure that everyone in the group feels as loved, accepted, and empowered as possible in the time that we are together (even if I’ve never met them before!). I believe that when people feel loved and appreciated, they shine.
I am pretty sure in my past life I was a journalist as I love asking questions of those that inspire me. In fact, I love asking others what inspires them, drives them, lights them up, pulls at their heart strings and essentially what sets their soul on fire.
So, today, I answer a couple questions to see how the other shoe fits.
What brought you to the mat for the first time?
Stress. I was a big ball of anxiety. I was a young, ambitious, career-driven and emotionally-devoid woman who was subcounsciously craving a connection within myself that was clearly lacking. I was always looking outside for the answers…little did I know the answers were already within me. My soul sister, Suzy Nece, dragged me into the studio and within a few breaths & tears I was hooked. I uncovered an outlet to connect to myself in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I was able to turn off everything and be still, honest, raw, vulnerable and open to change. My practice is deeply special & personal…it is a mirror to my soul, it will never lie to me, it keeps me pure and focused.
How do you set intentions in life?
Intention evokes action.
Action creates change.
Change inspires growth.
Growth develops confidence.
Confidence trumps fear.
Fear loses to bravery.
Bravery is necessary to dream beyond what is comfortable.
I set intentions daily. To create pure intentions I changed my lens of life from fear to love. When I changed how I saw myself life became more clear, more fun and much more FULL.
Intentions are only as good as you are willing to take the actions to feel the change. And yes, that takes a leap of faith and probably a lot of courage. But I personally would rather feel the free fall than the safety of staleness.
What inspires me?
Vulnerability. I connect to authenticity. I respond to realness. I love hard. When the walls are down this heart opens up and it runs deep. That kind of connection truly inspires me to take action and create change. Our world is not going to fix itself. We need to share our stories, support one another and encourage everyone along the way.
What is your favorite mala & why?
There is a purity of the mind, body and soul that needs to be aligned to create intentions and that purity comes from self-acceptance. Without that pure, unconditional love for ourselves it is challenging to overcome obstacles that stand in our way of our intentions. This mala awakens that purity. And I love all things PURE.