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  • 25 Ways to Be a B.A. Yogi

    peacock pose
    1. Brave the Fall…Actually Brave Many Falls. Push through challenges knowing that you may very well take a fall. These falls are lessons and opportunities for growth. No challenge equates to no change. No change equates to stagnation and boredom. You don’t want that. You want to be learning and growing as much as possible.
    2. Keep Your Drishti (Gaze) On Your Mat. It’s so easy to get caught up in what the person next to you or across from you is doing. Yes, it is impressive that so-and-so is practicing more upside down than right side up. But really, what do you care? This is your practice. This is your experience. Cultivate presence. Be really there to marinate in all the amazing effects. Kill the comparison game.
    3. Eliminate Fear. I’m not urging you to be reckless. What I mean is to stop irrational fear from clouding your potential. Some forms are fear are legit. For example, if you recently sprained your neck it probably is not reasonable to try tripod headstand for the first time for fear of re-spraining it. That’s rational. If you refuse to try headstand because you are afraid you will die, that's a different story - a story that you need to re-write, taking fear out of it.
    4. Always Be Evolving. Expand your consciousness. Read. Do. Experience.
    5. Do YOU. Live your truth. Speak your truth. You are more than enough. In fact, you are a freakin’ miracle. Why would you waste your time trying to be anything but you?
    6. Accept That You Can’t Do It All. There’s always another pose, another mantra, another book, another style of yoga, etc. You won’t be able to get it all in. Surrender to that reality, but keep getting in as much as humanly possible!
    7. Never Give Up. Don’t throw in the towel prematurely. There will always be struggles and setbacks on this path. There will always be challenges. Always keep forging ahead, one breath at a time.
    8. Adapt. Be like water. Go with the flow. When you truly let go of expectations, you realize greater freedom and happiness in the practice and in life.
    9. Take Action, Yet Practice Non-attachment. This is the paradox of the yoga practice: The intent to NEVER give up and to ALWAYS let go.
    10. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. My sister once told me, “Less is more, Tessa.” I have to constantly remind myself of this as I obsessively create better and more ways of doing this and that to the point of being totally overwhelmed. Less is usually more manageable. Less is usually more.
    11. Contribute. Ask yourself, “How can I help? How can I be of service? How can I contribute?”
    12. Accept Your Samskaras. We all come from a past – a past that, if you’re human, has parts of darkness and destruction. We all have scars. Yes, some have more and some scars run deeper, but nevertheless we are all flawed. The only way to get over it is to accept it - even embrace it. Those flaws are what make you unique, even beautiful.
    13. Leave Your Ego Out of It. Anytime I start thinking I’m an asana badass, I ultimately do something incredibly humbling. Maybe it’s taking a fall. Maybe it’s a minor injury. Whatever it is, it’s a reminder to get over myself and remain humble.
    14. Learn From Your Mistakes and Move On. You will screw up. Consider these screw ups as opportunities for growth. Then, let them go and move on. It’s a waste of your energy to cling to your past perceived wrongdoings.
    15. Listen to Your Intuitive Body. Any decision I’ve made with my gut has been the right one. Never resist your intuition. It’s so powerful.
    16. Know Who You Really Are. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” Meditate on this question. You will realize that you are many things. A parent, a sibling, a yogi, a daughter, a son, etc. But also realize that you are something destined and designed for greatness. Only you can unveil this greatness.
    17. Forgive. Forgive yourself, forgive your friends, forgive your former loves, forgive your family, forgive that stranger that cut you in line or flipped you off on the freeway, etc. Forgiveness brings peace to your experience.
    18. Express Gratitude. When it’s time to set an intention for the practice and you are blanking, this is a great go-to.
    19. Laugh. It’s just yoga, people! Don’t take it so seriously. Smile. Giggle. Crack up. This is a practice inherent with joy.
    20. Remain Receptive. Yes, we all have emotional walls and blockages. That’s why yoga is so awesome. It enhances expansion and receptivity. It creates more space to receive. Remain open to its potential. When you are fully receptive, awesome things will transpire.
    21. Put Out Positive Vibes. What you put out, you will ultimately receive in some shape or form. So, put out good energy.
    22. Really Live It Up. Don’t half-ass your human experience. It’s so transient, so fill up your precious time fulfilling your dharma (purpose) and doing all those things that bring you joy.
    23. Practice. There’s really no excuse. You’ve got yoga at your fingertips with YogaVibes, so when you’re traveling and on the go-go-go you have a resource to continue with your practice.
    24. Know That You Don’t Have All of the Answers. There is mystery to life. That’s what makes it interesting. It’s impossible to be a know-it-all so let go of any desire or urge to be one. All we can do is get things less wrong. We will never have ultimate understanding.
    25. Accept That Everything Happens for a Reason. If you can embrace this as true, life will flow with greater ease. No doubt it’s difficult – difficult, yet liberating.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Peacock Pose via www.lifeismyantidrug.tumblr.com

  • 10 Ways to Create a Zensual Yoga Space at Home

    Carving out a physical and mental space for your yoga practice at home can be tricky. With all the homely duties and distractions around, it can be hard to let go and get in the zone. I know that’s my challenge at home. With the cat running around, the city street construction, my phone ringing, the amateur band screaming like cats downstairs, and my email/social media outlets tempting me, my focus, understandably, wavers. Here are some tips to create a quiet, spacious realm devoid of noise, clutter, and interference at home.

    1. Escape to the Bedroom Grab your laptop and your yoga mat and head to the bedroom. It’s quiet. It’s private. It’s intimate. It’s the perfect place to get down with your online yoga practice.
    2. De-Clutter Your Practice Space Physical clutter is distracting. Tidy up before your practice so you aren’t making a mental list of cleaning tasks.
    3. Make the Basement an Oasis My Grandpa scarred basement experiences for me. As a child, he convinced me that Horris, an evil monster, haunted the basement. I think I’m still convinced. That being said, I’m not particularly fond of this option, but if you have a spacious, quiet basement conducive to your yoga practice, join Horris.
    4. Head Outdoors Weather permitting, set up your mat in your garden or on the green. Get some fresh air and a solid dose of Vitamin D.
    5. Put the Animals in Another Space We all love our furry friends, but they have this endearing way of sneaking up on us when we are actually trying to do something productive. Put them in another room with some treats and toys.
    6. Silence Your Phone I know it’s tempting to have it around, but this is your time.
    7. Set the Mood I like to make it real nice for myself. I burn some candles or incense. I dim the lights. I tune into Pandora’s Zensual station. Make your space inviting.
    8. Convert the Spare Room to a Studio/Meditation Room If I had a spare room, I’d jump all over this option. I’d do it up with some light yellow walls, hardwood floors, nature photography, a striking temple, meditation pillows, props galore, etc. One day...
    9. Practice on the Patio or Deck Practicing on the deck, especially at sunrise or sunset, is totally elating.
    10. Create a Temple I don’t mean you have to erect a statue of the Buddha in your house. You can, if you want, though. By temple, I mean a little place to practice in front of complete with inspiring pictures of people and places, little trinkets that you like, decorative items, etc.

    When it comes to your yoga at home practice, create an experience for yourself. Sure, sometimes we only have time to unroll our mat and get to it. Reserving a little extra time, though, to create a zensual space can make a world of difference for your practice.

    Make it real nice for yourself.

    ~TJ

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