back to basics: take flight with crow pose

"Bakasana—the beloved Crow pose.

This pose is typically the first arm balance that yogis learn. It takes more trust than strength to execute this particular pose. However, once you’ve gotten the hand of Crow pose, all other arm balances become simple."

Read the full tutorial I wrote for beYogi.com HERE! Here you'll learn step by step hw to get into the pose, modifications for how to get started, AND step by step instructions for how to get into the full expression with straight arms!

If you tried it, let me know in the comments below!

back to basics: how to ease into chaturanga dandasana

"What yoga flow class would be complete without Chaturanga Dandasana?

Contrary to popular belief, this Chaturanga Dandasana is not a transition. It’s a pose that can be held all on it’s own. Chaturanga Dandasana strengthens and tones your upper body, core, and legs. And as a yoga instructor, it’s the pose I always see practiced incorrectly."

Read the whole article I wrote for beYogi.com HERE! You'll find step by step instructions and ways to modify the pose as you're building up the strength for it!

age gracefully: what you need to know about yoga for seniors

Yoga is for everybody, and everybody.

No matter your age, there is a yoga practice for you! Beginning a yoga practice can be intimidating for anyone, but it can be especially tricky for those with mature bodies. However, with the benefits that yoga for seniors provides, make it worth practicing.

Anti-Aging Benefits of Yoga

Practicing yoga does a lot for the body as you age, not to mention what it does for the mind. As a yoga teacher, I have noticed that some of my most dedicated students are over the age of 50. These same students tend to be the ones that tell me what a difference they feel in their bodies after just a few weeks of regular practice. It’s easy to feel the difference!

Retains youthful glow.

Read the full article I wrote for beYogi.com HERE! The article shares benefits of yoga as we age, contraindications, and poses to practice!

 

Chanting, Ganesha, & the Magic of Yoga

Something amazing happened. Unknowingly, I took my first step onto the path laid out for me. 

 

I was maybe 21 or 22 years old. I was married to someone who had been keeping big secrets from me since the very beginning. My heart knew something was off, but my head couldn't figure it out. Knowing that you're being lied to, but not having any proof or any reason to believe it is a tricky situation. I was in love. We were riding this roller coaster together. Big highs, and even bigger lows. Sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind. Like pieces of me were getting lost along the ride. I floated on.


I don't remember how I found it. But somehow I learned about a group of yoga teachers that taught all donation based classes outdoors.  I found this great teacher and I went to her classes really regularly. Sometimes I was the only one who showed up. It was my therapy.


Those hours spent doing yoga in the park made me feel sane. They helped me see that there was so much more out there. And that it was okay to want more.


One day after asana practice she taught the group the chant to Ganesha. I had never chanted before. I had no idea who Ganesha was. I'd seen pictures of him before, but I never really knew who he was or what he represented.


She explained that Ganesha was the remover of obstacles. He is depicted with the head of an elephant and the body of a boy. His ears are large, for listening. His belly is large enough to digest any problems, any obstacles, anything that we can't stomach alone. He is often depicted riding a mouse, which symbolizes how light he is - free of any attachments to weigh him down.


Chanting felt... natural, but also other worldly all at once. I felt like this weight had been lifted. And it felt good.


Chanting opens up the most beautiful space around everything. This space is always there. Sometimes we forget because we're so focused on what's happening in our minds. When we chant, the sounds bring us back home to that space within.


After that very first chant to Ganesha, I had a strange almost out of body experience. Maybe not out of body, but certainly out of mouth. I went to the teacher after class to thank her and give a donation, and something strange came out of my mouth. I asked her where she trained to become a yoga instructor. I told her that I had been thinking of becoming one myself.


In fact, that thought had never crossed my mind. I felt like I had just lied to her. But to my surprise, she told me that she knew that I would do it. That I would become a yoga  instructor. Her faith in me gave me faith in myself. I let the thought linger. 

 

That night a friend of mine who is quite psychic read my tarot cards. The message could not be more clear. The cards told me that I was stepping onto my life path - the path of a healer. They told me to follow through with the thoughts that I had been having.

 

Sometimes signs are subtle. Sometimes they're so subtle that we may miss them. Other times, signs are neon

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reminiscing. missing.

I missed my grandfather today. I wished he could've been here in Barcelona with me. To show me the places he knew. That were his.


I've always felt that Barcelona was mine. Not mine in a possessive sense. In the way that a certain style is yours, or a habit. Barcelona was mine.


But today I had that sense that he was missing. This city where he had grown up. Where he had lived. That was his. Here I was just reminiscing about every day I'd spent here, without him.  Without him as a guide or a mentor. And now he was missing.

 La Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona  

La Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona  

set yourself free.

So humbled.


One of my students today shared with me after my chair yoga class that she cries in closing meditation every time. She lost her son to a car accident in January and she takes care of her sick husband at home. She has nowhere to cry. She hasn't been able to grieve.


I could see her pain. I could see her confusion. She almost wanted to stop coming so that she wouldn't cry.


Two other women noticed her crying and came over to comfort her. These are the two self appointed "chairmen" of the class (it's chair yoga, get it?). And it just made me realize what an amazing little tribe I have. They support each other, they laugh together, and for many of them that class is the highlight of their week. And the three of us just talked with her about what was going on and reminded her that it's okay to cry, and why it's healthy to cry.


We release things when we cry. When we bottle up emotions they cause tension in the body, and sometimes they can cause some very real harm.


Crying sets your pain free.


Human beings are not meant to carry the heaviness of emotions with us. We're meant to feel them. Process them. And then, let them go.


And in doing so, we set ourselves free.

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release through yoga.

So humbled.

One of my students today shared with me after my chair yoga class that she cries in closing meditation every time. She lost her son to a car accident in January and she takes care of her sick husband at home. She has nowhere to cry. She hasn't been able to grieve.

Two other women noticed her crying and came over to comfort her. These are the two self appointed "chairmen" of the class (it's chair yoga, get it?). And it just made me realize what an amazing little tribe I have. They support each other, they laugh together, and for many of them that class is the highlight of their week. And the three of us just talked with her about what was going on and reminded her that it's okay to cry, and why it's healthy to cry. 

We release things when we cry. When we bottle up emotions they cause tension in the body, and sometimes they can cause some very real harm.

Crying sets your pain free.

This made me feel so grateful that I get to do this work and hold space for people. I get to be a part of their emotional healing journey. 

I cant imagine devoting my life to anything else.  

 

sacral chakra & creativity

I've been wanting to write a blog about each of the chakras for a long time now, but not anything formal or even informative.  I just wanted to write the first thing that comes to mind about each. What I've written below actually wrote itself yesterday. It's about creativity. Which is exactly what I think about when I think about the second chakra. 

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But first, a little about the second chakra.

The second chakra is the sacral chakra, or svadisthana. The element of the sacral chakra is water.

Flow. Movement. Emotion.

 Amorgos Island, Greece  

Amorgos Island, Greece  

Imbalances here can show up as bottling emotions, or being overly emotional, intimacy issues, repressed sexuality, or issues with addiction. It can also show up as writer's block, loss of creativity, or a loss of authenticity

My svadisthana mantra is "Creativity flows through me like water." And some days it's, "I feel, I'm in touch with my emotions, I'm in touch with my sensuality."

So below is what I wrote yesterday about living a creative life. I felt like it was appropriate to share along with this. Hope you dig. :)

Writing can me to tears.

Reading about writers writing gives me butterflies. It's something that I know is mine. I can feel it in my blood. It rushes through my veins like words rush onto a page. 

I feel this way about teaching yoga. Sometimes I feel this way about painting too. 

You don't have to stick to one calling. You can have all the callings you care to. I nourish my inner creator every time I step on a yoga mat, every time I pick up a paint brush, every time I write.

Sometimes I feel like I don't do it enough but the truth is, I just do it when I feel inspired. And sometimes that's five times in one day and other times it's five times in one year. 

The reason I'm writing this is because it asked to be written. But also because I want you to know that you have permission to create whatever your heart desires. 

You have permission to become anyone or anything that you choose. You do not have to stick to the path you're on.  As human beings we are truly blessed with the ability to create. And we do it every day. We create style when we get dressed. We create culinary art when we cook. We create so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

 And that inner artist in you is begging to be recognized. Just to be acknowledged. Then maybe inspiration will flow to you too. And if it doesn't, just play. There is nothing wrong with making art that isn't "good", whatever that means. It's the process that counts, the journey if you will. The act of making the thing, not the thing itself that is important. 

This is our gift. 

To create. To be inspired. To play. To connect with our divine. Our inner creator. 

This is the magic that exists within each and every one of us. 

Whether you choose to accept the gift, or not is your choice.

This is a public promise to myself that I will write when I feel inspired. That I will paint when I need colour. I will move when my body asks me to move. I will live creatively, because it's the only way I can. This is my soul pledge. 

This is a formal invitation to join the movement. There is enough room for all of us. There is enough inspiration to go around for everyone. Will you come create with us? 

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how to let go: say goodbye to stress in seven days.

More and more people every day are experiencing stress. In fact I am constantly seeing articles online about the rise of stress related illness, and about the number of people who report feeling stressed at work or overwhelmed.

So what's causing this trend? And how do we start to reverse it? 

The top three common sources of stress are money, work, and family responsibilities in that order. These are all real things that we have to deal with to be a functioning part of this world. Neither money nor work can actually be avoided, and I'd be willing to bet the same people who say that their family responsibilities are a source of stress still love their families and wouldn't want to avoid them.

So if we can't avoid stress, what's the solution?

This is not the part where I prescribe a cure all or say some magic words and render you stress-free. Sorry.

This is the part where I offer you a solution that works - but it takes a little effort on your part. Consider this a seven day stress relieving challenge. 

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Day One: Where is your time going?

Do some soul searching. When was the last time that you felt truly free? It probably wasn't the other day when you got stuck in your Facebook news feed for 25 minutes when you meant to just go in and send one message. 

Maybe that was me. Oops. But maybe you've done the exact same thing. Or maybe you've spent six hours of your day binge watching Netflix. Recognize where your time is going. Ten minutes here and there, or a few hours a day may not seem like a lot right now but trust me the time adds up. This time is basically stolen from you.

Most people also don't feel particularly fulfilled after scrolling for half an hour or watching an entire season of something in a week. Usually once you finish that season, it's just like, what's next? 

Do you know what two things rarely seem to go together? Stress and fulfillment. More on that later.

For day one, your task is to recognize where your time is going. Be radically honest with yourself. Take notes all day. Write down every time you open social media and how long you spend on it. Write down what shows you watched and how long you sat in front of a screen - this gets fun when you time how long each commercial is and find out how much time you're being fed advertisements. 

Ideally you'll keep this time diary for the entire seven days. But getting one full day in will at least give you an idea of where your time goes. 

Day Two: What can you let go of?

Now that you have an idea of what is sucking up your time, it's time to make some decisions.

If you realize that over the course of one day, you spent an accumulated two hours of your time on the Facebook app, it may be time to delete the app. I'm not saying delete your account, just make it less easily accessible. Instead, give yourself 25 minutes at the end of the day to go through your news feed on your laptop or computer. Set a timer & stick to it. 

Let go of the things that steal your moments. 

The moments that make up your day are the moments that make up your life. Do you want to spend it scrolling? 

Release the things that aren't bringing you bliss to create space for happiness to grow. 

Day Three: What are you grateful for?

Create a gratitude practice. 

One really simple way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal by your bed and write in it morning and night. In the morning, write down three things that you feel grateful for. And at night, write down three things that you are grateful for that happened that day. 

Now I've already suggested that you keep a time diary for the week so if you're like, dude, I hate writing why are you making me write every day? Then another sweet way to practice gratitude is to do a daily gratitude meditation. 

You can totally find guided gratitude meditations on the Mindbliss app, or on YouTube, or any site that has meditation videos. One of my favourite gratitude meditations actually comes from the Tim Ferriss podcast. This meditation with Tony Robbins is super short, 11 minutes total. It's an excerpt from their full podcast. The full episode is amazing if you're into listening to podcasts, but if not just do the short meditation piece.

Eventually gratitude becomes a habit. It is literally a muscle that you build up. Once that muscle is strong, you'll begin to feel gratitude spontaneously throughout the day. Maybe you'll feel grateful every time you feel the warm sun on your skin, or every time you see a flower. These are moments of beauty. Look at you, getting those moments back!

Day Four: What jewels are you hiding?

This is where we get into fulfillment. Each and every one of us has something that lights our soul up. I love this quote from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, "The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them." 

Today you're going on a treasure hunt.

Think back to the last time that you felt truly, blissfully, free. Maybe it was last month, maybe it was in childhood. We are all creative creatures. What was it that as a child you loved to do? Maybe you danced, or played sports, or ice skated, or made crafty things. Maybe you loved to tell elaborate stories, or sing, or color.

I was in love with art. I loved to sew Barbie clothes and draw and write poems. Now I know that as an adult I need to write and paint and make things to fulfill my inner creator. This is a non-negotiable. And when I neglect these needs, my inner creator turns into one of those hangry beasts from the Snickers commercials. Not cute.

Do you know what happens when you don't eat for a long time? At first there are regular signs of hunger like the stomach growling. But after some time those signs subside. It becomes a dull ache. Something that you learn to live with, to cope with. It becomes background noise. (Until eventually it becomes literally all you can think about)

Your jewels, your talents, your creative needs have always been there. But because the body doesn't physically need for you to create to survive, those needs become background noise. A dull ache, a feeling of emptiness. Something missing. 

Stress & fulfillment cannot co-exist. 

Find out what it is that would fulfill you. Maybe your jewel is listening to people. Beautiful, go volunteer at an elderly home and listen to the stories of their youth. Maybe your jewel is dancing. Beautiful, take a dance class once a week or make it a habit to go dancing once a week. Maybe your jewel is yoga. Beautiful, do it #everydamnday.

Make these things a priority. 

Day Five: What moves you?

What literally moves you? Movement is medicine. I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it another million. Movement is medicine

Your body is built to move. It is not built for this world that we've created. It is built to climb, to run, to crawl, to dance. Your body should move in every way, every day.

But not everyone has time for that. So make it a point to move in some way every day. And make it a point to change the way that you move as often as you can. 

Exercise releases endorphins. Simple. It relieves stress. But when we're stressed we don't think that we have time to exercise. When in reality, it would ease our suffering. 

Often the thing that you resist is the thing that you need most. 

If you are already a regular yoga practitioner, then change up your routine. If you're a dedicated Barkan method practitioner, then switch to a Budokon class instead. Just try something different - even Pilates or a bootcamp class. Nothing good grows from stagnation.

Overall, the most important thing here is to move. 

Day Six: Where is your mind?

Come back to the moment. 

When you're stressed, your mind is not here. Your mind is probably trying to juggle all of the things on your plate and spinning in a vortex of repeating negative thoughts and worries.

So come back. 

When you are at home or at work there is nothing stressful actually happening. You won't be eaten by a dinosaur. You won't be chased by a bear. It's all good. The problem is that it doesn't feel good in the mind. And your entire experience happens within the mind.

Try sitting or lying down and taking a slow scan of your body. Notice exactly how your body feels in this moment, starting from the bottoms of the feet and moving your way up to the scalp. Notice each and every muscle, every joint, notice the sensation of clothing on your skin, notice the surface that you're sitting or lying down on, notice the sensation of hunger or fullness in the belly. Get completely plugged in to your body. 

And breathe.

Bring your awareness to your breath. Breathe deeply. Even if it's only for five minutes. Coming back to the moment will significantly reduce, if not eradicate your stress. 

Do this every time you feel stressed. Every day if you have to. Until it becomes a reflex. 

Do not let stress steal your moments. Live in the here & now.

Day Seven: Who's in charge?

Who's in charge? You? Or your thoughts? How do you take back control?

Medicate. 

Just kidding. Meditate. 

Become the observer.  

Meditation helps you to train your brain to observe your thoughts, rather than attach to them.  So when your head starts spinning with stressful thoughts, instead of getting caught up in them you observe them and let them pass. 

Start a meditation practice. Start small, just five minutes a day. After five days, move up to six. And then add another minute every day until you make your way up to whatever amount of time you can set aside. Maybe that's 20 minutes once a day, or maybe that's an hour in the morning and an hour before bed.  

I use the Mindbliss app for guided meditation, but you can meditate on your breath as well. They have meditation journeys that you can do which usually start as shorter amounts of time and gradually add a little time. Find one for stress relief! 

 Ananda Yoga Shala - where we'll be practicing on my  Greece retreat!

Ananda Yoga Shala - where we'll be practicing on my Greece retreat!

It's time to break free from stress. Say goodbye!

I hope these stress relief lifestyle changes work for you! We will be going into all of these and more on my yoga retreat Awakening in Amorgos this August 19-26th! Pay your deposit by May 15th to save $200 off! Come ready to find true transformation and learn habits that you can take with you back home to lead a healthier, happier, stress-free life! I hope to see you on the island!

i believe in...

 Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

I believe in challenging the status quo. I believe that we are meant to feel good all of the time. I believe our bodies are fucking magical and strong and made for so much more than just sitting at a desk. I believe inner strength should be developed just as much as outer strength. I believe a body that is nourished, taken care of, and balanced will heal itself. I believe in taking the time to imagine the life that you want to live and then doing the work to create it. I believe in people. And movement. And bliss. 

This is why I teach yoga. Because the things that I've received from this practice are too good not to share. Because I genuinely love people and I want to see them transform into the best versions of themselves. There is this spark in people. You can see it in their eyes when they're determined. You can see them light up from the inside. And yoga brings that out. You see it when people surprise themselves. When they do something for the first time or feel something for the first time. It's beautiful. 

Our world, this artificial environment that we've created, doesn't allow people to explore their bodies or their minds the way that we're meant to. We were made to move in every possible way. And yet so many people get stuck sitting for hours on end. We were made to imagine and dream and create. And yet so many people use their minds to think at work and then turn them off at night with the click of a remote. 

I believe that travel is necessary. This planet is too big and beautiful not to explore. Each time we experience a new culture, our worldview broadens just a bit more. We get to question what we've become used to. And that allows us to change. Travel gives us these moments of presence, and wonder, and bliss. It inspires us to live in the moment. To just be. 

I am so excited to be hosting a retreat this summer on the beautiful Greek island of Amorgos. The retreat is seven days of exploring both the outside world, and the world inside of our own hearts. I hope you'll join me on the island! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions! Click the link here to register for the retreat! Pay your deposit before April 1st and save $300 off!

 Amorgos Yoga Shala, Greece

Amorgos Yoga Shala, Greece

7 days of meditation - post challenge

Ten days ago I challenged myself to meditate twice a day for 7 days. I have not had a regular meditation practice in the past and I have always known that I needed one. I used to think I didn't have time or a good space to meditate - I had a lot of excuses. Those excuses seemed really valid at the time. I had this image of myself in my head with tons of free time and a beautiful meditation cushion in a spare room with crystals, a bronze statue of the Buddha, and palo santo burning. So not necessary. I meditate right next to my bed. Sitting on a yoga block, nothing fancy. When I have time, I meditate for 20+ minutes and when I don't, I meditate for ten. Simple. I do find that I am easily distracted so for me I need something to listen to or mala beads to keep me focused. I used guided meditations from the Mindbliss app and just put headphones in. 

I don't think I've changed much in the past week but there are a few little changes that I've noticed. When I wake up feeling hungry or sleepy, if I meditate right away that hunger and sleepiness subsides. I have been making myself a little ginger tea, apple cider vinegar concoction (it doesn't exactly taste good but it's healthy!), and while I wait for that to cool down (procrastinate drinking it?) I do my morning meditation. I don't know if meditation makes my hunger go away or if it's the anticipation of drinking vinegar, but somehow it works. (**Side note: I have been intermittent fasting so when I first wake up I don't eat right away and the hunger struggle is real**)

Another thing I've noticed is that my meditation practice is different every day. The first three days I felt myself totally blissing out quickly, but then other days I would fidget and check the time and overall struggle. I've seen this in my yoga practice but it never occurred to me that this was also true in meditation. I am slowly teaching myself to be more compassionate to myself on those fidgety days and I'm doing my best not to get attached to the blissed out days. Nothing is permanent. 

The last thing that I became more aware of has been my emotions. Lately I've been (mostly) seeing my emotions as they bubble up, rather than having a reaction and then noticing the emotion. I still react even when I can see that it's just an emotion/thought, but there is a little space now between the moment I see that emotion rise and the moment that I react to it. My work then is to make that space a little larger. My intention is to see thoughts and emotions as they arise and then mindfully choose how I will respond. I am actively practicing this when I drive. Driving in Florida can be exceptionally frustrating, and since I've lived here I've developed my own little strain of road rage. There's a whole lot of "really?!"s and "could you not?"s. But it isn't doing me any good, so I aim to change that. Because changing my perspective is a lot easier than explaining to everyone in my state how I would and would not like them to drive to suit my needs. 

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So to wrap it up, if you don't already have a meditation practice I highly recommend starting one! If you need somewhere to start check out the Mindbliss app! Let me know in the comments what type of meditation you like to practice, and if you don't meditate let me know why not! 

7 day meditation challenge.

So today is day two of my 7 day meditation challenge with myself! I have not been a good meditator in the past but I have always wanted to start a practice. Like anything, I am starting small. I just got the Mindbliss meditation app and my goal is to meditate twice a day. I am only halfway through day two so things are going well. I've been doing a chanting meditation in the morning or early afternoon, and a calming meditation before bed. These are short meditations, 20 minutes or less.

I am posting this to keep myself accountable. The Mindbliss app has meditation journeys, which are several meditation sessions that go together. I chose a 7 day journey, and I'm hoping that after the 7 days I will find another good journey to keep me meditating regularly. I tend to be constantly moving, striving, and doing. The only stillness I am really comfortable in is savasana and I honestly think that is because I worked for it in my practice. So my intention is to find comfort in stillness, and to learn acceptance. 

Today I woke up late so I didn't meditate first thing in the morning, I waited until I got home from teaching my first class. I am also experimenting with intermittent fasting (which I will post about once I've been doing it for a bit longer) so when I got home I was pretty ravenous and normally would have just eaten everything in the house. But instead I meditated. During my meditation I felt aware of the sensation of hunger but somehow detached from it. I was able to meditate with a clear, open mind. And then when I was finished I took my time preparing a meal rather than just devouring whatever was quickest. I'm not saying two whole days of meditation made that difference, but maybe it helped me to change my mindset. I'm definitely interested in seeing where the next seven days will take me. 

If you have a meditation practice or are interested in starting one tell me about it in the comments below! 

Namaste <3

awakening in amorgos: a yoga retreat in greece

 Morning yoga in Amorgos  

Morning yoga in Amorgos  

I am so beyond excited to announce that I will be hosting a yoga retreat on the beautiful Greek island Amorgos! The retreat is this August 19th-26th, 7 nights! Each day will begin with an energizing yoga practice and end with a blissfully relaxing yin practice. The rest of the time will be spent soaking up the sun on the beach, exploring the island and getting immersed in Greek culture, relaxing in the spa, or taking excursions like cave exploration or boat tours. I am truly so grateful for this opportunity to share this transformational trip with you!  

 Amorgos, Greece

Amorgos, Greece

Join me on this week long journey of discovery. Explore the beauty of Greece, while diving deep into the depths of yourself. Leave behind your commitments, your schedule, your to-do lists, and all of the busy-ness of your daily life. Embark on a journey into your soul through your yoga practice, meditation, and allowing yourself to simply be.

 Amorgos, Greece

Amorgos, Greece


This retreat will include daily yoga, meditation, plenty of sunshine, clear blue waters, renewal in the spa, and free time to explore the beauty and the culture of the Greek island of Amorgos. Give yourself the gift of rejuvenation, self discovery, and peace. Take these things with you off of the island and learn to hold this peace within you during the chaos of daily life. 

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I hope to see you on the island! Click this link to reserve your spot! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at yogawithadriana@gmail.com! 

 Amorgos, Greece

Amorgos, Greece

full moon vibin'.

Still feeling the energy from this past full moon in Leo and lunar eclipse. Things are happening, things are changing. Eclipses are like opening a gateway. They totally shift the flow of things until the next eclipse. Change is always for the better, even if it doesn't feel that way.

I was lucky to hold a Reiki circle on the night of the full moon eclipse with six women. There was definitely a divine feminine energy in the room. The Reiki felt so powerful I could literally feel it swirling through me so much so that my body swayed with it. It felt like a surge. My dreams ever since have been so strange, vivid, and have seemed so real. 

The next eclipse is in August, which is the same month as my retreat in Greece. I feel like for me this shift was into a make-it-happen lioness kind of energy, and the next one will be very much a harvest and enjoy the fruits of my labour kind of vibe. Leo deals with career and money. It is very much a high energy, get things done, and financial flow kind of sign. After Reiki, I usually like to vibe out and become one with the couch, take a bath, or just do something chill. But after this particular circle I got home and started journaling, writing, getting my act together. Totally not typical. This shift couldn't have come at a better time. Forever grateful for divine timing. 

If you've been feeling this moon share your story in the comments! And if you're interested in coming to Greece either leave me a comment, or email me at yogawithadriana@gmail.com! 

Wishing you all a transformative moon cycle! 🌙🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑🌒🌓🌔⭐️💫💛

 Ardha Chandra Chopasana

Ardha Chandra Chopasana

how yoga teacher training changed my life.

One summer I started a journey that would change my life completely. I was 24, freshly divorced, and I had no clue what I was doing. I planned to go away for three months. I grossly over packed.

This was my first solo trip overseas. In fact it was my first solo trip anywhere. I wouldn't be alone the entire trip though, my sister was meeting me halfway through the trip in London.

 La Rambla, Barcelona 2014

La Rambla, Barcelona 2014

The first three days I spent wandering Barcelona in search of my soul. Enjoying this new freedom I'd never felt before. I walked the familiar streets I'd visited before, and some new streets I'd missed in previous trips. Streets where my grandfather grew up, where my mother spent so much of her youth, where I would put my pieces back together and learn to feel whole in solitude. And just as I had started to get my bearings and feel at home again in Barcelona, I flew off to Sevilla.

It was very hot waiting outside at the airport in Sevilla. The heat was dry, just like my home in the desert. I was sitting on a bench waiting to be picked up, listening to pieces of conversations in Spanish. I saw a girl in yoga pants, with a yoga mat. She looked like a hippie and was clearly doing the training with me. We started talking and became fast friends. We'd later discover we were roommates and our nickname throughout training would become "the twins".

 Kayaking in Tajo del Aguila  

Kayaking in Tajo del Aguila  

Each morning was spent in silence. We were up before the sun and silently we would make our way to the yoga shala for morning meditation. Meditation was difficult for me. I hadn't yet developed a sitting practice. I learned to listen. I would listen to the animals outside, the chickens, the cats, the dogs, the peacocks, the horses. I heard them all. I could hear sounds in the kitchen and the occasional buzzing of bees. The silence was never truly silent.  After meditation we would take a short break  and then come back to the room for an energizing yoga practice. Sometimes practice was an hour and a half, sometimes longer. Each day I grew stronger. Each day I learned a new pose I had never before attempted. Each day I was surprised.

 Suryalila Retreat Centre, Villamartin, Spain  

Suryalila Retreat Centre, Villamartin, Spain  

Finally we broke the silence in our breakfast groups. At first these groups felt like just a fun way to get to know people. But as training went on I understood that truly these groups were a form of therapy. Within a week I was sharing pieces of my soul with complete strangers over tea each morning. It was with this group of new friends that repressed memories from my youth came back to me. I pieced together a part of my story that I didn't understand with people who I had only just met. I know it sounds cheesy, but I found myself again. It was such a relief to finally understand why I had so much pain in my heart, why I had acted out and rebelled so much as a teenager. It all made sense. I gained a renewed sense of purpose and I finally began my healing journey. A journey that I am still on.

 Ruins near Suryalila  

Ruins near Suryalila  

I remember walking through the hills, hiking to the tallest peaks, climbing through untouched ruins overgrown with tall grass and wildflowers without ever knowing what used to stand there. I remember roaming through endless fields of sunflowers, exploring the countryside, and making connections that I still hold close in my heart. I remember cool mornings walking barefoot across the property in the dark. I remember the sweat that dripped onto my mat, and the feeling of tears streaming up my face into my hair in wheel pose.

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This training didn't just teach me the names of poses in Sanskrit, or the history of yoga, or anatomy, or how to meditate. I learned the truth of who I am. Parts of myself that had been hidden finally came to the surface. I discovered my own path. I began a healing process that I didn't quite know I needed. This was my beginning. This was my rebirth.

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the journey towards a vegan diet.

I’m about to disappoint a few people. And to be honest I’m a bit disappointed myself. But if I intend to live my yoga practice - I have to be authentic and share the pieces of me that I’m still working on.

Seven months ago I decided to make a lifestyle change and go vegan. It didn’t go so well. I really tried for awhile, I did. At first I was cooking a lot and meal prepping and finding tons of great vegan recipes. But as time went on, the busy-ness of life got in the way. I felt so overwhelmingly guilty every time I ate something with cheese, or something that probably had eggs or dairy in it. I was really hard on myself. And finally I realized that all of that self judgement and guilt was worse for me than my diet.

I’ve been vegetarian for seven years now and that has been a breeze. At this point I don’t even think that meat would taste good, nor would I want it anywhere near my plate. To me, it’s a carcass. Decaying flesh. And for me, that is totally unappetizing and I literally can’t stomach it. Not everyone feels this way and I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, but it’s something that I feel very strongly about. My boyfriend and a good portion of my family are still omnivores and I love them regardless. It’s just something I can’t talk to them about. I’m so against eating meat, I don’t even like to bite my own tongue! ;)

When I decided to go vegan I was really hoping that with time, I would feel just as grossed out by cheese and eggs as I do by meat. That didn’t happen. I don’t think I gave it enough time. But to be honest, I didn’t have the time to meal prep. I didn’t have the time to check every label. I wasn’t willing to do the work. Someday I will be.

I feel that timing is everything. I tried to go vegetarian twice before it actually stuck. Technically three times if you count the time I declared to my mother at 12 years old that I was going vegetarian - she didn’t let me and I wasn’t equipped to grocery shop and cook for myself. My hope is that in the next year or two, I’ll create a schedule for myself that is less crazy but equally rewarding and that will be the right time.

At this point I still lean towards vegan. I still aspire to eat that way as much as possible.  When I get to choose the restaurant, it’s always a vegan restaurant. I love LA because practically everywhere has vegan options and there are so many good vegan spots. I think in the future it will be even easier everywhere else in the world. This is the direction we are moving towards. And I’m moving that way too - just not as quickly as I had hoped.

So there you have it. This is a big piece of my work. Someday I’d love to be vegan, gluten free, soy free, sugar free, and alcohol free. But this isn’t the moment for that. I’m pouring my heart and soul into different endeavors. And I love wine and cheese. I’m finding my balance and staying true to myself - without beating myself up. This is a journey, and not as easy of a journey as I thought it would be. But of course, nothing worthwhile is easy.


I’d love to hear about your journey and your experience with trying a vegan or vegetarian diet! Leave something in the comments if you feel so inclined! Namaste <3

 

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staying zen through the season.

The holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you're traveling. Airports are packed, traffic is heavy, and literally every store looks like the apocalypse is coming. So in a sea of chaos, how do you keep your calm? Here's a few simple tips that help me out!

 

1. Go with the Flow

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Sure, you have plans. But get ready for them to all go out the window. Things get cancelled, people run late, and it's all fine. When plans change, you have the choice to stress over it or to go with it. "Be water, my friend" has been my mantra lately. It's a quote from Bruce Lee. When I feel myself getting stressed, I think about how water flows around obstacles rather than ramming into them. I highly recommend listening to the Bruce Lee podcast all about this exact quote and how to apply it, not only during the holidays but anytime you find yourself facing a conflict.

 

 

2. Give Yourself Time & Space

Try not to expect the world to run according to your plans.  Leave some space in your schedule for longer lines, heavier traffic, and delayed flights. Get to the airport two hours early. You know the lines will be five times longer, why not be ready for it? If you think you're taking a quick trip to the grocery store, think again. Plan for parking to take longer, expect longer lines, and don't be disappointed if your five minute trip takes 25 minutes.

 

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3. Use Aromatherapy

Carry some essential oils with you. You can buy roll on essential oils at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or through doTerra. Lavender is wonderful for soothing anxiety and also helps you sleep. I like sandalwood as well which is great for grounding. Peppermint is energizing and great for days when you need a little pick me up. Roll some onto your wrists and take a few deep breaths in.

 

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Honor your daily yoga and meditation practice. If you have to shorten it, that's perfectly fine. But make sure that you take the time for yourself. My family can attest to the fact that I am not myself if I haven't practiced. Tame the beast. Practice yoga.

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5. And Practice Some More

This is also an incredible time to practice your off the mat yoga. Catch yourself when you're not in the moment. Practice ahimsa, compassion, towards everyone you interact with. And yes, that means the woman behind you in line complaining loudly about where she has to be. A Buddhist monk once told me a story about how he was in Target and the line was quite long and someone a few people behind him was complaining out loud to herself about the line, the employees, anything she could find to whine about. So he asked her if she would like to cut him in line. It probably made the difference of a few minutes. But after that she stopped complaining. Sometimes people don't know how they sound. They don't realize they're making things worse for everyone around them. And you have the opportunity to be compassionate and allow them to experience compassion. Do it with kindness. It's too easy to get sucked into that stressed out mindset. Notice when your thoughts and your body get pulled into unnecessary suffering and anchor yourself back into the moment. Be with your breath. Feel your feet in your shoes and the sensation of clothing on your skin. Get grounded and find stillness within yourself. This is your living yoga practice.

 

I hope you all have a super chill and magical holiday! I'd love to hear from you! Share how you keep your cool during the holiday season with me below in the comments!

natural deodorants that don't stink.

Let's face it, deodorant is pretty bad for your body for a multitude of reasons. It contains several different carcinogens, such as parabens and aluminum compounds which are both linked to breast cancer, as well as silica, talc, and triclosan. A lot of deodorants also include propylene glycol, which is a neurotoxin that can cause liver and kidney damage. So why the heck do we keep swiping it on every day? Because we want to smell pretty. And that is totally okay.

I sweat a lot. Like it’s basically my job to sweat. Not only do I teach yoga, but I also teach Pilates, Barre, RealRyder Indoor Cycling, POUND, and sometimes Bootcamp. I usually teach more than one class per day, sometimes three or four. I absolutely love what I do, but I honestly need deodorant. I would be super gross without it.

When I first switched to natural deodorant, I’m not gonna lie it was not so pretty. My sister is really honest with me and she told me to switch back immediately. I assumed that if one didn’t work, none of them would. And after two weeks of smelling pretty rank, I went back to my old deodorant.

About a year later I tried again but with a different brand, and same thing. It didn’t work. This happened a few more times, but finally after trying seven different kinds of natural deodorant I finally know what works for me. So I’m sharing my experiences with natural deodorant so you don’t have to smell yourself in downdog! Of course what works for me, may not work for you. But these are my honest reviews of everything I've tried! Hope it helps you find your happy pit place!

Jason Nourishing Apricot Deodorant Stick

This was the first brand I tried. I know because it’s still sitting mostly unused in my bathroom cabinet. I’m not saying this one won’t work for you, but it definitely didn’t work for me. The ingredients do also include silica, which is a carcinogen. I’d say this one stinks.

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Unscented Deodorant Stick

This was the second brand that I tried. It also didn’t work. Sometimes I even thought that it was making me smell worse than I would have without any deodorant. The first ingredient in this is propylene glycol, which is a neurotoxin that may cause liver and kidney damage. I’d have to say, this one also reeks.

Trader Joe’s Unscented Deodorant with Cotton

This one isn’t technically natural, but I bought it because it is paraben and aluminum free. It still contains propylene glycol, and steareth-20 which are both carcinogens. I honestly didn’t hate this. For normal everyday activity, it held up. But when it came to teaching a Bootcamp, hot yoga, or a spin class, I just couldn’t use this. Depending on what your average day looks like, this may not be a bad choice for you - however considering the ingredients, you may find one even better.

Coconut Oil

Yup. Just coconut oil. I met a woman at a yoga festival who said that was all she used. And she totally didn’t smell bad so I thought I’d give it a whirl. For an average, chill day this is totally fine as long as you reapply every five hours or so. But if I work out at all, or am out in the sun for too long, it won’t cut it. Maybe this is oversharing but I feel like it gives me a very weird smell, not like body odor, but just weird. And the oil gets on your clothes and is kind of messy. But overall if you’re going all natural and you don’t sweat much, why not try it? You probably already have coconut oil in your house anyway so it’s a great, cheap, and sustainable option.

Primal Pit Paste Lavender Scented Natural Deodorant

This was the first brand that I officially switched to. It really works. The ingredients are totally all natural, it has a nice light lavender scent, but of course, there’s a catch. It is made with an aluminum free sodium bicarbonate - baking soda. This may not affect you in any way, but my skin is sensitive to it and it gives me an itchy, red rash. I put coconut oil on first and that makes it less bad, but I still get a rash from it. If you know that your skin is sensitive, this may not be for you. It definitely works though, so it’s worth a shot!

PiperWai Natural Deodorant

I like to live on the edge. So I test drove this one for three days at Coachella with no back up plan. This could have ended really badly, but luckily it didn't. PiperWai did not let me down. Not only did I not smell, but I also didn’t really sweat. It uses activated charcoal to absorb moisture. And best of all for me was that it didn't irritate my skin!

Way of Will 02 Natural Deodorant Tea Tree + Pumpkin Seed

I love this stuff. It has coconut oil and shea butter which feels amazing on your skin. The tea tree and peppermint oil make it smell amazing, and the peppermint oil is also cooling so it literally feels refreshing to put on. My skin is sensitive, but this one doesn’t give me a rash or bother me at all. It actually feels good. And, most importantly, it works - even for my sweaty lifestyle!

make noise.

You know what's really healing? Music.

And also hitting things with drum sticks.  

I've always loved music. Can't say that I've met someone who doesn't. What you're listening to at each stage of your life is an indicator of what you're feeling. Who you perceive yourself to be. And who you'd like to believe you are. Sometimes music gets us through some heavy shit. Sometimes it says the words we can't. Sometimes music speaks to our souls in ways nothing else does. And rocking out just makes you feel better.  

I don't consider myself a musical person - like at all. But I definitely went through a stage where I idolized Meg White and wanted to become a drummer. And today that dream came true (kind of).  

I just became a certified POUND Pro. And if you don't know what that means, that's cool, three months ago neither did I. Pound is like tapping into all of your teenage rock star dreams and just setting them free. It's a work out that uses lightly weighted drum sticks. It has some elements of Pilates, strength training, and cardio. Honestly I did not for one second feel like I was working out. It was fun and flew by. But now I'm sore and actually sort of dreading how sore I'm going to be tomorrow (just kidding I love that feeling). 

Back to the music. Music does strange things to our brains. In a good way. Singing and speaking are not processed the same in the brain - which is why people who speak with an accent are able to sing without one.  "Numerous studies have proven the powerful brain boosting, stress-relieving effects of drumming. The rhythm of drumming permeates the entire brain to improve focus, increase higher-level thinking and decision-making skills, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, decrease chronic pain, anxiety, and fatigue." Drumming has also shown positive effects on people with Parkinson's and ADD. 

If you happen to see a POUND class near you I definitely encourage you to check it out! Unleash you inner rockstar! Get out there and make some noise!

feelin' so thankful

I am back home for Thanksgiving and I am feeling oh so thankful. I wrote down a gratitude list of a few things I'm grateful for right now. Gratitude practice is linked to feeling more grateful spontaneously - and the most grateful people are also the happiest. One of my teachers once said that gratitude is the fast track to happiness. It's true. When you pause and just think about all that you have to be grateful for, any heaviness that you may have been feeling just drifts away. I always feel so much lighter and better when I remember these things. I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal, or write a gratitude list, or even write a thank you letter that you may or may not send out. This is my gratitude list: 

  • I have a family that I love, vibe with, and belong to. 
  • I have friends who are are so alike and so different in so many ways. They are loving, badass, interesting, funny, and they inspire me to be a better version of myself all of the time. 
  • Right now, I'm surrounded by mountains. Every where I look, there's just this incredible reminder of how great things take time. Beauty is all around us. This earth is awe inspiring and majestic and I am so lucky to get to be a part of it. The mountains also remind me of the fact that the view at the top is breath taking and it takes a climb to get there. We absolutely must do the work, because it is oh so worth our time - and, the work itself is beautiful and enjoyable as long as we stop and enjoy where we are every now and then. 
  • I am grateful for yoga. For too many reasons to count, but especially for inspiring me, for challenging me, and for keeping me grounded, centered, and happy. 
  • I have the right to choose what I do for a living. I have the honor and privilege of being born in a country with  running water, an abundance of food, and all of the creature comforts that I've grown so used to. If I get sick, there's a hospital nearby. If I want to go to school, there are great universities. I have access to the internet pretty much all the time (and I take advantage of it ALL the time). I have the ability to connect, share my thoughts, and research anything I'd like online without restriction. 
  • I have clean water to drink. Clean air to breathe. I can eat what I want - and I live in a place with organic food and so many vegan options, it's amazing. Not everyone has this so readily available.
  • I have a boyfriend who I love, and who loves me, He knows all of my shit. I know all of his. We have absolutely no boundaries with each other. I can say the hippiest shit ever, I can talk to him in all of the accents, and just be an overall giant weirdo. And he gets me. 
  • I am grateful for the sun. For warmth, for light, and for life. 
  • I have too many things to be grateful for to consolidate into one list. 

Tell me something you're grateful for in the comments! 

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