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Hello August! How is it possible that over half the year is already gone? This was supposed to be the year I rip off all of my band-aids and stand in my own strength, ready to feel and absorb all that the world sends my way. Some of my band-aids have been removed (see: Volume 1, Issue 1 of Laura Mary Healthy Living), others are in the process of being removed. Nonetheless, as the middle of the year has begun to sink in, I’ve focused more on the idea of time. Time is precious. Fleeting. In this year alone, people I love have passed away and been born. Nothing is permanent in life, and especially not time. I am practicing savoring my time, both with myself and with others, and using it efficiently to learn and grow. With that being said, I have some major events to announce that are happening in the month of August.
Starting on August 1st, I am leading a yoga teacher training at Power Yoga Hawaii (see guest post by Valerie Shaindlin, Why You Should Consider Yoga Teacher Training, on page 5). I have never led my own teacher training, so this is a huge step for me. I can’t wait to see all of the students grow into teachers over the 9- week program. Preparation for teacher training has been challenging and humbling, and it has pushed me to be a student again. Just as when I went through training, I feel inspired to continue my svadhyaya (self study). I needed the reminder more than ever to always go back to taking the seat of a student. Learning never ends! When I was asked to lead teacher training, I was nervously excited, and without hesitation I agreed to do it. I, just like everyone else, thrive in the space of challenge. While I am always aiming to deepen my yoga practice, holding my own teacher training has provided a new level of challenge for me.
In the month of August I am holding my first “Social Media Challenge”. If you participate in social media, I’m sure you’ve seen people do these before: 30 days of pictures typically focused on asanas (yoga postures), only one of Patanjali’s ashtanga (Eight Limbs) of Yoga. This one will be a little different in that it will indirectly explore the other seven limbs of Patanjali’s ashtanga. The daily challenges will include tasks like writing a letter to an old friend, or waking up to watch the sunrise. I’ll have prizes from local vendors including Lululemon Ala Moana Center, Lily Lotus, Core Power Yoga, Jugo Life Juicery, and Salty Air Hawaii. Every morning, the daily challenge, along with a few words of inspiration and encouragement, will be posted on my Instagram page and my Facebook page (links in footer). Give me a follow if you’re planning on participating!
Starting on Sunday August 2nd, and every Sunday thereafter, I will be leading a guided meditation at Power Yoga Hawaii – Kahala. Class will be 2 hours long, starting at 6:00 PM, and will consist of 1 hour of vinyasa flow followed by 1 hour of guided meditation. This is a class that I have been aching to work into my schedule for so long now. It’s not only a class style that I enjoy taking myself, but one that will offer immense benefits to my students. Over the last decade or so, meditation has received a boost in scientific research due to the increase in popularity of the practice. Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of mind/body interventions, including reduced stress and enhanced wellness through a relaxation response. Studies have also found that mind/body interventions combat adverse clinical conditions related to stress, such as hypertension, anxiety, diabetes, and aging. It’s no secret that there are clear benefits to practicing meditation, yoga, deep breathing and prayer. According to Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical School professor of medicine at Mass General and co-senior author of a groundbreaking report in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, “now for the first time we’ve identified the key physiological hubs through which these benefits might be induced.” Benson’s study out of Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that immediate changes in the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion occurred through eliciting the relaxation response (state of deep rest induced through practices such as yoga and meditation). In this class we will explore the potential of yoga and meditation as a form of preventative medicine. I’m beyond excited to offer this mediation class for my students. Feel free to drop in for yoga at 6:00 PM, meditation at 7:00 PM, or both!
All these upcoming events, combined with the fact that we are well into the second half of the year, fall into the general theme of this newsletter: why not today? Sometimes changes you make in your life are precipitated by big events,
but why wait for something colossal in to happen to bring about a change or to do something that has been on your mind or that you have wanted to do for a while? Life is too short to not believe in yourself; know that you can do it and spice up your life with some change.
It’s easy to come up with reasons why you can’t change something in your life. You may be afraid of what people may think about you. Or maybe you are not coasting
through life right now. You could already face enough adversity on a daily basis, and the last thing you need is more chaos in your daily routine. If this is the case, you are in a perfect position to make a meaningful change for yourself. A lot of times when life is rocky, we ignore very important and much needed self-care. I am here to encourage you to go the extra mile. What I mean is to try something new that challenges you, something that is for lack of a better word “hard.” It could quite literally mean walking, running, or swimming one extra mile. If, on the other hand, you have a nice routine going for youself right now, work is going well, relationships are just dandy, you follow a fitness/health plan, lah dee dah, maybe it is time to mix it up. Up-level yourself by stepping into a new challenge. What better way to jump into the present moment than to feel the nerves, to focus, and to switch up your routine for the better - to intentionally decide to grow today. The world is your oyster, as they say in New England!
Take some time today to sit and think about one way you can alter your life towards growth. It does not need to be a colossal change either. Small changes add up and are a lot easier to begin and maintain. They also create meaningful patterns for the future. In Small Change by Susan & Larry Terkel, they say, “The power of small change lies in how much easier small changes are to initiate and maintain, and how meaningful are the patterns they create.” Something as simple as saying “I love you,” to finish a phone call to a family member, as my family would do when I was growing up, is a perfect example of a small change you can make. My friends all thought it was funny and cute that my four brothers took part in saying “I love you,” but adding that little phrase to the end of a phone call with a loved one not only reinforces the message for you both, but adds to your life tens of thousands of endearments. Start today and find a new challenge that will enhance one area of your life. Remember, if life is great right now, up-level yourself. If life is plain old hard and already feels like a challenge, find a much needed self-care challenge to spice of your daily routine.
Your challenge is to peruse the space of discomfort by switching up your regular schedule and doing something that serves your heart. Maybe it is waking up in the morning 5 minutes earlier than usual to breathe deeply while moving through a Sun Salutation or two or to meditate so that you can start your day off with a more grounded perspective. Or your challenge could be career and passion oriented as it was for me, or perhaps it is a relationship challenge. You could challenge yourself to do something extra special each day for your partner or best friend, to make their life a little bit sweeter. If you are coasting, it is time to step up and find a challenge.
So how do you react when you face adversity? When something isn’t easy for you? Do you shy away, or do you stand tall with confidence and composure? Though it’s easier said than done, we should all try to thrive on challenge and change. It provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the most important relationship in your life: the one with yourself. The knowledge, strength, or boost in our relationship that we attain from a dedicated effort towards growth is great, but the overall message that our body receives is what’s really powerful. That message – “you can do it, you are good enough, you, yes you, are amazing” – is contagious. Not just for us as individuals, as we become more likely to pursue another challenge and grow but for others who see your power and feel inspired to take initiative in their path of growth as well. Change starts with the individual, sign up, check-in, decide today is the today to GROW, because you can!