Monday, December 28, 2015

Are you a New Year Resolutioner?

Every year, thousands of resolutions are made in the name of the New Year and just as many are broken in the same breath.  What is it about starting a new calendar year that sends us into a frenzy of things we want and ‘need’ to change in our lives? Why does it often times seem to fail us? How do we make the changes we want to see?

Personally, I don’t really like the term ‘resolution.’ It doesn’t hold much power for me. At its’ core, a resolution is really just a decision made in the conscious mind and doesn’t give me the courage or empowerment to take some kind of action. The sub-conscious patterns and beliefs are still so much stronger and take me down every time. It also comes from a place of willpower rather than deep, internal shifts that have been made.

In yoga, the tools we use such as meditation (focused contemplation), asana (physical postures), and pranayama (breath) are there for us to support a significant and long-lasting change from the inside out. When we consistently practice using these tools, our negative thought patterns and undesirable habits start to drop away. It may not be in the timing you’d like it to be, but gradually you begin to transform for the good.

My practice for every New Year is to set intentions and goals. These terms allow for much more flexibility and support through my yoga journey. Yoga doesn’t just give us physical flexibility and strength, but more importantly, mental and emotional balance, stability, and healing. The physical aspects are a lovely little bi-product, but remember the real science and effects of your yoga practice are to move you forward in love and freedom from the things that hold you back in life!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Go ahead and drink the kool-aid!

Yoga is something that has been around for centuries, I’m talking thousands of years. So why in the last few decades, particularly this last one, has it gained so much momentum in many westernized countries?

My thought is because of the potential for community yoga has to offer us among many other positive aspects of the ancient practice. Over the last ten years or so, the lifestyles and therefore consciousness, or ways of thinking, in these parts of the world (mainly the United States) has been shifting significantly. From the Great Recession, to the housing crisis, to the first African American President, we have been changed and are changing still. Our values, priorities, and thinking patterns are being moved and shaken.

The yoga community aims to offer a place of acceptance of all religions, races, and lifestyles. It is a place where anyone can come, breath and connect to their body, mind, and other people. I know that not all yoga communities are this lovely, but the essence and heart of yoga is. This is what we strive for. It’s such an incredible experience to go to a yoga studio you’ve never been to or a festival like ‘Wanderlust’ and meet the most incredible, inspiring people and make them your new friends. 

Yoga is not bound by politics, belief systems, or separatism. The ideal is to create a community of like-minded humans that share their lives and build each other up to be better and positively impact our world. I know we're not perfect, but that's the beauty of yoga; perfection isn't a requirement. Our aim is to embrace and love our struggles and challenges because they are an incredible opportunity to transform and grow. 

I don’t know about you, but that's a community I definitely want to be a part of!

Squaw Valley

Wanderlust, Squaw Valley 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why Paris Matters.

When my husband told me the news of yet another terrorist act in Paris from Friday night, my initial reaction was the all too familiar gut wrenching sensation in my stomach, the stab in my heart, and the racing fear in my head. “Why does this happen? Who is hurt? Are my friends okay?” As someone who is so fiercely intent on making the world a better place by supporting others in healing practices, I always find it so difficult to understand the reasoning behind such actions. My normal process after the shock of it all is usually bewilderment. This is quickly followed by anger. So much anger. Then powerlessness, hopelessness, fear.  I tend to feel a lot of confusion in light of my life experience and the many other humans in the world that are so loving, kind, and beautiful. It just doesn’t make sense.

Not even 12 hours after these horrific events, I was filling up my car after seeing a movie. I had forgotten all about this morning. I walked in to pay and made the normal small talk. The lovely man who served me saw me yawn and said, “Long day?” I replied, “It’s been a long week!” half joking but speaking truthfully with an undertone of dissatisfaction. “And you?” I asked. He enthusiastically said, “I’m good!” (which reminded me of my recent meditation teachings of gratitude). I bounced back with, “Oh I know, you’re right. I have nothing to complain about here!” When I got back into my car and turned on the radio, my memory returned.

I realized then that I do have power in this, and my power lies in my present. For me to honor those that have lost their lives, is to love the hell out of mine; to remember that today is a once in a lifetime gift that I will never have again; to love people in a way that is so unconditional there is no choice but to create a connection. Life is only enriched by the connections we make with others. And not just your mother, sister, or friend that looks like you and believes all the same things you do. But can you truly see past the color of their skin, their religion, career path? Can you open your heart and eyes to see a person as they actually are?

Can you connect on the sole basis of your shared humanity?

When people are disconnected from others and themselves, the world is fragmented and doesn’t often make sense. Our natural state is oneness, interconnectivity, and interdependence. What we do to ourselves, we do to others and vice versa. Let go of the illusion of separation. The way we think about ourselves gives other people permission to do the exact same thing. We must stop looking at our lives as something that is less than a miracle, less than good, less than beautiful.

We must love and be loved. Only this will change our world.

xox Megan

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Well traveled company: a note to self

We are on the plane, heading towards Bali. It was a stressful start, but we made it in the air! We are finally on our way to get married!! Having just spent the last several months of my life giving every spare moment to planning a destination wedding with my fiancé, I've realised very quickly that doing a full time job you've never actually been trained in can be pretty daunting. I'm no wedding planner, but through this process, I've learned a few things...

As a bride, you are expected to organise every last detail from the type of flower to the type of cocktail. Decisions amount to monstrous proportions that any normal human being would find quite overwhelming to say the least. From getting all your best girls together for one day of pampering to sorting out the groomsmen's suits, these decisions are plenty. 

Many times over the last several months, I've been reminded that these decisions are not the important ones. One of the most monumental decisions a person will ever make is choosing a life partner. The importance of this decision is founded on the life altering effects it has on not only the couple, but the entire family unit on either side, the potential children that may come out of the union, and the many years of time and energy invested into the relationship. To many, it may all be a bit too scary and not their cup of tea. For others, what it boils down to is: who do you want to travel with? Who is someone that you can wake up every morning and choose to be your teammate, lover, and friend? When there are travel delays, lost baggage, or missed flights, can you honestly and whole heartedly say in the midst of it all, you are so grateful and lucky to be in the muck and mire with this particular person? That there's no one else you would rather be waiting in the airport with under dire circumstances....Can you work together, compromise, and let go of the little things?

Some of us are lucky enough to meet someone in our lives like this; one that we can travel the journey of life together supporting our triumphs, loving us in our darkness, and growing with us in our times of transition and change. If you are one of the lucky ones, consider yourself blessed beyond measure. Never take your travel companion for granted, but  when you do, apologise. Remind yourself that they are a gift, a rare precious gem that requires polishing and tender, loving care on a daily basis. Just like your relationship to self, it needs connection, healing, compassion. When we take time to cultivate these qualities, they cannot help but expand. Where our attention goes, energy flows. This is one great secret to well travelled company.

"Fear not the future as we know not what it holds. Release the past because it has brought you to this place. And relish every single, incandescent moment as the last one you will ever have." -me

xox Megan

Monday, August 24, 2015

Throwing out the box when conforming is so comfortable.

Recently, I've re-watched the movie 'Mona Lisa Smile" with Julia Roberts starring as the non-traditionalist art history teacher, Katherine Watson. She begins a job at one of the most prestigious and conservative all girls school in 1950's. Massachusetts. Having a Masters Degree from UCLA and more brains than formal training, she was the perfect wrench to be thrown into the cesspool of delusion and hypocrisy typically experienced within the school community. At one point, Katherine takes the girls into a modern art gallery to show them one of the newest and never before seen pieces; an array of textures, colors, and shapes seemingly making absolutely no sense, rhyme or reason. When you took time to look at the piece and the message of the film, it was actually an incredible display of the innately complex, unpredictable, and messy experience we call life. There is no real pattern or paint by number formula to follow. We are all creating each moment whether we realise it or not. The painting was a symbol for the way these incredibly intelligent and capable women were living their lives, expecting it to all go according to the plan set for them by others.

Very often we allow ourselves to be put into a box like this, whether it be by ourselves or someone else. There is an expectation that comes with it that we are supposed to meet. Perfectly. Completely. For a time, we may fit and meet the expectation. But due to the very nature of humanity, our essence, the force of the universe that gave us breath, we continue to shape shift and we eventually outgrow the box. When this happens, we may feel a heavy reflective force from others still holding onto the expectation: we are supposed to fit and stay in the box! The important thing to remember is that no one except you can really understand how uncomfortable that box has become. You're the only one that has to endure the discomfort and sacrifice of living in a box that you no longer fit in. 

So when you start to realize that things have changed, you've grown and your current box is just doesn't seem to feel right anymore, consider throwing it out. Just like a caterpillar throws away her cocoon when it has transformed into a butterfly, it's dropped to the ground and no longer needed. When the butterfly has finally grown it's beautiful wings, it is now totally free to fly.

xox Megan

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top 5 Tips to Enjoyment

With our world being so busy, fast-paced, and overwhelming at times, it’s easy to get swept up in the grip of an unending ‘to-do’ list. There seems to be no time to slow down and do things that make you feel alive and happy. This is no way to spend this one precious, wild, spectacular life you have!

Here are my Top Five Tips on how to create more enjoyment in your life and spend less time on the hamster wheel:

Accept that you can’t do IT ALL

You are a mere human with only so much time, energy, and resources. You can choose to spend these things in a flustered, frantic state, or you can take your time to calmly accomplish only what you're able with a clear, steady mind and breath. According to Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and bestselling author,It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks. It takes four times longer to recognize new things so you’re not saving time; multitasking actually costs time [and you often make more mistakes].” Sometimes, all you need, is a BREAK! Just like ‘Savasana”, you need rest just as much a effort.

Take time to be in nature

Making the conscious decision to re-connect with the natural rhythms of the planet and your body automatically gives a sense of peace and joy. Take a hike in the hills, play with your dog, or walk barefoot on the grass. Taking time to reconnect externally, makes a huge difference internally. When we feel connected, we feel safe and calm which brings us pleasure mentally and physiologically.

Get some Zzzzzzzzzzz’s

Something that feels like it should be so simple and automatic can many times elude us, especially during times of high stress. Most adults need between 7-9 hours per night, and if you don’t regularly get that, your body is under unnecessary stress. When you get a solid night’s rest, you’re more able to face and deal with daily pressures allowing you to fully enjoy the more pleasant parts of your day. Start by setting up a simple routine at least an hour before you want to be sleeping. Keep to the schedule so your brain and body clock can reset. Read a book, rub lavender lotion on your hands, drink camomile tea – anything that relaxes you and tells the brain that it’s time for lights out. This will positively affect that following day, your relationships, and your overall level of life enjoyment.

Let go of comparing yourself to others.

This is a BIG ONE. Comparison is the absolute thief of joy! If you allow your mind to negatively compare yourself to others, you will always feel like you’re lacking. Whether its’ your flabby arms or the boss’ new Mercedes, when we look at others and judge from a place of resentment or jealously, we only hurt ourselves. We also don’t get any closer to reaching that particular ideal. Instead, when you start to compare or feel envy, use those emotions as a trigger to ask yourself,  “what exactly is it about this person or thing that I really want?” If it’s a worthy cause, then ask yourself how you can move toward obtaining it. Use the object of comparison as an inspiration to move toward your own personal goals. It’s never actually about the other person, it’s always something within us that wants to shift!

Practice gratitude.

Some are lucky enough to have more material wealth than others which allows a particular kind of life. Accepting with gratitude what you have been given will allow you to flourish and be the best version of yourself. When we practice being grateful for not just little things, but more significant things, such as clean water, a warm home, an abundance of food supply, our thinking begins to shift into a place of realizing that we already have everything we need to be happy.

xox Megan