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What does a “Spiritual Person” look like? When you think of a Spiritual Person does this image come to mind?
What if it was more like this:
I first discovered Chris Grosso through a mutual friend Kayla via Twitter. I started following him and vice versa and we have since become friends on Facebook as well. There aren’t alot of us tattooed, alternative folk in the wellness and spiritual circles, so I was excited to check him out.
When first I read Chis’s blog Indie Spiritualist, I was immediately struck by his wise (beyond his years) and humble nature. I was so inspired and moved (literally to tears) by his story and how he came to spirituality. I am also a graduate of the school of hard knocks, and felt an immediate resonance with his story and his message.
When I heard Chris was writing a book I just knew I had to get a copy and do a review & giveaway! Lucky for me Kayla had already bought me signed copy as a gift. In an effort to pay it forward and get this epic book into more hands you will have a chance to get your hands on a signed copy as well (more on that below).
So who is Chris Grosso and what is an Indie Spiritualist?
“Chris Grosso is an independent culturist, recovering addict, and bestselling author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality. He writes for ORIGIN Magazine, Huffington Post and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine. A self-taught musician, Chris has been writing, recording, and touring since the mid 90’s.”
Indie Spiritualist in Chris’s words taken from Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality.
“Spirituality is often of little interest to those who are independent thinkers and don’t necessarily feel like we we fit into the mainstream cultural norms in terms of interests, passions, values, or attitudes. Whether we’re a teenager, a twenty- or thirty -something or older; into punk rock, hip hop, or alternative music; covered in tattoos and piercings; a skateboarder……”
He goes on to say: “Many of us looked to religion or spirituality for answers but soon found that neither the dogma of old religion nor the “love and light” fluffiness of New Age spirituality were approaches that resonated with us. Still, we were left with an internal yearning – one of virtually deafening silence-that compelled us to answer it’s call, but how? What can we do? What about the rest of us who don’t resonate with the exceedingly positive love-and-light movement or the dogmatic tenets of spiritual and religious traditions? What are we left to do when we are looking for something more, something we can embrace exactly as we are?”
Watch the video below for my full review and details on how you can win your very own signed copy.
Chris’s Website: The Indie Spiritualist
To enter to win a signed copy of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality.
Winner will be selected August 30, 2014 using random.org and notified by email
This Giveaway has closed you can get Chris’s book on Amazon.ca here Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality or on Amazon.com here Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality
Do you have specific ideas about Yoga teachers and what it means to be a Yoga teacher? Many Yoga Students buy into myths and stereotypes about Yoga teachers that are commonly portrayed in pop culture and media, but are these misconceptions even true? Putting Yoga teachers up on a pedestal is dangerous, for the teacher and the student as well.
Time and time again There are Yoga Scandals that come to light when the latest Yoga teacher celebrity has a fall from grace and the pedestal they have been put on. Now I am Certainly not excusing unethical behavior on the part of a teacher by any means, but as students of Yoga don’t we have to at least take some of the responsibility for this ourselves?
If we truly embraced that Yoga teachers are Human beings and thereby have flaws just like everyone else, maybe this dichotomy wouldn’t exist.
In the video below I discuss some of the common Yoga Teacher Myths And Stereotypes (I am sure there are many more).
Common Yoga Teacher Stereotypes:
Have you believed any of these stereotypes yourself? In the comments below let me know which Yoga teacher stereotypes I have missed.
Are you striving for a life balanced life, feeling frustrated and like you’re always coming up short?
If you hang out in Yoga & wellness circles long enough, you can start to get the idea that in order to be happy and fulfilled, you should be trying to lead a life of balance or a well balanced life. We feel like we should be eating a balanced diet, have a balanced Yoga practice, get a balanced nights’ rest, we should have “work-life balance”.
Let me tell you why striving for a balanced life is Bullshit. It is impossible to lead a perfectly balanced life. Striving For perfect balance is just one more way for perfectionism to rear it’s ugly head. We can start to feel like, doing all the things we need to do to create a balanced life just adds more to our to-do list. We can start to feel like we aren’t good enough or wise enough to achieve perfect balance in our lives. We secretly wonder how others manage to to create This perfect balanced life.
We need to STOP this right now! Perfect Life Balance is a lie. No one has it. Let it go. What if instead of striving for a life of balance we relaxed into a life of harmony? In the video below I discuss Why Balance Is Bullshit, and how a simple shift in perspective to A Life Of Harmony can change your life (and make you a whole lot happier).
In the comments below let me know where in your life you can let go of Striving For A Balanced Life? In What area of your life could you relax into Harmony instead ?
If you or someone you care about suffers from Arthritis, You’re going to want to check out this book review.
Kim McNeil (a fellow Yoga Therapist and trailblazer) and I follow each other on Instagram. When I saw that Kim had released a book Happy Joints: The Yoga For Arthritis Handbook I knew I had to buy a copy and check it out.
This is the story of how this book came to be in Kim’s own words:
“I had heard too many stories about how arthritis had reduced the quality of life of my family, friends, and students. Their stories were too similar: they went undiagnosed for years, they felt older than their age, they had given up on the things they loved to do, and they were frustrated about how their bodies were no longer working for them. Their physical and mental health had gone down the tubes. When it came to yoga, they felt left out of classes and misunderstood by teachers. I knew yoga could help them feel better again. I heard the testimonials from my students and complete strangers about how yoga helped improve their lives. I saw the changes made in my client’s bodies. I decided there should be a book written just for them, something they could use at home every day to help empower them to manage their pain, stiffness, and depression. I got on the job of creating such a book.” ~Kim McNeil
I cannot rave about this book enough. Watch my video below for my full review and your chance to win a signed copy!
Please check out Kim’s website for more info on Happy Joints: The Yoga For Arthritis Handbook and her Yoga For Arthritis Classes. If you know someone who suffers from Arthritis, share this blog post with them.
FTC Disclaimer: This review is my own unsolicited opinion. I have bought all of my Jade Yoga Mats with my own money. Jade has not given me any products for review or to giveaway.
A few years ago, I decided to order my first Jade Yoga Mat. I heard so many good things from Yogini’s and Yogi’s I respect and admire about the quality and ethics of Jade Mats and Jade as a company.
They are a premium mat and I tend to be thrifty by nature so I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not they would live up to the hype. So I ordered my first Jade Mat; the professional 24 X 74 (in purple of course). It was Love at first Downward Dog and there was no going back. I have bought several now, and have one at each location I teach at. They are the only mat I use and recommend.
I’m doing another order Feb 15/2014 for those of you who are local. I will have order forms at class for you and if you aren’t currently signed up for classes, watch your inbox for details or email me using the contact form on this page. I have a Video Review and Giveaway or you below.
1 star for natural and sustainable
1 star for giving back by planting a tree for every mat bought
1 star for made in the US (sweatshop-free)
1 star for Kick Ass Quality (best mat I have used to date)
I will be giving away 1 -24 X 17 Jade Travel Mat in the color of your choice (colors in the image below)
Giveaway deadline is Feb 15/2014
Giveaway open anywhere in North America
To enter to win a Jade Yoga Travel Mat you must:
1) Subscribe to my blog below (if you are already on my email list, you can add my blog to your subscriptions by “updating your preferences” once you have entered your email.)
2) In the comments below tell me what color of mat you want to win
The winner of the Jade Yoga Mat will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted Via Email, Good Luck!
Wow I can’t believe a year has passed already! One year ago I rang in the New Year on a roof top patio in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was surrounded by fireworks and candle lit lanterns floating by, it was a truly amazing experience. This year I rang In the New Year, inside with my Fella, take-out, a bottle of white wine and an evening of learning to play chess (so fun).
Although I don’t set New Years Resolutions or goals (I prefer to just resolve to change things when I notice I need to). However, I normally do a “year end” reflection on my Birthday (Dec 21) where I reflect on lessons learned, lessons re-learned (sometimes it takes more than once) I do an extended Gratitude Practice & I do set some intentions for “my” next year on my birthday. These three intentions stood out for me when I did my year end for this year. Create, Learn and Travel.
I Hope You Had A Beautiful New Years Eve And Day, Here Are Some New Years Wishes For You.
My Wishes For You This Upcoming Year & Ever After:
Love So Big You Feel Invincible.
Light To Lead You On Your Path.
Support You Can Sink Into.
Soft Sweetness That Brings Tears To Your Eyes.
Strength That Comes From The Depths Of Your Being.
Wisdom That Come From Experience.
Courage To Speak Your Truth, When Your Voice Shakes.
Inspiration To Fuel You On Your Path.
Laughter So Deep Your Belly Aches.
Abundance So That You Never Never Want.
The Generosity To Share Your Blessings With The World.
The Solace Of Friendship To Lighten Your Load.
The Radiance Of Your Own Beauty Reflected Back To You.
The Bravery To Listen To Your Heart, Despite What “they” Say.
Good Health To Live Long With Joy & Grace.
The Silence to Hear Your Hearts Whispers & Dreams.
The Foresight To Follow Your Intuition.
The Humility To See The Lessons.
The Vision To See The Big Picture.
The Reverence To Embrace Your Shadow.
In the comments below let me know what are your intentions or words you have any for your upcoming year?
Gratitude is a pretty big deal to me. I have had a regular daily gratitude practice for a number of years, it has changed my life for the better in so many ways. More on that in the videos below, but first a little history lesson.
Very few of our US neighbors (or Canadians for that matter) know that the origins and history of Canadian Thanksgivings are quite different from our neighbors to the south.
The origins of Canadian Thanksgivings are actually connected to the traditions of Europe rather than of those in the United States. Long before Europeans settled in North America, festivals of thanks and celebrations of harvest took place in Europe in the month of October. The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims came to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
For a few hundred years, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November, before it was declared a national holiday in 1879. It was then, that November 6th was set aside as the official Thanksgiving holiday. But then on January 31, 1957, Canadian Parliament decided that on the second Monday in October, Thanksgiving would be a day of general thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed. Thanksgiving was moved to the second Monday in October in order to give Remembrance Day (November 11th) its just due (Thanksgiving kept falling in the same week).
Thanksgiving is a time that many people take extra time for gratitude. Have you ever considered what a daily gratitude practice would be like? My Daily Gratitude practice has changed my life in so many ways, I cannot recommend it enough. In honor of Thanksgiving, I made a little video for you which includes a Guided Gratitude Meditation. Enjoy!
The other video I mention
As a Yoga and Meditation teacher, I hear some funny misconceptions about Meditation. I confess I believed a couple of them myself before I had any Meditation training. I suffer from the busy brain syndrome (I’m sure none of you can relate) ;-).
I naively thought that I would just sit on a cushion, bring my fingers into an Ancient Mudra and presto, a deep Meditative state leading to enlightenment right?
Imagine my disappointment when I realized that it wasn’t quite that simple. Now some years later, I wish I knew then what I know now About Meditation.
Here are some of the most common Meditation Myths:
Myth #1: I can’t Meditate! I can’t stop my mind from thinking.
The Truth: We all have a busy mind; Racing thoughts, thinking, planning and mental list writing, are normal, everyone has this tendency. In Meditation, we are not trying to stop thinking. Instead, we are just focusing our thoughts on one thing.
Different styles of Meditation use different “things” to focus on but the point of all Meditation practices are the same – to concentrate our awareness on one thing for the duration of the Meditation time.
This can feel really challenging at times. This is why having a Meditation teacher is SO important so you learn the skills and get help and support along the way.
Myth #2: I Don’t have the time to Meditate. I am too busy and stressed!
The Truth: There is an old Zen saying: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” There are plenty of very busy and productive people that have a regular Meditation practice; I am one of them. Again a good Meditation teacher can help you carve out time in your busy schedule to sit in Meditation.
Once you experience the benefits of a regular Meditation practice, you will more easily find windows of time to sit. We make time in life for what we value. When you learn to Meditate, you realize how much time you were unconsciously spending on things that you don’t value. Those little pockets of time = Meditation time.
Myth #3: Meditation isn’t for people like me. I’m not a “New Age”, Spiritual or Religious person.
The Truth: You Don’t have to be “New Age”, Spiritual or Religious person to Meditate. Although Meditation is a cornerstone of many Spiritual paths, Meditation itself is not Religious. There are so many practical, real-world benefits of Meditation that are not at all ‘woo woo’ or New Age.
Myth #4: It must take years to get good at Meditation and experience the benefits.
The Truth: Although some of the long-term benefits Meditations are cumulative, there are many benefits that you can experience right away. A couple common ones are reduced stress, more restful sleep, a sense of calm and more patience and tolerance.
Myth #5: Meditation is for Yogi’s, Swami’s, Monks and Nuns.
The Truth: People from all walks of life Meditate including CEOs, Students, Athletes, Moms, and Dads. Pretty Much anyone who wants to improve their life can Meditate. My Meditation Practice has made me more calm, patient and tolerant of myself and others. I feel more energetic, clear and focused. I sleep better and really cherish my Meditation practice as a way to recharge and take much needed time for myself.
I only wish I knew earlier in life what a gift Meditation could be; I would have started years earlier.
If you are interested in learning how to Meditate. I encourage you to check out my Meditation Course: Meditation 101~Meditation Made Practical. I have taken many Meditation classes over the years, and although some were good, none of them had it all. I have made sure to include all the missing parts from other courses I took in my course Meditation 101
I remember the day like it was yesterday. A number of years ago, I was chatting with my best gal pal, when she dropped the bomb “So you know Lululemon Isn’t made in Canada anymore”. This simple statement threw me into the first 2 stages of grief:
Shock: What Are You Sure? She assured me a Yogini friend of hers had just been in store and the tags now read “Designed in Canada, Made In China”
Denial: No it can’t be true; this Yogini doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Then a couple of days later when the shock had worn off, I had to see for myself. So I marched into my local LuLulemon to prove her wrong and said hello to the next 2 stages of grief.
Anger: OMG it is true! Walking around looking at the tags I found “Designed in Canada, Made In China” Made in China! Made in China!! Made in China!!! As someone who does her best to be socially responsible, I had been doing my best to avoid buying things made in China. The thought of some 8 year old child in a sweatshop making my Yoga clothes was breaking my heart.
Bargaining: Ok, but I have this gift-card I was given for my birthday ….I’ll just spend that, then I’ll never set foot in here again. It was a gift after all I can’t be rude and let it go to waste.
Depression: It had taken me forever to find cute, well-made Yoga clothes that lasted. Was I going have settle for ill-fitted Yoga pants that don’t last. Was I going to have to wear leotards or learn to sew?
Testing: Ok so if I wasn’t going to shop at Lululemon, where could I get my Yoga clothes? So I poured myself a glass of wine (organic of course) and pulled out the laptop. Ahhh the power of Google, I started to search for Yoga clothing made in Canada and Yoga clothing Made In the US. Whadda Know there actually was alot out there.
Acceptance: Once I realized the Love affair was over and could see things clearly, I realized the signs were always there, I just didn’t want to see them. I mean I never really jived with their message or values. I once had the misfortune of over hearing and employee review in a coffee shop and well …it was a bit cult-ish. There was also the lack of larger sizes which always bothered me, as a girl gifted in the bootie they really only had 1 style of pants I could wear. The music was always WAY too loud and I felt like I was at a club. So yah, it was a good thing in the long run Lulu and I were never really meant to be after all.
Lately I have noticed more and Yogini’s ending their love affair with Lulu and many have asked me for recommendations to other lines that are made in Canada or the US. Well since I’ve spent hours online researching this, I’ll be happy to share and save you the work.
I have divided the list according to where they are made, and many of these (although not all) are sustainable as well. There is a little bit for every style of Yogini ranging from the Sporty, The Chic, to the Woodland Fairy and the Punk Rock (or is that just me?)
I hope this helps you shop in line with your values and let me know if you know some I have missed so I can add them to the list.
Disclaimer: At the time of this post I personally checked these sites out, however the companies policies could change at anytime. Always best to double check before ordering to ensure a sweatshop free experience 😉
Esty has a ton of hand made local options as well try typing in Yoga clothes made in ____ (country of choice)
How do we heal our broken hearts in the wake of the flood? I am sure it will take us all many weeks to begin to heal. It’s normal to be processing and healing for a few months and we are likely to feel up and down emotionally and extra drained physically as well.
Although I live in a neighborhood that flooded and was evacuated, I am beyond lucky that my home was dry and safe when I returned. Still, my heart aches for all those who have lost so much. Many of us may have never been through a natural disaster and have no idea how to heal our broken hearts.
I have a few tools to help you cope in the weeks to come:
1) Get involved! Helping others heal helps in turn to heal ourselves. Community is very important right now. If you are looking to volunteer,www.yychelps.ca is a great resource. If you can’t volunteer, consider feeding volunteers; food dropped off to volunteer sites is a great help.
2) Raise Funds. There are many ways to donate money. I have created a Karma (donation) Yoga class to raise funds for my local community, you can see the details by clicking the link below the picture. You can donate through that link even if you cannot attend in person. You can also bring cash to class the day of.
3) Take time for self-care. Now more than ever it is important to take time for yourself to recharge and heal so you can be available to those who need a touchstone or a lighthouse right now. Summer Yoga classes are open for registration and some classes still have spots left. To See All Summer Classes In Detail Including Links To Sign Up Click https://nykdanu.com/yoga/class-schedule.
4) Shop local. Many of the small businesses lost thousands of dollars of stock and lost business during the floods. Small businesses are unlikely to have the float fund that a big box store would. So now, more than ever, is the time go and visit the areas that were devastated by the floods, have meal go for coffee and do a little shopping. Visit http://yycisopen.com/ for a list neighborhoods and businesses that were affected by the flood.
5) Here is a video with a Yoga practice to help in times of stress and insomnia.
Insomnia & Stress Yoga To The Rescue
6) Practice Gratitude. Take some time everyday to be thankful and grateful. It helps to keep things in perspective and focus on the good in our lives, and now is a great time to count your blessings.
To all of you who have been affected by the floods, my thoughts and prayers are with you and together we can heal. Our hearts maybe broken but our spirits need not be.
Much Love & Gratitude,
Nyk Danu Yoga ~ Victoria, BC, Private Yoga Sessions & Yoga Classes
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