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The ABC’s of Meditation- 3 Different Styles for a Stress Free 2017 December 30 2016

 

Sometimes (ok, almost always) the end of the year brings with it a ton of stress and anxiety. Not just in terms of the year-end madness at work, but because of all the untied loose ends and unfinished business that unveil themselves as we inevitably head into an existential reflection of what we’ve accomplished throughout the past year. Hopefully, you are feeling positive about 2016 and entering 2017 with optimism and motivation. But incase you’re just human, and find yourself feeling a bit anxious or uneasy about what lies ahead, know that you’re not alone. More importantly, there are coping mechanisms that we can (and should!) use every day to help us stay level headed and balanced. Meditation is, for some, a vague and ominous concept. However, it’s important to know that meditation is simply just the act of silencing your loud inner voices for a while, connecting with your inner calm, releasing stress and worry, and being in the present moment . Rather than making it a big deal, think of it as a simple and gradual process that you are trying to turn into a habit.

 

(Image via www.boldselfimprovement.com)

There are many different methods of meditation, so if you’re not connecting with one, don’t give up! There doesn’t have to be some huge revelation or amazing epiphany that occurs, but rather a sense of deeper connection with yourself and a developed ability to control your stress and emotional state through the process. If you stick with it, this can be a useful tool or coping mechanism for times of high stress and anxiety.  Here is a quick breakdown of the three main types of meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation:

This is probably the simplest form, making it the most suitable for beginners. This form of meditation solely entails being in the present moment, and silencing all other thoughts and outside noise. Though simple, this type of meditation is not always easy, particularly if you’re someone that struggles to clear your mind and silence the outside noise.  However, if you’re one of those people, this type of meditation may prove to be the most beneficial, if you’re up for a challenge! To try Mindfulness Meditation, sit in a quiet space and try focusing on your breathing. Then, let go of all judgement. If negative thoughts creep in, let them go and focus on the silence. Just be in the moment. For more info, check out this article.

                            

Transcendental Meditation:

This type of meditation involves the repetition of a mantra, or a positive saying that has significance to you and your life. It is recommended to practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day, in 20 minute sessions. This is a great approach if your goal is to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, or promote positivity and self-development. This is a good type of meditation for those who struggle to clear the mind and be in the moment, as the mantra guides you in a sense and allows you to focus on your intention. This is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to lift their mood, is recovering from a trauma or experiencing extreme stress or depression. For more info, click here.

(Image via Popsugar)

Guided Meditation:

This is an instructor-led form of meditation that guides you through the process. Different techniques are taught in these sessions, such as body scans and affirmations, and it’s a great option for those who prefer instruction or get distracted easily. The guided style is particularly effective if you have a specific focus on your meditation, something you’re trying to eliminate or achieve like reducing physical tension or overcoming emotions. There are tons of Podcasts and Apps that offer Guided Sessions if you’re interested in trying it out, such as Headspace. Learn more here.

Are you ready to get in touch with your inner self and work toward a self-aware, stress free 2017? Which form of meditation works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!

 


Why Wait for the New Year? 8 Things to do BEFORE 2016 is Over. December 02 2016

So often we wait until January 1 to finally look at our lives, reevaluate, and set goals or put a plan into action. This makes the first day of the new year seem ominous, existential and fraught with pressure and intimidation. Why not start the process a bit earlier and knock a few things off your 2017 list before you wake up with the inevitable post NYE hangover, feeling depressed and overwhelmed as you are finally forced to take a good hard look back at the past year? Attempt at least a few of the following steps over the next month to take some of the pressure off that first day of the New Year and give yourself a head start at accomplishing your goals and following your resolutions!

Tie Up Loose Ends.

You know those smaller items that keep getting pushed to the bottom of your “to do list” every month to make room for seemingly more important ones? Time to face them. Whether they’re household chores, uncomfortable conversations or tedious admin tasks, tackle them one by one and give yourself a clean slate for the new year.

Pay a Visit to your Doctor & Dentist.

Rather than trying to schedule a dozen appointments in January (along with the rest of the world) pay a visit to your doc and dentist and get a check-up before the New Year rush. You’ll feel better knowing you’re healthy and on top of it rather than neglecting any pending health issues until the new year that might impede your forward momentum. (We know, it'd be a whole lot more enticing if the doc looked like this guy.)

(Image via Huffington Post)

Do a Year-End Clean

Go through your closets, file cabinet, and any other storage areas and give them a thorough cleanse. Get rid of anything that hasn’t been worn or used in the last year, or that doesn’t have any purpose for the foreseeable future. The new year will be busy, so you’re more likely to give it the time it deserves now and you’ll feel refreshed and organized come January 1.

Volunteer for the Holidays

This may not be something on your “to do” list, but ending the year with a good deed is good karma, and will set you on a positive and righteous path for the new year. Giving to others less fortunate is a habit we should continue all year round, but this time of year is especially important so that families in need can enjoy the holidays. You’ll feel rewarded after helping others, and this sense of accomplishment will be a great thing to carry into 2017 as you reflect on your year.

Book a Trip

Give yourself something to look forward to in the cold, dreary months of winter to come! Book a trip somewhere you’ve never been. Try to opt for a destination that will both rejuvenate you and enrich your mind and soul.

 

Sign Up for or Renew Your Gym Membership

Don’t wait until after all the boozy parties and rich Holiday dinners to get back on your health and fitness regimen. Get into your routine before the damage is done. Once your program is in motion, it won’t be as hard to motivate yourself to achieve your fitness resolutions as it would be after months of being lazy, inactive, and over indulging.

                     

Organize an End of Year Gathering

Whether it’s a Holiday Bash, a New Year’s Eve soiree, or just a simple dinner or cocktails with close friends, gather some of your most treasured people together before the end of the year. Relationships are a big part of mental well-being, so don’t let your hectic work schedule or family obligations get in the way of spending time with friends and family at this special time of year. It’s a great way to reconnect with loved ones and start the new year in a good place in your relationships.

Write Yourself a Letter

Before you ring in 2017, take some time to write yourself a letter outlining all your accomplishments, significant milestones and events in 2016. Next, describe a few goals you’d like to achieve in the year to come. This should be an annual tradition so that you can look back the following year and compare. This practice also forces us to hold ourselves accountable to our goals so that we are continuously growing and evolving and thus enjoying a more fulfilling life.


Do These 5 Things Every Single Day and Become an Overall Happier Person! November 28 2016

 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives to realize we forget to stop once and a while and enjoy ourselves, and the people around us. This can wear on a person after a while, causing them to unknowingly emit negative vibes. So, it’s important to make a conscious effort to adopt a few daily habits to ensure you remain your happiest, most positive self. Whether it’s a quick moment as you’re going through the motions or a concentrated effort, try these 5 tricks regularly to improve your mood- permanently.

    1. Give Compliments

      Ever stare at that girl in line at the grocery store with amazing boots, coveting, while never bothering to tell her how much you like them? Why not let her know? It’ll make her smile, and as we all know, smiles are contagious. There’s something satisfying about making someone’s day. Plus, it’s the law of attraction, once you’re smiling and feeling good, chances are someone will pay it forward and pay you a compliment next.

       

        2. Keep a Gratitude Journal

          When we start thinking negatively, it’s easy to start losing sight of the positives and thus a snowball effect starts to happen. Once a day, whether it’s in the morning when you wake up or before bed at night, jot down a few things you are grateful for. They can be general or things that happened that day. This will help you maintain perspective and feel grateful for your blessings no matter what comes your way.

           

            3. Look at Negative or Painful Experiences as Lessons Learned

              Inevitably in life we are going to go through some rough patches. Rather than beating yourself up over mistakes made, or seeing time as wasted, look at these experiences as an important lesson you will grow from. These tough times will shape you, strengthen you, and teach you more about yourself than anything else in life. So take a deep breath and consider what you learned from this unfortunate experience, and what you’ll take away from it moving forward.

               

                4. Stop Complaining.

                  Keeping in line with the whole “negative downward spiral” concept, complaining only perpetuates negative thinking. It also projects negative vibes, which no one wants to be around. When a problem or unfortunate circumstance arises, rather than talking about why it sucks, start thinking about how you can solve it or move past it, and talk about that instead. Think you’re not a complainer? Challenge yourself: no complaints for one week. You’ll be shocked how hard it is! But also how other people respond to your lack of negativity.

                   

                    5. Lower Your Expectations and Notice the Small Things.

                      Sure, everyone dreams of grand gestures and huge moments, but so many small acts of kindness and happy moments are lost in between if we set our expectations too high. We’re not suggesting to “settle” or accept less than you deserve, but just to be reasonable and set attainable goals and expectations of others. This way, when those little acts of kindness happen, you won’t miss them. Appreciating these little moments will, naturally make us more grateful and lead to a happier, more positive outlook on life.

                      Try adopting these 5 habits and watch how much better you feel! Here’s to a happier you!


                      Acro Yoga- 5 Reasons Everyone Should Try It! May 31 2016

                      In case you’re not familiar, Acro Yoga is that beautiful practice that involves a graceful symbiosis between partners. When done correctly, it looks like a calculated dance of twisting and tangling of body parts, and a balanced lifting of one another in symmetry that appears light as air and effortless. You’ve no doubt seen hundreds of beautiful pictures of Acro Yoga all over Pinterest and the internet, it’s a hot search item for yoga inspiration. More specifically, Acro is a practice that combines yoga, healing arts and acrobatics. These three practices are of equal importance, and are thought by Acro enthusiasts to perfectly balance each other out. There are two parts of Acro Yoga, and in order to understand the full practice and the relationship between them each person must explore both sides to discover where their true passion lies.

                      Acrobatic (Solar)- Consists of three roles, the Base or “mover”, the Flyer or person being moved, or the Spotter which consists of both.

                      Therapeutic (Lunar)- This person embraces the healing connection and projects loving kindness. They are the giver in the partnership.

                      Still not convinced that Acro Yoga’s for you? Here are 5 pretty solid reasons why everyone should give it a try!

                      It Builds Trust and Partnership Skills

                      In acro yoga, you learn to support others, and in turn you learn to allow others to support you. Acro yoga forces you to trust your body, as well as your partner entirely. The practice involves physically moving another person and vice versa, which requires both total engagement and complete release at times. You will learn to take control by letting go.

                      It Fosters Effective Communication

                      While most types of yoga involve a mind body connection within yourself, Acro Yoga requires you to effectively communicate with your partner. You are not only sharing a physical experience, but a mental one as well. If you don’t work together by physically trusting one another and efficiently communicating verbally, you will fall apart. This is a beneficial skill to have in all areas of life, particularly in partnerships and relationships.

                      Anyone Can Do It

                      Most people assume this style of Yoga is extremely difficult, or that only partners of complimentary sizes or skill levels can participate. This is not true! Acro Yoga focuses on technique more heavily than strength, so, contrary to popular belief, really anyone can participate.

                      Enhances Existing Relationships or Helps Form Meaningful Connections with New People

                      Whether you want to try Acro with an existing partner or friend, or give it a try with a new partner you’ve just met, this practice is an amazing way to foster deep connections based on trust and communication.

                      It Creates a Sense of Community, Tribe and Celebration

                      Being a shared experience rather than a personal journey like most forms of yoga, Acro Yoga creates a real sense of community and celebration unlike any other that stems from exploring your limits and pushing your boundaries as well as your partners.

                      We hope you are feeling inspired to grab a partner and check out an Acro Yoga class soon. You will be surprised at your own strength and ability to trust another if you are open to the process!


                      You Gotta Go Here! 5 Amazing and Affordable Yoga Retreats April 29 2016

                      While any escape from real life can be relaxing and rejuvenating, a yoga retreat simply offers a more fulfilling and nourishing experience than your average vacay. Most retreats are located in breathtaking, scenic locations that you might not find a reason to visit otherwise, and offer a zen atmosphere suitable for personal growth and self-reflection. Retreats also often offer healthy, organic meals leaving you feeling clean and refreshed in both body and mind. Retreats are a wonderful way to meet new, likeminded people, particularly if you are travelling alone or on a journey of personal growth. While these retreats offer a priceless experience, they do, unfortunately often come with a hefty price tag. We’ve sourced out a few little gems that are both affordable, and offer a unique and worthwhile experience. Below are our top 5 yoga retreats, all under $250 a day!

                            

                      Sun Lotus- Cowichan Valley, Vancouver B.C. (June 24–26 & July 22–24 & August 19–21, 2016) - $93/day

                      Self-described as a “magical garden of yoga,” this property sits on its own organic farm, so you can look forward to healthy, fresh and sustainable organic meals. The retreat offers yoga, spiritual dancing, and the option to learn about the benefits of plant medicine from the retreats Shamanic Leader, Joanna Pardhy-Casey.

                              

                      Museflower Retreat & Spa- Chiang Rai, Thailand. (Year Round) $143/day

                      Offered year round, this is a holistic retreat that includes two daily hatha yoga classes, organic vegetarian meals, and a therapeutic massage. This location also boasts amenities like the Himalayan Crystal Salt pool, and access to surrounding tribal villages as well as cultural excursions like elephant trekking tours. Sign me up!

                               

                      Chill’ Asana Retreat- Sayulita, Mexico. – (Year Round) $128/day

                      A hidden gem in the hillsides of the jungle overlooking the Pacific coastline and the Sierra Madre mountains, this retreat incorporates both yoga and martial arts. Co-leader Nathania Stambouli claims these two practices complement each other nicely, as they are both about mindfulness, awareness, and consciousness. The retreat also offers goal-setting workshops and hiking.

                                               

                      Finger Lakes Yogascapes- Ithaca, New York. (August 5-7, 2016) $211/day

                      This all women’s retreat offers the perfect balance of rustic and luxurious, with crisp linens and fresh robes in the heart of nature on the Firelight Campgrounds. The retreat offers Vinyasa & restorative yoga sessions, as well as foraging excursions and waterfall hikes! You can also look forward to a true camping experience with nightly s’more making and stargazing!

                             

                      Kindalini Yoga Detox Week- Sacres, Portugal (March 6-13) $180/Day

                      Located at the Martinhal Sargres Beach Resort, this retreat is surrounded by the beautiful cliffs of the Alentejo coastline. The retreat partners yoga with meditation. Each session focuses on cleansing a specific organ of the body, while some focus on mental detoxification, addressing negativity and fears that are causing a mental roadblock or affecting one’s over-all outlook on life. There is a spa on location that offers a wonderful Ayurvedic healing massage, and is adjacent to beautiful beaches and the Natural Costa Vicenta Park.