Date a Yogini

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Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years. Only relatively recently has it gained popularity in western culture. Still, many people do not know what yoga is really all about. For many Westerners, it is another class to take, akin to pilates or zumba; an alternative to running and good for injuries. It is those things, yes, but yoga is so much more.

Hatha flow – or physical yoga – is only one part of the practice. Yoga is a spirituality and a philosophy in addition to a physiology.

“There is no physical yoga and spiritual yoga.  If it is exclusively physical, it won’t be yoga.  Yoga is dealing with the entirety; it is a union.” – Prashant Iyengar, son of B.K.S Iyengar

Date a yogini.

She moves through difficulty, through discomfort, through uncertainty to find a place of stillness and ease. This hasn’t always been her way. She has a past that has brought her here to this point. She has a story to tell and she is open to telling it, if you are open to hearing it.

She jumps and trusts herself enough to navigate whatever comes her way. She tries new things and knows that falling is a part of the practice of life. She tries again and doesn’t lose faith. The illusion of perfection does not frighten her or cripple her efforts, but instead she sees it as a challenge to move past.

She knows her worth and is continually improving upon herself. Not to achieve unattainable perfection or for financial or material gain or fame. She works toward dissolving her ego, being more open, honest, and loving. More trusting and vulnerable. To be a better listener, to others and herself. Staying true to herself is her greatest desire.

She accepts and goes with the flow of life. She knows what she wants and she also knows that things take time. She practices patience and isn’t in a rush. She is enjoying every minute.

She practices gratitude, and is actually thankful for life’s struggles. She still gets sad and she gets angry. In fact, she feels the full range of her emotions. But she uses these emotions to know that she is alive and as fuel as she moves through the asanas. She lets go through the body to let go through the mind and spirit.

She knows her body and the joy of moving it and stretching every muscle. She knows how to breathe into spaces that are tight or painful. She listens to her body. She chooses to nourish it with good food.

Her intuition is strong. She sees things as they are and that may scare you. She sees in you the good that maybe you didn’t even know was there. She loves love and gives it as freely as she receives it. Don’t lose her trust. She knows what’s important in life and focuses on that, letting all else fall away.

If you are lucky enough to experience her love, you won’t want to let her go. If her destiny is elsewhere, you must, but you will be better for having known her.

You might even take yoga up yourself and come to find this love of life for yourself. And that was her intention all along.

(This article was written in the style of “Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels” by Adi Zarsadias. The feature image is taken from Rachel Brathen’s instagram, which I highly recommend following).

Peace, Love, and Happiness

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What if in the world we live in, everyone is just trying to make everyone happy? Our governments want the masses to be happy but they don’t want us to be at peace. They want to appease us, not let peace be in us. So they distract us with shiny things while they wage wars.

Is peace that scary? What are they that afraid of? Could it be that if you don’t know love, you can’t stand to see love? This world has been governed and led mostly by men who were never properly loved and therefore don’t know how to really love. They feel threatened by love and scared of it, which is the natural human response to something we don’t know. But there have been a brave few who have shown by example that we can move past this. This is what it means to choose love over fear.

When our beliefs and actions line up with our intuition and feelings, that is pure happiness. With a real community of people in which we are safe to express our true feelings, thoughts, and ideas. When we work together toward common goals that serve the best interests of everyone and do our best to not let our egos get in the way, that is when the world will know peace.

It starts with us, each and every individual person. We must know love to show love and to have the courage to move past fears – anxiety, doubt, shame, judgment, jealousy, paranoia, depression, addiction, clinging, and anger are all forms of fear. Once we know love on a cellular level we will radiate love and attract more love. That is how love works; that is how all energy works. Whatever you practice and focus on will expand.

Just think if every human being was to act from love instead of fear, from our higher selves instead of our egos. What would happen? What changes would we feel? How much closer would we be to everyone and every living thing? We would be living in total harmony with each other and with nature, just as we were meant to.

Spread love and see how it grows. Spread it wherever you can. You may not be aware of how far your reach truly goes. It can reach further than ever before now. It can be discouraging if you start to think only of its limits, so start small. You might find what more and more people are coming to know: when we act from the higher self we are limitless.

You are important. You have a purpose. Your purpose is Love. If you’re not ready to love, make space for love, and it will find its way in. Love is the only way to peace and to real, deep, true and lasting happiness for every living being.

The “Not To Do” List

In our culture, being in a constant state of forward motion is encouraged and admired, whereas slowing down is oftentimes seen as laziness. We are focused on accomplishments, production, and results. Sometimes we don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. Many of us make “To Do” lists on a daily or weekly (or monthly) basis. We write down the work that needs to get done, things we need from the store, errands that have to be run, and tasks around the house that need completing. Checking things off of that list is satisfying and the longer they have been on the list or the bigger the item, the more productive we feel.

I am not suggesting we stop the list making, because honestly I would not remember anything! However, I believe something we all could try to do more of is, well, nothing. So I made a “Not To-Do” list with some things to remember when those responsibilities add up and life can seem a little overwhelming.

1. Don’t feel bad for not completing (or even making a dent in) your to-do list. Some stuff really can wait. Prioritize what is most important to you and chip away at that list one day at a time, letting the experience be the goal.

2. FEEL GOOD when you DO complete something! Reward yourself by relaxing afterward instead of rushing to complete the next task. Go for a walk, read about something that interests you, or simply just lie down and close your eyes for a few. It feels good. Promise.

3. Don’t forget to take care of yourself first. Taking care of yourself allows you to take better care with others. So take an afternoon off to get a massage, eat foods that nourish you, and practice some form of self-care on a daily basis – or whenever you think about it. Don’t wait until the mind is in stress mode.

4. Meditate. Meditation is the ultimate state of doing nothing. Science is only scratching the surface of proving the benefits, and already they know that meditation changes the neuroscience of your brain. Meditate even when you’re busy – especially when you’re busy, because that is when you need to do nothing the most.

5. Don’t forget to unplug! Technology definitely has its place in our society, but by being continually connected to it, we miss out on opportunities to be connected to ourselves, each other, and nature. How much are you really enjoying the present moment if you’re just “trying to get that shot” or always checking social media? Chances are, you’re not.

6. Don’t let your life and loved ones go unappreciated. Steve Maraboli said, “The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness.” Don’t take this experience for granted. Being thankful for what we have brings more abundance and peace into our lives.

What not to-do items would you put on your list?

Taco Tuesday: Salmon Love Tacos

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By now, you have probably heard of Meatless Monday. I’m not a person who eats a lot of meat, so taking part is easy to do and coming up with new recipe ideas is a fun challenge! I eat a mostly plant-based diet, although I love salmon and I eat it maybe twice a month. Organic, wild salmon is one meat source that I feel good about eating because it is totally good for you.

Lucky for me I live in Seattle, where fresh salmon is readily available and dependably delicious. Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids which improve the cardiovascular system, neurotransmitter function, and just about every bodily process. Our internal organs (i.e., heart, kidneys, liver) as well as our external organs (skin, scalp, hair) work much better with adequate levels of Omega-3s. Researchers are still discovering the extensive health benefits of these guys, but I can tell you from my own “research” (eating it!) that it gives me mental clarity and sustainable energy.

So I decided after Meatless Monday, why not incorporate this fatty fish into Taco Tuesday?!

I don’t have exact measurements for the recipe as I threw this together on a whim, but you get the idea. Include some cervezas and make enough for you and some friends. Substitute as desired.

Ingredients:

Salmon rubbed with Tom Douglas ‘Rub with Love’ Salmon Rub and cooked by desired method

Blue corn taco shells warmed up in the oven

Sliced avocado

Chopped kale

Chopped cilantro

Lime

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Black beans

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric and Chocolate Chip Pancake!

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Here’s a recipe for you guys! If you’re craving pancakes but worried about the inflammatory effects of regular pancake mixes, this is a creation that happened when I wondered, “Hmm.. what would happen if I put some turmeric in this pancake.” The result? Deliciousness! When cooked, turmeric is basically flavorless, but it does turn your pancake(s) a lovely golden yellow color. Turmeric also lends immense anti-inflammatory benefits that when coupled with gluten free pancake mix makes for a pancake that is not only delicious but good on your digestive system. It may not look like much, but man, I’m telling you, it is SO GOOD!! You can also substitute bananas, blueberries, or whatever you like in place of – or in addition to – the chocolate, if you like.

Ingredients:

-Gluten Free Pancake Mix. I used The Cravings Place All Purpose Pancake & Waffle Mix.

- 1 egg (optional)

- 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil

- 1 tbsp. turmeric

- 1 tbsp. almond butter

- 1/4 cup water

- 1/4 cup dark chocolate (or carob) chips

- 1 tsp. cardamom

- 1 pinch of sea salt

- unrefined maple syrup

Directions:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add in egg (if using), coconut oil, almond butter, and to desired consistency.

2. Heat up pancake griddle or pan to medium heat. I use just a regular pan greased with soy free butter substitute or coconut oil. Pour pancake batter onto heated surface and watch for bubbling. Flip pancake over with spatula after seeing a good amount of bubbles surface and heat for another minute or two, to desired brownness.

3. Take off heat and let cool down. Top with maple syrup, fruit, and any other things your heart desires!

Enjoy! I personally love pancakes and could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They go well with tea or coconut milk, and make for an easy to make and filling meal. Yum! :)