Loving life with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sharing Your Harvest

Sharing, selfless service, giving away or you can call it seva which is a Sanskrit word that is used in the yoga community can only be done if there's a bounty that's ripened on the vine. Being in the yoga realm plus being married into an Indian family, I've heard all to often and I've even said plenty of times "If you do this you'll get great karma." Having gone through Roman Catholic schooling, this sentiment also cracks open those early imprints from the nuns that said "You will get extra points in heaven if your deeds are generous."

Rather than saying no to an opportunity to give, be it saying goodbye to a coat for a Thanksgiving coat drive, taking promotional pictures of a friend who's starting their business or teaching a yoga class for free at an event that is in alignment with my values, I always make it a point to touch in with my hand on my heart and feel if my needs are being met. If I get a yes, then the meaningful work just happens.

In what ways do you share your harvest? If you are questioning yourself and you're not coming up with anything, no worries. Service can be incorporated into your daily life with a little mindful effort. You can start small and schedule a coffee date with a friend who's going through a hard time and could use some friend time. Go bigger and write a blog to share your wisdom. You can also get creative and find ways to incorporate your community and/or earth friendly interests at work and at home.

Recently an opportunity to give was presented to me and I'm happy to share my gift as a yoga class I created called Compassion Yoga Flow. It will be available this Fall online at www.yogainternational.com It is a back bending focused yoga class that is designed for all to follow. This practice will loosen your neck and shoulders, liberate your lower back, strengthen your arms and legs plus nurture your heart's desire. Upon completion you will be able to feel the receiving and giving qualities of your heart in balance. From this place you will realize how your contribution to anything will make a difference for others including yourself. This class will bring awareness and raise money to support the Himalayan Institute's One Tribe Project that is building libraries in Cameroon, Africa.

Giving can be as easy as practicing yoga!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mindfulness Exercise: Noticing Your Harvest

Vrksasana/Tree Pose pre, dress www.onlyhearts.com made in NYC

Since I shopped at the market last night and enjoyed preparing and eating a bit of August's freshest locally grown vegetables, I've been reflecting on what I've been harvesting in my daily life. What seeds have you've planted that recently turned to fruit? 

As we sit in the first phase of the harvest season during August, there's more seeds that will be sprouting and more growth to be done until the year turns dark during mid Fall. For now your spiritual harvest may simply be a returned email from a creative work proposal you sent out last spring or a genuine smile from a person you've been struggling with for years. Like a tiny tomato picked from your garden, it is a fruit of your labor and that counts.

Try this mindfulness exercise where you write a list of what you've harvested so far this year. Include the small things like making it to appointments on time, peace at home, a realization, showing up on your yoga mat to experiencing that dream gig. Keep this list in a safe place to review by Thanksgiving.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Be the Change You Wish to See When You Shop

During my early yoga days while back bending in Sharon Gannon's class at Jivamukti Yoga in New York City, she asked the class something like "Would it be so hard to buy cruelty free the next time you shop for cosmetics?" With my heart wide open and touching the sky while in wheel pose my internal response was "Sure, no problem."

Shopping for cruelty free products back then limited me to going to my itty bitty local health food store. Now it's much easier since cruelty free products have made their way into supermarkets, drugstores and online. But there's more to that seed that cracked open in my heart at Sharon's class. My quest for shopping cruelty free led me into vegan leather shops, stores that offered fair trade products, designers that use toxin free production that is safe for your skin and environment plus even kick back a portion of their profits to a cause that matters.

Over the years I found plenty of affordable and beautiful products in the conscious shopping realm. Here are my top 3 for the summer of 2015.

Pictured above I'm wearing Satva Living Rati Capri yoga pants. I stumbled upon this company while in Whole Foods. The convenience of buying superbly designed organic cotton yoga wear while I'm shopping at the market with my 4 year old is hugely appreciated. Satva Living's clothing highlights a woman's figure without compressing and binding away her curves like most brands do. 

Satva Living is value driven sustainable style for women that supports rural farming communities, promotes toxin free production, 5% of their profits are donated to Wellness in the Schools Program which empowers kids to make healthy mind and body connections. Learn more at www.satvaliving.com

Only Hearts is a chic New York City boutique that is a shrine to trinkets that are heart shaped to carrying the most beautifully detailed underwear to fashion forward outerwear. I've been shopping at their Upper West Side Columbus Ave. location for over a decade and during a recent purchase I learned the creator's line "Helena Stuart for Only Hearts" has been designed and manufactured with love in New York City since 1978. Knowing that what I call the gold in my closet, my Only Hearts pieces which are rich in detail and flattering lines, are made locally and employing nearby fashion artisans makes my heart happy.

Here I'm reaching for the gold in the sky wearing the So Fine Eyelet Empire Tank Dress. I love the sweetheart pale pink color mixed with body conscious lines. Only Hearts also has a downtown New York City location on Mott Street, Santa Monica, California and in Rome, Italy. Visit them online at www.onlyhearts.com

When I visit Nyack, New York I make it a point to pop into Maria Luisa's Boutique because of her cleverly creative style. She's a consumer savvy pro who's been a Nyack Institution for over 25 years. In 2007 she opened a satellite shop next door to her main boutique that makes my heart soar called Maria Luisa Global Local or MLGL. This shop specializes in a wide variety of fine, handmade, fair trade and eco friendly merchandise produced in the USA and around the world.

Here I'm wearing Nusantara Thai Cotton Devi Pants. These pants are sewn and hand dyed by women in Thailand. I love how they move with me, keep me cool on summer days when I want coverage plus the unique interior drawstrings at the lower leg can be left loose or tied to create a ripple effect/adjustable hem. I conveniently tie them up when I'm wearing flat shoes and untie them when I'm wearing heals.

Visit www.marialuisaboutique.com to learn more about MLGL and note that when you make an online purchase, 10% will be donated to your choice of the listed not for profit organizations such as ML by Maria Luisa Scholars, Nyack Center, People to People of Rockland or VCS Pride.