Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY Christmas gifts are fun

Nate's dad, Paul, wanted new business cards. He was tired of his old black and white cards and ready for some new designs.  He is a very talented wood carver along with ceramics and metel work... His all-time favorite subject to carve is fish (he's Swedish :).

So I took some photos of some of his work and had fun with it! Using a couple of new programs on my iphone I was able to make the background of the fish look funky, colorful and hopefully eye-catching.  I then created a collage of these photos and made them the centerpiece of his otherwise simple business card.

Should make a fun little DIY Christmas gift once I get these printed out :)

Check it out and let me know what you think! & Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Balancing Opposites

This morning in yoga class, Rocky told us a wonderful revelation: "Learn and practice the art of doing nothing, the art of allowing." This was in reference to our beautiful shavasana ("corpse pose"), after a very active yoga class.

shared from Pinterest
The beauty of it, as he said, is that we are constantly going towards the edges to find that balanced midline just like when we practice handstand. We are constantly going toward the edges trying to find that perfect balance.

shared from
You might not notice it when you see someone do a graceful, balanced handstand but it's these aspects that are usually at play (which I find completely fascinating):

1. feet extending toward the sky
2. hands spread and rooted down firmly into the ground
3. belly deeply engaged & pressing in toward the spine
4. tailbone tucking up & under
5. ribs pulling in
6. arms strong and straight
7. Thighs squeezing together strongly
8. Biceps externally rotated
9. palms and finger tips widely clawing the mat
10. toes actively engaged and spread
11. heart melting forward
12. shoulder blades squeezing in toward the spine

It's when we are able to push a little toward each edge that we find that perfect balance as if we could stay upside down forever (or maybe just a full minute- haha!).

It's the principal of taking opposing, paradoxical forces (strong and open, grounded and flying, soft and full of effort, contracted and expanding) and pushing against each of them to find one integrated, equal whole. When you're in a pose or really any situation in life, it's a true art to balance two polar opposites and find union (yoga) between both.

It was this same principle at play when we ended our super active, heated class (of handstands and core strength building) with blissful shavasana. It was at that moment when Rocky told us how important the art of doing nothing is. The art of of allowing. It was that final moment that I found my true inner balance, peace, and harmony. It was this full act of rest after such a vigorous asana practice when I experienced integration between my physical body, heart and mind.

NYC Times Square Shavasana, shared from Pinterest
The physicality of my practice is really the tip of the iceberg. The lessons I learn on a visceral, physical plane guide and teach me on every other level - emotional, mental and spiritual.

It's such a beautiful practice I am so grateful to have in my life!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Karma Project

Starting today, I am embarking on a 30 day project which I'll be calling the Karma Project.  My dear and beautiful mother will also be joining me.  Before I go into the project, I would like to explain what has led me to this idea for practice.

Yoga has been quite a savior for me.  The transformation, growth, sheer grace, humbling beauty and love it has given me is tremendous.  I want to thank each and every yoga teacher I've ever had for each and every class I've ever taken.  I have inched, and leaped closer to the ultimate freedom, light, joy, wisdom and love I've always yearned for.  The graciousness and spaciousness I have experienced, transferred from one yogi to another, melts my heart.

Karma Yoga is the art of selfless service (also known as Seva).  It is doing something kind for someone else or doing the right thing without expecting anything in return, such as applause or reward.  The belief is if you do something good for the benefit of someone else, even a small gesture like opening the door or helping an elderly person across the street, and you are not attached to the fruits of that action, you will experience true freedom and purity of heart.  However, if your ego is tied to that action and you are doing it for other selfish motivations, you are bound to the fruits (results) of that action and you are not experiencing pure freedom and joy.

shared from Spiritual Bliss facebook page

Better put from yogawiz:
"The individual who acts as an instrument in the hands of the Lord, as a participant in the cosmic activity of Nature, devoid of any expectation of fruits, his/her Karma will not bind that person.  In that case, the individual's actions become Karma Yoga.  So in the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna exhorts Arjuna to work unselfishly.  Believe you are merely an instrument with the Supreme working through you.  The password is surrender.  Yield all the fruits of your actions to the Supreme.  IT is then and only then, that the individual is freed from bondage of Karma.  Then we start to enjoy peace.  The practice of Karma Yoga, further, prepares the individual to receive knowledge of the Supreme Self."

One important thing I've learned through my yoga practice is that gratitude is an infinitely growing and exponential process.  It positively affects everything it touches, even in the smallest, subtlest way. It's the ripple effect.  It has the power to heal not just our self but what's around us.  It's deeply transformative in nature.  I am beginning to wonder if giving (selflessly) is not the other side of the coin to gratitude? Like the chicken and the egg, if a person begins to practice feeling gratitude for life and everything she has, wont' she also feel more inclined to give for the sake of giving (and vice versa)?

As yogis we are given the gifts of fire and water (as well as earth, air and space).  The fire or heat we create in yoga brings about transformation and stirs something deep within us - be it courage, love, etc.  The water we create, when we cry tears of pain or joy, is such a needed release of emotion.  It moistens the grounds of our heart in preparation for spiritual growth.  We can plant seeds in this new soil and it can grow exponentially.  Grounded in truth and rooted in love, we protect our seeds and slowly we watch them grow up toward the sky, toward the light, toward heaven.  The amount of growth is infinite and it's these early elemental gifts of fire and water (and earth, air and space) we receive in yoga, that makes our own transformation possible.  Picture a caterpillar in her cocoon emerging as a butterfly or a seed planted and growing into a tree.  Through our transformation a veil is lifted from our eyes, and we catch a glimpse of our true and full God given capability.  We begin to see how we can be of service to the world.

My mom shared her idea with me, that if each person was to really use (and enjoy) their unique gifts, and selflessly give these gifts to others, imagine how much that would positively change the world.  One person sharing their gifts even in the smallest way, might not sound like a lot, but imagine if the whole masses were doing it? How huge would that be?

Here is what I plan to do.  Starting today, for the next 30 days, I will be doing at least one selfless act of service each day with the intention of doing something for another with no interest or expectation of receiving anything in return.  It doesn't matter how small or large it is, what matters is the intention; the motivation to make someone else a little happier, their day a little easier. I intend to focus on that yogic wisdom to "yield my fruits of action to the Supreme," being like an "instrument in the hands of the Lord."

Thanks for reading!  I am excited, inspired and curious to see what develops over the next month.  I'll be sharing as much of my experience as possible here!

shared from Spiritual Bliss facebook page


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wild Soul

Right now I am sitting here listening to some super chill music feeling quite "high" after we just chugged some quite "dirty" tasting Kava tea for my first time, over here at Kava House in SE Portland... love it!

Felt inspired today after watching a Ken Burns documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," about the building of the first National Parks in America and the tremendous help by the preservationist/naturalist/scientist/author/poet John Muir and his profound influence on President Teddy Roosevelt.  It was quite wonderful to learn about the life of such a kind, fervent and nature-loving man who was born in Scotland into a strictly religious household, yet who immigrated to Wisconsin, US when he was very young.  Perhaps it was the frequent lashings he received from his father who made him memorize the old and new testaments of the bible or else suffer punishment, that drove a young restless Muir to look outside the confines of his strict, religious upbringing for a sense of spirituality in the vast wilderness he found in this "new world," this land of America.  He feel deeply in love with the stark, dramatic, wild beauty of this untouched natural world around him and all of the bountiful "wild" life it supported.

Muir wrote, "We all flow from one fountain—Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all."

His poetic musings, comparing this natural world, of forests and mountains, lakes and fields, to the conventional Church of God, reminds me of contemporary poets and writers like, Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson (whom Muir read and loved his work and later befriended).  They all seemed to be touching on a profound shift in the greater human consciousness, a cry to get back to the roots of the human soul, all by way of the deep contemplation and love they found while on their journeys into the wild.

What was simply wonderful about this man was the way he so passionately devoted to, in his heart, this cause to save America's wild pieces of paradise, such as the area known as Yosemite National Park and its giant Sequoia groves, for which he so faithfully named his "sanctuary."  With gigantic pillars of ancient Sequoia trees and Redwood trees, that captivated his soul and spoke of their direct connection with the heavens as they so gracefully and proudly rose up in the sky, Muir had found his life's calling.  Muir's exploration of the United States, especially in the state of California, led him to a path of scientific study and deep appreciation for the natural world and the die hard purpose to preserve its gifts.  He toured President Roosevelt around Yosemite, camping for several nights among the giant Sequoias and hiking up to breathtaking vistas and finally convinced him to declare areas such as this - National Parks - which would protect entire ecosystems and prevent acts of destruction.  Hunting. Poaching. Cutting down trees. Mining. Urban sprawl. So much.

What struck me the most was that this man cared more for the preservation of an entire natural place than he did for the greedy corporate interests of the major modern world economy at that time.  In a way not much has really changed, in fact it has only seemed to grow more intensely as time goes on.  As the film spoke upon, there is a fight always happening between an inherent part of humankind that itches to change the world around him in some way.  A part of man that seeks to benefit the short-term interests of number one by using the resources of the natural world around him, first by conquering it and next by excavating its boundless gifts.  Take this versus the long term interests of a our greater whole - an entire eco-system - and our future generations for hundreds of years and beyond.  If we are "one" with everything around us, all equally dependent on Mother Nature and her water, air, earth, purity.... how can we only think about number one, right now?  There is another inherent part of humankind.  A spiritual need to find a retreat for the soul.  To find a place where one can go "out" into the wild only to go "inside" the self.  A place where beautiful, peaceful solitude and reflection take place.  It is this need, and the great, delicate balance of the "circle of life," our entire ecosystem, that must oversee and wisely protect the world we are so blessed to be born into and stop destruction from that more greed-driven, self-centered, profit-seeking part of our self, which without restriction, threatens to destroy the very planet we so deeply depend on for our own life, sustainability and future.

Muir died shortly after a decade of fighting to save the Hetch Hetchy Valley that San Francisco and California proposed to use for a water dam that would bring water to the San Francisco area for years to come, and is still being used today.   Bittersweet, it is sad that Muir lost this battle, but what was not ever lost, sweetly, was the fervent devotion Muir exibited and passed on to future preservationists after him.  The fact that this man is still inspiring people, like myself, is profound.

For this, I am grateful I have been blessed to live in and have travelled to so many great and majestic places around this country - John Muir Woods north of San Francisco, Big Sur, the Redwoods, the Sequoias of California and the Northwest, the Oregon Gorge, the entire west coast, Mount Rainier, Golden Ears, the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon, Sedona, Joshua Tree, Malibu, White Sands, the Rocky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, and so many more amazing and beautiful places.  If it wasn't for the caring, passionate hearts of a few before me, those places may not have been there for me and countless others to marvel, admire and love.  Maybe its the Navajo in me, or maybe the poet, storyteller or artist, but the preservation of our natural world, not just America, but the whole Planet, is imperative for our survival.  Not just the survival of food, shelter and sustainability but for that great and deep spiritual need in our soul for beauty, contemplation, peace, wonder and divine sanctuary.

Thank you John Muir, Thoreau, Emerson and all the great poets and lovers of Mother Nature and her beautiful wildness.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

KICKSTARTER LAUNCH:: "LA Sadhu" Documentary!!!

Kalidas and I playing Kirtan music at Bhakti Yoga Shala
My friend Kalidas and I met when I started doing "seva" (selfless service / yoga work trade) at Bhakti Yoga Shala at the beginning of this year.  He is a personal assistant to Govindas - Bhakti Yoga Shala's owner as well as my wonderful BYS Yoga Teacher Training Teacher this spring.

Kalidas and I quickly became friends as we cleaned around the shala, replacing candles and sweeping the wood floors.  Originally from India, he has led a very interesting, mystical life in spiritual communities all across the country.  Being from New Mexico, it struck me that he had spent a couple years working and meditating at an ashram in Taos, New Mexico.  Synchronicity at play again!  He's also lived up and down the coast of California as well as on the East coast.  Another thing we have in common... I have ALWAYS been a gypsy at heart... (I've lived in New Mexico, Maine, Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Washington, Norway and California just in the span of 28 years, ha!)

Anyhow life works in mysterious ways and I believe it was destiny that our paths crossed.  I had just finished a job that wasn't really in line with the direction I was wanting to go in, and was having serious doubts about my place in a sometimes cold, indifferent, materialistic and ego-driven industry, also known as Hollywood.  I needed to get my footing back.  Gain my strength again.  Renew my faith in humanity and our power for good.  It's been a truly humbling experience these last few months, just getting back to the simple things in life that mean the most to me. 

Meeting Kalidas has reminded me of what it means to lead a spiritual life with wisdom, understanding and faith as one's foundation.  Coupled with the fact I am growing deeper in my knowledge and experience of yoga in my BYS Teacher Training program, I am truly full of gratitude to be surrounded by such beautiful, wise friends! 

As Kalidas and I got to know each other better, it became apparent a documentary was in order!  I started to shoot short interviews with him, combining it with pictures and Kirtan music.  We want to document his journey as a spiritual "sadhu" (or person relying on the grace of God) with all of the unique, amazing experiences he has had.  Especially living in a place that at times can seem cold and indifferent.  This is an opportunity to brighten people's outlook and be a source of divine inspiration!  Here is a brief description of LA SADHU (our documentary project):

A chronicle of 7 days in the life of Kalidas in LA, who has had the unique experience of spending over a decade in spiritual communities.  We are invited to see Kalidas as he intends to embark on his own personal kind of spiritual test where he tries to reach his highest potential through a series of marathon-type walks, a strict diet, specific mantra and kirtan chants, and Seva (selfless service). There will be a heavy emphasis on translating less well-known points of yogic philosophy and the "sadhu" way of life (one who relies on the grace of God rather than material comforts). This combined with Kalidas' unconventional point of view and friends will make it an entertaining and humorous account of a guy who is caught living like a spiritual dinosaur in the grind of modern day high-tech society that for the most part could care less. Also Kalidas' life as a sacred Kirtan chant musician will be revealed. Kalidas remains strangely optimistic and driven, and we're all wondering why! 

Here is the link to our kickstarter project that we JUST LAUNCHED::: 

As you know, kickstarter is a fundraising program that gives you an allotted amount of time to raise a specific amount of money to create your project.  We now have 29 days to raise $7,500 (by June 8th)...

This includes a budget for crew, camera & audio equipment, craft services, rewards to our donors, memory cards, marketing, transportation, film festival entry fees and kickstarter fees.

Please take a look! Any donations you give will be received with the UTMOST GRATITUDE and of course we really appreciate you taking the time to see what we are embarking on and sharing with everyone you know.

Thank you so much everyone!!!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Yoga Pool Party Time!!!!

I wanted to share some new awesome photos from our Bhakti Yoga Shala Teacher Training, Spring 2012!!!  Included here is Tadasana/Kirtan day, Acrayoga day plus our beautiful sunny day by the pool!  So happy to be sharing this beautiful journey with you all :)

Oziris, David and I at Tadasana Yoga Festival's 12 Hour Kirtan at Bhakti Yoga Shala!!

YTT beach day picnic!

John, Sonia, Jazmine & Jessica!

Hard to tell but that's me cheering on sweet Jessica (center photo) who daringly jumped headfirst into the freezing Pacific and checked off her bucket list! :)

Jessica and Victoria!

AcraYoga day: Flying Pose! (combines: Acrobat, Thai massage and Yoga)

Flying pose with Govindas spotting Rob and John!

Flying Whale Pose with Laura, Pamela & Victoria... such lovely heart opening pose!

Pool Party getting started at my house with Jazmine, John and Tony and some YUMMY guacamole made by Alexis!

John, Tony and I!

Victoria fixin' some fresh watermelon. Yum!

Oziris so happy by the pool :)

Julia you are awesome!

Brave, first one to jump in!

Oziris the monkey man makes some waves!

All of us Bhakti Yoga TT's together!

Enjoying the hot tub after cannon balls in the cold pool!


Alexis on the rope swing!

that's me going for it, ha!

so happy to be there!

Laura looks so excited!


Valentino, a true entertainer at heart...

captures the moment perfectly!

Cawabunga Tom!
Kalidas and I doing some final touches on our kickstarter video for our new and upcoming DOCUMENTARY, titled "LA SADHU." so excited to be working on this!! more on this to come SOON!!!!

I've had SUCH an amazing and beautiful experience so far learning, getting to know and bonding with everyone at Bhakti Yoga Shala Teacher Training, Spring 2012.  All of you are such beautiful gems inside and out! This is such a sweet, awesome, fun and positive time of growth through our devotion, love and joy.  Our yoga practice is such a gift that has brought us together.  Feels like home!

Namaste <3

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Spring Chapter: Yoga Teacher Training!

It has been a great day so far! Woke up very leisurely on my day off, close to 11am, and had no guilt about it either. Yesterday was such a nice yet extremely loooong day and that was running on only four hours of sleep, so I felt no shame in catching up on my sleep this morning. Also I intentionally made no plans today because I precisely wanted no obligation to anyone else except myself today and the things I want and also need to do. Today has been a day of tending to me and getting some much needed R & R.
First I'd like to share that I officially began my Yoga Teacher Training two weekends ago at Bhakti Yoga Shala with the great and inspiring Govindas as my teacher!

It is an especially blessed and wonderful opportunity because I was able to work out a Yoga work trade with Govindas to help him with his own personal projects and also as an assistant to him during this Yoga Teacher Training program. Essentially what I am doing in exchange for taking this training, is:
  1. taking really detailed notes of everything that we do and talk about during the entire program (which is awesome because it means I am invested in being the best student I can be! :) 
  2. I am to bring my camera with me to each class and shoot anything that is especially interesting, such as Govind-das talking about a really interesting topic, the students doing various “asanas” (physical Yoga poses), etc. In the future, Govind-das wants me to put together both a promotional video with short interesting clips edited together with music for both his studio – Bhakti Yoga Shala, and for his Yoga Teacher Training course as well. 
  3. I clean up around the studio before/after our classes, light candles, sweep floors, etc.
  4. Anything else he may need! 
Govindas is very busy as an owner of Bhakti Yoga Shala, as a Yoga teacher, along with leading our Yoga TT happening now and a future one abroad, as well as a Kirtan music touring around the country (and abroad I think), writing a book and being a husband and father – Wow! And I thought I was busy, haha! Anyway, this is a really wonderful opportunity that I have right now and I just feel so blessed to be going deeper on my spiritual path and learning a lot more about Yoga! I have been wanting to do this for almost two years now, and have always thought about becoming a Yoga teacher. Who knows, in a year from now, maybe I will be teaching some of you dear people Yoga!?
Ganesha statue in Bhakti Yoga Shala studio
Anyhow, when I woke up this morning, I did part of the homework Govindas gave us to do this week. I built myself a little makeshift alter and meditated for about thirty minutes. We were told to only do five minutes, but again today has been about leisure and an easy pace, so I took my sweet time. :) One of the students had asked if it was alright if we make a temporary sort of alter where we build it and take it down each day. Govindas said yes, of course. So I was encourage by that to set up my little alter right next to the gorgeous pool in our backyard. Ever since we moved into this gigantic mansion as house-sitters several months back, I have mostly been drawn to the backyard space and the pool and trees. Maybe because it has officially been turned Spring, and also because we are set to move out in May, I realize I don't have much time left to enjoy this pool and backyard, so I m led to soak up as much time and pleasure as I can while we are still here. I grabbed whatever I could find easily accessible that would fit in my makeshift alter. A beautiful dark wood candle holder with an Asian clay Buddha face glued to the back that my dear friend Sara gave to me for my birthday years ago in college. A long brass cross necklace Nate gave me when he first moved to California. A gorgeous floral and vintage style collage cylinder art piece my sister gave me for Christmas. A tiny wooden box with an owl carved into the top that I gave to Nate for Christmas. Four freshly picked white roses off one of the rose bushes in the backyard. My yoga mat. My gloriously beautiful large-sized “Great Yoga Retreats” picture book Nate got for me. My new "Bhagavad Gita" book I just got for Yoga TT (a translation of the original Yoga texts).

It also dawned on me that every element from the “Five Great Elements of Ayurveda” were all around me, awakening my senses: 1. Earth (the grass and earth beneath me and trees around me) 2. Water (the pool) 3. Fire (the lit candle) 4. Air (the air around me and breath in me) 5. Ether (the mental and emotional space this meditative practice gives me).

I set up the alter around one of the corners of the pool, the sunshine glistening through the large tree onto the aqua blue pool. The soothing sound of the babbling baby waterfall coming down from the hot tub onto the pool calming my mind as I sat in the half lotus / Suhkasana (easy sitting pose) on my yoga mat facing my alter, the pool and trees my backdrop.

For a few minutes I based in the warmth of the sun, the soothing sounds of running water and the birds with their melodious chirping and the breeze rustling through the trees all around me. My senses were in heaven. The first page I flipped to in my "Great Yoga Retreats" book by Angelika Taschen, was a girl in white robes sitting in lotus pose on the edge of a gorgeous aqua blue pool somewhere in southeast Asia with palm trees around her and a half Buddha/half mermaid carved into the edge of the pool. It looked like a postcard for serenity. I found it striking how similar I look to this brown-skinned Asian girl with long black hair. I smiled.

Govindas said we could outwardly or inwardly chant or sing one of the mantas we learned. The tune of "Shanti, Shanti, Shanteeeee-eeee-eei," played in my mind, so I started singing that, simultaneously practicing my best “Ujjayi” breath (also known as “Ocean breath”) while I chanted. After sweeping up my hands towards the sky during an inhale and pressing my palms together into a prayer pose, and on my next exhale letting it first fall to the crown of my head, then my Third Eye, then to my lips and finally resting at my Heart chakra. My spine was tall and my mind felt clear. After this mantra I tried the simple “Om” chant a few times. After a full inhale I started chanting the sound 'Aaaaa,' transitioning into 'Auuuuu' then ending with 'Ommmmm.' This tri-fold sound is associated with the trinity “Brahma – Vishnu – Shiva.” “Brahma” means God as Creator and is the first sound 'Aaaaa.' “Vishnu” means The Preserver (or Sustaining Energy) and is the second sound 'Auuuu.' “Shiva” is The Destroyer (or Dissolving Energy) and is the last sound 'Ommmm.' Then, I actually surprised myself by remembering the “Guru Invocation Chant” we learned in Yoga TT this weekend! Even though I couldn't remember the tune of the song I made up my own melody which ended up being quite fun! :)
Namaste <3

After all of this meditating and chanting by the pool in the glorious sun I felt completely relaxed, recharged, energized and ready for my beautiful day to begin. I rode my bike to the grocery store and stuffed all my groceries in the basket attached to the back of my bike. Since it was a Whole Foods in Brentwood, with BMW's and Lexuses rolling by, I noticed a couple of onlookers at my concentrated effort to cram all of my stuff into my basket so it would all fit and nothing would fall out on my way back home. The greatest thing was noticing it but not being afraid of what anybody thought of me. In fact it was quite joyful realizing what a silly hippie I probably looked like with my two pigtail braids and my basket on the back of my bike. HA!

Nate got me this GORGEOUS electric ENELOOP bike for my birthday :)
As I started riding home, I felt overcome with a joy to be alive and to be feeling really comfortable in my own skin at this lovely point in my life. I also was thinking about how happy I am to get to spend most of my day off today with Nate (we are going on a date later tonight :). His birthday is coming up next week so I asked the lady working in the Whole Foods “Body department” what kinds of things I could get for him that weren't too “girly.” She chuckled and asked “Well how comfortable is he with girly kinds of things?” We both looked around the entirely girly section of the store filled with handmade soaps, scented lotions, soy candles and eco-friendly makeup. “Well, he's pretty comfortable with his feminine side if that's what your asking,” I said. LOL. She pointed me to a gorgeous bag of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Massage Stones that you can heat up and use to massage your sweetie into blissful relaxation. 'Perfect gift!' I thought. “Yes, I'll take it please!”

Halfway home from the store, I spotted my sweetie walking down the sidewalk, completely barefoot and adorable. “Babe! What are you doing walking down here barefoot!” I asked, so happy to see him just when I was thinking about him and his birthday. “I was worried about you. You were gone for so long.” Awwww what a true sweetheart I have. We walked back to the house – he walked my bike with all the groceries in the back – and just talked about life. It dawned on me this weekend during my Yoga TT that many of the virtues stated in the “8 Limbs of Yoga (or 8 Steps) have coincidentally been happening in my life for the last few months. Nate asked me what was that. Well after reading the incredibly life-changing book I picked up at Whole Foods called “The Food Revolution,” by John Robbins, we became vegans in January. Although we have cheated and had some cheese (Yummmm. Cheese.), we have stayed pretty consistently vegan. And the first thing in the 1st Limb of Yoga – part of the “Yamas” (Universal Morality) – states “Compassion for all living things.” This is why traditionally Yogis have always followed a purely vegetarian diet.

Then just two days ago, I had a needed talk with Nate about being happy with what we have. Even though we don't always have that much money and not that much time, we can't take for granted how lucky and blessed we are to have each other. To have found true love.

My favorite picture from our Save the Date engagement photo shoot - Photo taken by Odd Hynnekleiv :)
This is a HUGE lesson for me. In a world where advertising and commercials and billboards tell us what we should desire, it can become easy to think that if we just have this thing or that thing, we will finally be happy. But this just isn't true.

LA billboard

Later that day, I had an amazing class with one of my favorite Yoga teachers, Shari Goodhartz, about the virtue of Contentment, meaning being happy and accepting exactly what is available to us right here, right now and not trying to push our boundaries to attain more that we can really handle. She was specifically talking about our Yoga practice and being OK if we couldn't go quite as deep or far as we wanted; sometimes that extra inch of flexibility or advanced pose just isn't available to us at that moment. And that's OK. The beauty of Yoga is we only need to focus on what is happening right here, right now on this mat. No need to compare ourselves to the guy next to us. This practice is not a competition. It's a unique spiritual experience. And I've been realizing this is so true in my life as well. We can spend so much time and energy seeking to “keep up with the Jones'” as they say, but what we often end up with is unhappiness and wasted energy that way. As it turned out, after realizing this great truth the other day, I found out yesterday in my Yoga TT with Govindas, “Santosa” (Contentment) is the second truth of the 2nd Limbs of Yoga, called “Niyama” (Personal Observance). Coincidence? I think not :)

I believe synchronicity is being weaved into the fabric of my life now. I just feel so blessed to see this unfolding like a blossoming spring flower while I am embarking on a deeper level of my spiritual path during this Yoga Teacher Training. As I continue doing this for the next two months, I intend to keep observing, writing and sharing what keeps unfolding on this beautiful journey into my heart.

Namaste <3

(PS: I wrote this yesterday, but had too much fun going out on my date with Nate last night so am only now getting this up here today :)
Date Night!!!