Leap of Faith Life

Leaps of Faith in Life, Travel, Yoga, and Happiness

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Does Yoga Really Work?

Plenty of people wrinkle their noses when they hear I’m a yoga instructor  

Assumptions, stereotypes and pictures of bendy people flash through their minds.  Boom – a wall goes up.
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How I Shared My Writing for the First Time

I’m a writer (not that I’ve ever confirmed it out loud).  I loved to write as a child and as a teenager, and during my public school education I had plenty of experience in writing courses with teacher feedback. However, my last course was about 10 years ago.
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How to Help Your Happiness: A Helpful Post

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Want to know how to make happiness a way of life?  So did I.
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Skydiving, Park Rangers and Limes – 10 Facts About Me

I love lists, and I love random facts, so it was so much fun to put this together!  There is a bit of a chill in the air here today in the Netherlands, along with some gray skies.
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How to Calm the F Down, and Connect with Your Breath

Or a literal title might be named, “How to calm down in any anxiety-giving situation, or situation you perceive to be negative.” Not as effective.

When the ship is going down, in the moment of anxiety-driven situations and high emotions (anger, frustration, jealousy, stress, or mind-blowing-madness), to say something like, “let’s block this negativity together,” might not have the same effect as the captain yelling to the group to regain control, “Just calm the F down! Everything’s going to be okay!”

Think about it – the adrenaline pumping through your body is like the crazed ship group running into each other to get to the life boats, and your mind is the captain trying to get their attention.

So, how do you calm the F down? Luckily, it’s easy to do – it’s called breathing.  Or, if you want to get fancy, prana, which means life force, energy, vital breath.

Yoga starts and ends with breath.  As do we. So it makes sense that we have control in any situation, negative or positive, to direct our emotions with our breath.  It might not feel like it at the time, but after some practice, it will get easier and more useful to you to use anywhere.

When you panic, or get upset, the breath tends to get short and fast.  This leads to less oxygen to the brain and the body, and induces a panic sensation in the body.  Think about when someone is hyperventilating – to get them to calm down you may have seen them breathe into a bag.  Part of the reason that helps is due to the focus on breath, to make it longer and fuller, rather than short and fast. Continue reading

Why take the leap of faith?

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey

What are you passionate about? What drives you? What makes your eyes light up and cheer out loud?

For me it’s travel.  Going to a new place, observing the culture, tasting the food, smiling at the new people, and watching family and friends interact.  I think it is so amazing and beautiful to watch how other people live. Traveling means I actually get to live it, breathe it, taste it, and feel it first hand?  Well, that just makes me do a happy dance.

For a long time I thought my days living abroad were over.  I mean, where is the opportunity after studying abroad in college and then again for graduate school?  You’re supposed to settle down, get married, have babies, and/or do the big corporate job by (insert insanely young age here). Right? Well, that’s at least what I thought.  I have no idea where that seed came from, but it was a full fledged oak tree by the time I was 26.

At 27, and a breakup of a six year relationship, I had to reconstruct what I thought I wanted.  In this reconstruction phase, someone close to me asked, “Yes, but what do YOU want?” I had never really, truly asked myself that.  When I started to get happy in my own skin, decide what made me happy and not care what anyone else thought, I found myself living abroad in another country by age 28.

The Light Bulb Moment I Realized I was Living My Passion 
I was in Amsterdam for a day trip with my boyfriend and his two friends,  a month or so into my leap of faith abroad to live in Europe with my German boyfriend.  After a long day of walking around, site seeing and exploring the city we stumbled upon a small pizzeria along a canal.

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If Not Now, When? Leaps of Faith

It can be scary to create something and then put it out there for the world to judge, but creating is all about leaps of faith, and leaps of faith are always worth it!

My journey of self discovery has been long and winding.  I’ve always known what I wanted and what made me happy (traveling, yoga, learning), but I was too scared to reach out or to realize I deserved more.

It took a massive breakup of a seven year relationship (no idea where that courage came from) to bust out of my shell and take on the world.  From there, it took many little faith leaps to move out of the corporate/nonprofit business world and enter the shoeless-entrepreneur-yoga-wanderer world.  This is the space I belong in.

I have no idea where this less traveled road leads, but I could not be more excited for my present moment, and for the future.  I am so glad I took the little leaps to get to this place that is such a ginormous leap from where I used to be.   Looking back on the past two years I realized I could not be happier.

I started this blog to inspire others to live the biggest dream possible, and to let others know they are not alone in their wanderlusting, yoga obsession or trying new things that scare them. It was because of spaces like this on the interwebs that I found the courage to leap out and try something new, because if you are at all like me, you love people’s personal stories stories of self discovery and inspiration.  Those moments when their life turned into something amazing. The internet is FULL of those inspirational, ‘this is so me!’ big moments, the light bulb realization a more blissful life is possible and that you CAN make a difference doing what you love.  That is what I want for this space.

Because we are all searching for contentment.  You know, to seek and work towards that elusive happiness? Turns out the happiness we look for lives in the scary place – the place just outside of our comfort zone.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  ~Mark Twain 

But WE chose to move the line of what is our comfortable space and what is not.  So our happiness is up to us.  How cool is that?

I’m here to help you connect with what you desire most, and to leap out and take hold of that desire. No more hesitation, only inspiration and excitement.

I believe in taking leaps of faith every day, large or small, to live the juiciest life possible.  No regrets.  I’d love to know, what was your last leap of faith?

Want to know more? Peak at my About Me page.  Are you ready to challenge yourself to take more faith-leaps?  Jot your email in the bright blue email form on the top right of this page for inspiration and tips on taking leaps of faith towards your juiciest life possible.

Fifth Chakra – Throat (Part 5 of 7)

Your Fifth Chakra – The Throat 

 Your Fifth Chakra (the Vishudda in Sanskrit) lives in the throat, associates with the color blue, the ether/space element, and the mantra ‘I Speak Truth.’

Our choices are communicated with our voices, and a large part of how we express ourselves. Lying or not expressing true feelings can result in a “lump in the throat feeling” if not properly expressed. Those with a strong fifth energy center speak truth. Personal expression, creativity, honesty, and passion are all examples of a strong Vishudda.

Blue Fifth Chakra

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” -Epictetus

Fifth Chakra Cheat Sheet:
Sanskrit: Vishudda
Color: Blue
Lotus: 16 Petals
Element: Ether/Space
Mantra: I Speak
Chant: HAM
Asanas: Shoulder stands, fish pose, breathing exercises (pranayama)
Mudra: Fingers interlaced, thumbs touching to create a circle with your hands
Scents: Mint, White Sage, Eucalyptus
Teas: Herbal teas, fruit teas, licorice root
Stones: Blue Turquoise, Celestite, Aquamarine, Lapis Lazulia

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10 Great Things About Getting Kicked out of Europe for the Summer

The universe is a funny thing.  It leads us in directions we are not quite ready fore most of the time.

That for me, came again this summer in the form of a visa denial. I did not get approved for visa I applied for to live in Europe with my German boyfriend, whom I affectionately call H in this blog.  Because of European/US travel laws, it meant I only had 90 days I could legally stay in Europe.  Upon using that time up, I had to leave for 90 days in order to ‘refresh’ my Passport and be allowed back into the Schengen area (90 days in, 90 days out).

Flying HomeI spent hours and hours and more hours in research, paperwork and more research to learn how to stay in the Schengen area at the beginning of the year.  All to be denied and forced to leave my boyfriend I had worked so hard to join (he had to finish up his last year of university in Europe), and add more time to our already ridiculous amount of time apart during the long-distance portion of our relationship. Such is life with an American and German in love; a situation so many people must deal with in long distance relationships that are separated by foreign boarders.

I was forced to decide where to go and how to feel about it.  I decided pretty quickly it made the most sense for me to return back to the States, and live with my family in Minnesota for the summer.  I had been in Denver the past ten years (and in those ten years two of them spent in South Korea for grad school).  This was a really special thing I had been offered, to spend the whole summer in Minnesota with my family, something I hadn’t done since I was a kid.

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Making Peace with Birthdays

This experience came at me out of no where.  Despite my 10 year high school reunion this year, I haven’t paid a particular amount of attention to my age (well, more than normal anyway).  So, this boat thing surprised  me and really, really helped me clear my head on the whole damn age thing.

Weird Coincidences
After a long run (well, long for me anyway, I’m a total newbie to running) along the shore front of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, I did my normal cool down walk.  It was a beautiful breezy summer day, and sweaty or not, something was calling me to go sit down on a public bench on the beach instead of returning immediately to my car to go home and shower.  The sky and water were both insanely blue, and I decided to listen to the urge to sit, rather than ignore it (the easier option).Bench

The only reason I actually listened to this voice came from my recent commitment to my meditation practice. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit as a yoga teacher for the past four years, my daily home meditation practice was sorely lacking.  I began to get serious about it this summer, and settled in to a nice space after a month or so.

Stay with me here – once I made a commitment to get my butt down on the ground for 10 – 20 minutes (mind you, I had to work up to that amount of time, I started off with a few minutes each day), I started to see the benefits immediately, and I was addicted.

I am  pushed to consider the world around and inside me, to recognize love in myself and admire love in everyone around me. It’s freaking amazing.  It puts me in check when I have a moment where something might jump out at me to knock me down. I take a moment to calm down or just breathe in gratitude. Much better than seeing red when someone cuts me off in traffic!

It also guides me to focus and recognize when the universe tries to send me signs, messages, or just a little love. Normally people only acknowledge messages after something tragic happens, like a death, to see little signs of love around them. Small, yet significant – a particularly beautiful sunset, a certain song on the radio or a dog coming to say hello with the same name.

The Event that Changed My Outlook About Age on the Beach
About five minutes after I sat down on that bench I was called to put my booty in, I saw off in the distance a little parade of sail boats coming down the waterway.  They were about 1000 feet offshore, and a beautiful site to see.  They were coming in at a fast clip, so I decided to walk down to the water’s edge and take a few pictures.  Continue reading

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