When you live a more authentic life, the benefits are many! By putting time and effort into this endeavor, and learning to be yourself, you are rewarded with an opportunity for real happiness and an ability to achieve your true potential, for example. To get started on this worthwhile journey, give these five practices a try: Be honest with yourself and others.
We often think that the little white lies we tell ourselves and others will make things easier; we think we are doing a favor to others by saving them the time or emotion of the truth. But the reality is, it makes things much more complicated and incredibly dishonest. Stop saying I can’t.
We look out at life and say that we can’t do this or that, and what we say becomes our truth. What we tell the Universe is what we get back from the Universe. So erase “I can’t” from your vocabulary and replace it with I can, I have, I know or I am, and take life and start living in the moment. Take risks.
I’m not saying jump off a cliff, but rather, live boldly. I would rather fall a million times than never fall once. We learn through hardships and risks, and the only bad risk is the one not taken. Speak up.
I often speak what is on my mind and what I desire. And yoga has taught me how to channel that in a positive, more helpful, loving way (better than I could years ago). I often hear people say: if only, or I didn’t know, or I wish someone would have told me, but the truth is, unless you speak up, why should anyone come running to your aide? Don’t blame others for your unspoken wish list. Don’t say I should have, when you know you could have, because we all have a voice and the right to speak up. So when you don’t, it’s no one’s fault but your own. Be a leader.
We need not be trend setters or inventors, but rather leaders in our own lives. You may not be famous, but when you live 100 percent each day with no regrets — truthfully and positively — and speak up in a kind manner, you become the leader for others to follow in living their lives that way too.
Each and every day we must work to be more mindful and work to be the best version of ourselves in all that we do. When we step outside our comfort zones and work just a bit harder than the day before, things get easier and we start to enjoy life more. Hope Zvara is a yoga teacher, trainer and functional fitness expert. Creator of Core Functional Fitness™, Hope specializes in yoga, core work and functional movements. She helps yoga students, yoga teachers and a variety of fitness professionals experience a true mind-body connection through yoga and core functional movement and principles. For more information, visit http://coppertreewellnessstudio.com.
- See more at: http://naturespathways.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2923:5-ways-to-live-a-more-authentic-life&Itemid=577#sthash.0Y81TMd6.dpuf
Greetings to all my dear yogi friends.
I cannot believe how time has flown. Yesterday marks 7 years my husband and I have been married and just six months ago was the anniversary of Copper Tree's opening just 7 years ago as well. I feel like time just goes faster and faster as we get older and it's is all the more reason to be in the moment and soak up every experience that comes our way.
Excuses seem to flood many of our minds and lives when we feel simply too busy to do things, to connect with important people in our lives and to keep tabs on the important things in life.
Now, yes, yes, you are saying easier said than done, and I would surely agree with that, as each day I am challenged to stay on course and keep the path. Knowing that the path may change at a moment's notice and I will need to make sure I have my head in the game to be able to react accordingly when that happens.
But how do we know if our head is not in the game? Well we get snippy at small simple things that happen, we blame others for wrongs in our lives, we blame that we don't have the help, or the ability or the support to get where we want to be, we reject the ideas of others because they were not our own. We resits rather than persist. Or simply turn unmotivated towards any furthering in our lives.
And from my own personal experiences all I can say to that is, those are merely excuses, and if and when you truly desire to go for a goal and get it done, you can and you will. There is always a way and always time, and always help out there if you choose to step away from the ego and ask that person you are too prideful to ask, work overtime to get those tasks done, or turn away from those time leaches like T.V., gossip, computer surfing etc. My very simply mantra is "less talk and more action".
I hold myself highly accountable to the to do lists I have and the desires and dreams I have. And remind myself that if and when I really want something, I am at the end of the day the only one that can go out and make them happen. Weather that is reaching out for help, a guide, gathering the correct tools I need so I'm not spinning my wheels, or maybe it means I step back from doing so much so I can put my energy into what I really need to be doing. Regardless know and understand that the ball is in your court.
So where do I go from here?
1. Make a list of what it is you are working on, what you you have "to do", moving towards, or have in your scope of dreams.
2. Now write down all the excuses you have said to yourself and others as to why those things are not happening, are not in action. Be honest, this exercise is suppose to benefit you not the ego.
3. Now put these things in order from most pressing to least pressing, or short term and long term. This way you can see on paper where you need to put your energy and where you maybe need to be asking for help or stepping back in life. And if you have the time and willingness look out day to day and week to week and see how these tasks fit in each day and most importantly be realistic.
4. Finally, ACTION! One thing at a time, knowing that life does have it ups and downs and knowing that things to change, so be flexible and willing to roll with those little changes. Work to be more open minded and not so critical or jealous of those around you (yes jealous, I check in with my frustration and ask myself if I am comparing and judging and if so I can spot that jealousy and put it to rest).
Action, noting will happen without action, so go out there and make it happen!
We have all been told to "just be yourself' and I have myself questioned what that means, and how to act on that. In this self reflection I have come up with a few things I'd like to share
1. Define your core values, what is important to you, and how you can act on that. Take a few moments or heck a few days and feel out and meditate on what is truly important to you, not just in the hype of the moment when you see someone doing something you too would like to do but, when you close your eyes what holds the greatest value for you. Is it family? Than ask yourself are you acting in a way that values family. Is it your relationship with your partner or your children, for you to be a good parent? Is it your social status and your job? Nothing is bad, just what is important to you?
2. What do you need to do, incorporate into your life or let go of to help add more value and action to you being you? For me, I know there are things I need to let go of and allow others to step up and do in order for me to truly be myself and follow my path, that me holding on is probably inhibiting those around me from reaching their potential and to be themselves as well. For me I know there are things I should be doing to help create balance in my life and allow me to accentuate the true me, but bad habits and ruts allow me to fall. Me being me is where I do what I need to do not based on others but based on me. And when I follow that honestly and truthfully, it is not selfish, but usually the opposite, it helps pave the way for others to be themselves in a non-harming and less self-absorbed way. Remember old habits and mindsets die hard.
3. Just say what you need to say. Not saying what you think or what you need to share is in the end going to eat you alive and also strain the relationships of those involved. Don’t think so? If I don’t share what is on my heart in a loving and honest way (being a forklift) then not only am I going to get eaten alive inside but all those involved are left in the dark and are too unable to change or see something differently which just might allow them to be a bit more true and authentic too.
4. Stop watching so much of others’ lives through social media. So much of what we see in today’s world is edited, cut and copied to draw the best crowd. And most of the time it leaves us feeling like how we are right now is just not good enough. Now don’t get me wrong seeing others work hard and achieve is very motivating, but much of what we expose ourselves to and our kids to is far from that. We do not always know what is going on behind closed doors, we do not know most peoples entire stories, but rather what we hear or see based on what a third party writes, edits or snaps in a photo. Stop now and ask yourself is who you are now based on you and your desires, your morals and your core values or what you see someone else achieving? What you see someone else accomplishing, what you see someone else working towards.
5. Be you for a day and own it! Yep, just for a day, work to authentically be you. Make choices based on what matters to you, now some may say that is selfish, but the difference between being selfish and taking care of the self is that you are not in the business of hurting others. When a person truly honors the self and acts in a truthful way others do not get hurt, and if at first their ego is bruised well then that is for them to deal with. So just for that 24 hour period test the waters on making choices and choosing activities and creating a healthy language that best serves you as a person.
Just because someone said you can’t do that, or you see someone achieving something a certain way does not mean that is the only way; it does not mean that you have to mimic those footsteps. One thing I am learning right now in my own life is how to not worry so much about how people will react to my choices, and how to honor my own inner desires and life calling, and knowing that when I do this, those around me will actually be more able to follow their own paths, desires and dreams. Because when you do you, others will be able to do the same.
So go out and make your own mold, be your own person, create your own beat and your own drum to play on. There are probably many people out there doing something similar to what you desire or are trying to achieve, but there is only one person equipped for the job of your destiny and that person is you!
There are 30 trillion cells in the human body, more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels, 88,000 chakras, and 72,000 nadis. And that's just the beginning.
Awareness is a funny thing. Usually, until something is brought to your attention, you do not realize it exists, is important, or needs to be changed. When I first started a formal yoga practice over ten years ago (I’m pretty sure my shoulder stands in my living room at age eight were a sign yoga was in my future), I had no clue what awareness was. Growing up I was told to pay attention, but I don’t think I really knew what actual awareness was.
What is awareness?
To continue reading this article visit MindBodyGreen.com (CLICK HERE)Awareness, Meditation, Trust, yoga, Chakras
To view the original posting of this article visit www.NaturesPathways.com and don't forget to "LIKE" this article.
- Yoga is not a fashion show. It can sometimes appear that yoga is in fact a fashion runway where people are able to show off the latest trends and styles via their yoga mat. The only problem is when someone can’t afford those expensive duds (as most yoga clothes are) they can feel less than perfect. A few years back, I remember hearing about a yoga fashion show happening, and I had to step back for a moment and ask myself, “Is this even yoga anymore?”
- Yoga is not a workout. Now I bet you are thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” But hear me out. Yoga in the West is mainly physical, and that being said, many treat it like an exercise routine; something they use to cross train with, and that is great and wonderful. However, asana is only one of the eight limbs of yoga, so really, when yoga is a work out, then you are simply asana-ing.
- Yoga is not a fad. Now, many use yoga coupled with other practices to make it sound trendier, more hip, and what they end up doing is taking the yoga out of yoga. I giggle at the phone calls I get from time to time from prospective students, very explicit about the kind of yoga they are looking for; they don’t really know anything about yoga itself, just that the kind they are looking for includes a buzz word and sounds very difficult.
- Yoga is not boot camp. It seems a little oxymoron to me to put boot camp and yoga together; you might as well call it military yoga. What I hope people are realizing is they are buying into buzz words, or spiking terms, that promise to give them results fast, and a boot camp has that appeal. If you want yoga to kick your butt, then find a teacher who is capable of truly teaching you what you are doing and what it means to practice yoga.
- Yoga is not a religion. Contrary to what some may still think, yoga is not a religion. It is something to help enhance your belief system and spirituality, but not a practice that deems a particular faith. Yoga is without a doubt a science of consciousness. Some say religion creates walls, well then yoga cultivates a communion of consciousness together as One.
- Yoga is not competition. I heard this past year that the Olympic committee was considering putting yoga in the mix of other sports for the Olympic Games. What?! Yoga as a competition totally defeats the entire purpose of a yoga practice in the first place. Focusing on the physical only, and then worrying about beating someone else and being judged on your form, posture and approach; someone might as well follow you around all day and flip up score cards as to how they think you are living your life.
- Yoga is not about your teacher. I heard the term “yoga celebrity” a few years ago and I was saddened to hear such a term. Can you really be a celebrity of yoga? Apparently so, and yes, a good teacher is hard to find, but what makes a good teacher is not fame and living on the Cali coast. As your teacher, I would want nothing more than to truly help you understand what living a yogic lifestyle means, not just to teach you asana. And in those teachings, a yoga teacher’s aim should be, to in the end, have a student that is ten times better than she (or he) would ever be.
- Yoga is not a destination. Yoga is quite simply a journey. A journey that can lead to an endless array of possibilities. We often get fixed on mastering a pose, and then once we have mastered that pose, we realize that it wasn’t the pose at all, but the journey to the pose that gave us such joy and accomplishment.
- Yoga is not a quick fix. I hear it all the time from students, “What can I do for this issue?” And to be quite honest, even on a physical level, it is not that simple. Our bodies took years to get to where we are, and to be able to un-do something in two simple moves is ridiculous and simply not possible. It takes time to truly understand the body, why we are the way we are and, most importantly, to heal. Yoga is a lifelong practice, one thing leading into the next, much like a dance. Think of all the old-time dances; they took time, there was precision, purpose and mindfulness involved. Sounds like yoga to me!
- Yoga is not something we do. Yoga isn’t something you do, it is a state of being. Yoga is what some call a complete union of all things consciousness, but more importantly, yoga is you, me, the trees, air, your breath, a smile, a pose, the sound Om. Yoga is the beginning and end of everything, yoga is all that is in existence. You can never really ever do yoga; you can only practice yoga. Much like you can never really do life; you can only live life. Yoga is the action of life.
Hope in her backyard in Dancer Pose
We have all said it to someone, had someone say it to us or even said it to ourselves in a moment of self realization: You need to take better care of yourself, take more time for you and maybe even learn to say no.
We do in fact get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday living that we forget that if we do not pay attention to our personal needs and well-being there will quite simply be no us, no you, no me. Within this honoring, this mindfulness we are in-acting towards ourselves it has been very apparent to me that this act of selflessness needs to be coupled with an intention, awareness and consideration of those around us as well.
We often times get too caught up in our own "stuff" we forget that what we do, the choices we make and the things we say affect those around us.
Consciousness of who we are, what we are doing and how we live is something we must choose to do each day and then act or react accordingly.
I have found myself lately in situations that have been teaching me about my own consciousness and how I am in fact playing into others lack thereof. I ultimately care so much about my foresight has been that I will sacrifice myself for others to move forward. But I have noticed lately, more than ever, that there is seldom a return on this (when you are not truly honoring your own being). Now I know some of you will say “sure there is”. But what I have ultimately found is that the self sacrifice I am referring to is the one where we are in fact enabling those around us to stay stuck, even though they may get what they need: a ride, some money, help, or a hand out with our having asked, but within that process we end up sinking our own beings to help them stay afloat with nothing in return.
Many times we (the enablers) make choices and act in such ways because we feel we may be inconveniencing others and in return they may not want to buy something of yours or come to your party or help you when you are down and out. What we often times forget is that in doing such this, with these intentions and mindset no one wins. Sure that person is down on their luck, in a bind or struggle but if you keep helping them how will they learn, and if you keep helping them how will you learn? When we act I this way we are actually holding the other people involved back from growing, we are enabling their karma to never fully meet with them face to face because we feel bad or we want to help because we feel guilty or they pull out the victim card on us. And as much as we are trying to help them honor themselves by assisting them in making the right choices, helping them heal from a crisis, we need to turn that around towards us and ask ourselves if we are doing the same thing?
The truth is we all have problems; we all have rough patches, bumps and mishaps; now some come in the form of cancer, dis-ease, financial loss, martial or family problems, and self insecurities that may in turn become horrible self destructive addictions. But these are purely learning lessons, some very difficult, some sudden, or seemingly unfair, but if you can step back from them a bit and trust that everything is in its perfect place and a learning opportunity we will only move forward leaving no one accountable for our actions except ourselves. My life has screamed this for as far as I can remember. As a young child I felt the need to fix everything, in my teens I struggled with a paralyzing eating disorder and then early into recovery our first daughter Faith at 28 weeks gestation was diagnosed with a irreversible condition that left her with a short life spent in my arms (and my husband’s). I had to choose each time to not see myself as a victim, to not blame everyone around me and to not blame myself. I choose at each moment (literally) to see what the silver lining was, to see that life was teaching me, Faith chose this life and chose me and my husband as part of her path and we to hers. She gave me personally many great things that I am grateful for and she would have not given me them any other way. Just like your current life and situation is giving you something right now to grow from, to help change your life and work through your karma.
So when we learn to honor ourselves, and act in a self-less way, we need to ask ourselves this “am I helping or hurting”, these choices should hold us accountable to our actions, words and thoughts. Remember the lady in McDonalds with the coffee, I believe that this episode paved the way for people to believe that self integrity, self responsibility and accountability will not get you what you want, we now live in a society that would rather divorce than admit that they were wrong, sue every company, person and organization than step up and do a little hard work and grow. Much of the ownership in today’s society comes in all the wrong forms. Respect is bought, stolen, or cheated, we are taught that honesty will not get you far in life, and we are taught to be enabled from early on.
Simply put, when we learn to respect ourselves, see the greater good in ourselves and lead by example what seems so hard, unfair or impossible only becomes the biggest stepping stone in your karmic journey. Sink or swim, look around is anyone really pushing you under? For me (during my eating disorder) I found I was letting myself drown, and manipulating those around me to keep me afloat just enough not to have to change.
So go out and take better care of yourself, but in that process seek awareness and understand that we are only given what we need and have asked for ourselves through our own choices and actions.
Core strength isn’t just about looking thin; your core is your identity center and connects all your movements. For these reasons and more, having core strength will improve your mind, body, and soul.
1. Learn deep abdominal breathing (DAB). Most people in today’s society are chest breathers, and this kind of breathing leads to a slew of side effects like anxiety, asthma, sleep disturbances, stress, poor digestion, and constipation just to name a few. Distance yourself from chest breathing by practicing deep abdominal breathing before you get out of bed in the morning and when you lay down to go to sleep. DAB is a great technique to help bring more awareness to your core, the center of your being. Here’s how to practice it:
To continue reading this article by Hope Zvara visit Greenster.com (click on Greenster)
- Place one hand on your lower abdomen and one hand on your upper belly, now take a moment and relax into the bed or floor.
- On the inhalation consciously move your breath into the upper hand and then begin to consciously expand your breath into the lower hand.
- Exhale and allow the breath to fully complete itself, do not worry about how the breath leaves (bottom to top or top to bottom), and try to make the exhalation slightly longer than the inhalation.
- Pay attention that the exhalation fully completes itself and that nothing is forced; your body will accept the breath as you continue to work.
- Work with this for at least three to five minutes or until you fall asleep (at night).
Happy New Year! With each New Year comes yet another opportunity to regain a sense of self. Regain a sense of purpose and right attitude. I do my best to stay away from the news and adrenal overload fed media messages, but even when avoiding that stuff I am amazed at how much we as people feed into it. Commercials and television shows, new fitness fads and crazy diets. And somehow we as a people believe that this is a means to regain our sense of self, get our lives back so to speak. And what I have observed even more is that for whatever reason I notice people constantly saying in the new year or next week after such and such I will change this or stop doing that. So I wonder to myself what is so special about a day that we put off something we absolutely need or desire to do, to only self-sabotage for a few more days. So along comes the infamous New Year’s day and then for some reason the punishment starts; diets, boot camps and unhealthy “healthy” fasts and workout that are called insanity. Are we insane? Take a look at the few things I listed and notice what they all have in common…..one, they all are crazy and two, none of them offer us a sense of self-esteem, slow continuous change and an understanding as to why we are feeling the need to do these things in the first place.
Each year people ask me what my client retention is at the studio after the first of the year, and usually reply oh good, like anything we of course have a few new people come and a few old people come back and after a few months we have a few of those new people fade away and a few old people do the same. And what I continually remind people is that neither one outcome is good or bad but rather an important thing to remember is that change takes time, and change is hard, and real change takes effort and does not happen overnight. I struggled with an eating disorder for over ten years and I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I tried to stop, to cold turkey turn away from this daunting habit, an addiction-what I know as pure hell.
And maybe some of you are like me and wake up in the morning and say today I’m going to stop doing XYZ, only to find that three hours later you are doing the exact thing you said you were not going to do. And maybe you are also like me in that you get something in your head and instead of finding a healthy balance you go to the extreme and practically kill yourself in the hopes of getting the results you want at literally all costs.
What I am getting at is you can do all the Jillian Boot Camps and go inane on your insanity videos, cut out carbs, gluten, and drink only juice, but none of these things will help you to understand why in the first place you are doing the things you are doing or not doing the things you desire to do.
What you choose to offer yourself in the New Year should allow you to dig deep, be slow and steady and help you change your mind set and attitude. Because what good is a killer body if the person living inside it is rude, negative, insecure or scared.
So for the New Year consider five things:
1. Try adding something to your life that will nourish your soul a bit more.
All that bleeping, shouting, arguing, hitting we accept as normal, is not only imposing violence in us as adults but into our children as well. Choose to step away, and it is as simple as turning off the T.V. and turning on a family conversation.
2. Don’t start a gratitude journal. I love the idea, but to be honest, sharing what you are grateful for with those you love is much more empowering and nurturing for everyone involved. Plus if you have kids it shows them what gratitude really is and for a partner that may not see the light quite yet, may come around sooner than later.
3. Stop with the excuses. My yoga has allowed me to notice the large amount of excuses I was using at one time and now how many the world uses. One thing I have been working on for quite some time is to stop making excuses. Excuses as to why you haven’t been to yoga or why your kids are out of control, why you’re stressed or say you have no time. Realizing my excuses has allowed me to take back responsibility for my life, stop blaming and start living. I don’t get all done I would like but, I know it’s me that can change that, not everyone else.
4. Finally, commit to something. We all have these crazy big plans for the new year, class every day, health harming diets, earlier bed times, no candy for our kids, just to name a few, and the reality is that we just need to commit, and once we commit, realize that we need to start slow in order to find long term results. Few students I have that come three to four times a week started that way initially. Over time they saw value in the classes they were taking and they over time noticed their bodies change as well as their minds and relationships change. And most say it usually just happened without force.
So if you are forcing something in your life I urge you to step back and take a breath because an all or nothing attitude will usually leave you with all stress or nothing left to give.
Re think your plan of action for the new year and consider stepping back before going all in, because is what you are diving into going to help you resolve what the real issue is, and give you the long term happiness? The happiness we all are craving.
Image provided by: Quotes to Live By
It’s that time of year again where the hustle and bustle of shoppers, parties and concerts fill every moment of free time we have. I am familiar with the catch phrase Christmas Creep and in driving home from a Thanksgiving dinner we passed Wal-Mart and looking over my husband and I see the entire parking lot of the local store plum full with no room to spare. I glance at the clock and see the time 8:06pm and am in amazement that there are this many people thinking about shopping, deals, T.V., tablets, and games they probably don’t need and worst yet, feeling the need to get in their cars on a day to my understanding is about family, thanks and coming together, and they want to spend it at Wal-Mart.
As I get older and continue down my path the more I realize what is important to me, I realize what I truly want and need in life to be happy and it is nothing a Wal-Mart Superstore on the evening of Thanksgiving could ever give me. My yoga practice (my life) has brought me a level of consciousness that to me is irreplaceable and sometimes unexplainable to others. From the second I wake up I notice the bombarding of the message, that what we have isn’t good enough, that there is something better out there than what we have, and it is no surprise that this is amplified at a time in the year that is so not about gifts, and instead we are being sent messages of all sort that we need to get up now and go to a store and buy a gift or else. And in noticing this all, I have also realized that we as a people have adapted this mindset to our lives as well.
I find it interesting that no one seems to ever complain about the brainwashing messages our media sends us, but during the holidays the second we see a bumper sticker, hear a radio ad or overhear someone chatting about how we should keep Christ in Christmas we feel offended, irritated and uncomfortable. From my childhood to today I have noticed a decrease in “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Chanukah” ads and an increase in political correct greetings such as “Happy Holidays”. Really people? Kids can’t even have a Christmas party at school anymore in the fear that a parent might feel offended by the word “Christ-mas”. Weather you believe in Christ or not, weather you follow a certain religion or not, I think we all can agree that no matter what, this season is about family, it’s about giving from the heart, it’s about going outside yourself and realizing that there is someone out there that has less than you and guess what, there is someone out there that has more than you, so what. Because what if Christmas really mean Content-mas, Kind-mas, Forgive-mas, Together-mas.
The day I stopped trying to fit in a box, the day I stopped trying to fit the mold exactly, I was able to learn what faith really meant, what religion was possibly originally designed to do, bring people of like values and beliefs together to create a family. How have we gotten so far away from this?
So if you see me in passing please don’t feel offended if I offer you a Merry Christmas, a Peace be with You, a God Bless or a Happy Chanukah, I have learned over the last several years that when we take something so personal, when we get upset over something so out of context, it is because we ourselves don’t understand it, we ourselves are trying to figure out where we stand, and we ourselves might just be missing the point. I’ve been there, I get it and my hope and prayer is that you are able to get it too. When something is offered from the heart it can never turn bad unless you let it.
Happy Christmas, Merry Holidays, Peace be with you and Happy Chanukah to all!
With the New Year quickly approaching, it is hard not to hear people talking about change and New Year’s resolutions. Typically, people try to use the New Year as an opportunity to break old habits and take on something new. Whether this is how you feel or not, this year, instead of taking on something new, simply let go of your old ways and simplify your life.
Let go and you will discover a new you.1. Clear your closet. We hold on to our wardrobe for all sorts of reasons: lack of funds, memories, status, and sometimes a personal attachment. Seems harmless enough. But there’s emotional clutter that comes with busting closets and basement storage bins of clothes that are simply holding you back and keeping you from a better flow of energy, a new you. Let go of these clothes: a good rule of thumb is that every time you want to go shopping you have to purge a few things; when items are worn, torn and simply falling apart, retire the items to painting clothes, rags or, if in well enough condition, a thrift store.
To continue reading this wonderful blog post by Hope Zvara visit Greenster Magazine and don't forget to let us know what you think!