Since moving to San Diego, lots of new experiences are coming into my life.  New people, new places, new practices.

I went to a new studio last week to attend a class I’ve never been to before with a good friend of mine who swears by this one teacher in particular, Tabu.

It’s interesting how you get to a certain level, you feel comfortable, you feel on top of things, and you develop a level of consistency and confidence around your abilities…

…and then become humbled by crashing onto your face!

After a super intense opening sequence, we were instructed to move into Eka Pada Galavasana, or flying crow.  This is a pose I can normally reliably move into and hold…

…but not, apparently, after burning my muscles out first and becoming drenched in slippery sweat!

I slipped, and literally fell on my face, landing on my right cheekbone right below my eye.

I was shocked.

I had NEVER fallen like this before!

And it was so much less bad than I ever expected.  I was totally fine.

How many times do we not take the chance, or take the leap, or say yes to something, because we are afraid of falling?

But, really, what is the worst that could happen?  Falling is actually not as bad as we think.  In fact, I had a teacher back in Hong Kong who would have us fall intentionally just to GET OVER that fear and out of our own way so we could move on to bigger achievements and greater self-confidence.

Imagine what life could look and feel like if every morning, you took a leap, made a choice, or created a space so big you could fall?  If you got comfortable with getting uncomfortable?  Every single day?

You would be able to do more, expand more, and hold more.

That’s FREEDOM.

Give it a go.  Try it on.   Lay out a plan for a week.  Comment below with how YOU plan to take some big leaps every morning for this upcoming week.  Yes you might fall, and if you do, it probably won’t be as bad as you think.  But what if you don’t fall?  What if you fly?

Have a beautiful day and Namasté,
Julie

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How many times have you thought of a project, gotten SO inspired with creativity, and then halfway through (or–let’s be real–before you even BEGAN) you found reasons why you couldn’t finish (or start) it?

You have to clean the house.

Exercise is more important and thus precludes working on newfound project.

Gotta nourish your relationships with your friends/family/partner instead.

Sleep takes priority.

RESISTANCE.

I’m not saying these aren’t all legitimate things that need to be prioritized.  But sometimes we find that these things come up RIGHT at the time when the project (which–let’s be real–is totally revolutionary) is about to get good.

You know what happens!  Right when you get to the edge of your comfort zone–right when you’re about to expand–you come up with ALL SORTS of reasons why you cannot go there.

And then we get down on ourselves for not finishing/following through/completing what we started.

I have a really important epiphany for you…

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!!

This is actually just a natural part of the process.

This epiphany came to me in a conversation with my photographer and good friend Nikki Incandela, as well as in conversations with my mini-mastermind group where I found myself saying THE SAME THING in both conversations!  I decided to offer YOU this insight in a video I was inspired to cut for you!  In this video, I dig deeper into this epiphany as well as different approaches to get yourself “unstuck” and back to being excited about why you started the project or endeavor in the first place.

 

 

You’ll notice that there are some interesting cuts and strange noises.  Indeed–as I was starting to shoot, I was approached by a hunched old man holding a cage, which he felt compelled to deliver directly to me AS I WAS SHOOTING to show me that inside the cage was a chipmunk.  What I really said was, “Oh my gosh.  Please take that away.”  What I should have said was, “Can I get a picture of this because my tribe will not BELIEVE THIS!”

Guess what.  The creative process isn’t perfect.  There are going to be bumps in the road.

AND THAT’S OKAY!!

And sometimes we need little reminders that that’s okay to get us out of being stuck.  Those reminders can come in the form of friends, a yoga class, or a conversation with a coach like me.

In what way can YOU get creative as you navigate resistance?  Comment below with your ideas and plans!!

Have a beautiful day and Namasté,

Julie

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At this point, my arm had been up for 40 minutes, I was balancing on one foot, and I was on stage with four other people.  Out of the 300 that started.

The ache in my arm was numb….but my calf felt like it was going to break in two as my fine motor muscles worked so hard to try and keep me balanced so that I could obtain my vision of winning the Grand Prize, a $10,000 VIP day that would help me completely transform as a person, coach, and teacher.

Right there amidst it all, literally right next to me on stage, was my dear friend, Cole Bombino, certified health coach and yoga teacher.

She and I practice together almost every day–if not in a physical yoga practice then in an intention-setting exercise that we implement early every morning to spiritually and energetically align with our vision and our day’s intentions.

Even at the beginning of this challenging physical exercise in stamina, she and I actually started breathing in unison.

Her breath, her energy, and her presence helped me feel safe and it helped me feel strong.  I mentioned in Part 1 of this story that my vision was so strong and kept me so focused that I was even able to withstand nearly unbearable physical pain in order to achieve what was an important goal to me.

When we were called on stage, with our arms out and shoulders aching, Cole and I stood together in solidarity, breathing as one strong whole–a whole that was much, much stronger than the sum of its component parts.

And my singular connection to my vision only got me so far.

Surprise #2:

Without Cole there, I know for a fact that I would have given up much, much sooner.

They say there is power in numbers, power in community.  Cole, in that moment, and so much in my life, is my community.  Because of her support and constant energy, I succeed every day, and because of her support and energy at that challenging moment in time, I was one of the last contestants standing for this enormous prize.

In my next post, I will reveal Surprise #3…. and THE OUTCOME!!!!

In the meantime, how could you start to cultivate a stronger community?  Do you find it difficult to constantly stay connected to your vision, your ultimate reason for why you do what you do?  In what ways do you “give up” or “drop the ball” where you may not have if you had someone who bolstered you in moments of weakness? 

Let me know in the comments below, along with the action step you will take to create a partnership, a mentorship, or a peer community in your life that will support you right at those moments when, as one of my amazingly brilliant coaches says, you feel like you’re going to “give up five minutes before the miracle happens.”

Much love and Namasté!

Julie

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It was burning.  It was shaking.  The ache penetrated all the way down to my bones.

My arm had been up for 20 minutes at this point and there was no telling how much longer I would have to hold it there.  15 more minutes?  30 more minutes?  Another hour?

The rule was to keep our arm up straight in front of us (zombie-style), until we were the last person in the room (of 300 people) to be able to keep it up.  The goal?  To win a prize valued at $10,000 (a private VIP day with one of my coaches).

My vision was clear.  I wanted private time with this genius of a woman because I knew I would learn skills and content that would grow me into a better coach, better person, and better teacher.

20 minutes in.  Half the room had sat down.

30 minutes in.  I was one of 10 people left.

My yoga practice always has a way of showing itself at the most unexpected of times.  Here I was, in a large conference event, dressed to the T with my coaching colleagues, and the only thing in my field of perspective was my third eye, and my breathe.

I’ll be honest with you.  I had NO idea I could hold my arm up indefinitely.  But truly, with my eyes closed, my vision clear, and my breath settled into a powerful ujayi rhythm, I could have absolutely held my arm up…for forever.

The pain actually subsided.  25 minutes in or so…I completely stopped noticing it.  All I had was my vision and my breath.  I even had a smile on my face.  At that point, it didn’t actually matter if I won or if I lost.  It was a complete surprise, but I actually learned a lesson in that moment that may have even been more powerful than a $10,000 VIP day, and here it is:

I am so much stronger than I realize.

And you, reader, are so much stronger than you realize.  How would you live your day differently, and make decisions differently, if you had an opportunity to prove to yourself that your mind could tolerate the discomfort and resistance necessary sometimes in growing into your more authentic, vibrant, and thriving self?  How would you push yourself in your physical practice (yoga, running, dancing, etc) if you could realize that your edge may be just a few breaths later than you initially think?  Could you allow yourself to be so connected to your vision that you could give yourself the time and the space to prove to yourself your absolute inner strength???

In next week’s post, I will let you in on Surprise #2, and what ended up happening!

For the meantime, what is something you can do RIGHT NOW that you never thought you could do or do at the level that you would like to?  Allow yourself the time and the space to consider it–and then go do it.  Hold yourself accountable here in the below comment section.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Much love and Namasté!

Julie

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In the last article, we talked about goal setting.  Now that you’ve gotten clear on your goals and what your plan is, it’s time to IMPLEMENT!  This is where most people hit their snags…and ultimately peter out.  And then their goals evaporate into the ethers, never to turn into reality.  Sigh.

How would it feel to keep that momentum of the New Year going, and be able to check something off your list every day that contributes to your larger goal?

Lucky for you, now is EXACTLY the right time to do this!  We just shifted into the Year of the Horse.  Right now, it’s all about freedom.  It’s all about liberation.  It’s all about ease.

Humans, like anything else on this planet, are subject to the laws of physics…and the one I want to talk about today is Newton’s first law of motion which is INERTIA; an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

What this means is: That which is in motion will stay in motion, that which is at rest will stay at rest.

How is this relevant to you?

Changing speed and changing direction are, according to the above law, forces which require external energy.

Most New Year’s Resolutions do not get fulfilled because of the above law–change is an intrinsic part of the process, and if you don’t know where your external energy is coming from to facilitate this process– or you straight up don’t have the external energy to make it happen– then guess what?

Your changes won’t happen!

So how can you ensure that this year, your changes DO happen?

Hop on the back of your new 2014 horse, and utilize this amazing momentum!

Sit down with yourself right now.  Close your eyes.  Palms face up.  Breathe.  Start to become aware of the energies around you.  The ultimate desire of the universe is for you to have ALL the things you want.  You were put on this planet for a reason, and the universe knows that you need certain resources in order to offer your amazing, unique, beautiful gifts.  The universe INSISTS on helping you.  So get quiet.  Listen for the wisdom.  Listen for the advice.  It’s there!  Waiting for you.  Your inner wisdom KNOWS exactly what you need to do to get the things you need to move forward.

I love what Gahl Sasson, one of my favorite astrologists, says about The Year of The Horse:

Like a horse rider, before you mount to ride this year, make sure you know your final destination. Once you do, allow the spontaneity and synchronistic nature of the horse to lead you on the right path towards reaching your goal. The horse has inspired many myths: Pegasus that came out of Medusa’s head and ended up a constellation: leading the way from evil to enlightenment. Buraq, the white stallion that flew Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem on his pilgrimage to meet God. This year can be just as magical, profound and spiritual for you. Make the best of this year of the Wild Horse.

We already did the “final destination” part.  Now it’s time to ride!

Have fun!

Julie

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I recently wrote about the importance and power of believing in miracles.  The last decade represents a true spiritual awakening in my life and an openness to positive belief systems–but never before had it been tested the way it was tested this past week.  I had no space for uncertainty.  Simply put, developing a positive belief mindset was no longer just about me–it was about helping to save my father’s life. 
And it worked.

A miracle came through.  Three days ago my father– a young, athletic, and overall unlikely stroke patient– finally popped his eyes open– after over a week of being in and out of consciousness due to a hemmorhage in the right parietal lobe and motor cortex of his brain.  As of today he was fully awake and able to freely move his right side.
This whole experience with my dad and watching how he and his wife of three years–my amazing angel of a step-mom– interact, has given rise to an observation within me that I have never before thought about: the risks of love.

To fully love someone is to open your heart in a way that says, “No matter WHAT happens, we are in this together.”  This applies to romantic love, familial love, and the love that is shared between friends.

This also applies to the love of a business owner for their budding new entrepreneurial baby.

Or the love of a competitive athlete for their sport.

Or the love of an amateur trying a new, long-desired hobby.

Opening your heart to things outside of your personal control–people, businesses, competitions–is risky.

So why bother?  Why step into that kind of uncertainty?

We take risks because they are worth it.  My dad can’t speak yet (I have faith that he will be able to very soon!) but can communicate with a thumbs up and thumbs down.  I said to him, “You are so lucky to have her, aren’t you?” I said as I gestured to my step-mom.  He responded with a VERY enthusiastic thumbs up.  She gazed at him, in his half-paralyzed state, connected to tubes and wires and lines, and said with a loving smile, “I am so lucky to have him!!”

I risked a rewarding and successful career in academia to pursue an even more rewarding and even more successful career as a mentor, teacher, and coach.  Sacrificing employer benefits, association with a prominent institution, and the recognition brought by peer-reviewed publication, I risked it all–amidst a sea of uncertainty– to pursue a more heart-centered path that fulfills me by helping people directly and profoundly, not to mention that has ultimately filled my bank account much more prominently than my academic career ever did.

And what about you?

Is there an area of your life in which you wish you could take a risk, stepping out of your comfort zone, but your uncertainty is holding you back?  Can you resolve, even for just one day, to imagine how it would feel to take the plunge?  To love more?  To try more?  To BE more?

I would love to hear your feedback and comments.  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Have a beautiful day, many blessings to all, and Namasté.

Julie

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Never before have I experienced a time in my life when my cultivation of gratitude for the present moment and belief in the extraordinary had ever been more applicable.

Last week, we experienced a major upheaval in my family (by the way, thank you all so much for the emails and prayers–I know they are working) in the form of a very serious medical emergency.  My life is now changed forever.  As are the lives of my close family members.

Let me tell you, amidst this devastating change, it is SO easy to go into negative, downward spiral thinking.  Into panic.  Into self-pity.  Into extreme anxiety.

But that doesn’t help anyone, does it?  Instead, I’m learning to dig my heels into the Earth deeper than ever before.  How you do anything is how you do everything, thus, I know that by embracing the miracle of believing in a full return to “normalcy,” I am strengthening my miracle muscles to believe that it is possible to beat all the odds in every area of my life.

I went for a run this morning to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and get some fresh air when I realized that something about the look and feel of the experience reminded me of a Harry Potter movie— the wind howling, the red leaves swirling, the dark colors, the weird lighting.  Although Harry Potter is just a story, it represents a common experience to which we all can relate.   Even with the ultimate fear, the threat of death, Harry stood his ground and courageously faced the present moment.  And each time, miracles occurred.

On behalf of my family, as well as myself, it is vital that I believe with every cell in my body that miracles are possible.  As I deepen my practice of faith, courage, and gratitude in my own life, I invite you to come along with me on the journey.

The next time you experience yourself thinking “I could never do that,” or “This could never happen,” or “There’s no way…” see if you can alter your thinking–“I believe I can do x because I believe in miracles,” or “This will happen because miracles are possible,” or “There IS a way since miracles happen every day.”

Whether you are experiencing doubts in your health, relationships, career, spirituality, or family life, I invite you to cultivate a new approach–the “I believe” approach.  Flex YOUR miracle muscle and let’s find out what miracles we can cultivate.  Please comment below with your thoughts and experiences.

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

 

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You’ve started regularly practicing yoga or meditation or both.  You’ve glimpsed moments of bliss, moments of stillness, moments of peace.

You never before identified yourself as spiritual, but something about the asana practice and the sitting practice impart upon your consciousness a sense of peace that perhaps feels beyond this physical world.  It’s a bird’s eye view that has a simple message: “Just breathe, and all will be okay.”

You start to feel great.

You start to feel like you know all the answers, because all the answers are the same.

This simplicity inspires you, and the more you absorb this experience the more you want to share it with your partner, your family, your friends.

But they… don’t get it.

In fact, the more you talk about it, the more discouraged you begin to feel…”Am I not speaking English?” you wonder.

In a way, the “enlightened” path is indeed a process of acquiring a different language.  It is an absolutely new way of perceiving the world.  And it’s sort of like the experience of a color–could you describe the color red to another person?  No–they need to experience it themselves.  And until they do, there is going to be a breakdown in communication.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this story.  I’ve heard it among my students, clients, friends…and myself.

Yoga and meditation are game-changers.  It is a fact that you cannot do yoga or meditation and not not change.  And those who are not ready for the change will just discontinue their practice.

By its nature, yoga is heart-opening, yoga is humbling, and yoga makes you start to ask a lot of questions.

And as a result, one question that ultimately will begin to come up is “Am I relating to/spending time with the right people?”

If this makes you squeamish or uncomfortable, I am going to give you a piece of wisdom right now that will bring you right back to your center and give you a huge sense of peace:

Before you start to question the mindset/actions/choices of those around you, you must first question the mindset/actions/choices that you yourself are making.

The above gem is a lesson I learned from the spiritual leader, Eckhart Tolle, whom I have been listening to a lot via my podcasts and audiobooks.  When I first learned this lesson, it was like a blanket of light came over me and warmed me with relief and joy and peace.  Rather than assuming the responsibility and burden of worrying all about those around me–all I needed to worry about was myself.

So how about you?  In what areas can you grow and expand on your journey?  What are you going to do to make this happen in your life?  Please leave your comments and thoughts below 🙂

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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This morning as I thought to myself, “What do I want my readers to know today?” the thought of self-confidence came up since that is an issue that comes up very frequently among my students and clients.  Minutes later as I was checking my email, I got this article in my in-box which confirmed my intuition.

So the first thing I want to say, as reiterated in the article, is that it is NORMAL to experience ebbs and flows in self-confidence.  And–as stated so articulately in the article– “if you don’t, you’re not playing your highest game.”  As we know in our yoga practice, being acutely uncomfortable is a good sign!  It means you are pushing your boundaries and making space for new growth and progress.  The amazing thing about the yoga practice is that it provides a safe space for us to explore this sense of discomfort, noticing our patterned reactions to it, and then practicing the art of sitting with that discomfort as it exists in us.  When we practice sitting with that discomfort on the mat, it has immediate off-the-mat and real-life applications.

Another point brought up in the article is the importance of “doing” versus just “thinking” as a means of building confidence.  While the part before “doing” might seem scary, in most cases the actual “doing” is not that scary, and most of all you will feel so proud once you come out the other side.  I love having my students practice arm balances because they almost always believe it is impossible or unattainable for them.  I remember feeling this way, too.  But it truly does not take long– perhaps even just a few days of practice– for the pose to become a reality for that person.  I love giving the cue to move from crow pose, to headstand, to chattaranga dandasana, because people look at me like I’m crazy, and then they try it, and actually do it!  They smile gleefully and proudly, and in that instant their self-confidence has sky-rocketed.

I attended a Mastermind with my coach a few weeks back, and she had a panel of speakers to whom we could ask questions.  One of the speakers, a pro triathlete coach, said that she sets a goal to accomplish something huge every morning.  For her, that means waking up at 5am and going for an open-water swim.  That truly sets the tone for her day and gives her a huge  self-confidence boost and feeling of accomplishment.

You don’t necessarily need to set your alarm for 5am to prepare for a swim in the Pacific, but you may want to consider setting your alarm to wake up and do something powerful to indeed set the tone for a powerful day.  Something that will boost your confidence, make you feel great about yourself, and give you the courage to know you can do it all.  Commit to yourself.

Please comment below with what you are going to do to create that exciting sense of self-confidence!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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When the universe wants me to do something, I know because I get 10 people with the same message coming at me with it at the same time.  So a few weeks ago, the universe decided that I needed to read Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.  Her book is particularly interesting and relevant to me right now because she takes a topic that I talk about a lot, Fear, and really digs much deeper.

Brené  Brown became a star because of her viral video where she talks about the power of vulnerability.  She is a researcher and academic, and her data suggests that vulnerability is the KEY to success, happiness, freedom, peace, and all those other things that people say they want.

In her book, she illustrates the point of how people LOVE to see other people being vulnerable.  We are so attracted to that.  But when it comes to ourselves–vulnerability is the last thing we want to put out there.

Why?

Because we are afraid of shame.

Do you see how this ties back into Fear?  We are so afraid of putting ourselves out there to do the things we would love to do because we are afraid of feeling shame–from being made fun of by those closest to us, from failing, from criticism…and so on.

This might sound a little scary or dark, but actually I find this perspective to be so refreshing.  I find this to truly be one of those situations where shining the light on the dark shadows makes it so that the shadows aren’t there anymore.  In fact, the mere act of reading her book makes me feel somewhat vulnerable, because the more I realize how important vulnerability is the more I realize how much more I need to show it!  I experimented in several different areas of my life, and tried it, and trust me, friends…it works.

So give it a go.  Try and soften a bit.  Whether you are a man or a woman, see what happens when you take down the walls and let someone [you trust] see the real you.  Try it just once.  Then try it once a week.  Then try it once a day.   No matter who you are or what your role is, evidence points to it being one of the most effective ways to achieve recognition, love, peace, and even joy.

I would really love to hear your feedback about how it works for you.  Also if you have read the book, what were your takeaways?  If you haven’t read the book, please go get it and read it and then let me know what you think! 

Comment below with your thoughts!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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