The Japa of Teaching

An inspiring and impactful teacher is forever a student.

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They hold reverence for these two roles with equal weight, as they go hand in hand and support one another seamlessly.

At certain times we move through one stage more intensely than the other, however, the more we attune to our lives as a continual practice of yoga, we experience the cyclical nature of the two. We see ourselves within the ebb and flow of life, as both the student and teacher, at all times.
It is a continual pulsation of practice, refinement, and growth...

Adihkara (studentship) invites us to 'empty out' and return to the beginners mindset with humility and receptivity. It's an essential aspect of learning, and creates healthy space for us to receive, digest and integrate new teachings.
The power of our personal studentship is directly reflected in our teaching...

How we show up for ourselves in our own practices, is how we show up for our students as their guide. In the same way that our Sadhana requires commitment, presence, intention, enthusiasm and inquiry - our teaching practices are fueled by the strength and love that shines through these qualities. Each time we meet ourselves in an opportunity for self-study, whether it is in a workshop, amidst an immersive training, or in mentorship, we ignite the process and practice of learning which awakens and expands the teachings within us.

From that place of personal experience, the teachings can land within us. As teachers, our duty is to offer our authentic voice - to openly share from our unique spectrum of experiences and allow our innate wisdom to flow through us with confidence, courage and love.

As a teacher I am continually humbled each day by all that I don't know, and at the same time, all that I do know. It's clear that the interplay between these two parallels and the Japa (repetition) invite deep growth and transformation, and is what continues to fuel my inner desire to support others on their teaching journey. 


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

From Sadness to Self-love

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When I tune into the constant heartbreaking news around the world it's easy to slip into self-defeat mode and feel as if I'm not making a large enough impact, fast enough, and like there is no hope for a more conscious, peaceful way of existence. So I sit with the deep pain and allow the uncomfortable sensations to arise in the moments of uncertainty, when I question it all...

For me it isn't fear that arises, but an inner rage that is so fucking angered by the widespread inequality, violence and abuse...and after some time it subsides to a deep, overwhelming and heavy sadness.

I'll let myself be here for as long as I need, but at some point I know I have to drag myself out of the darkest places that my mind can travel to, because feeling sorry for the world isn't going to help it heal. I know I have to take small action in any way possible and integrate back into life...

I turn off the endless news feed and go outside to feel the sunshine on my face.

I make eye contact and strike up a conversation with a stranger, just because.

I have tea with friends who fuel my soul with their loving presence and authentic conversations about spirituality, politics, love and how to make any sense of it all.

I spend time with family who I can count on to make me feel seen, heard and safe.

I unroll my mat and breathe.

I teach and share the yoga practices with others.

I come back to my essence...the part of me that knows and believes that I am here as a change-maker and can make an impact, even during the darkest times, in small ways.

But it all begins within...when I come back to Self care my heart becomes full, clear and open again.

I move back into a state of infinite trust and let gratitude flow through my veins - for the simple things, and for everything.

The teachings that have revealed themselves to me over the past days are ones that remind me to seek the practices that bring us beauty, love and connection, even in times of so much destruction, aggression and turmoil...especially during these times.

Time outs are necessary and healthy, but we must step back onto the path before too long. It's a disservice to the world to feel guilty or shameful for continuing to live our lives. We should start slowly and be gentle with ourselves in the process, but at some point we have to begin again.

The healing of the collective begins within - and every thought, word and action we take in response to the everyday, very real, and often uncomfortable situations in life matter.

It's our duty to take care of our hearts to be brave enough to reconnect to our truths, no matter how far we feel from it some days.

And so I move myself from sadness to Self-love, one breath of fresh air and quiet moments of gratitude at a time...and I repeat within...

My heart is open and strong.

My heart heals those around me.

May I be of service to the world.


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Let your light Shine

Photo by Micayla Jean Photography

Photo by Micayla Jean Photography

From my own personal journey and work around self development, it's become more clear that fear lies at the root of all our illusions. Many of us are afraid to step into ourselves and truly own who we are...our natural gifts, successes, failures and flaws...for the fear of rejection. 
So instead we spend far too much time hiding what we truly want to express, and play it 'safe' so we don't overstep and make others feel uncomfortable. 


But the truth is when dim our inner light, we turn down the lights on the entire Universe. 
The more we share who we truly are with the world and take inspired action towards living the life we've always dreamed of, the more we clear the pathways for others around us to do the same. And while it can feel scary, overwhelming and incredibly difficult to step into ourselves authentically (and own it fully without apologies, shame and guilt) in the beginning, the process becomes easier and easier. Every time you speak or act from a place of truth (love) you unveil a layer and feel lighter, brighter and supported infinitely. 


Your greatest gift to the world is your radiance. 


Let it flood through you and pour out of you to everyone who is fortunate enough to meet you on your path. Pave the way for truth, love and radiance.


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

3 Steps to Mindful Eating

Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

Eating mindfully lies in what and how we eat. It doesn't matter whether the diet is vegan, raw or paleo, mindful eating is all about creating a healthy, sustainable diet. Equally as important to the food you ingest is the 'how'  you ingest, and is quite possibly more important than what is being served on your plate. Mindful eating habits nourish your body, mind and soul and help you to digest your food properly, from a place of relaxation and presence. Eating mindfully becomes a powerful practice of self-care. 

Like with any practice, eating mindfully requires continual awareness to create healthier habits. I follow these three easy steps to remember that how I eat is an extremely important part of my diet, and since I love eating, it is also an extremely important part of my overall lifestyle!

The Before

Preparing food is as much a part of the diet as actually eating. Try to spend at least 10 minutes preparing your meals. You will notice that the more thought and energy you actually invest in the preparation of the food, the better it tastes.

Once you have finished preparing your meal – stop! Take a moment and look at your food to be grateful and appreciate it. You can do that in whatever way feels most natural – close your eyes and silently give thanks to the food in front of you, repeat a mantra or take a few deep breaths. Even taking a beautiful picture and posting it on instagram can be your way of showing appreciation and gratitude!

Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke


The During

From the kitchen to the table, the real challenge is in consciously eating without multitasking.  This means no instagram scrolling, no Netflix on the side and definitely no working on the side. Technology pulls us out of presence, therefor distracting us from our sensations...you have just prepared a delicious meal, enjoy it wholeheartedly with all your senses!

That doesn't mean you have to be alone to stay present with your food -- not at all! Enjoying food with the company of loved ones is a beautiful way to enjoy your meals. Sharing food with others is one of the oldest traditions and creates a collective celebration of sharing in nourishment and pleasure. 

The After

Finish (and I really mean finish!) your last bite and wait a little moment before rushing off the table! Feel the sensations of your body and filled stomach. It is an amazing feeling – make sure to appreciate it and acknowledge that healthful and delicious food every day is a choice and practice. Healthy food nourishes the body and the way you eat your food has the power to nourish the mind and soul.


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Sabrina is on the journey to self-love, self-care and connection. Through Yoga and Meditation she learned how to truly connect with and channel the positivity within. Sabrina balances life between her many passions and desire to make a difference in her own life and those around her. Follow her here www.simplybeeyou.com

The Core of Growth

Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

To be vulnerable is to expose and express parts of ourselves without hiding or suppressing them. It requires us to let go of the curated, perfect mask and is an invitation to show up courageously and authentically, with all of our flaws. It requires us to soften the walls of protection we have put up and to trust that we will be received with open arms by our loved ones, communities and the Universe. Although vulnerability often feels like we are taking a massive risk as we leap into unknown territory with no certainty of outcomes, it is the true catalyst to our growth and evolution...

The times we find ourselves most vulnerable and open to feel all of the emotions of our human existence, are the ones which teach us the most. Whether it's traveling outside of our comfort zone, transitioning through a relationship, launching a project, or sharing our story — these moments leave us raw and exposed. Yet through these experiences, we receive some of life's biggest lessons and find ourselves on the other side with more strength, clarity, courage, and wisdom...

The more we take risks and allow ourselves to be vulnerable throughout our life story, the more we heal and find freedom. This comes from the process of vulnerability — learning to have innate compassion with ourselves first and being able to let go of outcomes, building stronger connectivity with others as a result of sharing/living our truth, and from fully embracing each stage of our journey — acknowledging that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

The outcome of vulnerability leaves us empowered and awakened...it opens us up to more opportunity as we create healthy space in our lives to call in what is aligned, it sparks our creativity as we express ourselves in new ways, and continues to deepen our relationship to ourself as we further discover, accept and love our authentic Self, the one who is perfectly imperfect, always the student, and on a never ending journey of growth. 


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

How to choose a Yoga Teacher Training

Do you want to further your yoga practice?

Photo by Alli Baltodano 

Photo by Alli Baltodano 

If so, then you may be interested in doing a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Google the words 'Yoga Teacher Training' and endless listings will emerge. You will find trainings offered in every nook and cranny of the earth, from traditional 'Mysore Ashtanga' to 'Iron Yogi Turbo Vinyasa'. Courses from 2 days to 2 year intensives. Technology is a powerful tool for research and discovery, however, it can be extremely overwhelming when you are looking to invest your money, time and heart into the best training for you. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing any training...

Below are my key aspects to look for when choosing your yoga teacher training. I share this from personal experience after numerous Yoga Teacher Trainings and hope this helps you to begin your journey...

1. What style of yoga should I choose for my first teacher training? 

Hatha. Anusara. Ashtanga. Restorative. Vinyasa. Kundalini. Power. Bikram. Jivamukti. Sivananda. 

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These are just a few examples of the most commonly practiced, but the list is endless: yoga comes in all shapes & styles. Most of time time what you are exposed to in your regular yoga practice or studio, is what you will naturally be drawn to for your training. Keep in mind that the practices we avoid may be the most nourishing for our bodies & minds. For example, if you practice power vinyasa without a consistent pranayama or meditation practice, you may be adding tension and stress to the nervous system through too much intensity. On the other end of the spectrum, if your daily practice is more restorative, you may be lacking the energy, agni (fire) or strength that a heating pranayama or asana practice can bring.

The key in any thorough teaching training is balance, just like in our yoga practice. Look for a YTT which is integral and will include different practices and experiences.  

A training which includes multiple teachers is highly recommended as each teacher has their own unique capacities. Often these trainings will bring together a group of teachers who have a common ground for their foundation (for ex: Anusara lineage) however, they will specialize in certain areas - therefore they can convey less information to you, more effectively. For example, an asana teacher can understand anatomy from sensation and intuition, but may not be able to translate it into anatomical terms. Hence, the importance of an anatomy teachers influence and experience specifically in this field.

Most importantly, each teacher will bring their own unique life experiences and perspectives which are a blend from their previous teachers (and thier teachers, and so on!) so that you are essentially learning from many generations. 

*If there is a particular type of yoga you know you would like to specialize in then my recommendation is the same. For example, look for a training which specializes in 'Restorative Yin' (or whatever your interest is) which encompasses multiple teachers and is well organized so you can see the breakdown of the content taught. 

2. What is Yoga Alliance and why is it important?

Yoga Alliance is a non-profit association representing yoga teachers, schools and studios world wide. Yoga Alliance has compiled a certain amount of requirements in order to become 'registered' under their qualifications. YA has become an internationally recognized organization and has helped to create a standardization of trainings. When you take a training recognized by YA you will be certified under Registered Yoga Training (RYT), which will give you traditional and practical education and allow you to teach worldwide.

For example, each 200 hour yoga teacher training which is registered under YA will include:

100 hours of Techniques, Training & Practice: traditional yoga techniques (asana, pranayama, meditation, kirtan, mantra, kriyas, chanting, etc.)

25 hours of Teaching Methodology: communication & business skills, demonstrating, assisting, observation, etc.

20 hours of Anatomy & Physiology: physical bodily systems, energetic bodily systems, etc.

30 hours of Philosophy, Lifestyle & Ethics: traditional texts, such as the Yoga Sutras and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, student relationships and community, understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service to others, etc.

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10 hours of Practicum: practice teaching, observing and giving feedback, etc.

These are the most basic and necessary tools you will need to teach. You do not need to understand it all from the beginning (and believe me it takes years to integrate fully!) but it is important to set up a strong foundation from the beginning. 

*Keep in mind there are many trainings that are not RYT (Registered Yoga Trainings with YA) and may be as in depth and thorough - YA is simply the most internationally recognized and if you plan on teachings in studios, many will require RYT education. 

Should I know one of the teachers before I commit to their training?

Not necessarily, however it is extremely helpful if you, or a friend has practiced with them before. This will give you a sense of security knowing that the teacher is genuine and qualified. I have found that teachers who are older are the ones who are well established in their own practices, have spent time with experienced teachers, and have life experiences to add. This doesn't mean a younger teacher cannot translate the teachings as effectively, but be discerning in who you choose to learn from. The power to share teachings from personal experience (and embody the teachings off the mat!) is the difference between an experienced teacher of yoga, and an experienced teacher of asana.

Experience, authenticity and humility are key factors I looks for in teachers and mentors, and I encourage you to do the same.

There is nothing more inspiring than to absorb the profound philosophies from teachers who have devoted their lives to learning, teaching and living the path of yoga. 

3. Which part of the world should I do my training?

Go with the training that speaks to you. Trust your intuition and follow your heart. Do not take a training in Fiji because you have always wanted to swim in crystal clear waters. Do not train in Mumbai if you hate cities, just because you want the 'authentic' Indian experience. Do not choose a training in your city/state/country because it is the closest and cheapest...

Give yourself time to research and narrow down your options depending on what type of environment nourishes you. Do you learn better when you are in a more disciplined atmosphere? Do you need a location which will enable you to stay in touch with children or loved ones? If you can take time away from your daily routine and life (work, family, friends, internet) then I highly encourage you to do this.

A training should create a space which will aid you in the purification process. 

Give yourself this 'time out' and encourage yourself to be off the grid. Disconnect to reconnect. Part of the challenge and experience of a YTT is traveling to unknown places, both physically and mentally. For many, to complete a training outside of your normal context of life and comfort zone, can help to create more focus and immerse yourself fully.  Ultimately, every ones situation (due to work, children, finances) will be different, so choose the training which feels right for you at this moment in your life.

4. I am new to yoga but I am interested in taking a training, can I?

Of course! There are trainings for all levels, beginners - advanced. A 200 hour Yoga Alliance training is a good place to start. Many people decide to take a YTT simply to further their own knowledge for a self-practice and never intend on teaching. This is completely normal. If you have a strong desire to further your practice and are open to a new experience you will be welcome into any training. Make sure your intention is aligned with the training and not an excuse to travel or feel yoga is a trendy profession you want to pursue. 

Immerse yourself wholeheartedly in the experience and don't look back! 

5. Where do I begin my research?

Online is always available and at our fingertips, but the best thing you can do is get involved personally in your local yoga community. Explore multiple studios/teachers and get to know as many like-minded people as possible. Reach out to experienced teachers and other students who can give you recommendations on teachers and courses they have done in the past. If you are hesitant, treat yourself to a weekend workshop immersion or yoga retreat before signing up for a YTT to experience what it feels like to immerse yourself in the practices.

I'm still totally overwhelmed...help!

As with any subject you study, the first lessons are an introduction. Your first teacher training can resemble the teeny, tiny tip of an ice berg which leaves you feeling inspired and enthusiastic to explore the rest of the iceberg. It is an endless journey and one that will always evolve depending on the phases of your life. 

An intensive training course can also leave you feeling overwhelmed, as you are suddenly opened to new philosophies and ways of living. It will most definitely encourage you to take a closer look at your current life (relationships, habits, patterns) and become aware of what is inhibiting or nourishing you. The deeper into the yoga journey you go, the more sensitive you become as your awareness moves from the physical to subtle. Remember that everything we need to know is with us at this moment and that our lives are unfolding in perfection. You will absorb whatever it is you are meant to learn/take away from an experience in life (or training course). Trust that with steady practice and a burning desire to awaken your true self, the more the knowledge will sink in and begin to trickle off the mat into all aspects of your life. 

I guarantee that your first teacher training is definitely not your last!

So relax.

Breathe deep.

Enjoy the journey and don't rush the process. 

Stay present to the beauty of studentship and know you are continually learning and growing. There is no 'perfect' yoga teacher and no 'perfect' training so do your best to choose teachers and a training that inspires you in this moment of your life, and let go of the end result.

Walk into any training (your first or fifteenth) with a beginners mind... 

Release any expectations and know that any YTT you do will be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging, yet 100% transformational. It will open your eyes to a new way of living. It will help you travel deep within, past your ego and external attachments. It will lead you to reveal the most happy & healthy version of yourself...and ultimately guide you to be of service to others by sharing this positivity and love.

Below are some teachers I know personally, respect deeply and would recommend their trainings in a heartbeat! Others have been recommended within the yoga community and are highly experienced...

Suzanne Faith Yoga

Yoga Arts

Elena Brower

Rachel Zinman

Shiva Rae

Janet Stone

Chris Chavez

Nico Luce

Noah Maze

Sianna Sherman


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Set Yourself Free

Photo by Monica Justesen

For too many years I tried to fit into places and parts of society that didn't feel supportive. Phases of feeling uninspired and a loss of direction left me trying to fill myself up with material items, drugs and alcohol, and toxic relationships. These all left me feeling more disconnected, even though I appeared happy and vibrant on the outside (yes, I was awesome to party with, and even won the superlative of second 'biggest partier' during high school!) but in reality it was an illusion...

Deep down I knew what sparked me (travel and adventure, learning about different people and cultures, food, living simply and according to my own rules - a wild child at heart who was happiest barefoot in the tropics) but I didn't have the clarity to focus my energy in the right direction. I didn't feel I could truly live as my most authentic Self.

So I hid myself and identified with the false parts of me, and spent my teenage years living according to who I 'thought' I should be, until I began practicing yoga at the age of 19. It wasn't an overnight shift to sobriety and well-being, but it was the catalyst that excelled my own personal growth and evolution.

Yoga dropped me deep into my body, mind and heart and for the first time I felt the deeper sensations of life...literally high from the experience of moving my body with breath and focused intention. I was surrounded by women who were down to earth, authentic and empowered. My heart was awakened through the mystical traditions of the East that began to answer some of the biggest life questions, that I didn't even know I had...

My soul was sparked and it began to unravel into the most beautiful, raw, and powerful, journey of self-discovery and self-love. 

The practices that continue to bring me closer home to my authentic myself is what I feel called to share. These practices bring me back to what's important and what my values are. They give me clarity, balance and compassion. They help to form my inner compass and allow me to listen to my inner wisdom and truly live from the heart. 

My mission is to support others on their journey of returning to their highest Self through the practices of yoga and holistic living. I want everyone to know they are worthy to create their own life of freedom, authenticity, and love. 

No one is exempt.

It is our birthright to wake up and feel excited about life, and to share our gifts with the world, in whatever way, shape or form that takes. There is no one formula. We are individually crafted beings with a unique soul purpose - like a seedling, it wants to bloom into the most radiant version of you!

I aim to empower others to learn the transformational tools to sustain their health and happiness, in the same way so many incredible teachers and mentors have shown me. Often we are the ones in the way of our own growth and freedom. We put so many limiting beliefs and false identities on our stories. All it takes is one moment, to reach out for help, step onto your mat, take that trip you've always dreamed of, write the book, quit the job...to take the leap of faith and know that your heart wants to be free, and when you begin to listen to what you really desire, the entire world shows up to support you. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Yoga, I bow to you

Yoga has been one of the greatest gifts in my life...it is a practice that never ends and continues to awaken and fill my heart more with each passing day. 

Over a decade ago, yoga dropped me deeply into a new path of purpose and meaning...

I was always vibrant and had a love for life, but never felt truly connected to myself - I didn't have clarity to recognize this, so it became much easier to mask it all with partying and ignored my hearts true desires...I did this for many years and followed what was 'safe and comfortable' within my family and society. 

I found myself at University, totally un-inspired by conventional education and focused my attention on waitressing outside of classes, saving all my money to travel abroad during school breaks. It was through travel that I was ignited and I received the most education from the people and cultures I experienced. I had a deep desire for freedom, and traveling to new parts of the world, letting go of who I thought I needed to be, and experiencing life with a new set of eyes brought me closer to the presence I longed for within. These moments were the first signs from the Universe of the teachings.

During this time in University, I learned about a hot yoga studio in town. I knew nothing about it, except for the older, beautiful girls at work (who I looked up to with complete reverence!) said it was amazing and I had to try it. It didn't take much convincing, and at the end of that first class I remember feeling at home in my body, clear in my mind, and completely at ease...supported...liberated...in my heart. All of which occurred while sober, in a walled room, in the middle of winter, in New Hampshire. I wasn't sure exactly what had happened during those 90 minutes, but I knew the experience was nothing short of awakening and empowering. From that day on, I dove into the practices wholeheartedly.

Fast forward a few years later - a school graduation, plane trips back and forth to India, and I had completed my first Yoga Teacher Training. My personal path begin to unfold with an abundance of enthusiasm and a fierce desire to learn more about myself and life...

Since my first training in 2011, I have followed my inner call to teach, travel, learn, and consciously create a life which is unique to me and brings me joy, passion and purpose. My teaching has been a grounding force which has shifted my own practice on the mat, off the mat. Teaching invigorates every cell in my body and redirects my energy to a path of service, continual studentship and evolution. I am beyond grateful and deeply humbled to share the practices that give me so much strength, grace, love and freedom. 

It hit me exceptionally hard today, after teaching a class in a studio, in the same city where I first came to my mat many years ago, just how grateful I am to be immersed in the practices and teachings. It is one of the most rewarding and soul-filling experiences to witness committed practitioners moving with breath, finding focus and stillness, and leaving the studio with a smile as they go out into the world feeling more at peace within. 

I am honored to share what I love through various platforms and for the supportive global community of freedom-seekers who continues to inspire me to stand in my truth and follow my heart. 

I bow humbly to wisdom of the teachings...I bow to my teachers who have translated them so eloquently...I bow to life's many wild, unforeseen and Divinely timed experiences that remind me of the true practices of yoga, off the mat. 

This journey is never ending and I thank you for being a part of mine at this very moment whether we have practiced together or you are reading this from a far.  It is the highest gift to share and learn transformational teachings from one another and it is through our own individual awakening that the collective consciousness will rise...

May we continue to serve one another as friends, mentors and community of the heart. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

5 reasons to go on a Yoga Retreat

Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

A yoga retreat is a unique experience which supports us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While there are many benefits to yoga retreats, the following four reasons are what keeps me creating these sacred spaces for students:

1. Shift your perspectives

When you physically travel to new locations (even if it is only hours away!) you step out of your comfort zone. Exploring unfamiliar or foreign places encourages you to see the world through fresh eyes and in order to adapt you will need to learn from the people and cultures around you through receptivity, humility and compassion. 

2. Improve your Health

Retreats are designed to aid you with a healthy routine to purify you from the stressors of modern day life. Think deep sleep and cat naps, sunshine and nature, a wholesome fresh plant based diet, daily movement and meditation, and a loving community...all of these aspects are intentional ways a retreat supports the body, mind and heart for ultimate well-being. In this supportive atmosphere, unhealthy patterns/habits often surface and are recognized, as opposed to ignored and suppressed. 

The space for rest encourages reflection and awareness, which then opens up the doors for transformation. With awareness comes the desire and responsibility to make necessary shifts...

3. Build community from the Heart
 
Community or a tribe from the heart 'kula' is one of the most important and beautiful aspects of any retreat! Retreats encourage everyone to come together with a collective intention and hold space for the group to experience something unique together, under new circumstances. Even if you go on retreat with a friend or partner, you can expect to dive deeper into your relationship as it will evolve.

Retreats create a neutral, loving and supportive environment which encourages you to meet one another from a place of authenticity and with an open mind/heart. While you will spend plenty of time alone, you will also find that the community forms quite quickly when you meet from a place of presence. Think fun adventures to nearby hidden beaches, candlelit dinners without technology, and many inspiring hours spent in practice together on the mat.  

Often these authentic connections become long lasting relationships and continue to inspire you long after you've returned home. 

4. Deepen your Yoga Practice

Retreats immerse you into the yoga practices, both on and off the mat. 
On the mat, practicing for an extended period of time with the same teacher(s) allows them to get to know your body/mind to give you more personalized modifications, adjustments or therapeutic advice to practice more safely and with depth. 
Any integrated retreat will encompass asana (poses), pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation (guided, journaling, reflective work) and workshops (philosophy, holistic health, creativity, etc.) and set a theme or intention for the retreat which is delivered in a progressive and intelligent manner to guide you further into the experience of yoga. The teacher(s) are prepared to take you on a deep journey and are passionate about supporting students in this unique way. 
Off the mat, living daily yoga through a healthy routine in alignment with nature (deep sleep and a technology detox!), clean meals and learning alongside community and adapting to a new routine/rhythm are all powerful ways to deepen your experience of yoga. 

5. Align with your highest Self

Time away from daily roles and responsibilities drops you deep into your heart. When you live from the heart you live from a place of truth - you begin to notice what's important to you and reflect on what ignites your spirit and brings joy. When you take a 'time out' from life, you give yourself permission and space to fully let go and relax, play and return to your most creative, wild state. Your wild state is your heart's wisdom or intuition. It's the place within you that feels guided and at one with nature. It is the place that knows exactly what you need to do in order to fulfill your most happy, healthy life. Retreats help you to get clear on the shifts you need to make in order to live from a place of alignment with your purpose, passions and path. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Craft your Sadhana, Self-practice

Photo by Alexandra Chan

Cultivating a spiritual self-practice, Sadhana, is one of the best ways to deepen your practice and bring real transformation to your life. Our home practices spark our inner fire through commitment and studentship, and open our heart through devotion and self-care. The ability to roll out your mat (anywhere, anytime!) and intuitively guide yourself through movement, breathing and meditation is a priceless gift. When you cultivate your own practices, yoga no feels like something you have to seek out and add into your schedule, but rather an important ritual that it vital to your days success and overall state of well-being. 

Creating your own practice can be equal parts liberating and overwhelming, but as with anything, the more you do it the easier and more seamless it becomes. With consistency your self-practice will be some of your most cherished moments of your day and will shift your perspective on your definition of self-care and true yoga.

Below are simple tips and guidance to begin building your self-practice:

1. Set the space: create a space in your home that is relatively private, quiet and inspiring. Remove all unnecessary technology and commit to putting your phone on airplane mode if you need it nearby. Set up your mat/cushion near natural light if possible, and cultivate a small alter in front to create a sense of reverence and devotion. Your alter is personal to you, and can include (and is not limited to!) items/images you love, a candle and something from nature. An alter is meant to feed us, in the same way that we tend to and feed it. There is an energetic connection and the relationship with it draws us deeper into our practice, reminding us of why we come to the mat each day. If you have family members/children/pets at home, your sacred space can help to set bounderies, so they understand that when you are in this space they should respect you by giving you quiet time alone.

2. Create a simple flow: create a 'base flow' which you can use anytime you arrive to practice and are not sure where to begin. It will set a foundation and give you more confidence to adapt and modify once you feel ready. Create a short sequence including sun salutations and 5-10 poses which are balanced and therapeutic, specific to your bodies needs. As your practice develops over time, you may no longer use this set sequence, however a 'base flow' creates a supportive container and way to measure your progression through consistency and familiarity. 

3. Define your intention: before you begin your practice each day, take a minute of stillness and silence to check in with your body and mind. Take note of what would best serve you today? If you feel you need energy, guide yourself through a dynamic flow, if your body is exhausted guide yourself through a gentle flow, and if your mind is anxious a few restorative poses, Savasana and guided meditation may be the perfect combination. Once you attune to your current state of health in body and mind, you can become more clear on your intention. Your intention can be a theme you work with for weeks or months, or it may change day to day based on your life's circumstances. An intention is connected to our hearts desire and what we want to cultivate to support us on our path. Ask yourself what it is you would like to cultivate more of - strength, receptivity, compassion, contentment, sweetness, courage? Set a simple intention in the positive tense and present moment based on whatever quality feels aligned for you. For example: 'I take time to nourish myself today'. 

4. Work your practice into your schedule: include your practice in your schedule and give it as much importance as any of your other activities, work deadlines or social commitments. Most important, choose a time of day which works (the majority of the time) for your lifestyle and schedule. It doesn't matter if mornings, mid-day or evenings is better for you...take your pick and commit. Consistency builds neurological patterns, bringing a sense of familiarity and comfort, which leads to new habits formed. Each time you come to the mat at a similar time, you enhance these patterns and help engrain your mind with 'now it's my time to practice'. Eventually it will feel more normal than un-normal and your body and mind will crave practicing around the same time each day.

5. Let go of expectations: some days your energy level and schedule will allow for a full hour on the mat, and other days it may be more like 10 minutes. Don't focus on the length of time and simply complete your practice to check it off your to-do list...instead, enjoy the time you do have each day and allow your practice to shift organically. Be realistic and gentle with yourself. Every minute spent on the mat moving, breathing or sitting is beneficial and cumulative. Consistency is key. Come to your mat 5 times per week for 10 minutes, rather than 1 time per week for 1 hour. 

6. Less is more: practice quality over quantity! Don't try to cram everything in to feel like you have completed the 'ideal' practice with a full asana sequence, pranayama and meditation. On days when you are feeling pressured for time or are not focused, cut down your practice drastically and choose a few key poses, and practice them more mindfully with slower, deeper breaths. This will calm your nervous system much more effectively and create a more integrated practice, even if it isn't what you may have intended to do.

8. Keep a journal: a journal is an easy and fun way to record your practices to keep track of your experiences and how you feel each day. Record how you were feeling when you arrived to the mat, your intention set, and the practices you choose. This gives insight into your current state of health and can be used in the future as a guide for how to practice when you feel sad vs. excited. 

9. Awaken your intuition: to step wholeheartedly into your home practice, you will need to trust in yourself and utilize your intuitive capacities. Your personal practice is for your benefit, and must be lead by your innate wisdom. Meditation is a wonderful way to refine your intuition and become more honest with what will best serve you on a day to day basis. 

10. Stay inspired: like any practice, something things get stagnant, which is part of the cycle of growth. When your feeling un-inspired physically in your practice, get out of your head and follow an online class with one of your favorite teachers, or better yet, go to a studio and have a personalised connection with a teacher and soak up the community. To deepen your practice off the mat read texts, listen to podcasts and enhance your creativity through art, music or time in nature.

 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

A message to Change-makers

Photo by Alexandra Chan

We are the creators and change-makers. We are the ones who are birthing new ideas and ways of being in the world...we are the catalyst for a new consciousness. We are the ones who are fiercely stepping into our power to give voice to that which has been left unsaid, to remember the wisdom of our planet and ancestors, and to live in balance, harmony and peace.

It is possible and it is already happening, and most likely if you are reading this blog, you are a part of the shift. 

We each have a unique gift to share and are here now for a unique reason. Your medicine is needed in the world. Now is the time to step into your strength with grace, speak your story authentically, share your knowledge without expectations, and rise into who the world truly needs. 

Us change-makers certainly have days when we feel empowered, strong, centered and in our flow. Inevitably, we all have days where life hits hard with it's diverse spectrum of experiences and emotions. As change-makes, we live as receptive, open and vulnerable beings, tuned into the subtle energies and experience life in ways which are deep, sometimes dark, but always profound. We have the ability to see the lessons throughout it all, and remain present to the Universal guidance. As change-makers we serve for the greater cause - we are the ones who birth big ideas, projects, and events into the world. We are in a constant process of growth and transformation...we are reborn time and time again. This process is never easy and there can be feelings of defeat and doubt, sometimes we may even question if we want to continue on this path. When you find yourself in these uncomfortable spaces, remind yourself of your potent power and Divine wisdom that is absolutely needed to heal the collective...

Light some palo santo, make a cup of your favorite tea, put on your most healing sounds and hunker down with your journal. Ask yourself the following questions and then post it on your wall as a reminder of your magic...

What is your story of transformation? What is unique about your story? What are your ways to share it with the world? 

May this be a reminder that you are a change-maker...a healer, teacher, guide and creative who is wild and wise. May you express yourself in all ways and continue to dance through life, despite the difficult moments. May you remember that there is a tribe of change-makers who have come before you and have paved the way, may you honor and call them in. May you remember that there is a tribe of change-makers who stand beside you right now, may you know them and support one another. May you continue to be an inspiration for those who will come after you and leave behind a legacy that will encourage them step into their light. 

Let it be so.

 

'Your legacy is every life you have ever touched' - Maya Angelou


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Suzanne Slocum-Gori

Precious time off the mat with one of our most loved and experienced yoga teachers, Suzanne... 

RYB: What was your first yoga class like?

SSG: It was fast and furious, and I think I lost students at the first sun salutation.

Luckily my husband was front and center with a big smile holding me up through my nervous chatter of language. I remember pulling everyone back together and ending on a sweet note with mantra & chanting.

RYB: How would you describe your yoga classes/style of teaching?

SSG: My classes are alignment based with a balance of strength and flexibility, and invite students to practice yoga off the mat. My classes also include restorative postures and subtle body practices, including meditation, pranayama and mantra.

You have been teaching for over 10 years...

RYB: How has your teaching evolved? 

SSG: My teaching has evolved to be much more purposeful. My classes are therapeutic in that they focus on physiological or bio-mechanical processes, muscular-skeletal actions, and psycho-emotional matters which apply to our modern day humanity.

My teaching has also moved closer to an intuitive approach. I am more attuned to the needs of the students. I simplified and diversified the way I teach so that more people can access the teachings.

RYB: Why teach yoga, what makes it so meaningful?

SSG: Yoga continues to invite more ease and clarity within my ordinary day-to-day experiences, and I have witnessed yoga do the same for many others over the years. I feel compelled to share the teachings so people can begin to experience the pockets of comfort and joy…. before life passes by, because life is happening right now in front of our own eyes.

You are co-founder at One Yoga in Vancouver, Canada...

RYB: What is one of the greatest gifts of being a part of a studio community?

SSG: It has been a true gift to be a one of the initial threads of One Yoga for the People in Vancouver, which is a colorful and strong network that is constantly beating and changing everyday. Being part of a studio community lends me purpose and strength. The ever-evolving and dynamic network of the studio requires me to grow and to be more resilient in order to be a member. I can’t ask for a better present.

RYB: What have you learned through owning a studio?

SSG: I have learned that each of us is born with an innate unique intelligences. These skills are given to us in order for us to live out our purpose. Yes, it is important to refine some of our weaker capacities, but I feel it is essential for us to recognize our innate gifts and place ourselves within roles and responsibilities that allow these capacities to be exercised. In the beginning, I took on responsibilities and roles that required skills that were not my forte. I made many mistakes, and it was incredibly humbling. I realized that collaboration was the answer, and I partnered with people with diverse skill-sets and HUGE hearts. I am blessed with intelligent business partners who I consider like family.

You have three gorgeous cubs...

RYB: What is the best part of being a mom?

SSG: I feel the best part of motherhood is the level of love that is generated and expressed between my children and I. I never knew I could love like this nor receive in this manner. And the crazy thing is that the love continues to grow – it is completely prolific. I feel some of my deepest and heaviest barriers have softened by the way my children look at me, or hold me or need me. This softening unfolded me and created a great deal of sensitivity – a vulnerability, which feels very uncomfortable at times. Yet, I feel I have been given access to a source of strength that is incredibly resourceful, and subtle, as a tool to move through it all. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is full of fatigue, constant negotiations and high demands, but the love seems to hold me up from collapsing. Indeed, people have the potential to experience all of this outside of parenthood.

RYB: What do you hope to pass on to your kids?

SSG: I truly hope to pass on the teachings of yoga. The yoga teachings will provide them with techniques in order to expand their hearts and open their awareness. The teachings will invite them to feel more sweetness and creativity and to experience more laughter. I feel my children will need to be very creative in how they navigate in the future on this planet. I feel life will continue to become more challenging, and difficulty is paralleled with what feels uncomfortable. The skills gained from the yoga practices could help them intelligently traverse through that territory. The yoga teachings can also assist my children in accessing their inner flame, and this flame will help them find their way when they get lost. I also hope to entrust my children with qualities from their grandparents and ancestors, all of which embody faith, fortitude and leadership.

RYB: How has motherhood shifted your practice?

SSG: Due to the greater sensitivity motherhood often requires, I feel my practice has become much more intuitive. I have become much more aware of the steps and milestones required along the long journey toward the heart. Therefore, everything is very purposeful, M y practice is constantly adapting to my needs in any given moment; e.g., a practice to help with fatigue or insomnia. Motherhood has invited me to simplify and diversify my practices so that different parts of me can access the teachings. Once as I can access the refined and subtle teachings, I invite them to descend within me. Then they awaken over time inside.

RYB: What are 3 things currently inspiring your practice: 

SSG: 

·      My subtle body practices at sunrise, including pranayama, mantra and meditation

·      Mother Nature

·      My various roles and responsibilities

RYB: How would you like to impact the world through yoga?

SSG: I hope the yoga invites people to be more conscious and aware of their moment-to-moment experiences. Through this knowledge I hope for students to become more accountable for their actions, behaviors and speech. In addition, through a greater awareness I hope for people to have more access to their inner light and shed their light and love with others.


Transformation of Solo Travel

Photo by Megan Kathleen

Photo by Megan Kathleen

I have been living a nomadic lifestyle over 5 years now. At times I have a home base for months and other times it is for days at a time. I have traversed the globe in various contexts - from teaching yoga at luxury island retreats centers overlooking grand vistas, to eco-communities hidden away in lush jungles. I have traded in monthly rent for plane tickets, and employment applications for visa forms. I have stepped away from what other people think I should do, and instead listened more closely to what I want to do. A dedicated yoga practice for over a decade has supported me with strength and clarity to uncover my purpose and highest capacity to impact the world. 


At times my travels are filled with a loving partner beside me, family and friends who meet me for a week of relaxation, or community I meet along the way, however the reality of my travels is that I spend a lot of time on my own. I am often asked if I am ever afraid/bored/lonely and the simple answer is yes. There are plenty of times when I wish my loved ones could experience the magic of the tropical sunset before my eyes, share the same taste of exotic foods, experience the freedom felt from riding a motorbike through vast mountain ranges, or feel the same joy that permeates through me after a yoga practice in nature. 
And of course there are times when I miss the comforts and support of home — familiar faces and rhythms, my own language, accessibility of fresh water and foods at my fingertips, and the safety and ease of the small town in New England where I grew up.


However the more I travel, the more I become comfortable within the discomfort…

The challenges are slowly becoming sacred spaces that grant me the practice of observation and acceptance. They are the tiny moments on a day to day basis that have big potential to show deep rooted patterns, fears and limitations. They invite me to embrace fully, shift my perspective and make more skillful decisions. While this process is not unique to traveling, they are personally most potent when I am on my own. 


Traveling solo is a priceless experience, rich with opportunities of inner transformation. 

It encourages us to move fearlessly into unknown territories and ignites our intuitive capacities. It demands that we fully trust and surrender — to remember that there is always a way to overcome obstacles. It opens us to a higher grace that reveals connection with everything and everyone, even in the most foreign of contexts. 


But most importantly, when we are on our own, we are invited to embrace ourselves fully and to love ourselves unconditionally…


When I long for familiar faces, the people I love, and the comforts of home — I return to self-love. I sit with myself and allow the feelings of unknowing to be washed away by what is familiar and unchanging...my steady breathe, the rising sun and moon, a flat bit of earth to lay my mat out, and the practice of letting go and looking for the good. This practice brings me back time and time again to my inner sanctuary and sparks moments of contentment, peace and gratitude. 

Sometimes the most transformational times during travel are the ones we don't expect or necessarily enjoy. Often they are the times when we are face to face with ourself and must look within for guidance. This process of recognizing, accepting and embracing all that is with an open heart is truly where the journey deepens. 

As seen originally on Yoga Trade
 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Sacred Self-Care for Entrepreneurs

We are all here on this Earth with a mission, and the more we step into our Dharma (unique purpose) we are called to expand outwards and be of service. As change makers, we can easily fall into endurance mode, pushing or striving to cultivate more, in order to have a greater impact. However, these endless cycles of 'doing' to 'create' are not sustainable, and will always lead us to burn out status which leaves us feeling depleted, uninspired and unworthy. These feelings directly impact our own well-being, the integrity of our work, and those around us. These moments lead us far from our inner state of flow, and block the natural state of abundance and health that the entire planet holds for us.

In order to share the potency of work that we are here to create, we must move from a place of pleasure vs. pressure, connection vs. competition and love vs. stress. 

We must remember that there is perfect Divine timing for everything to bloom with sustainability to reach its full capacity.

Nature is our greatest teacher and shows us examples of how to live skillfully...

For example, the seedling of a flower will take time to soak up the water, nutrients and sunlight before sprouting. A seedling will also honor the most aligned time to sprout...it knows not to bloom when the cold bitter winter winds are still alive, and not to endure through the end of summer as it will dry up in the hot blazing sun.

In our own lives, we can use the cycles in nature as our guide. In our work, it takes time to truly integrate teachings through study and practice. Our experiences in life must be soaked in attention (water) and intention (sunlight) in order to digest and sprout through our own words and actions authentically. The end result of this cycle is abundance through cultivation (the flower bud) which manifests through projects, events, collaborations, etc.

This cycle is seen over and over through many forms in nature and remind us to move forwards on our path with patience and intuition. Nature honors each cycle and never rushes -- She moves from a place of deep connection, knowing and trust. The seasons and cycle of each day are the guides of when is most beneficial to move inwards or expand outwards.

Often, it takes simple awareness, acknowledgment and acceptance that our bodies, brain and heart are feeling overloaded and that we are not in our natural state of flow. Once we clearly see that we are ignoring our own well-being, we can nurture ourselves to return to our natural states of abundance, in order to serve ourselves and the planet with our unique medicine. 

How to incorporate more Self-care into your daily life to prevent falling out of rhythm:

1. Make a list and let it go write down your ideas, visions and dreams -- and then give yourself permission to let it all go. With an ongoing list, you can rest easy that you don't have to keep it all at the forefront of your brain and instead make space for the most important daily tasks. Include a 15-30 minute weekly session and return to this list to see where you can begin to make small shifts towards the most important idea you want to focus on and cultivate. 

2. Tune in let your mind take a holiday from all the processing, planning and doing. Incorporate daily movement through excercise or asana and follow it with a deep restful relaxation such as a long Savasana or Yoga Nidra where you can tune out from any conscious activity in order to tune in to your body, breath and heart.

3. Tune out take a break from technology, and especially social media. While it can be inspiring to follow our peers and mentors, it can also keep us in constant states of comparison or seeking approval. Create periods of full detox throughout your week (or each day!) to focus on yourself and those around you through intentional conversation, playtime in nature and nourishing activities. 

4. Sleep! Sleep is essential for our bodies and minds to rejuvenate. This is one of the easiest ways to fall back into rhythm with nature's cycles -- aim to sleep before 10PM and rise before 6AM for the most restful and beneficial hours. Take small naps under 45 minutes when you are feeling drained and unproductive. Begin to see sleep as cleansing, supportive and healing -- not as lazy or unproductive.

5. Schedule Self-care in the same way you schedule your yoga class, business meeting or coffee with friends -- schedule daily Self-care and stick to it...even if it's only 10 minutes of meditation in the morning, a 15 minute walk in nature at lunch, and a chapter in your favorite book at night before sleeping. Small, simple and consistent are great rules to remember when creating more Self-care in your daily life. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Essential Steps to Personal Evolution

There are three essential pieces to all personal evolution: willingness, awareness, choice.

Seems like an unnecessary-to-mention first step, but willingness is like creaking open the door, even just an inch, to peek inside. Without the inch of openness, you’re not seeing anything on the other side. If you’re reading this novella, you’re already willing. Check off the box, friend.

Many times willingness is the hardest step. We’ve all been in a bad mood — and most of us rationally know that if we just change our mind to decide to be in a good mood, we’d eventually get there. But when you’re in the thick of it that’s an obnoxious notion, one that feels like overturning massive, misshapen boulders.

The first step to shifting is just willing to be somewhere else, to feel something else, to exist in a new way in this moment. Willingness can be silent, like taking a deep breath to garner the strength to not argue with your father about politics or deleting the phone number of a toxic ex-partner. Sometimes willingness sounds like a half-hearted yelp out loud, “OK, this isn’t working for me. I am willing to explore new options, thanks.” It can have thousands of different qualities, the one that matters is an openness to feel something different.

Once you decide to feel something new, you must find awareness around how you’re currently being and what you’re currently doing. It’s much easier to change the situation if you understand what’s actually happening. The trick to honest observation is the honesty part —there’s no room for victims here because victims don’t actually don’t want to change, they just want to validate why they’re stuck in the mud. And as a good friends (we’re already friends! I, like, love you), I can’t validate your need to continue suffering when there are so many other juicy options. Continually remembering and committing to honest observation will allow you to start noticing your personal patterns. Once you know your personal patterns, you can catch your BS before it starts to wreak havoc on your full ecosystem.

If you can’t look at your situation objectively, ask an honest, gentle, loving someone else to take a look with you.

And lastly, using the data you’ve collected during your honest observation, you’ll make empowered choices. Empowered choices aren’t ‘right choices’, because there’s no such thing. Empowered choices feel strong and distinct because they’re rooted in intuition and your commitment to growth. Empowered choices nourish the ecosystem, so they can never lead you astray. Empowered choices have enough momentum and promise engrained in their DNA that they encourage you to show up with both feet in the decision, without having to doubt whether it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, which usually allows the choice to be ‘right for right now’ merely because of your enthusiasm. A ‘wrong’ choice with lots of enthusiasm, authenticity and gusto can make for loads of learning — and that, to me, is a spicy right choice.


TORY DUBE is a Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Certified Life Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She is the founder of Tory Dube Holistic Health (formerly 'Hotchickpea', founded in NYC). Tory writes for several health publications, is a children's book author, hosts international wellness retreats, and works with clients around the world. Follow her here: www.torydube.com

The Spiral of Experience

We all have our starting point -- a sacred moment of conception.  From that moment of conception we begin our journey on this planet through the channel of our mother, who is our first home, the first country in which we ever live.  

Photo by Alexandra Chan

After we emerge from the womb this journey on earth becomes our own. As the earth turns on its axis and revolves around the sun, our travels take the shape of a spiral within a spiral. With each expanding circle around the sun, our spiral widens out from our point of conception, and we gain experiences. We process, are affected by, and respond to these experiences. Most importantly, we learn from these experiences.

Consider the universality of the human experience. Each of us in this life will at some point go through the full spectrum from elation to despair. We will experience feelings of both fullness and emptiness. We will know the joy of fulfilling connections and the isolation of loneliness. We will gain recognition of authenticity in others, as well as the recognition of duplicity. Love will be present at the same time as loss. These polarities cannot exist without each other, and the Tantric path teaches us that while our perceptions of these experiences may differ vastly, in fact they are all the same; they are Shakti, Spanda, the sacred tremor of all life and creation.

It is our honor and our privilege to experience the vibration of creation in our human forms. 

With each widening revolution of our own sacred spiral, we gain more knowledge, more perspective, and more space, translating to a strong clarity of vision. So though our experiences of joy, love, loss, wounds and victories may repeat themselves, our responses to them and how we perceive them will change. Our lives become the Japa, the repetition, and if we claim the path of the Tantrika, we go into that spiral of repetition with bravery, clear sight, curiosity, and neutrality, ever pressing forward on our journeys to see what waits for us on the other side.


Marla Cinilia is a heart-based E-RYT 500 and a perpetual student of yoga, spirituality and mysticism.  She teaches and loves in New Hampshire and Maine.

Dharma: Live in Rhythm

We are each encoded with an individual blueprint which guides us towards our Dharma, or unique purpose, in order to create a life of deep meaning and fulfillment. The root meaning of 'Dhra' in Sanskrit is 'that which upholds or nourishes'. Our Dharma is found within our intrinsic constitution and is meant to be accessed, explored and shared with the world for the collective benefit.

The more that we align ourselves with our unique Souls purpose, the more we find ourselves living from a place of love, truth and power.

When we honor our Dharma our lives begin to flow with ease...we feel fulfilled, supported and guided by the Universe in a state of 'effortless effort' -- we cultivate potent relationships, are supported in our projects and find ourselves in beneficial situations which help us move forwards on our path through equal parts action and surrender.

It is through the embodiment of our Dharma that we live in Divine rhythm with ourselves and those around us...

The rhythm of the larger pulse, or Universal Dharma, is the flow of intelligence found in Nature through Seasonal cycles, the evolution of cultures, and pulsation of consciousness. It is the invisible connection and supreme vibration to life and all beings.

The two Dharmas are consistently interwoven like a colorful tapestry. The strength of each thread plays a powerful role in the beauty and longevity of the tapestry. Our individual Dharma (thread) strengthens the entire tapestry through honoring our unique gifts which brings clarity to our values and aims in this lifetime, and ultimate abundance through actions led with integrity and love. The thread of our individual Dharma asks us to step into our highest Self for healing, harmony and the benefit of all beings within the collective tapestry of the Universal Dharma.

The practices of yoga draw us directly into the heart and with steady commitment, move us onto the trajectory of Dharma. 

Do you feel loved, nourished and supported? Do you feel like you live in a state of rhythm or harmony? Or do you feel stagnant, stuck and unfulfilled? These simple questions invite us to reflect upon our life to see clearly when we are walking our path with truth, power and potency. 

Below are simple practices to allow your Dharma to reveal itself...

1. Explore Sacred texts -- Jhana Yoga or the 'Yoga of knowledge' offers the teachings of Dharma through intellectual study. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most renowned and Sacred texts from the Mahabharata scriptures, and tells the epic tale of Arjuna, a warrior who steps into his Dharma through the guidance of his higher Self.

2. Holistic practices that are nourishing, purifying and strengthening for the body and mind. Disciplines such as Yoga, Tai Chi or Chi Gong aim to bring you into your highest Self.

3. Surround yourself with people who inspire you or you aspire to be (those who are living their Dharma!) -- seek a mentor and build a close relationship in order to learn how they live their lives with skill, intention and integrity.

4. Joy, nourishment and Self-love! Step into actions, relationships and experiences that ignite and nourish you -- create a list of 20 things that bring you happiness and return to the list as inspiration whenever you need a boost.

5. Listen to your hearts desire. Integrate practices that dive deep into what your heart is calling for. Sankalpa, contemplation, reflection and journaling all explore your deep yearning desires and help uncover what is truly at the root of the desires. 

6. Meditation creates space in our mind and moves us into a space of calm, presence and love. This state of mind is vital for our intuition to flow and move us deeper into Dharma.  

7. Cultivate a Kula or Soultribe which create a platform for deep connection and intimacy. It is through our unconditionally loving relationships that become a mirror and help us see our gifts, roles and purpose. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

How to live more Mindfully

I am in constant awe of the beauty of life...the 7 billion people on Earth, each with their own beliefs, stories and purpose and the intrinsic intelligence, power and serenity that nature provides all at once. I have always had a deep desire to travel and experience life in all corners of the world. I feel drawn to nature and I am happiest when I am living simply and in alignment with her. It is my forever inner child who wants to continuously learn and be humbled, and it is my inner yogi who is called to connect deeper with life on a global scale. 

This inner desire leads me to see and feel the world in ways which are hard to put into words. The longer I am on this path of self-discovery, the more sensitive I become. I am easily overwhelmed by all the suffering, pain and death and yet incredibly fulfilled by the simple pleasures always available within and around - forgiveness, laughter, gratitude, joy and love.  

Yes, we each have our own capacity to shape our inner landscape throughout any experience, however it is our responsibility to shape our outer landscape in the same way. Just as we devote time to ourselves, our passions and loved ones daily, we must devote energy, awareness and action towards environmental consciousness. 

We are all aware of the Earth's current state of health - she is amass with fossil fuels from human activity which are causing temperatures to rise, new weather patterns to form, species to die and terrains to change at rapid speeds. Not to mention lack of resources - deforestation and pollution of the lands and oceans. Many of our less fortunate brothers and sisters around the world are living in extreme conditions which are unhealthy and dangerous.

It is time we acknowledge the issue of lifestyle and consumption at the centre of climate negotiations.

It is up to us as individuals to see the world with reverence and to heal the world with action, and it starts today, with you!

Of course it can feel overwhelming to make changes in our lifestyle (especially when we have lived our entire lives in a different way!) but remember that starting small is better than not changing at all. Belief that you will have an impact is the first step in beginning this process. The second step is to have an open conversation with loved ones (or friends if you live alone) who can come up with creative ways to save resources/money in your home. Loved ones can hold you accountable and will bring a sense of community -- creating larger impact as your sustainable living is a shared vision. No matter what your budget is, there are ways in which you can create a more mindful life, and the more you practice living in this way, the easier it will become and the higher the quality of your life be!

Simple ways to live more mindfully for the well-being of the entire planet:

1. Watch 'Before the Flood' for the facts and a real look at the current situation of our environment and what is possible to reverse the damage. 

2. Consume differently: buy local, organic and environmentally friendly products. Shop at local markets, enjoy coffee from fair-trade roasters (bring your reusable take away mug!), eat at farm-table restaurants, ditch plastic and use eco-friendly water bottles and make your own beauty or cleaning products at home with essential oils!

3. Alter your energy consumption: invest in energy saving light bulbs, hang your clothes vs. dry them, use the oven for multiple purposes when it's on, carpool or take public transportation and unplug all devices (and chargers!) when they're not being used. 

4. Save water: take shorter showers, wash your hair every other day, install water reducing shower heads and collect rainwater to water your plants. 

5. Eat a plant based diet: meat (beef especially) uses incredible amounts of land and water resources. Try adding 'meatless meals' to your diet a few x per week or one meal daily to begin. Stay open minded and get creative in the kitchen with all the delicious vegetarian/vegan options you can experiment with!

6. Recycle more than just trash: save glass wear from food packaging to store food, use old yoga mats for non-slip liners or donate to animal/homeless shelters, find wood pallets to create furniture, donate/purchase clothing from thrift stores and host a clothing swap with friends! 

 

Create small ripples of change in your daily life and know that this will impact the entire waters of the Earth. Share 'Before the Flood' with your community and lets raise the standard of living.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here