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Generally, when people think of a “bucket list,” they think of all the things that they want to do or experience throughout their entire life, before they proverbially, “kick the bucket.” While it’s a great idea to create your own bucket list, it’s also important to set goals you can experience and accomplish on a smaller scale. Focus on experiencing something every day, every week, every month, and every year. We cannot wait for the right moment to experience life. We have to create the right moments to experience life. As you create your bucket list, be sure to make your family your top priority. You can have all the experiences the world has to offer, but if you don’t get to share them with those closest to you, they will be empty.

 

smiling people behind surfboard
Toronto Photographer

A wise man once said, “a goal not written down is really only a wish.” There is power in writing down your goals. Life is short and it is easy to let the days flow by without exploring what is outside the daily routines of life. Someday it will be our time to kick the bucket. None of us know when this day will come and, as such, we should treat every day like a special occasion. Surprise your family members every once in awhile with a spontaneous experience that will bring you closer together while allowing you to check off one of those items from your list.

yoga poses by the pool

Here are three ways a bucket list will give you greater satisfaction in life (not surprisingly, yoga can satisfy you in the same ways):

Direction

Chart your own course in life. As you write down your goals, your desired accomplishments, and the experiences you want to have in your life, you will have a clear path to follow. There will always be things competing for your time and energy. Having a bucket list will give you the direction you need to stay on course. When distractions come, you will be able to easily filter them out and keep moving forward.

Focus

Having specific goals written down will help you stay focused. When the daily routines of life set in, it can be easy to let the days pass without taking much thought for your goals and desires. Use the items on your bucket list to keep yourself and your family focused. Make an effort to accomplish something small each day, week, and month. You will find that you have attained great successes as the years pass. One strategy you can use is called a monthly focus. Pick two or three goals or experiences from your bucket list and work hard throughout the month to make them happen.

Purpose

What do you want out of life? Why? This is your purpose. You should ask yourself these questions with each goal that you have. This will help you determine if you really want it or not. Taking time to reflect on your purpose, to sit down and write out the answers to these questions, will keep you motivated when times get tough.

Create a bucket list to bring direction, focus, and purpose to your life. Do not waste time waiting to experience life. You must design each moment that you want to experience. As you refine your own bucket list, encourage your family members to create one of their own. As you share your lists with each other, you can help support and encourage one another and experience more of the richness life has to offer.

Original article from Family Share.

Work mindfully to create those special moments in your life and check something off your bucket list.

Click here to take a sneak peek at our Bucket List of Bliss Retreat and practice in paradise.  

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal – regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful – can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

You’d think that just one of these findings is compelling enough to motivate an ungrateful person into action, but unfortunately it’s not always easy to maintain motivation and upkeep a new habit.

Here are a few keys – supported by research – that help not only to start a gratitude practice, but to maintain it for the long haul.

Freshen Up Your Thanks

grateful yoga studio

The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or “My sister invited me over for dinner so I didn’t have to cook after a long day.” And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.

Get Real About Your Gratitude Practice

thankful yoga studio

Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it gives us the kick we need to start making changes. But if our excitement about sleeping better because of our newfound gratitude keeps us from anticipating how tired we’ll be tomorrow night when we attempt to journal, we’re likely to fumble and lose momentum. When we want to achieve a goal, using the technique of mental contrasting – being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be – leads us to exert more effort. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. For instance, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and schedule your gratitude journaling in the morning instead.

Make Thankfulness Fun by Mixing It Up

University of Rochester partners in crime Edward Deci and Richard Ryan study intrinsic motivation, which is the deep desire from within to persist on a task. One of the biggest determinants is autonomy, the ability to do things the way we want. So, don’t limit yourself – if journaling is feeling stale, try out new and creative ways to track your grateful moments. (Happify offers an endless variety of gratitude activities to choose from.) You could try creating a gratitude jar – any time you experience a poignant moment of gratitude, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and review everything you wrote. When a good thing happens, you can now exclaim, “That’s one for the gratitude jar!” It immediately makes the moment more meaningful and keeps you on the lookout for more.

Be Social About Your Gratitude Practice

grateful champagne face mask

Our relationships with others are the greatest determinant of our happiness. So, it makes sense to think of other people as we build our gratitude. Robert Emmons suggests that focusing our gratitude on people for whom we’re thankful rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits we experience. And while you’re at it, why not include others directly into your expression of gratitude? One Happify activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks.

Original article from Happify.

Bring someone you’re grateful for along with you to paradise – attend
our
Bucket List of Bliss retreat with Cher Aslor in Nicaragua in March!

Did you know that two of the most common bucket list items are to learn how to surf and go horseback riding? Maybe you did, but did you know you can do both of those things on a retreat with Zen Yoga Nicaragua? Read on to learn more about our Bucket List of Bliss Retreats in beautiful Nicaragua:

Join us in paradise for one of the most magical experiences of your life! Each of our Bucket List of Bliss Yoga Retreats boast locations with magnificent views, all-inclusive accommodations, organic, healthy meals, and adventurous excursions to inspire and ignite your passion for life.

surfers

In March, we will be hosting our Bucket List of Bliss Retreat at our Beach Getaway Resort Partner, led by Cher Aslor – or come visit us in May at our Tree Top Hideaway Resort Partner with Sally Rubin.

Both Bucket List of Bliss Yoga Retreats are within minutes of downtown San Juan Del Sur and will include daily yoga and eco-adventures. Zipline through the jungle with the monkeys and toucans, enjoy a private yacht cruise up the Pacific Coast, and find your Zen with unlimited chill time by the pool each afternoon. Surf and horseback ride too – there is something for everyone to bliss out on during this dynamic retreat.

horsebackridingbg

Choose Bucket List of Bliss Date and Location and sign up today!

March 19-25, 2017 at Beach Getaway (with Cher Aslor)

May 21-27, 2017 at Tree Top Hideaway (with Sally Rubin)

If you want to be happy and healthy and have great relationships, there are many different things you can improve in your daily habits to achieve that. There are obvious ways to take care of ourselves like exercise and diet, but there’s one simple exercise that boosts all of these things simultaneously and that most of us simply don’t know. What’s that? Being thankful. We are grateful for all of the amazing people that have participated in our yoga retreats and training. Gratitude is a gift that we share every day and the following 12 tips are a great way approach your daily life and practice on and off the mat:

Benefits of Gratitude

HAPPINESS

surf yoga - gratitude
Toronto Photographer

1 – Increases your happiness. Counting your blessings leads to heightened well-being, especially positive mood.

2 – Brings you happiness that Lasts. In fact, an attitude of gratitude can not only help you increase positive emotion, but also sustain it long term.

3 – Protects you from stress and negativity. Gratitude is associated with decreased anxiety and depression and increased social support.

4 – Reduces your materialism. One reason gratitude boosts our well-being is that it reduces materialism which is a good thing because materialism is linked to less happiness.

RELATIONSHIPS

friends yoga - gratitude

5 – Makes you more socially intelligent.

6 – Leads to better relationships. Gratitude strengthens your relationships and helps you create and maintain good relationships and feel more connected.

HEALTH

green smoothie yoga - gratitude

7 – It even improves sleep quality and duration – in part because you have more grateful/happy thoughts before you go to sleep. Count blessings, not sheep!

8 – Strengthens your willpower to make better decisions. Gratitude makes you stronger and helps you achieve your goals and make smarter long term decisions.

9 – Benefits you at all ages from adolescence to adulthood.

IMPACT

legs up yoga - gratitude

10 – Makes you a better person. It makes us better, more altruistic, moral, and ethical people. We become more helpful and kind to others.

11 – Makes others better people too: those we thank are more likely to become more ethical people too.

12 – Makes the world a better place. When you express your gratitude to someone, that person will go on to be kinder to others.

Don’t feel grateful? Don’t worry. Gratitude is accessible to anyone. Whether we’re sick or well, old or young, employed or unemployed – if our heart is beating, air is flowing in our lungs, and we have had a meal today, we have something for which we can be grateful. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude” (A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh).

Practicing Gratitude

It’s good practice to take the time to be grateful every single day, but what better holiday than Thanksgiving to jump-start your efforts to be more grateful? Here are some simple ways to strengthen your thanking muscle throughout the rest of November and beyond:

1 – A powerful way scientists have found can increase your well-being is by simply making daily gratitude lists. Write down five things you feel grateful for every day. This simple act can significantly increase your happiness.

2 – Another way you can boost your gratitude is by spending a few minutes out of your day devoted to gratitude.

3 – Gratitude meditation: Another way you can boost your gratitude is by spending a few minutes out of your day devoted to gratitude. Here’s a gratitude meditation put together by Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D, the original author of this article, that you can download and try for yourself today.

Original article is from Psychology Today.

Cross a Visit to Nicaragua off Your Bucket List – join us for the Bucket List of Bliss Retreat with Cher Aslor on March 19th.

And don’t forget to share this blog with someone you are grateful to have in your life!

It is a few minutes past 5 a.m., the beginning of my daily yoga practice. My right leg is lunging forward, the right foot pointing to the front. My left leg is placed straight and solid behind me. I breathe in and raise my arms, stretching them slowly out toward both sides. I look over my right hand, all of its fingers stretching themselves in one line away from my right shoulder. This is Virabhadrasana, or the Warrior II yoga pose. I feel good.

Bounding into the Yoga Pose

A relationship is like a yoga posture. Getting into a relationship, everything is rosy bliss. The stars glitter in one another’s eyes. You feel like the glorious hero of an action movie who has just saved the world from a great enemy. Sunlight is like the beloved’s warm embrace and rain is liquid happiness. There is a story to Virabhadra’s yoga pose. As told in the Mahabharata, the great Hindu spiritual epic, Lord Shiva’s beloved, Shakti, happened to be the daughter of his enemy, Daksha. Shakti’s father openly refused the marriage. Shakti was so grieved of her father’s disapproval that she took her own life. The warrior Virabhadra was born out of a lock of Shiva’s hair he had dashed to the ground while avenging his wife’s death.

Use Yoga to Soften Communication in a Relationship

In that flash of energy, Lord Shiva must have been practicing yoga. A yoga breath technique couples can use to help maintain a happy relationship is called the “Hmmm!” breath. This breath technique can instantly calm the mind and a relationship when the tension mounts. To practice “Hmmm!” breath: begin by taking refuge in a quiet corner. Simply cover the nose and mouth with a handkerchief and, say “Hmmm!” loudly with the mouth closed. Repeat as necessary.

Yoga Allows Love to Happen

partner yoga acroyoga

In yoga as in love, the trick is allowing the process to happen. This is the “yes” mind. “Yes” is the balance needed to create a haven of communication, a space to rest in the relationship. “Yes” to each other means, “yes” to giving each other space, and “yes” to just being together in silence. It means saying “yes” to each other’s mistakes, unforeseen expectations and weaknesses. This spiritual wisdom can bring the strength not to fall out of the yoga pose.

Elevate your relationship to new heights in our Couples Only AcroYoga Retreat with Anthony Alcalde

Staying Centered in the Yoga Pose

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, says, “Love is not an emotion. It is your very nature.” Through practicing yoga, pranayamas (yogic breathing exercises) and Sudarshan Kriya , a stress-relieving breathing technique of The Art of Living, this truth has become more obvious to me. With each day of yoga practice, I realize a smile and that warm fuzzy bliss I feel after a restful meditation is the real me. This sense of calm, of quiet observance, is the same as a successfully balanced yoga pose.

A Little Wobbling is Natural

Sometimes in the Warrior II yoga pose, I feel a pinch in my back, the result of long hours spent working on a computer. Waves of uneasiness radiate from the crunched muscle tissues in my back, and I close my eyes. Breathe, I tell myself, allowing myself to practice yoga, to be a witness to this uncomfortable feeling. The muscles are caught unsure of what to do, confused by this new situation. Suddenly, things stop feeling natural, something is not quite right. I begin to lose balance. Taking deep breaths, I agree to be a witness to the discomfort, and with some wobbling and wiggling in the pose, I come back to balance.

Witnessing the process of a relationship, of a yoga pose, needs faith and strength. Sometimes I must make extra space between my shoulders. That means slightly adjusting one here and maybe lowering the other there. Watching my breath. There is discomfort, but these are my shoulders, and they are not going anywhere.

Yoga & Doubt

Whether it is a yoga pose, or a relationship, doubts may come up when something unexpected or disappointing happens. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says even doubt can be positive. “You know, if someone tells you that they love you, you say, ‘Really?’ Isn’t it so?,” says Sri Sri. “But you take it for granted when someone expresses their hatred towards you. If someone asks you, ‘Are you happy?’ you say, ‘Well, I am not sure.’ We doubt in love. You never doubt your depression, but you always doubt your happiness. So a doubt is always about something that is positive.”

The Yoga of Love

In a relationship, Sri Sri says, “There are two secrets: one for men, one for women. Women should always pump the ego of a man. When he is tired, when he finds blame everywhere, the only place he turns to is his wife to find solace. She should support him 100 percent and not put him down.” For men, Sri Sri advocates, “Men should never step on the emotions of a woman. Never say bad things about her family, her childhood, her past, or her hobbies. If she wants to go for a meditation, anything religious, never say no, because these are very dear to her. You just be stable, smile.”

A Space of Love

yoga smiles

A smile shows on the surface of the “yes” mind. A couple can take the time to nourish their smiles both together and individually. Practicing yoga together, and being engaged in volunteer service are two ways to stay spiritually connected. And that generosity in service, giving of oneself in love will flow back into the relationship. It is a law of the universe.

Allowing for time off to be alone individually is as important as the relationship. “For love to blossom, there needs to be longing…and longing needs a little space,” says Sri Sri. “Though it is a little painful, longing is inevitable. If you don’t allow longing, then love does not grow. So, give them some space…and take some space yourself.”

Like the balance of the five elements in nature, in the Warrior II yoga asana, I balance between the five points of my body: my head, two arms and two legs. In this yoga pose, sometimes I find myself paying more attention to adjusting my hands. At other times, I want to deepen the connection of my feet to the ground. Nourishing a support group of friends and family nourishes a relationship. Spending quality time with friends, spending time alone with nature, or just being in quiet solitude can deepen the relationship with one’s Self.

Honoring Time

As time passes in a relationship, a couple witnesses that expectations and attitudes change. The relationship can become better with more yoga and meditation practice. We can learn how to communicate better in the relationship, to be more patient and forgiving. Again and again, the cycle rotates from rosy and glorious bliss to momentary shakiness. There may be confusion when little earthquakes shake. Commitment is what holds the yoga pose together, when you decide not to fall. Spirituality is what gives the strength to see it through.

And even Lord Shiva was a witness to this cycle. His beloved Shakti eventually did return to him, reincarnated as Parvati in her next life, though the same soul.

Written by Marilyn Galan for Art of Living.

Want to attend a yoga retreat on your own and build new relationships? Check out our Ignite Your Light Retreat with Laura Beth Power and Teresa Butler.

San Juan Live says it best: “With miles of diverse coastline, abundant wildlife, rugged hills, warm weather, and vibrant local communities, the San Juan del Sur region has the power to exhilarate, soothe, and inspire.”

You’ll never run out of adventures or activities in San Juan Del Sur, but here are the top seven you need to try when you’re here:

1. Treetop Ziplining

zipline

For the adventure junkie who wants beautiful views of the SJDS jungles.

2. Horseback tours

horseback

Ride along the incredible beaches and through the countryside of Nicaragua, seeing plenty of local wildlife as you go.

3. Surfing

surfers

Surfers are spoiled for choice in SJDS, whether you prefer to go out in the early morning, midday, or evening.

4. Get a massage

massage

Sometimes a simple massage can be the greatest luxury, and SJDS has top-of-the-line masseurs.

5. See some wildlife

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If you happen to miss the howler monkeys on your horseback ride, be sure to take a walk by the jungle and see them lounging around or swinging from the trees.

6. Eat!

avocado fish salad

Enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – all fresh, locally sourced, and of course, nutritious.

7. Yoga

sunset yoga

We’re not even biased – the San Juan Del Sur region has world class yoga studios, in some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. Enjoy sunrise and sunset yoga on the beach, yoga in a studio in the treetops, or even yoga on your surfboard in the water (if you’re a master of balance!).

Read more about our yoga retreats, locations, and adventure offerings and start planning your trip to Nicaragua today!

Sleep deprivation and stress can be a vicious cycle. We often have trouble falling sleep because we’re worried and anxious, and in turn, the fact that we didn’t get enough sleep makes us stressed the next day. According to a recent Huffington Post survey, sleep deprivation is a major source of stress among U.S. adults.

That’s where yoga comes in. By lowering stress levels, calming the mind and relieving tension in the body, the soothing practice can be an effective natural sleep remedy. Certain resting and inversion poses can be particularly helpful for combatting restlessness and insomnia, especially when practiced in the evening or in bed before hitting the hay.

“We live in such a fast-paced environment and our senses are always being stimulated, and that affects our nervous system,” says Vyda Bielkus, a yoga teacher and trainer and founder of Health Yoga Life. “The yogic technique of focusing on your breath can be helpful — the exhalation stimulates the nervous system to release … [and] the poses also help us relieve tension from the physical body.”

Bielkus notes that many of her students report that taking a class in the eveningshelps them sleep better. But if you can’t make it to the studio after work, try these 10 relaxing poses at home to help you get a good night’s rest.

  1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

standing forward bend

To perform this pose, stand with the feet about six inches apart and fold the torso to the ground, reaching toward the ground or bending the arms and grabbing opposite hand to opposite elbow. In addition to helping to relieve headaches and insomnia, the pose can also be helpful for lowering stress levels, according to Yoga Journal

“Sway a little side to side and breathe,” says Bielkus. “Bend the knees as much as needed to ease any strain. Tension in the legs and hips will start to release.”

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

childs posechilds pose

The quintessential resting pose in many yoga classes, child’s pose helps to calm the mind and relieve tension in the body. Fold the torso over the legs with the arms extended or by the sides, and rest the forehead on the ground. To include your arms in the stretch, place your palms together over your head.

“Take long deep breaths,” Bielkus suggests. “Massage the forehead left to right easing tension at the brow point.”

3. Plow Pose (Halasana)

plow pose

Yoga Journal recommends staying in the plow pose for one to five minutes to fall asleep easier. Lie down on your back, lifting your legs over your head and then to the ground behind you, with your hands either on your back for support or on the floor. 

“By turning the flow of blood around, you bring new vitality into the body,” says Bielkus.

4. Legs up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

legs up the walllegs up the wall pose

This simple pose, performed against a wall, is excellent for evening relaxation and stress relief. Bielkus recommends staying in the pose for as long as five minutes, with the eyes closed and using a soothing eye pillow if desired. 

“When we flip the legs up, the blood can rush back down to the heart,” says Bielkus. “It has a soothing quality.”

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

corpse pose

Get your body into sleep mode with a simple corpse pose, focusing the attention on the body and breath, and letting go of the day’s worries. 

“By focusing the mind and bringing awareness in, you take the mind off of what is causing stress or restlessness,” says Bielkus.

6. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

supine spinal twist

This reclining twisted pose can easily be performed in bed before you fall asleep. Lie down on your back and bring the right knee into your chest and then across your left side. Extend the right arm out and gaze to the right, taking several deep breaths and then repeating on the other side. You can also try bringing both legs up and then over to each side, as pictured above. 

“Gentle twists relieve tension throughout the whole spine and also aid in digestion and help us rinse out some tension from the day,” Bielkus says.

7. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

seated spinal twist

Like the supine twist, the seated spinal twist (also known as the half lord of the fishes pose) can create a sense of relaxation in the body while gently stretching the spine. The stretch can be practiced with both legs bent or with one outstretched.

8. Reclining Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)

reclining butterfly

A variation of the basic butterfly pose, pictured above, the reclining butterfly can help the body get into rest mode. Lie down on your back — on your bed or on a mat — and bring the feet together, splaying out the knees in a diamond. If your hips are tight and the pose feels too intense, Bielkus suggests putting a folded blanket or cushion under each of the knees. 

“Bring one hand to your heart and one hand to your belly,” Bielkus says. “Breathe deeply observing the breath move in and out of the body.”

9. Left Nostril Breathing (Surya Bhedana)

left-nostril-breathing

To try this relaxing breathing exercise, or pranayama, you can either sit up crossed-legged or lie down on your right side. Cover the right nostril with your thumb and extend the fingers out. Then take five to 10 deep breathes out of your left nostril. 

“If I can’t sleep … As soon as I’ve done three left nostril breaths, I’m out,” says Bielkus. “It’s really, really effective.”

Original article from Huffington Post.

The Beach Getaway is located in Nicaragua, a 20 minute drive north of San Juan Del Sur and just 150 meters from the ocean’s edge at Marsella Beach. Our partner’s location on the hillside allows for awesome views of the Pacific Ocean and of the mountains to the east. Sunsets down on the beach are beautiful. dscn3331-copiar

At the Beach Getaway, you can go horseback riding, surfing, or paddle boarding at Playa Marsella. With a zipline nearby, Momacho Volcano 1.5 hours away with hiking trails, and the beach a 5 minutes walk from the back door, there are endless options for fun activities.

Our partner location is about 20 minutes from San Juan Del Sur and five minutes from Maderas (the surfers beach). They are surrounded by the jungle where the howler monkeys hang around and play. The beach getaway provides a quiet atmosphere, perfect for practicing yoga, meditating, relaxing in a hammock, and being totally refreshed. Enjoy beautiful views from every location and swim in the ocean or the resort’s pool. dscn4433-copiar

 

When staying at the Beach Getaway, you can expect a bit more seclusion and relaxation than the San Juan Del Sur Resort. For those wishing to experience “tranquillo,” the laid-back lifestyle, this partner’s location is simply perfect.

Join our Couples Only AcroYoga Retreat with Anthony Alcalde in April 2017 – learn more now!

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Do you always start your day with coffee? Try starting with our favorite morning yoga poses at one of our all-inclusive retreats instead.

Modern society requires us to rush – when the alarm goes off in the morning, we jump out of bed and hit the day running. Usually this necessitates caffeine, sometimes in unhealthy amounts; however, trying a more relaxed method of waking up and starting the day could improve concentration, mental clarity, mood, and overall quality of life. Try these five yoga poses instead of your normal coffee routine to start your day with a more positive outlook:

To begin, slowly inhale and exhale for a minute or two. Then breathe and relax in the yoga poses—don’t rush yourself, and remember this will take less than 10 minutes of your time. Hold each stretch for two full breaths.

 

  • Cat-Cow Pose

 

Come onto your hands and knees, stacking your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Begin to move your spine in a rhythmic motion: With every inhalation, arch your back and lift your sitting bones and chest into Cow; with every exhalation, round your back and tuck your chin and pelvis into Cat.

 

  • Table Top, variation

 

From all fours, lift your belly in toward your spine. Extend your right leg and left arm. Bend your right leg and take hold of your foot with your left hand. Kick your foot into your hand as you begin to twist and open your chest into a backbend. Try gazing up. This pose creates heat, challenges your balance, and gently warms up your spine. Repeat on the other side.

 

  • Knee-to-Nose Pose

 

From Downward-Facing Dog Pose, lift your right leg up high behind you, then round your spine as you draw knee to chest. Keep your pelvis low and round your upper spine toward the sky. Touch your right thigh to your chest and knee to your nose. Keep pressing the floor with your hands. Return to Downward Dog and then repeat with the left leg.

 

  • Flip Your Dog

 

From Downward Dog, lift your right leg and arm and pivot on your left foot. Spin your torso and hips open to the ceiling, and lower your right foot down to the inside of your left foot. Reach your right arm toward the wall behind you. Keep your feet parallel to each other, pressing firmly into the floor. Return to Downward Dog and do Flip Dog on the other side.

 

  • Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana

 

Un-flip your Dog and roll your heels to the right. Shift your weight into your right hand and the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right. Fire up your thigh muscles; press your feet and hand down as you lift your hips. Extend your left arm to the ceiling. (If this is too intense, you can lower your bottom knee to the floor.) Return to Downward Dog and repeat on the left.

Yoga poses – Yoga Journal.

You and your significant other can start your days relaxing in paradise in our Couples Only AcroYoga Retreat with Anthony Alcalde – January 22-28, 2017 or April 2-8, 2017. Learn more now!

Body image anxiety — whether it’s a fixation on a facial flaw, an obsession with calorie-counting and exercise, or general negative feelings about your appearance — can be all-consuming, and they can take a serious toll on your well-being and self-esteem. When it comes to dealing with body insecurities and negative self-talk, sometimes the best thing can be to get out of your own head. Yoga, which is now being offered in some schools as a stress-relieving practice, can also be an effective way for young women to develop a positive self-image.

“Yoga allows us to start to slow down the self-critic, and start to observe that this voices in our heads isn’t necessarily the reality,” Vyda Bielkus, co-founder of Health Yoga Life studio in Boston, tells the Huffington Post. “To slow down and get into the body and say ‘OK, when these thoughts are coming up, there’s something actually behind the thoughts that we’re observing’ — that connects us more to our true self versus the dialogue that may be running us.”

Beginning a yoga program during your high school years can help you to start listening to the wisdom of your own inner voice, and to realize that your voice matters, Bielkus says. Whether it’s peer pressure from your girlfriends or pressure you put on yourself, yoga can help you to find comfort and resilience by looking within and finding your own path.

It’s never too late to being a yoga program. Learn more about our yoga retreats here.

Here are five ways that a regular yoga practice can help heal body image issues and promote positive self-esteem.

  1. Let go of your need to be perfect.

“Practices yoga helps people of all ages to create that space from all the media images that we’re constantly bombarded with, and the negative self-talk that can come up from that,” says Bielkus.

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So much of eating and body issues have to do with the need to control, whereas yoga is about cultivating the ability to let go, Bielkus adds. Silencing the mind and focusing on the breath and the body can help you put a stop to the dangerous habit of perfectionism and to simply appreciate all the good things your body does for you.

“Women have so many expectations of themselves,” Bielkus says. “We’re constantly bombarded with unreal expectations that everything should be perfect — I should look perfect and I should be accomplishing it all with ease. I think yoga allows us to take a break from all of the chaos… and start to say, ‘I have a need to be good to myself and slow down, and as I’m able to show up for myself, I’m more able to show up for others.’”

  1. Get active without an emphasis on competition or losing weight.

Some new practitioners may initially be attracted to yoga as a way to achieve the type of body they want, but they’ll quickly realize that there’s a lot more to the practice than getting into shape — and in fact, this isn’t the main objective at all. For those who are recovering from an eating disorder or struggling with body image issues, yoga can be a great way to stay active without focusing on competition or calorie-burning.

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“I often say in my own classes, ‘Why we start yoga is not why we stay,’” says Bielkus. “Yoga… helps us connect to an inner spark that we can honor. That’s really what keeps people coming back to their mats — more inner awareness, more stillness, more peace in their life. Then that supports healthier choices off the mat.”

  1. Find a healthy, body-positive community.

Having body-negative friends can take an even greater toll on your body image and self-esteem than the media, according to a 2012 study that linked peer competition to poor self-image. Attending local yoga classes are a great way to have fun with like-minded friends and to build new friendships that don’t involve competing over physical appearance.

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“Yoga allows teens to plug into a community of people who might be a healthier alternative to what’s available to them,” says Bielkus. “It’s also less competitive than an athletic sport, because at yoga we de-emphasize competition and we’re talking about self-acceptance.”

  1. Recognize (and change) negative beliefs and behavior.

If you’ve been struggling with body image, it’s possible that you’ve internalized negative body beliefs that you’re not even aware of, like an assumption that your weight keeps you from being attractive to the opposite sex, or an idea that you should never to eat more than your friends do. But yoga allows us to pause and silence the mind for long enough to observe our beliefs and habits — and to change the ones that are no longer helping us.

“It allows us to notice what beliefs drive our behavior,” says Bielkus. “We make these beliefs at a very young age — we sort of decide on our worthiness, if we’re lovable, how we’re perceived by others — usually in childhood, and then those beliefs drive us to action. Often as we go into adulthood, we’re still carrying those beliefs, and they really don’t serve us anymore.”

  1. Relieve stress than can lead to poor body image and eating disorders.

Stress and body images issues are often a vicious cycle: When we’re stressed out, we may become more self-critical about our weight and eating habits, and in turn, a preoccupation with food, exercise and physical appearance brings more stress into our lives. According to a recent University of Michigan survey, 20 percent of college women say that thoughts and fears about eating and weight dominate their lives.

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Not only can yoga help promote self-acceptance, but it’s also been proven to relieve stressCalm-inducing resting poses can be particularly helpful for easing a mind that’s busy with negative thoughts, and Bielkus recommends gentle heart-opening backbend poses (like camel, bridge or wheel) for cultivating a positive relationship between the mind and body.

Article: Huffington Post

Want to improve self-acceptance and strengthen your relationship at the same time? Check out our Couples Only Acro-Yoga Retreat and learn AcroYoga in paradise with Anthony Alcalde from January 22-28, 2017 or April 2-8, 2017.