Motivating Mondays

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+ Jivamukti

I spent this past weekend at a Jivamukti workshop in Oslo. Øystein and Niclas were here in January at the Yoga Festival and their class moved and inspired me. I loved the spirituality that was weaved in between the asanas, the challenging poses that were set to perfect tunes and the energy from the instructors that brought us all into the present moment. This past weekend did not disappoint me, the class was intimately small and gave us all time to enhance our practice with guided assistance.  Saturdays class left me feeling cracked open, vulnerable but alive, while Sundays class brought be back to earth, grounded and complete. They both give yoga the energy I search for, the presence I love and push me over my own comfort zone. They create an exhilarating experience filled with possibilities.  This clip was played to start off our practice yesterday, I feel it should be a clip that is played every morning.

+ Books Worth Reading

9a2374ac57ea59a8efefcb5e22e74135I love a good book. The comfort and enjoyment I get from those pages in a novel always bring me to a state of being grounded. Unfortunately I have been neglecting it recently and choosing short articles or blog posts, a quick fix and rushing along with my day. This week I will be slowing down and letting the pages and words soak in, settle and ground me. Here are a few of my favorite past reads:

+ Instagram

My Instagram is filled with yoga, food and beautiful friends. Here are a few of my favorite accounts:

Sweat and Oranges, Amy Landry and Sarah Pohl

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+ Monday Mantra: Restore. Renew. Relax. Restore your faith in Humanity. Restore yourself.

Motivating Mondays

Monday

Monday Monday Monday! I was lucky enough this weekend to head up into the mountains and enjoy the warmish winter temperatures but a rather large storm decided to join us as well. Luckily I love storms as much as I do sunny days so I curled up next to a fire and indulged in naps, books, juices, and thought provoking shows. Hope you did something similar : )

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+ Bliss Energy Balls

Soak 2 cups of dried fruit (I love to use a combination of dates, figs, goji berries, golden raisins, and prunes) in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 min. In the meantime place 2 cups of  nuts (I love to use a combination of walnuts, almonds and pecans), 1 cup raw cacao powder, pinch of salt and pinch of cinnamon in the food processor and blend until finely ground. Add soaked fruit until combined. The mixture may resemble bread crumbs but once you start to press them into the shape you wish they will easily stick together! Store in a glass jar or plastic container. Enjoy!

+ Makers

I stumbled upon this show last week and decided I would watch the first episode and see what it was all about. Well I ended up watching all 3. These women were the pioneers in the feminist movement that started after WWII, women who knew there was more to their lives, and who believed in nothing else but their dreams and the collective spirit of women who come together. I only wish these women had graced my history books in High school, hearing all their stories about change, the challenges women faced and how they overcame it all truly had me thinking about what my cause would be.

+ Yoga Causes

Speaking of causes I have this huge urge to go out and volunteer my time as a Yoga Teacher. I have been to both Kenya and South Africa and volunteered in the townships for two different non-profits. However I have this pull towards Africa and have always wanted to able to connect on a different level, be able to give my time, my passion with connecting to others and to be able to lend a hand in a healing process. Yoga is empowering and transforming, and all though  I don’t believe it will fix, or transform what is present in the townships today I would hope it could help someone for one moment in their day to step out of their mind and into their hearts. There are many organizations out there however I find these two very inspiring Mandala House and Africa Yoga.

 

+Monday Mantra : Breathe. Connect with the earth below you and show up for yourself. Breathe

 

Friends + Friday

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Two of my favorite things are friends and Friday. What better than to bring the two together! I met Najiah in Bali at our Teacher Training and I was immediately struck by her sense of calm, the beauty of her poses and how she challenged herself every day. Every fear we were confronted with during our month together Najiah did it with a smile and with grace. She comforted us who cried, and listened to those who needed to speak, she exemplified the most invaluable lessons I have learned in Yoga, the art of giving, being selfless and love. I am beyond thrilled she is my first Friday Friend post! If you are ever in Singapore be sure to reach out for the BEST places to eat. I was only with her for 5 hours but I must have had 6 meals, it was fabulous. If I was to name the one gem Singapore has it is hands down Najiah.

+Hometown: Singapore
+Favorite destination: London or Italy
+Favorite food: Oh God. Too many. But if I had to pick one, I guess it’s real fresh sashimi.
+Favorite Yoga pose: Dancer pose. Just because it’s just so beautiful! And requires an incredible amount of both strength and flexibility! It’s all about the balance (:

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+How did you discover Yoga? Through a friend at work when I was worried I was putting on the weight in a sedentary working environment
+Why do you practice Yoga? For the calmness and serenity it brings me during and after practice. And of course for its endorphins. (:
+What inspires you? Beauty. And people who are true to themselves and others and who pursue what they truly want to do. I find there is some kinda fire and beauty in that.
+Where do you go to find calm and serenity? The Yoga Shala.
+If you had an entire day to show a loved what would you show them in Singapore? Arab St area, the Esplanade, Robertson Quay, China Town, Little India, my home.

+Where and what would you eat? Too many things oh we’d be so stuffed. Dim Sum, nasi lemak, chicken rice, hokkien mee, black pepper crab. The list is endless. Go check out ieatishootipost.sg!

+What is the best kept secret in your current city? Me. Well, okay, I believe it’s my grandmother’s cooking.

Life in a nutshell:

My morning routine is…. Snooze till I can’t snooze anymore. ):
The world needs more…. Love.
I believe in…. Being true to myself.
Love is…. Selfless.
I can’t get enough of…. Learning. About myself, life, food, yoga, anything that interests me really.
Yoga is… something I’m really thankful I found in life for helping me find some balance in a crazy world.
In 2013 I want to…. Oh gosh, I just set my goals (thankfully) few weeks ago. One of them is to practise self-love. Many a time I think I don’t appreciate myself for who I am and am too self-critical, especially when my self esteem isn’t great due to constantly being told I was never good enough since young. So this year, I’m going to tell myself I’m beautiful and give myself little treats to show self-appreciation. (:
My mantra for life is…. to be a good person, someone I’d respect and can trust.

Thank Najiah : )

Follow Najiah for inspirational updates and where she is teaching Yoga!

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Yoga Hangover

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Oslo Yoga Festival. This being my first yoga festival I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I will tell you what I didn’t expect and that was the lesson of patience, surrender, and the process of allowing.

Each day started at 6 am but I decided to give myself some breathing room and ended up coming in a few hours later. This worked out great just because I ended up practicing over 6 hours of yoga each day. And I felt this every morning as I fell out of bed and every night I collapsed into bed. I decided to take advantage of all the different types of yoga while there, indulging in Kundalini, Anusara, Jivamukti, Prana Flow, AcroYoga, Tantsu and Anukalana. Each one was so unbelievably individual, beautiful, inspiring and filled with love. I had this expectation that I would be sore and in pain the next day and this feeling I would also be working through some emotions, but my expectations were just not met. Instead of the emotional experience like I had at my teacher training, these 3 days felt more physical, almost as if I was detoxing physically. Every evening I went to bed with growing pains and tension headaches, and each morning I woke up feeling hung-over. I blamed this first on dehydration and then I likened my mix of yoga classes as if I had mixed too many different types alcohol the night before. Tantsu being my full bodied red wine, AcroYoga the fun and sweet Mojito and Jivamukti being the shot of tequila I knew I would regret in the morning but was such fun in the moment.

I had brought a notebook with me, the intention being I would be so overwhelmed with new information that I just had to write it all down. I didn’t want to miss that mantra that would be uttered by the teacher or the proper alignment and sequence for the new sun salutation I was learning. But I didn’t crack open my book at all. I realized that this weekend was more than writing it all down and later reading it over and over again, it was about being in the moment, letting the flow, the feeling, the vibration and community of the class sink into my cells and letting my body breath the experience. Not living the experience again off of paper but getting on my mat a week from now and being able to tap into that stored memory of my cells, looking back into my heart and remembering the grace, spaciousness and love of the last three days.

The weekend was a blessing, a beautiful experience and as I juiced some veggies, drank bottles of water and breathed into my heart each morning I felt the yoga hangover ease and my mind calmed. I let go of expectations, writing down my feelings and sank into that space where I listened to exactly what it was my heart was saying. “Allow”

“All I want for Christmas”

I just spent the last 45 min trying to find parking at the mall to do some Christmas shopping and after a frustrating encounter with an old man who I believe is this years Ebenezer Scrooge I drove home to unwind. There has to be an easier way to do Christmas shopping without the stress of the mall, parking lots and traffic. I decided to compile this list to help everyone who is unsure on what to get their yogi friend or lover because when it comes to shopping for them it should be as blissful and peaceful as a yoga class. Between Etsy, Pinterest and following my favorite yoga teachers on Twitter I have compiled a list of beautiful and inspiring gifts that will be sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Yogi Reading:

The Women's Health Big Book of Yoga: The Essential Guide to Complete Mind/Body Fitness

Kathryn Budig and Elena Brower have just come out with two empowering and great pieces of work when it comes to Yoga. ‘The Big Book of Yoga’  by Kathryn Budig has been getting rave reviews in the blogsphere, filled with Kathryns kind and strong wisdom, and beautiful pictures of practical yoga poses. She covers topics from yoga philosophy to a yoga sequence that will help with hangovers (New Years recovery plan!) Elena Brower has finally released her powerful and beautiful book ‘The Art of Attention‘  After waiting for this release I can gladly say that this will be in my stocking waiting for me this year. Its a handbook for teachers and a resource for deepening your practice, a piece of art and grace. Origin Magazine is over 200 pages of pure yoga/art/inspiration/culture and love.  Be prepared for fascinating perspectives and intriguing souls. The best part about of this? Its the gift that keeps giving every single month!

Yogi Gear:

PROlite® Mat 180cmYoga Tees and Tanks

I love a new mat. Especially one that has a lifetime guarantee and was made with a strong Vinyasa flow practice in mind. Spoil someone with this Rustic ProLite Manduka mat and watch their practice flourish. Whats almost as good as a new yoga mat? A new outfit, and whats better then a new outfit? A new outfit every single month! This might be the single most genius subscription ever. For $49.99 from PV Body you get a new yoga outfit (Top and Bottom) sent to your house every month. Just take a short test and PV Body stylists are able to put together your fierce yoga warrior outfit with brands that consist of Lululemo, Nux, Colosseum and American Apparel. Etsy is a treasure trove of beautiful handmade yogi finds, and this might just be my favorite, Erin Lorenzen has built a beautiful business around the concept of reusing and reclaiming, she crafts art and tees with soul. Support handmade and local artists, especially when they are yogi fans themselves.

Yogi Treasure:

108 mala rosewood prayer beads and genuine hand made Turquoise gemstone guru bead wrap bracelet or necklace yoga jewelryCrystal Necklace - Raw Quartz Gold Dipped - MEDIUM - Christmas Gifts Under 50 - Handmade Jewelry - Free Shipping in the US

Every Yogi deserves a beautiful string of mala beads and this gorgeous strand of Rosewood and Turquoise wraps delicately around your wrist making it a true gem.  A Raw Quartz Gold Dipped necklace is a perfect accessory for your yogi, bring in some serenity and peace this Christmas season and let them carry that forward into 2013! Last but not least why not treat a loved one to a yoga retreat? There are hundreds of wonderful retreats out there, and they will all inspire, empower and create miracles in ones life, so why not give the gift that just keeps giving? I love this concept of combing yoga with Italy, cooking classes and wine tasting. A trip to Tuscany in July with Jennifer brings a whole new meaning to manifesting and this might just be the ticket to creating a loving and powerful life.

Hope these ideas help you all out! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xox Kelsi