The fact is, the majority of the people on this planet live in Fear.  They have fears about money security, fears about the viability of their relationships, and most significantly, fears about themselves and their self-worth.  Does this sound familiar?

Here is what I can say for sure.  Everyone has these fears.  The only difference between those who soar to the sky with success and abundance and those who stay cornered in scarcity and darkness is a sense of Faith.  Those who soar have faith that they have what it takes.  They have faith that they will be given the tools as they take steps.  They have faith that the Universe supports them.

I experienced this sense of Faith firsthand MULTIPLE times this week alone.  I found that with every step I took where there was a chance I could fall off the cliff, a flying carpet came along to pick me up and help me keep going.  This was not a coincidence of this week.  This has happened to me throughout my entire life.  It’s actually happened to you throughout your entire life, too–but did you see your flying carpet?  Or were you too busy looking up and around and behind you for a more predictable structure…like a bridge or staircase?

I can tell you with complete certainty that you have had multiple flying carpets come and go throughout your life to help get you to the other side of the path.  It appeared in the form of a person.  Or a sum of money.  Or a career opportunity.

The question is–was your mindset one of blinding fear, where you totally MISSED that person, or the money, or the opportunity, or were you open to something unexpected and out of your control, but perfect for that moment?  Something even BETTER than you could have put together by yourself?  This concept connects with the understanding that TRUE security comes from having a strong sense of personal freedom, which is an experience that you cultivate everyday within your mindset of trust in Universal support.

I want you to take this chance to look for a flying carpet this week.  In knowing and having Faith that you are totally supported and looked after, see what creative solutions are available in your life RIGHT NOW!  Comment below with your experience!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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I’ve just come home from a weekend away where I joined my mentor and a group of very powerful women at an Entrepreneurial Mastermind in San Diego.  These women are moms, former-corporate hustlers, yoginis, healers, retailers, and they all have one thing in common: They are very passionate about what they do.  So of course, I felt right at home.

The other amazing thing that we all shared in common was how very free we all felt.  We all own our time, we could take a weekend away no problem, and we could go back home to our businesses and pick up from wherever we wanted.  Which in most cases, was much further along than where we left off prior to the Mastermind!

Each of us was made for this kind of freedom.  It’s where true creativity and inspiration are born.  We know this, and thrive in it, but there is a common response among our friends and family and society in general to this way of living.  To most people, freedom is really scary.  With no one else to tell you how to structure your time, what will you do?  With whom will you interact?  And, foremost on many peoples’ minds, from where will you get your income?

These are precisely the sort of blocks that set us up to believe that freedom and security are directly oppositional.  This mindset is actually false, and it is actually an illusion.  I was inspired for the subject matter in today’s post by a podcast by one of my heros, Summer McStravick, who spoke on this topic earlier this week.  I actually met my business mentor through Summer, and she shares a similar sentiment about freedom.  She wrote about it here.

Both of these extraordinary women share this belief:  Security is actually achieved THROUGH freedom.  If you KNOW how to support yourself on your own, and if you can operate your own thriving business, you don’t need to worry about the economy.  You don’t need to worry about the government shutting down.  You don’t need to worry about someone firing you!  Because you know that even if you lose it ALL, you will know exactly what you need to do to make it all back again.

Once you start to wrap your head around this, you will begin to see how you can structure your day in a way where you maximize each moment and work efficiently, because you will have confidence in where you need to invest your energy.  And the rest of the time…you can do whatever you want!  Like go to San Diego for a Mastermind!

Where in your life are you frittering away your time so that you can be busy to feel better?  Where can you start to access more FREEDOM?  Comment below with your story!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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I taught a class this evening and I found a certain theme kept appearing in my narration during the class: Surrender.  I spoke about surrendering to the physical body and trusting it can hold itself.  Surrendering to gravity and letting it support you so you don’t have to grip.  Surrendering your worries and tensions to the higher power to be taken care of on your behalf.

Whether we were in heart-opening poses or contracted twists or compressive forward folds, it was consistently the theme of surrender that kept emerging.  In our heart-openers, we offer our love and gratitude to the higher power to show us the way, in our twists, we surrender any gripping or tension as we breathe into the smaller spaces so they can feel even more open when we release, and in the forward folds, we just let our tensions and anxieties melt out and away from us as we release forward into the nourishing, supported bend.

One of my students approached me after class, in awe, and expressed that the message of surrender was exactly what she needed to hear.  She said she had had a very busy and stressful week thus far, and being giving permission to let go and release that which she was so actively trying to control was quite literally the precise message she was waiting for.  In fact, she was so relieved of her feelings of needing to hold on that she almost forgot her yoga mat in the classroom!

I realized as I was teaching that the words I was speaking were also words I needed to hear myself.  I believe they are words that can actually benefit everyone.  So where in your life can you let go?  What muscles are you clenching, what organs are you contracting, exerting extra unecessarily?  Can you actually release those areas?  Take a moment today to sit and breathe quietly, scanning your whole body as you release the unecessary holding one body part at a time–from your scalp to your toenails.

Let me know in the comment box below–what did you release, and what did it feel like?

Have a beautiful rest of your day, and Namasté.

Julie

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I often find in my life that certain words or themes tend to pop up in a repetitive way causing me to really pay attention to them.  Right now, a theme that is showing up a lot is “Commitment.”  Every day, each of us has a choice to wake up and get connected with our goals, and then start our day as we execute them.  However, despite our best intentions, many times we get sidetracked, distracted, or even downright lazy, and never reach the goals we desire.  Often times weeks, or even months, go by with this sort of patterning, and before we know it, that beautiful goal we envisioned feels like an impossibility.

The fact is–that goal is the farthest thing from impossible.  I would go as far as to say that your goal is MUCH easier to reach than you think it is.

I think each of us can relate to getting down on ourselves if we do not reach the goals we set for ourselves.  Some of that downward-spiraling self-talk begins.  However, the issue of not achieving a goal you set has nothing actually to do with anything intrinsically wrong or faulty with you!  The issue is one of commitment.  How serious are you about acheiving your goal?  How committed are you to doing what it takes?  If you’re not committed to a certain goal, no big deal, let it go and move on.  No need to beat yourself up over it.  Find a new goal.  Find one that you know you want to follow through on.  And then seriously commit yourself to it.

Yes, there are times when the action steps involved with “commitment” may seem daunting or intimidating, but more often than not, doing what needs to be done is WAY easier than you think it will be, and with each small victory, you will not only feel better about yourself, but your commitment will grow even more, because it feels good to follow through!

What are you commiting to THIS week?  What are you serious about changing?  Start with something you perceive as relatively easy to follow through on.  Hold yourself accountable by sharing your goal in the comment box below!  And then enjoy the glow of making it happen for yourself.

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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Upon hosting The Body-Spirit Connection, I noticed one theme repeat itself among each of the interviews I conducted: Fear.  Because our on-the-mat experience is merely a reflection of our real life off-the-mat experience, the patterns we notice during our practice are applicable to our every day life, as well.  In Part I of this blog series, I discussed the real life impacts of fear, in Part II, the topic was using a certain asana, backbends, as a tool for getting more comfortable with fear, and today I will discuss how fear keeps us from “letting go.”

How often do you find yourself in a balancing posture, and you’re biting your lip, your shrugging your shoulder, you’re holding your breath, and you’re clenching your butt, all in hopes of holding the posture in the most “perfect” shape you can?  A good teacher knows that most students do this out of habit, and will explicitly tell them to start letting go…shoulders relax, jaw becomes soft, breathing is fluid, tailbone tucked…just use the muscles you need for this pose and let the other ones go.  At first, students are in disbelief; they believe that these extra components are not extra, that they are integral to maintaining the pose.  But they when they realize that they can start to let these “extra” energetic engagements go, that the pose DOES get easier!  Why did they not let them go immediately?  Because they were afraid to.

Take a moment right now to notice what areas of your body are clenched.  Your stomach?  Shoulder?  Jaw?  Notice this, and then, with breath, let those areas go.  Then take a moment to think of areas in your life that you are clenching, controlling.  Perhaps, like in our yoga practice, we don’t actually need to be controlling those areas after all.  Perhaps, if we let them go and breathe into the space, they will hold up on their own just fine, and maybe even better.  Have the courage to try, and see what happens.

I would love to hear how this “letting go” process affects you.  Please do share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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When I hosted the online interview series, The Body-Spirit Connection, there was a theme that came up a lot, and it was Fear.  Fear is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot but people don’t often realize what role it really plays in their lives, because it can be very secretive and sneaky.  In Part I of this blog series, I discussed more of the real life impacts, and today I want to talk about the on-the-mat experiences.

In my own practice and experience, I’ve always had fear come up especially during backbends, and this seems to be true for many of my students, as well.  Bringing sensation to our backs is just such a new experience for most of us.  Our eyes are on the front of our heads, so we focus on the front, we are hunched over our desks and computers in a motion that is oppositional to backbending, and, most importantly I believe, most of our hearts are not as open as we would like for them to be.  When we do open our hearts as we do in a backbend, it can be both physically and emotionally terrifying.

Fortunately, the more you practice, the easier it really does get.  When I first realized I had a back-bend-phobia, I do what I always do when I discover a fear.  I do MORE of it.  I’m proud to say now that I always look forward to the closing sequence of my home Ashtanga practice where I get to do three wheel poses.  The sensations are no less intense, but I have learned to really love them and embrace them.  I now find wheel pose so invigorating and enlivening.

Let backbends be the tool you use to find fear, confront it, and actually become comfortable in the face of it.  Let me know how it goes in the comments below.  Happy backbending!

Julie

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As many of you know, I recently hosted an online interview series on the topic of empowerment through movement and mindfulness practices.  Several themes came up through this interview series and I would like to address one of the big ones now: FEAR.

Some of you may see this word and know EXACTLY what I mean as far as how it relates to the topic of empowerment.  Others may see it and not know exactly how the two relate.  If you are one of these, please ask yourself each of the questions below right now and notice your response:

1.) Why didn’t I work out this morning like I intended?

2.) Why did I feel too tired or distracted to take a few minutes to sit in my contemplative practice?

3.) Why have I not yet completed that project that I started earlier this month?

4.) Why am I staying in this job/relationship, even though I know I am totally unhappy?

In these sample questions, what came up for you?  I’m sure you answered them with excuses or reasons that probably make perfect logical sense.  But when you then take a look at those excuses or answers, and observe the feeling behind the words, what comes up?  Often it is a sense of fear.  We are too fearful to play the physical game because it would mean looking and feeling as great as we actually know we can, we are fearful to sit because it would mean getting really intimate with ourselves and our thoughts, we are afraid to finish the project because it might be a total failure, and we stay in unhappy life situations because we fear the consequences of being alone or potentially without sustenance.

These are real issues, and there is not one person who doesn’t encounter them.  I was inspired to write this entry today because I actually came across these feelings myself.  I intended to go for a run and follow it up with a yoga practice, but it felt safer to lay still in bed and just read a book.  I literally felt that by just not moving, I would be brought no harm or adverse feelings or thoughts.  Fortunately, the book I picked up was my Meditation Bible and one of the guided meditations recentered me and gave me the simple courage to get up, change, put on my vibrams, and head outside.

After running and doing my practice, I felt so full of bliss and peace.  I felt EMPOWERED.  I have so much gratitude that I brushed off the fear and moved my body to go take the right action, because it enabled me to continue with my day in a way that allowed me to make choices from my most empowered, authentic self.  These are the small daily victories that lead people to success, peace, happiness, and all that other good stuff that people say they want.

I will be touching upon the topic of fear again and again in this blog, and if you have any questions or comments it would be awesome to hear from you and help you out with your small victories to success and happiness.  Comment below with your questions or observations!

Til then, have a gorgeous day, and Namasté.

Julie

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I attended a yoga class at my old studio here in Hong Kong this morning (it’s so fun to reverse the roles and be a student again!) and my amazing teacher Patrick Creelman said something that truly resonated with me.  His teachings focus heavily on alignment and practicing with intention and intelligence.  In the midst of a sun salutation, he instructed us to step our foot forward for low lunge, and as per his usual style, had us pause and really feel into the pose with a very high level of awareness, talking us through what we should be feeling in every single part of our body.  He then told us to pull it all inward, and bring all of our focus and all of our energy to our center.

He has probably said this before, but perhaps I was finally ready to hear it today.  We focus so much of our energy outside of ourselves so much of the time.  Truly, how often do we focus wholly inward and draw all our resources into ourselves–into our cores and our hearts and our minds?  Actually to do this takes A TON of focus and quite a lot of energy.  I don’t think it is because it is difficult; I think it is because it’s a new habit and new habits are very effortful to initially form.

I noticed upon following these instructions, and drawing all my energy to my center–almost like pulling it up from the ground and into my feet up through my legs and into my core–that I felt EXTREMELY powerful.  I felt a laser-like focus and I felt like in that moment I could do absolutely anything.

A yoga practice with a world-class teacher got me to the point of feeling that calm, empowered resolve, but that feeling actually already exists inside every single one of us.  Try it on yourself today.  Maybe you have a sport you play or a practice in which you can try it, or maybe you can try sitting down on the earth or a chair, and just visualizing your awareness turning inward, pulling the energy up from the Earth and down from the Heavens and all strongly bound into your core.  Don’t let any of your focus leak outward into the external world–right now it is all about YOU.

How does that feel?

I would love to hear your feedback or thoughts in the comments below.

When have you felt laser-focus empowerment that fills you with energy and joy?  Let’s work on practicing this sensation regularly so that it forms a habit.  In that way, it will take less energy each time and will eventually be effortless…imagine how THAT will feel!  Focused, empowered energy, whenever you want, right at your fingertips.

Blessings to you all, much love, and Namasté.

Julie

 

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I picked up and read my latest copy of Yoga Journal at what couldn’t have been a better time.  As I was sitting down to rest after an evening of packing and getting ready for my 2-week trip to Hong Kong, I immediately flipped to a very serendipitous article about traveling yoga teachers and how they stay happy and healthy when they are on the road.  Could that timing have been more perfect?  I was nervous about traveling–that feeling never goes away– but I knew that that created a great opportunity to practice being aware and mindful.  So, I did everything the article suggested; stocked up on water-rich foods at the terminal shops like fruit and veggies, bought lots of coconut water for the plane (airports sell that now?!), brought along some essential oil-mixed water to spray on my face and body for refreshers, and prepared for my trip with an open-minded and open-hearted attitude.

My anxiety peaked the night before I left, which also coincided with an overwhelming sense of exhaustion.  Definitely not the best combo.  However, once I got to the airport early the next morning, and checked in, that anxiety rapidly began to shed like a worn out layer of skin.  Because of my regular yoga practice, which is constantly putting me in uncomfortable positions and saying, “Okay, now breathe through THIS!” I was very well-practiced in finding ease in the discomfort.  Once I shed that initial anxiety, each step of the way of this trip became SO easy!

I firmly believe that like attracts like, and that surrounding yourself with an air of positivity and that “I am so lucky!” feeling, that that will be brought to you.  After an easy, short flight to Chicago, where I would board my plane to HK, I immersed myself in these sensations.  I facilitated this process by listening to Flowdreams like Super Lucky, and practicing the iRest technique founded by psychologist and yogic scholar Dr. Richard Miller.  Being at the airport can be a pretty unpleasant experience, but when you turn inward and actively make your world beautiful and rich through techniques like this, even an international terminal at the airport can be relaxing and rejuvinating.

I had a few minutes before the flight, and I decided to do something I had always wanted to do, but felt a little self-conscious about: pull out my mat and practice a bit before boarding!  But this time, I did it.  Once on my mat, I moved around as much as I could, including staying in headstand for as long as I could since inversions are a great counterpose to sitting on a plane for 17 hours.  Yes, I got looks, and yes I heard mutterings, but I was so glad that I made that choice, and I truly felt great.

It was time to board, and I found my seat.  The boarding process went by quickly, and I soon realized that I was to be granted the most lucky and wonderful fate of all; there was nobody else in my 3-person row!  So I got to lay down to sleep, sit in janu sirsasana while I watched movies, and put my feet and legs up the wall as I pleased!  (Yes, I did legs-up-the-wall on an airplane.)

Upon arrival, I ACTUALLY found myself thinking, “Wow…that went by fast!” and I honestly could have gone even longer if I had to.   Everything else went smoothly, too.  My luggage got there fine (always a fear of mine stowed in the back of my consciousness!), immigration went quickly, and my friends with whom I’m staying picked me up at the baggage claim right on time!

I strongly believe that I drew this easy travel experience into my life with my attitude and perspective.  By actively keeping my attitude positive and my outlook gracious, I believe that I was blessed with the easiest possible travel experience.  Yes, I got lucky–but that is my point.  I EXPECTED for luck to be around me…and then it was!

If relaxation and ease can come to us in this type of situation, truly, it can come to us any time.  Where in your life can you find ease and relaxation where you never thought it possible?  I’m eager to hear your comments!

Blessings to you all, much love, and Namasté.

Julie

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I recently tuned in to a really fantastic webinar in which I heard a phrase that really stuck with me.  It was this:

“Do not contract into stress.  Let nature help you expand.  You are a child held by the universe.”

I loved this message, and it helped me feel a release even as I merely imagined myself in a forest, or walking along a beach, or sitting near a lake.  The person who said it was Sage Lavine, a business coach and entrepreneur who spoke at the webinar with two other business coaches, Shanda Sumpter and Pamela Bruner.  Stress has definitely been a big part of my life over the years (as it is with probably most people at this point in their career), and I know every person has a different way of dealing with it.  Going into and connecting with nature has always been an important coping strategy for me, so this synchronous reminder was hugely helpful to hear.

As a result of this progress and rapid movement I am experiencing in my life, I find myself increasingly turning towards my spirituality to help me along.  I recently finished the book Spirit Junkie which my friend, Joyce, sent me.  If there is one thing I learned from the book and from my other experiences, it’s that the universe is always there for us if only we ask.  When we ask for support, guidance, and strength, all of these things are provided to us in droves.  As such, I have nothing but faith and trust that I can forge ahead fearlessly and joyously, even if something may seem overwhelming at first.

Many of my friends and clients right now are going through similar growth trajectories, and we are all on wonderful and unique journeys.  This post is dedicated to all of you who are doing the best you can to bring your greatest self to the world every day, and to learning how to be an expanded version of yourself in the face of an overwhelming and prominent desire to potentially contract.  Let’s all make a pact to do something each day to help us expand into nature, expand into each other, and feel the love and positivity to make this growth as positive an experience as possible.

Lots of light to those of you whom this post touches, and please comment below with your experiences and thoughts.  Thanks for reading and sharing in the expansion!

Julie

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