Aloha Yogis,

“Allow yourself to be a torch, and allow the flame of your torch to be transmitted to other torches. Practicing like that, you can help peace and joy grow in the entire world.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Very simply put, I think this is what life is about, finding what lights us up inside and sharing that light. I love the energy of a big class, it is uniquely different than an at home practice or a small studio class. Did you know that at some point in a vinyasa class, the breath, heartbeats, and movements rhythmically syncopate? It’s in this space, this feeling of oneness and connection via our physiological rhythms, that we support each others growth in a practice. It might lead to successfully making it through the core workout or to a restful savasana, but the point is the energy of your yogi neighbor's truly helps and it heals.

It’s almost as though our individual light becomes more tangible, whether it's through thermodynamics, mindfulness, physical activity or some combination of all of it. With every drop of sweat, every exhale, or each chaturanga, we feel it surface more. The heaviness of the day becomes more distant and our to-do lists fade. We are present with that light. Our light. Suddenly our light becomes much more accessible and recognizable. With each successive practice, the process of digging up that light and connecting becomes more efficient.

The sum of the parts is that with a mindfulness based yoga practice we connect more deeply to ourselves and to others. We form real connections and sometimes without words. We know ‘Tom the lawyer in the second row,’ even if we’ve only practiced yoga together a few times. I love watching my students become friends and connect in their shared passion for yoga. We all leave class feeling a little bit lighter and more connected. We can sprinkle that light everywhere we go. Start with yourself, be the light, be the torch.

Love and Light,
laura mary

Aloha Yogis,

Last night, we returned from our honeymoon trip to Ireland. I have many stories from the trip and the wonderful time that we had, and if you come to class, you will hear! Essentially, the Irish folks are incredibly kind. I was in total admiration of their friendliness to all.

I couldn't wait to get right back into teaching. I was working out some details on this update over my honeymoon, but I can finally share the news!

Over the Summer, I will be teaching three yoga classes per week at a beautiful new space in Kaimuki.

My Summer yoga home is located at 3454 Waialae Ave., Unit 1 (above Mud Hen Water). It is a beautiful space, I can't wait to get started. In fact, my first class is tonight from 6:30-8PM! Can you make it?

I hope to see you tonight, but if not, here is my full schedule!

As always, I teach Thursday 5:30PM at Magic Island. All classes are donation based.

Deep breaths and Sun Salutations,

laura mary

Photography by Derek Linsley, Connemara National Park, Ireland.

Aloha Yogis,

It turns out, it’s quite difficult to send periodic newsletters as a full time PhD student. Who knew? While I had every intention and hope to keep you all up to date on yoga classes, events and also monthly yoga themes, it simply didn’t happen! In fact, I can’t even imagine a scenario in which it could have happened! I spent nearly every free moment studying, I learned a whole lot, and now I am coming up for air to say hello!

Only those of you who I see regularly in yoga classes heard and practiced the weekly intentions with me. Not much has changed for me on the yoga front. Meaning, I am still teaching events, classes, and running trainings; however, advertising this all has become truly a word of mouth process. If you weren’t aware, I am a student again, not just of life and yoga, but at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Here is my last update.

To be honest, there are some differences on the yoga front. In terms of my overall view of the practice, I see it through a new lens. Before going back to school to study biomechanics for my doctorate, yoga for me was an immensely spiritual practice. The postures and alignment cues were truly rooted in the ancient practice and teachings. I thought, if B.K.S. Iyengar teaches Warrior I this way, he surely knows best and I followed suit. Of course, I always offered modifications for students and believed everyone should listen to their body, but I stayed very true to the yogic root origins.

This year, after studying in a cadaver lab for 10-15 hours per week, digging into biomechanics research, and learning all about exercise physiology, it’s not surprising, the big change for me is knowledge. They say, knowledge is power, and I am here to say – it’s true.

I love the practice of yoga and even more so now believe in its healing powers for the mind, body, and soul. No longer is it the same spiritual practice where I trust in the healing powers, in the same way, I trusted in Iyengar’s alignment cues. Now, I know there are healing powers, and I know how to cue specifically to each student.

Most of my teaching this year has been on a private basis. I teach privates with many students, most of whom I’ve taught for many years. There is a reason the ancient practice began on a private basis, everyone is different! My private teaching along with my growing knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics (statistics doesn’t really help here) has been the perfect way to enhance and reinforce my studies.

One area I am really keen to study is balance. Many research studies use a one-legged balance test, and I hope to as well in upcoming pilot studies. Generally with age our bone mineral density declines and so too does our balance ability. This is a disaster combination, because it places us at high risk for falls and injurious falls. Our ability to balance is a skill we can build with practice, one that requires our central nervous system and musculoskeletal system to work in harmony. I will be digging into more research in this area over the summer, but for now, I wanted to leave you with some positive and exciting thoughts.

Just as when you exercise new capillaries sprout as an important adaptation to exercise training (to ensure adequate diffusion for oxygen and nutrients), a similar process takes place in your mind. It is a heck of a lot harder to study, but essentially, our brain ‘hears’ our thoughts  and responds to our work (for example, running or yoga) and shunts or spurs growth accordingly. Meaning, if we think positive thoughts certain adaptations happen, likewise, if we practice half-moon pose, certain adaptations occur. Both occurring in the brain, in different capacities.

My life completely changed after really studying the brain and seeing the cranial nerves and having a-ha moments, as I connected my learning to the practice of yoga. For example, as I connected what I learned about the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII) to the practice of yoga, I realized it’s one reason why our drishti, our gaze, is crucial to our ability to both balance and focus throughout our yoga practice. In this way, our muscles, our brain, and our focus are yoked. Yoga’s root, yuj, means ‘to yoke’ – meditation becomes the ultimate form of this practice. I could write an entire piece on the brain and mediation. To be brief, meditation has been associated with differences in gray matter brain cortical thickness. Sara Lazar of Harvard University demonstrated this in her study, other researchers has similar findings. Excited yet? Me too.

I’m not going to get into the discussion of stress and cortisol, but as you can imagine when we let this get the best of us there can be deleterious effects on the brain. One of the best antidotes? Exercise. Through neuroplasticity our brain has the ability to change throughout our life. Whether you are learning new facts or kinesthetic movements – your brain is ready to adapt. Aerobic exercise in particular promotes adult neurogenesis, and consistent aerobic exercise over a period of months creates clinically significant improvements in executive function as well as increased gray matter. In other words, our brains are not plastic in the literal sense, but rather, just as our muscles grow and capillaries sprout, so can our brains. Aerobic exercise enhances cognitive function and attenuates age-related deterioration of the brain. Here are a few articles to get you started (1234, enjoy!).

Can we all just agree to get moving? For these reasons, I made sure to sweat nearly every day this year, even on my busy days. The night before finals, I hit the track. I walk to and from school, every day. I am in the practice. I hope to see you on the mat soon!

Deep breaths and Sun Salutations,

laura mary

Photography by Lululemon.

may 5th email
Hello Yogis,

I don't even know where to begin this newsletter, because there is so much to cover! Happily, 2017 has been a very full year. After kicking off January with my Goal Chaser workshop series, it inspired me to re-focus my own goals. This turned into a lot of reading and self-study (svadhyaya). I enrolled in an anatomy and physiology course at Kapiolani Community College. We did several dissections and learned all about the way our bodies align and function. For those of you who attend my classes, you know I am very interested in the anatomy of yoga, alignment, and just simply being. This experience and more sparked within me an even deeper desire to learn.

A year and a half ago I had reconstructive ankle surgery on an injury that I have had since 5th grade (I broke my tibia and fibula). As a full-time yoga instructor the experience was both humbling and informative, and it shifted my entire mindset on kinesiology. After months of physical therapy with minimal improvement, my surgeon recommended that I find a sports exercise trainer in Honolulu who specialized in biomechanics of the ankle. Aside from enrolling in more physical therapy, I was at a loss as to how to find somebody with such specific qualifications. In fact, many people come to me to improve function through yoga after an injury or to enhance athletic performance, but I have nowhere near the knowledge to guide a person, even myself, back to their full capability. I knew I wanted and needed to learn more.

My own rehabilitation has precipitated a complete change in the way I instruct yoga and the way I lead my yoga teacher training program. What began as a lot of self-investigatory work has become an even more narrowly focused passion or a purpose. I am on a quest to learn more about biomechanics, exercise physiology, and anatomy. With a background in both psychology and public health, and of course yoga, I know that improved physical function translates to happier people and improved public health. Aside from my recent ankle surgery, over the years of my research career, I became more and more interested in the physical aspects of function as opposed to the psychological aspects. I have seen how the former can improve the latter. If you are interested in this topic, respond to my email. I have always had the intention of earning my doctoral degree but then life happened - in a beautiful way, my plans changed.

I truly believe in listening to the pull of life. Whether you feel the pull of your interests or what makes your heart leap, we have to practice getting quiet and connected enough to hear and feel it. Between yoga and some consistent vision and goals work, I make a practice of trying to feel these pulls. I have been an athlete all my life. I’ve always been intrigued by the way our bodies move and function. I was a psychology major, and I’ve always been interested in how our thoughts impact our reality. In college, I nerded it up big time and hit the books really hard. I did well and entered the world of research and had aspirations to become a doctor.

I became a yoga instructor after college because it was the natural next step in my yoga practice. I worked in psychiatric research for three years following college before studying public health in graduate school (which was a stepping stone to earning my doctorate). Through graduate school I continued my teaching of yoga. I stepped into it as a full time teacher after graduate school, it was intended to be a temporary gig. But all I wanted to do was teach, I absolutely loved it and I still do. I allowed myself to continue to be pulled. I learned so much. I developed programs, taught 200-hour teacher trainings, hosted retreats, large events, corporate yoga, and more than one thousand private classes. I was also lucky enough to work with many amazing companies as an ambassador. Shout out Lululemon, Manduka Yoga, Banan, Jugo Life Juice, UltraMana Coffee, Peace Cafe, Moana Surfrider, and most recently Susan G Komen.

As I mentioned, things started to shift for me after having an ankle surgery 2015. I poured over physical rehabilitation literature, enrolled in an online nutrition program, and the anatomy and physiology course. I worked with many physical therapists and I practiced yoga. All in an effort to bring my little ankle and everything it affected back to “normal”. In many ways, the healing I sought was similar to the healing my students were seeking. This “pull” of interest became so strong, that I connected to a University of Hawaii professor who is at the forefront of biomechanics research. I began sitting in on a few of his lectures. In just a few hours time, I felt information overload (in the best way possible). I loved every minute of it all. Before I knew it, I was applying for a PhD in exercise science.

Because my yoga business took off, and life pulled me into my yoga career, I always said that the only circumstance under which I would ever go back to school for my PhD was if I had a burning desire to learn everything on a topic and if I had a personal interest in it. I’ve decided to become an expert in this area. I am still going to be teaching yoga, so don't worry there!

I am so excited to tell you that I am going back to school to study exercise science. Trust me, I never saw this day coming. I will be doing research in biomechanics. I already integrate a lot of science into my classes. Earning a doctorate in this field will definitely help take my knowledge to the next level. I am so excited for this step in my career. I am especially excited to integrate this knowledge into my yoga teachings. YOU will all benefit from this next step.

Now that I have been accepted, it is hitting me, just how much work lies ahead. Right off the bat, I begin with teaching an 80 person lecture. Let's just say, there will be a lot of studying and yoga happening this summer before school begins in August.

Deep breaths and Sun Salutations,

laura mary

Photography by Lululemon and Chelsea Abril.

Choose Happiness
Aloha Yogis,

Happiness is a choice. This month join me in taking active steps towards happiness - choose happiness. Maybe for you happiness means more walks, time with friends, yoga, or bubble baths. For me choosing happiness means creating freedom in my schedule to choose what I want to do, be it hiking, yoga, reading, or even cleaning!

Some other techniques:

1.) Be present + honest. To live in the present moment is happiness. One of the core tenets of being present is to be honest - all the time. If for a moment you are not honest, it takes you into a state of worry or distress and out of the present. Stay present and honest.

2.) Meditate.

3.) Surround yourself with people that lift you up.

4.) Get enough sleep.

5.) Smile more.

If a baby cries, we don't assume malice of the baby, no. We don't think, "that baby is out to get me"...rather, we think, that baby is hungry or tired. Similarly, as adults we might be drained of those same basic needs. Before assuming malice of another, consider that their less than stellar behavior could be attributed to lack of sleep or hunger. Not everything is complicated, in fact, more often than not, it is simple! Don't overthink situations and give others the benefit of the doubt.

What I have read recently: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

As the Emperor of Rome, he had the same mental struggles as we do and was trying to improve as a person, just as we are. When he lived he was the most successful and powerful person in the world. He would pour his thoughts into his personal diary unaware that one day it would be found and published. The message I received was that success and power do not equal happiness. Happiness is internal.

These techniques really help me and I hope they work for you too. Everything is a practice: yoga, soccer, nutrition, physical fitness, everything - including happiness.

Choose Happiness,
laura mary

Photography by Lululemon.

There are 23,040 breaths in each day. How many are you aware of? That is equivalent to 16 breaths/minute. Make an effort this week to go outside into #theairoutthere. Lululemon's winter slogan has really resinated with me. I lead a meditation on behalf of Lululemon on the benefits of presence, nature, and breathing in the air out there atop Kuliouou Ridge Trail for a group of local influencers in the community. Step outside, forget the fluorescent lights, wifi, concrete, and enjoy a few deep breaths in the air out there.

XOXO,

laura mary

Aloha Yogis,

I cannot believe 2016 is nearly over. It has been a year of highs and lows. The lows basically revolved around rehabbing my way through a serious injury. I learned a lot and my injury has impacted the way I teach, practice, live, and view the purpose of my teachings. The highs, were plentiful, but the true highlight was being engaged to Derek. I cannot wait to officially be a Linsley and marry my best friend in 2017. Cue the cliches...but it is true, he inspires me to be the best version of myself, always.

engagement

Here are a few other highlights from 2016. I almost felt the need to take out my planner to review because so much happened. In February I taught Vision + Goals at Wanderlust Oahu which was once a big “one-day” type of goal for me and it happened.

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At Wanderlust, Lululemon asked me to be their ambassador and it has been one wonderful year in partnership and collaboration with this inspiring company.

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2016 also marked my first ever Go Deeper Yoga + Goals retreat on the Big Island, I am already gearing up for the 2017 Go Deeper Retreat!

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I taught a retreat on Maui exclusively for Lululemon ambassadors past and present where we camped and got real with our goal setting.

maui-retreat

I taught a few Vino and Vinyasa events this year. I am happy to say it is still going strong in fact, it is growing; What began in 2014 as a small 30-something size class has grown into a 300-something size class!

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I took my teaching to the East Coast this year and taught in New York City, Saratoga Springs, and Boston.

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I taught a few fundraiser events this year, one that stands out was Downward Dog for Diabetes. The class raised money for research on juvenile diabetes and was a huge success.

diabetesA new event popped up, run by my student and dear friend which she dubbed “Mai Tais and Meditation” stay tuned for more on this class series!

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One more 200-hour teacher training is in the books and it was such a special group of yogis this year. They have grown into brilliant teachers who are now sharing their gifts and knowledge with the world. I love the ripple effect of my job. Being in a career of service is important to me. I know that whether I teach a group or one on one and impact someone’s day positively, they will carry their practice with them and impact everyone around them - in a ripple effect.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to have continued teaching various army platoons this year which always leaves me feeling inspired and grateful.

Several trips to California and the east coast later, I am happy to be staying put in Hawaii for a while, including the holiday season! With that said, I have some BIG goals for 2017. I am excited just to be writing this to you. I will be able to share these goals in due time. For now, I will share what is happening in the next few months, mark your calendar:

 

Vino and Vinyasa - FREE class

Moana Surfrider - Waikiki, Hawaii

January 17, 2017

 

Vino and Vinyasa - FREE class

Moana Surfrider - Waikiki, Hawaii

May 24, 2017

 

Go Deeper Yoga + Goals Retreat

Kapaau, Hawaii

May 26-31, 2017

 

200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Honolulu, Hawaii

August 2017

 

XOXO,

laura mary

october 2016 email
What would you say to your 20-year old self?

Write everything down because it’s all very fleeting.

Do you know when you are sitting in meditation or savasana and you are in that characteristic state of flow? The ideas (your ideas) are simply flowing, effortlessly. You are semi-aware of their fleeting state yet surprisingly not worried about writing them down, as though you know the experience of flow is more beneficial than cutting it off to write down some thoughts? Well, I have been having this a lot lately. Of course, the moment you come out of your flow-like state to consciously take a moment to write down your genius thoughts, they are now gone. POOF. Such is how my week has been going.

Inspiration is flowing. Yoga is flowing. Reading is flowing. When I regularly practice yoga and read, I feel so much more inspired. Pepper that with getting outside in nature and it is simply my recipe for inspiration. Try it. Yesterday, I completed two books. I was definitely in the beloved flow state. I also, hiked and practiced yoga outside. Needless to say, I was feeling good. The day before yesterday, I finished another book. Granted, Derek is away, so I do have some extra time on my hands. On top of that, a few of my private students are away right now, which leaves me with bundles of time. You could say I am in the work of self-helperry (yes, that’s right, self-helperry). Add to that my studies and work experience in psychology, and it’s no wonder I am truly fascinated by the mind. I am fascinated by happiness, flow, and living the best life possible for you. My mission statement has evolved into something that truly gets me out of bed each day: To empower and inspire you to realize your potential to elevate the world.

“Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.” -Ryan Holiday

As an athlete, I know our mind and bodies are inextricably linked. We need to equally focus our life practices on both. We can’t let the noise of the crowd get to us, be it positive or negative. As a college athlete, if you allow your attention to wander to “What are the spectators thinking? Is the coach going to leave me in? Man - I can’t believe I missed that shot!” your energy will flow there and you will be counterproductive to what you intended to achieve: playing time, a win, success, goals, whatever.

The amazing human and athlete, Simone Biles, comes to mind. Gymnastics is an extreme pressure sport. If she were to let the Olympic expectations get to her head, she would as they say in sports, choke. She has mastered and implemented transitions and tumbling series that no one else even attempts and she sticks them! Now, if she measured herself against others, rather than herself, she wouldn’t attempt those never before tried tumbling passes. You are both your biggest advocate and your worst enemy at times. We all live and deal with ego, but what our success and failures depend on is that we will practice control of the ego.

I wanted to write you all because I have read a book this week that I can say has changed my life. I’ve never before finished a book and immediately began reading it again, until today. True story. Add "Ego is the Enemy" by Ryan Holiday to your wish list!

“Don’t bow to gatekeeper, you are the gatekeeper” -Ego

Ego is...

...an unhealthy belief in our own importance.

...a magnet for enemies and errors.

...the root of every conceivable problem and obstacle.

...when we don’t seem to have what we want, or maybe we get what we want and always want more.

...the proverbial “sick man, ignorant of the cause of his malady.” -Lucretius (a few thousand years ago)

...always there, undermining us through everything.

...“inhibits true success by preventing a direct and honest connection to the world around us.” We can’t improve the world if we don’t understand it or us.

...“If you start believing in your own greatness it is the death of your creativity” -Marina Abramović (performance artist)

...“False ideas about yourself destroy you.” -Frank Shamrock (UFC champion)

I’ve heard someone describe their practice of reining in the ego by purposely putting themselves in the position, weekly, to be the worst in the room at something. I love this because never have I ever felt so silly as when I was learning to surf. Well, I am still learning. Meanwhile, Derek’s 8 year old niece is bravely conquering surfing after 30 minutes. Then there are the yoga postures that humble you. Some I refer to as “humble-asana”.

Life begins and ends at your comfort zone. We can see how the ego easily grows thorns if we are never failing. Conversely, if when we do fail (and we all have) and we plumet hard into a downward spiral of negativity, that too reveals the steady grip your ego has on you. Make a practice of steadily receiving praise with an even mind and noticing what went right and steadily receiving feedback while noticing what went wrong. As Holiday says, “you can win and be lucky or an asshole.” We aren’t here to be jerks, so let’s rock life and rein in the ego. Get outside of your comfort, fail with grace, and pick yourself up the better from having failed. There is a difference between confidence and ego.

Pursuing great work, is often terrifying. Our ego calms the fear...sometimes even paralyzing us with excuses so that we never even begin. We are afraid to bruise our precious egos, well I say shoot big, and when you fail, learn from it!

The problem today is largely due to the world of social media and, with that, self-promotion. On our Instagram accounts, as Holiday points out, “we can claim ourselves as CEO of our exists-only-on-paper company, we can publish articles about ourselves in sources that used to be reserved for objective journalism.” This is a slippery slope, because for many companies, and I could put myself in this group, we have to share and market ourselves. We can’t pursue our work, our purpose, if we keep it to ourselves. I think there is a difference between confidently putting you and your work out into the world because you believe it is powerful (confidence) and shouting from the rooftops your amazingness (ego).

Ego and macho-ness work for some, but actually it’s most successful with regards to its interference in our failures. Egomaniacs actually perform their best when they tame the ego. Only when we are free of ego and baggage can we actually perform our best. From an athlete’s perspective this couldn’t be more true. When you step into the state of flow that I referred to earlier, you block out the sound and signals from others. You are you and in this present flow state less interference or noise comes in from anything outside.

A year ago, a student gifted me George Mumford’s “The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance”. He knew I was a college athlete and now a mindful yogi and thought I would enjoy the read. He was right! I think college athletics would have been a completely different experience for me had I read this book. I was too much in my head, in dire need of mindfulness teachings. I put tremendous pressure on myself not just to get straight A’s but to perform well on the field.

Mumford is the mindfulness and meditation coach to many NBA greats, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. “It’s more a monitoring aspect with more-- rather than ‘I got to make this shot’ -- no just shoot,” Mumford said. “You’ve trained your nervous system to do it, so now your conscious thinking needs to be quiet and let your body do what it does… Nothing exists but this moment and what you’re doing.” The flow state is a magical place to be. We should try to enter it on a daily basis. For these elite athletes, they could easily hinder their own performance by allowing ego to take a mental center stage. Mindfulness, flow and humility are their present moment practice. Hard work and discipline trained their bodies, now they need to let go of the mind wanderings in order to step into their strengths and perform unhindered by ego.

This week, join me in a practice of humility and discipline. If I fail (when I fail) I won’t be wrecked by it. I will be gracious in my success and resilient in my failures. You are unique. It’s not to say, don’t be inspired, but let’s keep our ego in check by remaining humble and knowing that we, just like our neighbor, are imperfect. Perfectly imperfect.

We all vacillate between humility and ego.

"When we remove ego, we're left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes— but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous." -Ryan Holiday

“They that soar too high, often fall hard, making a low and level dwelling preferable. The tallest trees are most in the power of the winds, and ambitious men of the blasts of fortune. Buildings have need of a good foundation, that lie so much exposed to the weather.” -Dale Carnegie

Ego can be managed and directed. We can be both great yet humble.

With Love,

laura mary
Photograph by Derek Linsley at Haleakalā

Fall 2016 Newsletter

(Click link above for full newsletter and to subscribe for future newsletters!)

Fall2016

I deserve everything I dream. Go big. My playing small does not serve the world.

After having a very inspiring friend visit me this week, I am reminded of the above mantra. I am here, you are here, to do something BIG. What is it exactly? Well, I am not sure yet. I have some longer term goals that I can say truly light me up, but they are longer term. It’s great to have a mantra to guide and motivate you towards reaching a goal. It carries the vibration of excitement and an inspiring energy which reminds you that your dreams exist to be reached. But how? How in the short term, or in the now, can we take steps to reach our dreams? And why don’t we all just go full throttle ahead towards our dreams?

Sometimes the fear of not reaching our dreams inhibits our action. We can be paralyzed by the daunting realization of the many hurdles that stand between us and our dreams. Here is what I am doing, and I would love for you to join me.

Practice doing something this week that takes you one step closer towards reaching your dreams. These tasks are meant to be somewhat uncomfortable. You will be challenged. Finding the time to get started might mean staying up late or waking up early to get real and put words on paper about what your dream looks like and what avenues you can take to get there. It might mean a social media post on where you are headed to put the word out into the Universe. It might be a goal-focused conversation with your partner or best friend. The question is how do we begin today, if we haven’t given thought to our dreams? The answer, we set goals! Let’s move intentionally through our day, our week, to take active steps towards our goals. You can post-it note your mantras and repeat them until the cows come home, that won’t be enough. Dreams don’t work unless you do. Mental and physical sweat is a prerequisite to living your dream.

My BIG goal is to write a book, one day. I always timeline it as one day. Time stamping such a large goal is frightening. But as I say in yoga class, why not today? We never know how long our journey will be, why put anything off? There are plenty of action steps I can take today that are even more intimidating than the larger goal itself of writing a book. Nonetheless, I’ve timestamped my biggie as a 5-year goal!

I got really real this week and wrote/updated my 1-5-10-20-year goals. Today my dreams are bigger than my fears, and my actions are louder than my words. Rather than simply write and talk about my goals, I am going to be about them. I am committed to daily writing of some sort. I am committed to a daily sweat too. Enter: #autumnalgoals ...

I will chronicle my journey on my instagram account @lauramaryyoga. If you are really into vision and goals work, I have a separate instagram account dedicated to these visiongrams @lauramary_creates.

Last year, I was so singularly focused on rehabbing and healing my ankle, I lost sight of my why. Why am I here? What am I here to do? What is my purpose? I got caught up in thinking why me? I was thinking about how frustrating it was that this happened to me. I forgot that life doesn’t happen to you but for you. I keep coming back to this idea, it has been pivotal for me on the daily. When I notice myself feeling like a victim, I come back to my bigger WHY and remember that life happens for me not to me. I have definitely been challenged over the last year and I’ve grown stronger because of it. I can't lose sight of the fact that I've also reached some big goals over the last year (Wanderlust, Lululemon, Go Deeper Yoga Retreat, 200-Hour Teacher Training Curriculum, Ambassadorships). I feel inspired to continue growing.

As it turns out, my graduate school thesis was on the topic of exercise motivation and life goals. Now, in full circle, my current work life involves exercise (yoga) and life goals (my vision and goals work). It is this rocking combo of physical and mental sweat that lights me up. My thesis findings revealed that across all subgroups there was a relationship between intrinsic motivation and the perceived importance of physical fitness. Furthermore, within the subgroup of “active" participants (university athletes, club sport, and intramural) there were higher intrinsic aspirations compared to the ”non-active” participants. Intrinsic aspirations were consistent with life goals and motivation. When compared to all other motivation subgroups, the importance of physical fitness had the highest correlation to life goals.

Why does this all matter? The relationship is important as we are all seeking fulfilling lives with high levels of well-being and happiness. Higher levels of well- being are demonstrated amongst individuals who report goals related to self- acceptance, affiliation, community feeling, and physical fitness; Conversely, low levels of well-being and happiness are found for individuals whose goal orientations are focused on financial success, attractiveness, and popularity (Kasser, Ryan, & Schmuck, 2001; Sheldon et al., 2004). Go figure, it’s intuitive, we already know all of this so let’s translate it to action.

Practice working out to work in! Sweat every day, physically and mentally. The two are inextricably linked. Write your goals down. Rock your #autumnalgoals and watch this year as they begin to happen for you!

Goal on,
laura mary

 

 

Photograph by Lululemon, Chelsea Abril
PS- The scar you see on my right ankle in the photo above reminds me...life happens for you.