Yoga Retreat Essentials with Kathryn Budig

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Headed to a yoga retreat this fall?

Our fave yogini, Kathryn Budig shares her top 10 must-haves for your next adventure:

1. RMS Beauty + Ilia lip gloss, Vapour Beauty Aura Multi-Use Blush. Gorgeous organic, cruelty-free make-up.

2. Peppermint + Lavender essential oils (I love Doterra). Great for a pick-me-up or calm-me-down.

3. Quay Sunglasses from Australia… they’re so chic even when I’m a sweaty mess.

4. Digest Gold digestive enzymes from Enzymedica. Especially helpful when I’m on the road.

5. Oblas inhaler. Helps my allergies and feels great.

6. See Concept reading glasses. Stylish and flexible.Screen-Shot-2015-09-08-at-2.27.48-PM-827x1024

7. My iPhone 6+. I’d be lost without it.

8. A book. Currently reading Misty Copeland’s memoir.

9. My Tiny Devotions Aim True Mala. A reminder to not only keep your aim true, but to stay true throughout it all.

10. Aim True, my new book about loving your body, nourishing your spirit, and discovering true balance.

xo – Kathryn

Whats In Her Boho Bag with MB LaRue

She’s a yoga teacher + life coach, as well as a lover of avocados, French press coffee, hip hop, Mala Beads and dogs – especially her lovable English bulldog Rosy. Mary Beth Larue is the co-founder of Rock Your Bliss a yoga + goals movement inspiring and empowering others to live their yoga both on and off their yoga mats.

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We caught up with MB to find out whats in her bag!

my iPad mini: My husband surprised me with this gift last Christmas and I carry it with me everywhere. It’s chock full of all of my favorite music (Lapsley, Erykah Badu, Bonobo), my favorite books (anything by Byron Katie plus a billion other books) and notes for my classes, retreats, blogs, etc. It’s a creative Virgo’s dream come true!
 
Stinky Yogi’s Pranayama Blend: I am obsessed with this blend of essential oil by my girl Stacey. The blend is peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary and lemon.
 
my Rock Your Bliss mala: I love the mala Jacki and I designed with Tiny Devotions. My favorite stone is the Howlite guru stone which influences you to release stress and let go of negativity so you can create space in your heart and mind for love, creativity + bliss. The stone inspires us to receive wisdom and attunement from the Higher Self and the Divine. And the mala is GORGEOUS. (ya… we totally agree MB! :))
 
my red, tattered, so-loved Moleskine notebook: Oh man, this notebook has been loved up. It’s full of class sequences, musings, to-do lists, etc. I love looking through it. And the back pocket is stuffed with notes, things ripped out of magazines, etc.
 
my headphones: I adore my noise cancellation headphones for solo coffee shop dates. It says “I’m focused, no chit chat.” :)
 
my Moo business cards: You know how some people get offended by the question, “So what do you do?” I find this the juiciest question ever and am absolutely never offended. I love hearing what people are passionate about and what lights them up. And I’m always into building community. (Except in a coffee shop with my head phones on. :) )
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my Ganesha keychain: I’ve had a Ganesha keychain in my bag for 9 years and have lost it several times and always find it. Ganesha is a Hindu deity and the remover of obstacles and I like to think that he’s working for me all the time.
 
Grab your gypset tote and hit up Rock Your Bliss’ next retreat!
October 10th-17th

 

Morning Routine: Getting Inspired

image (4)I recently moved to San Francisco and I am fully enjoying every little bit of city life. On top of frequenting coffee shops, art galleries, museums, and all the other amazing things going on in this bustling city, I also took on many more responsibilities upon moving here. Not only do I have my own personal style blog, but I also take photos and write blog posts for a boutique here in SF, work in a restaurant, and I am just now starting my second semester in college. This means that every single day is very different from the last and I get to be creative on a daily basis, both in my personal life and at work. However, this also means that I’m very busy and hardly get a moment to rest once my day starts! I’ve found that one of the best ways to start my day off feeling inspired and motivated is to get down a great morning routine.

The most important aspect of getting ready for my day is giving myself enough time to actually wake up and relax. I always give myself at least one extra hour in the morning so that I can make myself a cup of coffee and sit down and take the time to reflect and get inspired. My favorite thing to do as soon as I wake up is to browse through all of my favorite fashion and lifestyle blogs. I enjoy reading blogs that are positive and visually pleasing, because they inspire me to notice and appreciate more of the beauty in everyday things as I go on through my day.

10895489_1544589269150345_726287102_nAfter reading through all my favorite blogs and flipping through some of my favorite magazines (I love Darling Magazine, it is incredibly beautiful and empowering), I will spend a little bit of time on Pinterest. I love that Pinterest lets you create different mood boards and is a more hands-on way to spark your creativity. I’ve come to find out that this morning routine definitely leads me to be more creative throughout the day. It means that instead of rushing around from neighborhood to neighborhood, I will actually stop to notice a new mural in an alleyway, a brightly painted house, or a cute little record store tucked away at the end of the street that I would have otherwise passed by. It also means that I’ll be more likely to take photos throughout the day, creating more interesting and personal content for my Instagram feed. Although scheduling an extra hour into your morning routine may seem daunting at first, you’ll find that it’s well worth it – especially since finding inspiration and staying motivated is crucial for us style bloggers!

Written by Sara Kohler. Sara is a personal style blogger living in San Francisco, CA. She draws personal style inspiration from all kinds of different people, places, and experiences she has while traveling. Check out her blog here.

 

Our Recipe for an EPIC Bohemian Summer…

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     http://shop.lovetinydevotions.com/ 

10 Ways to Get-Over a Break-Up

If this article caught your attention, chances are you’re part of the heartbreak club (HC for short). Congratulations! We’ve all got tattoos and secret handshakes.

sad-hippie-breeze But in all seriousness, being part of the club really sucks–at first. I feel sick thinking back to that period of my life where I vacillated between feeling numb, vacant–like a shell of a human being, and feeling shattered, wounded, disbelieving that I might ever heal my physically excruciating heart. And don’t even get me started on the anxiety, anger, or suicidal thoughts (yes, that’s normal). Or the insomnia. Or the inability to do anything. Anyhow, I could go on, but given that you probably know what it’s like, here are some tips for getting over it the yogi fashionista way.

1) Find a balance between grieving and distracting 
When we experience heartbreak, we’re going through grief, and grief mimics depression. It’s natural to lose concentration and motivation, experience disruptions in sleep and appetite, and feel like you’re functioning at 20%. The only way out of grief is through, but you can’t do that 24/7. As a result, it’s important to find a balance between distracting yourself from the pain, and going through the pain.

If you distract yourself from the grief 24/7, you won’t adjust to what’s actually going on. Grieving happens naturally, so you don’t necessarily have to structure. However, sometimes having some structure can help temper the process. Here are some ideas for “actively” grieving:

  • Throw on some Adele, Whitney, or Leona and dance (or lie on the floor and cry—both work!)
  • Get a big poster board and some paint, and throw down your emotions in whatever form they take (do it for the process, not the product)
  • Write how you’re feeling: write poetry, write your story (again, process, not product)
  • Talk to a therapist, a friend, a parent
  • Pay attention to your dreams. We generally grieve through them..
  • Do yoga and breathe through the sticky spots, pain, and blockages, physically and emotionally

2) Change up your environment and make new memories
I remember a freshly heartbroken friend telling me she’d taken part in a biathalon the previous weekend. Surprised, given biathalons aren’t exactly common weekend activities, even in Canada, she said “It’s now one memory that doesn’t involve Aaron.” Transitioning out of a relationship is very challenging when every memory you have–every part of your identity–is tied to your former. If you can afford it, travel. Join a team. Take up a new hobby. Start volunteering somewhere. Start making memories that aren’t tied to them. Similarly, change up your environment if you can. If moving is totally unrealistic, change your bedroom around. Throw away reminders. If you aren’t ready to throw them away, put the pics and jewellery and whatever else into a box and ask a friend if you can store it at their place. Or store it in your closet and tape it up. That way, you can choose to look through it if you’re feeling particularly ready to take that step in the grieving process. Either way, being surrounded by reminders is not helpful for the process.

3) Find validation for your story
In the midst of my pain of the breakup of ’11, I asked everyone I met if they’d been heartbroken before. If their answer was yes, I asked them to tell me the story. I asked my friends and family members the gory details of their stories (there’s always a worse one out there…), but I didn’t stop there. Cashier at Whole Foods? Sure. Bartender? Why not? And what did I learn? Our club is pretty inclusive. Billions of people out there have been through it, survived it, and will often tell you it’s the best thing that ever happened to them. So ask people to tell you their stories and tell them yours (although maybe be more selective than me when deciding who to tell…or at least skip the Whole Foods cashier unless there’s no line).

Other ways to find validation for your story? Speak to a therapist. Listen to songs about heartbreak. Empathize with your own feelings.

4) Make friends with your emotions
I distinctly remember the morning I decided to stop telling sadness to “Eff off.” I’d just woken up, from yet another dream that I was back together with said heartbreaker, and I’d experienced that familiar sinking, sickening feeling that accompanied my sobering reality. I felt so weak. So tired of fighting my painful feelings. I sighed and actually said out loud, “Hello, Sadness.” There’s a poem called “The Guesthouse” that I often think of when I’m feeling difficult emotions. Couched in Buddhist philosophy, it suggests that we invite all our emotions in–the good, the neutral, and the bad. We don’t judge them. We serve them all tea. We let them stick around and do their thing because, realistically, telling them to leave doesn’t work anyway. Now, you might not get to a point where you actually befriend sadness, or anger, or regret, or whatever it is that you’re feeling, but do try to make space for it. Acknowledge it. Sit with it. Breathe into it. Practise self-compassion while you explore it. It will come and it will go.

5) Connect with others
When we experience the ultimate rejection that is heartbreak, our self-esteem takes a major hit. I remember one of the first things I did was make a consultation for breast implants and a nose job. Because…that was why he left me, right? It’s natural to feel underconfident, insecure, and undesirable following the big break. Even though you might not exactly feel spritely, try to go against your instinct to isolate, and surround yourself with others. It’s important for you to be reminded just how awesome, worthy, and loveable you are. Each hangout doesn’t have to be a therapy session. Just be in the company of others.

 6) Find Meaning
This is a really tough one to enact right away. You won’t be able to find meaning in your suffering until you begin to experience happiness and positivity again. Until you begin to say things like, “if Voldemort hadn’t broken up with me, this (positive thing) wouldn’t have happened/I wouldn’t have learned (enlightening knowledge). If your heartbreak is fresh, just trust that down the road, you WILL be able to find meaning. Heartbreak is one of the great (almost) universal experiences, and it’s in this suffering that we learn, grow, develop, and become more whole human beings. HC 4 lyyyfe!

7) Keep in mind nonlinear process of healing; Remember you are not your thoughts or feelings; Remember impermanence. 
This isn’t so much one tip, as a few reminders: Remind yourself that healing and grieving are nonlinear processes. It’s 2 steps forward and 1 back, or sometimes 3 back. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’ve taken a “slide.” Remind yourself that you are not your thoughts, and you’re not your feelings. If you feel unloved, it doesn’t mean you are unloveable. If you feel like your life is over, it’ doesn’t mean it is. Remind yourself that emotions are impermanent and transient; they will come and go, and come and go again. Breathe through the discomfort. Give yourself permission to feel it.

 8) Keep up with basic needs/take care of yourself
It’s pretty common to forget about minor details of your life such as eating and sleeping. You might find you’re overeating or undereating, oversleeping or undersleeping, drinking too much and skipping the gym. In the moment, it might feel like those things will make you feel better, but they generally make things worse. Try to keep to a routine (write it down, put a , as grief might suppress your appetite in the moment and cause you to binge later, stay up all night and feel like a crazy person during the day, and give up on the gym because you don’t have the energy, when you could really use the endorphins right now!

9) Delete them from Social Media; delete their closest friends (at least temporarily); Delete their number out of the phone.
You might think “But when s/he sees me after I’ve lost weight/gotten my new haircut/travelled the world” s/he’s going to regret it!” Maybe. But is that possibility worth the TORTURE of seeing them with another partner, having fun, moving on? Being reminded of him every time you go on Fbook or Instagram? No way jose. Do the delete. You can always add him later if things turn around. As for their close friends who will be posting photos of them, send the friend a message and let them know why you’re unfriending. Even if they’re not part of the club, they’ll probably understand. And, as for their phone number, prevent potential drunk texting disasters by giving a friend your ex’s number for safe-keeping, and delete for now.

10) Be your biggest support
 I think this is the most important point of all. When you’re already in so much pain, the last thing you need is judgment from yourself. Practise self-compassion, try not to judge yourself (this includes judging yourself for thinking or feeling, or judging yourself for “not coping properly”). Soothe yourself. Lower your expectations for performance. Ask for help. Be patient with yourself.

Additionally, let yourself feel hope until hope is no longer serving you. Hope is necessary for some time. Some people might say it’s denial, and sure, maybe it is, but it serves a purpose. You just can’t comprehend what things would be like if this truly were over. So hope for them to come back. Hope for things to work out. It’s OK to do that… to a certain point. When you’re ready to move towards acceptance, you will. And you can go back and forth between acceptance and hope. Sometimes dozens of times a day. Be kind to yourself as you go through this process. Don’t’ beat yourself up for having the thoughts or feelings that you’re having. Say to yourself what you would say to a friend going through a similar situation.

You can’t generally speed up the process of healing heartbreak. You can slow it down by distracting yourself from the grief 24/7 and keeping your ex around (creeping them on Facebook counts), but the only way out is through. The good thing, though, is that it really does (generally) get better with time, and all you have to do is survive. So hit a Vinyasa class, surround yourself by people who make you feel loved, and take this as an opportunity to make your best relationship the one with yourself. Namaste from a fellow HC Yogi!

meganMegan Bruneau is a Registered Clinical Counsellor at a post-secondary institution in Vancouver, Canada. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Family Studies. Previously involved in personal training and yoga industries, Megan practices psychotherapy using cognitive-behavioral therapy grounded in Buddhist philosophy. 

Web: www.oneshrinksperspective.com

Twitter: @MeganBruneau

Confessions from a Boho Fashionista: The Top 5 Gal Pals You Need in Your Life, Right Now!

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Like every yogi fashionista’s fine collection of gemstones and sacred silk scarves, a girl has got to have her go-to group of gal pals to lean on. From the wild haired bestie you’ve known since you were crackling pop rocks in grade five to the golden goddess you went road tripping with in college, we’ve all got a special collection of friends who help us through the peaks and valleys of life’s journey. There are a few types of magical boho friends that a girl has just got to have by her side to fulfill all of her auspicious dreams, create a life of wonder, and live completely fearlessly.

Here are the top five gal pals you should have in your life, right now!

The Big Dreamer
 She’s writing her next novel, starring on a local television show, gets up every day at 5 a.m. and she’s seriously driven. This goddess has known her sweetest goals and aspirations since she was six, and she’s worked hard to make them a reality. She’s a staple in your life because she encourages all of your life’s hopes and dreams. She’s never jealous or catty, because she’s secure in her own dreams and trusts in yours.

gDWZRLy6DD3CX_tIf4NcFzI4S-W9mo28BQwgNvv5UdQ,JuggcsiYpcnRWW2ko29oCaHb_YVDphKaypXdJe6ULlI,UwDzm8U7awnqYXjXSes8IpXJmwXkEExrqcTH1YRk-6s The Soul Sister
 You met her when you were a little girl and she’s pretty much your family. You could spend months, even years apart but your spirits are connected like sisters, so it never feels like it’s been long. You’re intuitively connected—she can tell when you’re feeling blue, and she knows how to make it right. If, by chance, you didn’t meet this gal long ago, the stars aligned when you met and you knew somehow that in another life you must have danced together barefoot on a beach somewhere. This goddess is a serious gem. She is your soul sister.

 The Mama Bear
 You go to her when mercury is in retrograde, you tell her all of your secrets, she’s your shoulder to cry on. This mama bear is wise beyond her years. She’s got all of the answers; from avocado cacao mousse recipes to the sacred stories of Kali, she knows it all. She’ll pick up the phone when no one else does (you’ve got her on speed dial.) She’s a special force to be reckoned with-she holds the moon up and keeps all of her besties safe.

 The No Bull, A Type, Let’s Get This Done, I’m Talking Right Now, Kinda Gal
 This fiery friend has your best interest at heart. She knows all of your magic and won’t take ‘can’t’ for an answer. She’ll tell you her loving, stone cold, honest truth, if she thinks it will help you achieve your highest potential. She doesn’t believe in ‘no’, and she’ll always find a way. She’s a light worker and power mama, who will have you help you to unveil anything that’s blocking you from seeing all that’s good in you.

 The Barefoot Babe
 This barefoot bella is your very best friend. You take her on all of your most magical adventures, throw dance parties with her below the honeymoon, and share secrets that are never told. This babe is your bestie because there’s a childlike wonder that’s unwritten between the two of you, which will never grow old! You both know that life is for unabashed, full-out living, and you do it together with arms wide open, face a-glow.

All friends are precious, just like the sacred Malas and stones with which we adorn ourselves. These are just a few of the rare and important types of gals you should have in your life to keep it whole, auspicious and full. I know you have a friend-type that helps you to stay sane and golden, and I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!!

libpic-1Peace, Love and Magic,

From Your Resident Boho Fashionista, Libby xx

The Wellness Wonderland: My Top 5 Tips on How to Get Well and Stay There

Ilarge wanted a community of like minded people where I could be my authentic, radically real self, so I made one. This beautiful place in now more than just my corner of the internet. It has become my home. I’ve come to realize that The WellnessWonderland is more than just a blog, rather it is a state of mind where we are vibing high and life is supporting you. This is a place any of us can access anytime and here are my top five tips for dwelling there.

1) Nourish Your Body & Mind: You can’t give what you don’t already have, meaning you can’t take care of your family and friends, much less the world, if you’re not taking care of yourself. So the first step on the road to Wellness Wonderland has to be taking care of your own body. Nourishing it with self-care, healthy relationships, whole foods, enough sleep and watching your stress levels. Incorporating your own version of a meditation practice is crucial. Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting on a pillow in silence. Meditation is merely mindfulness and can be done by being fully present while you’re at spinning class, grocery shopping, driving or chopping vegetables. Meditation doesn’t have to look a certain way. It can be as easy as a single pointed focus and becoming aware of your breath. Here’s a video I did on how to get started with meditation.

2) Be Fearlessly Authentic: Being your true self is crucial to living in your Wellness Wonderland state. When you’re not being real and you are being what society dictates you should be to get people to like you, you will feel drained. It is refreshing to be exactly who you are and trust that the people who are meant to be in your life will be drawn to the authentic energy you’re giving off and those who aren’t will fall away naturally.

3) Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes: When someone tests your patience or frustrates you, recognize their perspective and realize their actions are a direct reaction to their unique circumstances that day. Meaning if someone cut you in line or overcharged you, instead of flying off the handle, return to your breath and handle the situation with the kindness you wish for when you’re having a bad day. You never know their situation and being mean back will only create more negativity. Don’t allow it to take you out of your Wellness Wonderland. Staying in your Wellness Wonderland will inspire them to get back to theirs. Like a boomerang, the more kindness you give, the more comes right back to you.

Humans are social creatures hard-wired to help each other. Instead of waiting for someone to need or ask for your help, actively seek ways you can be of service in your daily life. Whether it’s holding the door for a stranger or calling your grandmother, a random act of kindness (no matter how small) can drastically change a situation for who you help and also improve your mood. I love the quote, “When you’re feeling helpless, help someone.”

4) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: Anything significantly positive that has happened in my life happened outside of my comfort zone. Playing small is comfortable, easy, and feels good, however the magic only happens when you step out. No one ever feels like changing the world and doing something new, however if you can forces yourself to try you’ll be blown away by what you can achieve. Challenging yourself everyday is a requirement of living in your Wellness Wonderland. This looks different for everyone. It could be putting yourself out there and meeting people or starting a blog or trying a new exercise routine. Whatever it is, it won’t feel great to begin but just like jumping into a cold pool the fear of jumping takes more energy than actually doing it and once you do you’re cold of a second and then you get used to it.

5) Know How To Return When You Step Out of Wonderland: Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, the truth is it rains and sometimes it pours. Ups and downs are a beautiful part of life, so you’re bound to get tossed out of your Wellness Wonderland state here and there and that’s okay. True happiness  isn’t about never leaving WWonderland, rather it is knowing how to return quickly once you do. It’s common to give up when something goes wrong and spiral out of control into complete breakdown when just one thing goes wrong. For instance, you eat something you didn’t want to eat and that gives you the open door to stand in front of the fridge and eat until you feel sick and then you feel so guilty and bad about that that you do the same thing in an hour and so on. What truly having a Wellness Wonderland state of mind allows you to do is after eating that first thing you didn’t want to, coming to awareness and changing the pattern by instantly forgiving yourself. Instead of beating yourself up which perpetuates the situation, simply say to yourself, “Oh you just did your old thing again, that’s okay now you can choose to do something different.” By forgiving yourself immediately, you allow change to happen immediately not when you’ve taking yourself so far out of WWonderland that it’s much harder to return.

Katie Dalabout is the creator of the Wellness Wonderland, an infinite collection of authentic inspiration & thoughts in real-time.

Web: www.thewellnesswonderland.com

Twitter: @KatieDaleabout

Facebook: The Wellness Wonderland 

Calling all Bohemians! Our #BohoSelfie Contest Starts TODAY

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We are constantly blown away by the photos our community shares of them wearing their malas, stacks and scarves, so we decided to do a little something special…

The Tiny Devotions #BohoSelfie Contest!

Are you a boho beauty? A yogi fashionista? Do you rock your mala beads on the regular?  Snap a sweet photo of yourself in your favourite Tiny Devotions product and tell us your intention.  Use the hashtag #BohoSelfie and don’t’ forget to tag @TinyDevotions in your photo (we don’t want to miss you).

The soul behind the most creative and inspirational #BohoSelfie will win a Tiny Devotions gift bundle including a scarf, a mala and a stack, valued at $300. They will also be featured in a live Q&A on our Boho Daily blog. The contest runs June 25 – June 28.

Can’t wait to see what magic you stunners create….  xx

Peace, Love, Mala Beads,

The Tiny Devotions Team

The Boho Girl’s Guide to Fail-Safe Meditation

tumblr_n11nqjet3D1qb7dwvo1_500This world is growing faster and more furious every minute. With all that we have on the agenda these days, it can become a huge headache to relax. Our ability to stay in the present gets jumbled up in technology mania; messages from all over the globe flashing across computer screens, cell phones, and television sets at a million miles a minute. What’s a Boho gal or guy to do when it’s time to zone in and focus up on some serious “me” time?

For centuries, people have used meditation as a way of zeroing-in on themselves, their desires, and the goals that they wish to achieve. It’s a spiritual practice used to elevate the understanding of our inner nature as well as a practice to establish a connection to the divine. It’s been clinically proven that meditation not only calms the body and mind, but also works to inspire creativity, improve the immune system, and even help to boost our relationships with everyone (and everything) around us.

I could list the benefits for days, but how do you get down to the crunch when there is so much that is seemingly “crunching” you? Meditation is not supposed to be difficult. By all spiritual accounts, it’s one of the simplest practices, which immediately makes it the most difficult. And it’s totally important!

To get you in the “OM” mode, here are some tried and true, bohemian certified ways to make your meditation practice as simple and consistent as possible:

1. Get comfortable. In a lot of traditions, practioners remain in a seated position, legs crossed, hands upon the knees, or in the lap. However, we’re in the new age, so as long as you are comfortable, you will find that it will be easier to connect with your practice. As such, lying down is perfectly acceptable.

2. Focus on the breath. Start off your practice by simply paying attention to the ebb and flow of your on breath (if you are a yogi, you’re already familiar with this attentiveness to the act of breathing). Notice how the breath fills your lungs, your torso, and your chest, and notice how it leaves your body. Remember, you are not in this to change these sensations. Just notice them and connect with the physical act of the sensation.

3. Get a guide. Some people find guided meditations to be very helpful. A guided meditation will involve specific breath work, or alternatively, some visualizations that will create something of a “meditation story” for your practice. If this is something that you think you will enjoy, do some research. There are several books and websites that will have some incredible guided meditations for any practitioner.

4.  Accept where you’re at. You’re going to get frustrated. Accept this. No one ever achieved anything on this planet without hard work and practice. This is the biggest thing to remember when you are meditating. Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and in time, the flow will come with less effort.

5. Breathe. When in doubt, just go back to the breath. I can guarantee that your mind is going to wander from time to time, and seriously, it’s no big deal. Even the greatest spiritual teachers in our world veer onto the mental fast lane! If your mind is starting to do its own thing, just bring your attention back to the breath. Notice the sensations again. Start counting the time it takes to inhale and exhale, and you’ll be on the right track again.

Once you’ve started your practice, it’s time to add in some consistency. Pick a time of the day when it is easiest for you to take a few minutes and enjoy the process of meditating. Some prefer the morning before they get up, while others like to wait until they are about to go to sleep. Discover what works for you and then commit yourself to doing it! You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

As with all things, practice is key. Enjoy it, live it, and you will reap the benefits of meditation in every aspect of your life. I can guarantee it!

Namaste!

Lauren is a guest writer for the Huffington Post and Social Media Coordinator in Toronto.

0Vpv6YS3_biggerFind More of her below!
Twitter:@LaurenMesservey
Web: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lauren-messervey/

A Headstand a Day Keeps the Doctor Away! My Top 5 Inversions and Why They’re So Cool.

89GE289rb-vf2kASdSPorQ6fq6rOUBdRNPeLQzlW5m0I like to say that magic happens when you take yourself upside down. A calm buzz of energy and happiness radiate through us when we flip our perspective and find balance in our body and mind. Here is why I love inversions so much and do them everyday!

When your mind is happy, your body is happy! When we put our head below our heart to invert, we experience changes at the emotional and cellular level.

Inverting literally flips our perspective and allows us to break away from habitual patterns of thinking and being that we hold in our minds. The patterns may simply be “I can’t,” or ”I’m not strong enough.” With time and practice these beliefs will begin to fade and we will experience a shift in our thinking and move in the direction of empowerment. As possibility begins to unfold in our bodies, we will see that we are stronger than we ever thought possible! This exhilarating boost of confidence is something we can take with us to every area of our lives; there are less limitations, which makes more room to see our own amazing potential!

Inversions will help tone and strengthen your core, arms, shoulders, and back, but the benefits extend so much deeper! On a physiological level, inversions can have many benefits such as increasing circulation, supporting the immune system, and stimulating our body’s parasympathetic nervous system. Many of us run on our sympathetic nervous system full time, which depletes the body of energy and leaves us feeling chronically tired and prone to illness. We make little time for relaxing, though our bodies and minds desperately crave it! However, when we learn to activate the parasympathetic response, blood pressure lowers, the heart rate slows down, stress hormones decrease, and we experience relaxation.

Being upside down increases blood flow to the brain, which is thought increase mental focus, clarity, and memory.

MY FIVE FAVES!

(Remember that practicing these poses under the guidance of a qualified teacher is recommended!)

1. Legs up the wall
This is considered a restorative inversion. It provides a sense of calm and relaxation and can help alleviate mild back pain and headaches and is a great pose to do after a long day or before bed. Turn off all electronics and find a quiet dimly lit spot and listen only to the sound of your breath.

2. Dolphin pose
This pose helps relax the neck and can relive mild back pain. Dolphin pose begins to warm the body and is a great stretch for quads, hamstrings, calves, and arches, and tones your shoulders, arms, and core. Dolphin pose is a great starting point for balancing inversions. Start facing the wall and lift one leg at a time and practice mini hops.

8HEoJ-PEX_UwUNTlQmcRFZywq2mIaL62j7yACjCMQvs3. Headstand
This is often considered the quintessential yoga pose. It helps you feel calm, strong, and balanced. Providing you with mental clarity, and a sense of well being, it’s a great pose to do before you have to make a big decision, or have a stressful event coming up.

4. Forearm balance
This pose is one of my favorites for feeling strong and empowered! Dolphin pose strengthen and tones the arms, shoulders, and core. It’s one of my favorites for when things get too serious and I need to bring a sense of playfulness back into my practice or day.

5. Handstand
Handstand is completely invigorating and fun! It’s my go to pose for a burst of energy. When I’m dragging in the morning, or find myself in a mid-day slump, nothing, not even coffee, picks me up like a handstand.

The benefits of inversions to your physical and mental health are incredible! Practice them as often as you can, but keep in mind that it may take months or years until you can find the magic of balancing on your hands, your forearms, or your head. There is a great lesson in patience and being present that can be found here that is magic of it’s own. We never stop learning, and we never stop growing, so enjoy the process and make sure to have lots of fun along the way!!

Rachel is a registered nurse and yoga instructor living in the Pacific Northwest. Besides being upside down, some of her favorite things include vegan cupcakes, juicing, beaches, good music, and traveling the world.

DSC04906You can connect with her below:
Website www.rachelannayoga.com
Instagram @rachelanna_yoga.