Your Natural State is Mindfulness

The benefits of mindfulness meditation have dated back to the earliest human life. Today, mindfulness has become a common term in our language, thanks primarily to yoga studios, wellness centers, and even mass media. So, what is mindfulness really about?MP900387543(1)

The term mindfulness can is actually easily misunderstood. Despite its name, mindfulness has nothing to do with the use of the mind in the usual sense. It’s not about thinking thoughts or being cautious, it’s simply a matter of being present and paying attention to what’s happening right now.

For this reason, I actually prefer to use the phrase “present moment awareness,” because it takes away any connotation of labor or effort. Being aware is the easiest thing in the world. In fact, I strongly suggest that it’s our natural state, prior to all the conditioning we’ve accumulated over a lifetime. When you were born and opened your eyes to the world for the first time, simple, unadulterated awareness, curiosity, and alertness spilled out. When you wake up each morning and open your eyes, the very same unconditioned, unfiltered awareness greets the day, before concerns, worries, plans, and schedules rush to set it. We may think of these activities as “mindful” because they require tremendous effort and extract a stressful toll, but, by contrast, “present moment awareness” is actually effortless and automatic.

Even though we may have forgotten how to be aware, it’s as natural to us as breathing. The practice of mindfulness is less about learning a new skill than about rediscovering a skill we already have. We have to uncover the skill that has fallen into disuse and been obscured by distractions, acquired beliefs, and habitual negative patterns of thinking and feeling. When you sit quietly with awareness of your breathing, bodily sensations, sounds, thoughts, and feelings, you’re lending energy to the awareness that’s always already there. No need for extra effort, no need to tense up, concentrate, or focus. Just relax and allow your awareness to open to what’s happening right now.

If you engage in the practice of mindfulness with the understanding that you already know how to do it, you’ll save yourself time and struggle. Instead of a journey to a faraway, unfamiliar, place, consider it a homecoming. We may have scattered our awareness on so many distractions, worries, and concerns, but as soon as we turn back to find it, our natural, inherent state of awareness welcomes us home without reservation. Mindfulness is your birthright and meditation is an opportunity to reclaim it. So, do it.

*Stephan Bodian is a world-renowned meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and consultant specializing in stress management and positive psychology. He is the author of the Mental Workout programs, Mindfulness Meditation and Freedom from Stress, available inside the Mental Workout app on www.mentalworkout.com, among others.

It’s ALL about B A L A N C E

When I came home from Anastasia Gavalas‘ – who you may recognize from OHH’s One Healthy MomHamptons Wellness Week lecture, “Rebalance Your Family,” I felt more balanced instantly!

balanceAlthough I don’t have a family of my own yet, (though we are adding an addition in a few weeks…more to come on that!) better balance is definitely a goal of mine and Anastasia’s insight is valuable for anyone and everyone. I preach about balance a lot and clearly, I want to practice what I preach, so better balance is a huge goal of mine, in 2014 and beyond!

Practicing and attaining balance makes us happier and healthier human beings. Balance isn’t necessarily permanent, but the feeling of balance is one we can learn to continuously strive for. Whether we have two things to do or 39, it’s about our approach. It’s about US. If we don’t first work on ourselves, everything around us will feel unbalanced too.

When we feel balanced, everything is more doable, things naturally fall into place. We go with the tides instead of against them. We’re able to feel good about what we get done and not beat ourselves up for what can probably wait until tomorrow. We’re content and realistic, and in turn, more present and efficient. Sounds good, right? So, how do we get there?

One of Anastasia’s top tips, which I’ll share with you, takes just ten minutes a day, and makes a huge difference. Get up in the morning and ask yourself: What is most important for me to accomplish today and what will make me feel happy if I get it done? What do I need to do today that will allow me to go to bed tonight feeling content and balanced? What are my top priorities today?

I LOVE this strategy and I’m going to incorporate it into my morning routine starting TODAY. I see it as a combination of list-making and meditating, rolled into one (which is good for a busy person seeking balance!) It’s not about making a never-ending to-do list, it’s about weeding out the ‘stuff’ and surfacing the big priorities. It’s not about the number of checks on the list, it’s about accomplishing the tasks that will make us truly satisfied at the end of the day. Personally, I’m making to-do lists left and right. I have pads, post-its, and pens all over the house and a list of notes on my phone. Anastasia reminded me that it’s not about ALL of these tasks, big, small, immediate, future, etc. It’s about the top priorities that turn a busy day into an accomplished day, a successful day, a BALANCED day.

Maybe one day, what comes to mind is going to three meetings, making 10 phone calls, and writing two articles for work. Maybe another day, it’s just attending a long yoga class or spending the day with family, reconnecting with a friend, or taking a walk outside. Depending on what your mind, body, and soul really need to feel balanced, those things will make it to the top of the list. I love it, thanks Anastasia!

One Healthy Breakdown: Life really IS ALL about B A L A N C E.

Mindfulness During the Holidays

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How often have you begun the holiday season with the most exalted expectations, only to stumble into the new year burned-out and disappointed? The secret to making your holidays as enjoyable and stress-free as possible is to take the mindfulness you practice on your yoga mat or meditation cushion and actually apply it in your life from moment to moment. And what better time than those frenzied, emotional weeks at the end of the year? Here are some suggestions:

Live in the moment.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, most of your stress occurs when you’re worrying about the future or obsessing about the past. Live in the present; your mind naturally settles down and your anxiety dissipates. Easier said than done, of course, especially around the holidays, when your head is filled with back-to-back commitments and an endless list of things to do and buy. You can make a commitment to yourself to stop from time to time, shift your attention from your thinking, and pay mindful attention to your experience right now—the weight of your feet against the floor, your back against the chair, the coming and going of your breath.

Let go of expectations.

The holidays are fraught with promises that life and other people can’t possibly fulfill. Maybe you desperately want to take your family on vacation but discover you can’t afford it. Or you’re looking forward to a big family gathering but your folks get sick and have to cancel at the last-minute. Instead of attaching to the way you think things should be (and causing yourself unnecessary stress), you can choose to stay present and grounded, roll with the changes –and heed the other tips in this list.

Tread softly with the relatives.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em (or a little of both), family can be a major challenge to your peace of mind, especially when everyone’s stressed. Breathe deeply, and resist the temptation to rehash old hurts or expect more love and approval than they can muster (see above). Relish the tender moments, generosity, and togetherness that the holidays tend to evoke.

Be especially kind and gentle with yourself.

If you’re pushing yourself too hard, you need to be the one to notice, back off, and give yourself a little loving. Take a hot bath, do some yoga, get a massage, spend quiet time in nature, meditate, call a close friend. Do what nurtures you, then return to the fray refreshed, reinvigorated, and rebalanced.

Count your blessings.

Researchers agree that the key to a happy life is to appreciate what you have. Dwell on the positive and your mood quickly lifts. Spend five minutes each night, especially during the holiday season, reflecting on the good things that happened to you that day, even if they seem inconsequential. The sky at sunset, the loving look in a baby’s eyes, a gift from a friend, a tasty meal, a funny incident at work. Human minds tend to skew toward the negative to alert us to predators and other threats, so you need to make a special effort to correct the bias.

One Healthy Breakdown: Remember to be mindful, no matter how busy you get. In the end, you’re responsible for your own happiness and peace of mind. No one else can provide it for you, even at the holidays!

*Stephan Bodian is a world-renowned meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and consultant specializing in stress management and positive psychology. He is the author of the Mental Workout programs, Mindfulness Meditation and Freedom from Stress, available inside the Mental Workout app and on www.mentalworkout.com. He has also authored several books, including Meditation For Dummies and Wake Up Now: A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening, in addition to being the former editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal.

Get Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Thanks to the CWBC, (Council for Women of Boston College) I got the opportunity to attend “Happiness Beyond the Heights” in NYC last week. We learned all about happiness first-hand from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project & Happier at Home. You guys know that I am ALL about happiness, so I am so intrigued to learn about happiness in a concrete way from someone who has made a career from studying the subject.

photo(109)Gretchen began by clarifying that happiness is a difficult concept to define, measure, and substantiate; therefor, she prefers the use of the word “happier.” Regardless of our circumstances and how happy we are now, most people can relate to wanting to be happier. It also must be known that being happier involves change and personal growth. (Aka you can’t change anyone but yourself, so if you’re hopping on the happier train, get ready to focus on YOU!)

Young Woman Bending Down and Smiling with Arms Stretched BackAs I learned watching The Happy Movie, 50% of our happiness is determined by genetics, 10% by life circumstances, and 40% is controlled by our intentions.

One of my favorite of Gretchen’s many happy lessons is that happy people are helpful people. For many people, wanting to be happier or taking time for ourselves may be viewed as selfish. In actuality, happy people are far more likely to turn outward and help others. Think about it: people who volunteer, people who are charitable, people who are generous, those who offer to help you out, or do something to make you smile because they sense that you need it – these are usually happy people. Less happy people are more likely to isolate themselves and less likely to seek ways to help others. As Gretchen says, “ We should be selfish if only for selfless reasons.” So, go ahead and let yourself off the hook. Make time for what makes you happy and chock it up to doing a selfless deed, knowing that making others happier makes us even happier. Happiness is contagious. Happiness is a growing cycle. Do good, feel good. Give and you shall receive. Imagine if the world was run by happiness experts?

Gretchen gave us some other great happiness tips I’m excited to share about boosting personal happiness (which, we now know boosts the happiness of those around us too!) Gretchen’s first two simple checklist items for being happier include sleep (7-8 hours, it’s non-negotiable) and daily exercise (even 10-20 minutes is enough to get the endorphins rolling and best if outside in the sunlight). Personally, I struggle to get enough sleep, but I’m committed to making sleep a priority and you guys know I’m big on the exercise thing. Regardless of your fitness level, just get moving everyday. It’s been scientifically proven to boost happiness.

Gretchen advocates for focusing on the value of smell. All our senses can give us pleasure in different ways, but Gretchen explained that smell doesn’t take much time, effort, or money. While fresh baked chocolate chip cookies give us pleasure, the indulgence comes at the cost of calories, and baking them also takes up some time. A shopping spree sure gives us pleasure, but (cha-ching) comes at a financial cost. Also expensive and time-consuming, getting a massage to satisfy the pleasure of touch. Smell is fleeting, it does not take our time, money, or effort to appreciate a delightful smell. While you can buy a candle or perfume you love and indulge in that smell, it’s also about noticing the wonderful smells around us. I would also argue that music is an affordable sense that comes at little cost and little extra time. Hearing a song you love definitely boosts happiness, so give yourself the gifts of music and scent daily. It’s really about finding things that come at little cost to you, but really boost your happiness (ie: hot baths, a good book or magazine, cup of tea, favorite TV show, craft of choice, etc.)

Another of Gretchen’s philosophies: outer order contributes to inner peace. Lots of us feel that organization calms us. Whether it’s the coat closet, our desk, library, bedroom, etc., maintaining order on the outside will help us feel better, calmer, and clearer on the inside. It’s true, as much as I hate to clean, it always makes me feel renewed after a good tidying. Gretchen’s requirements for holding onto ‘stuff’ are; I either need it, use it, or love it. If none of the three, get rid of it. Wow, I really need to clean out my closet with those conditions…(and if you know me at all, no need to confirm that realization…I’m on it…)

It’s not all about purging “stuff;” it’s about value. Happiness has been shown not to be correlated to possessions or a lack thereof, but more to a value for what we do have. Gretchen recommends creating a shine for the possessions we love. For her, it was children’s literature. Instead of her collection being scattered around the house, she put it all in one spot and coordinated it so that it feels special now, that spot is dedicated to her children’s literature collection. It’s not about adding to a collection and needing more, more, more, it’s about treating possessions we value with value.

Lastly, anyone who has studied the concept of happiness will agree that the key to happiness is relationships. Happy people have happy relationships. Happy relationships make us happy. Happy people make for happier relationships. There’s that cycle again. Again, boosting happiness involves personal growth, meaning we cannot change others, what they do, or how they treat us, even if that contributes to unhappiness. What we can do, though, is change the way we react to others or set precedents with our own change-making actions. If you change yourself, dynamics within the relationship change and most likely, you’ll feel that the other person has changed for the better as well. If you want to improve your relationships, improve you. If you want to be happier, focus on building positive relationships.

Man and a Woman with Their Heads Together SmilingOne Healthy Breakdown: Whether you’re up for a complete happiness revamp or you’re curious to know more about The Happiness Project, pick up the book or check out gretchenrubin.com today! And another thanks to the CWBC for hosting this happy event…go BC Grad School of Social Work! Have to shout-out to my alma mater!)

High Vibe Food, High Vibe Life

Kiley’s Intro: I was first introduced to the concept of raising our vibrational frequency and eating a high vibrational diet at Dream Body & Mind Re:TREAT. I am so incredibly intrigued by this realization that I just have to share. Energy – it’s everywhere. And we can control it. You know when a song you love is blasting and you feel so much energy building in and around you that you can’t help from start to dance? Or, when you’re talking to someone about something you’re passionate about and you suddenly feel happier, taller, prouder, and more energetic than you did just moments before? Turns out that the things we think, the words we say, foods we eat, sounds we hear, and everything we interact with, affects our own energy, which in turn, affects our mood and lots more. Energy is “contagious.” Everything in life has a vibrational frequency and One Healthy Hamptons aims to raise that frequency higher. And higher. We have that in common with Not Your Sugar Mamas...that and a deep love for chocolate. Kyleen Keenan & Bennett Coffey, Co-Founders of Not Your Sugar Mamas, explains this concept of connecting to our highest vibration better than I ever could, so read on!

Connecting to our highest vibration is one of the most important things we can do at this point in time. Think about it like this: everything is energy, every little thing contains some amount of energy within it, some things more than others. From a chair to a person, there is energy in each thing.

In regards to people, there are some people who are vibrating on a higher frequency than others. Maybe you’ve felt this but haven’t been able to really put it into words. You hang out with someone and you feel high and excited after you leave them. Another person may make you feel strange or down after you leave them. People who aren’t making the effort to connect to their higher vibration can energetically bring us down. Those who are, on the other hand, can bring us UP!

In regards to food, some food contains a higher vibration or more “life force” than other foods. Take kale for example. Kale is fresh out of the earth, it is a leafy green and it grows up and out, which gives us the same energetic feeling when we consume it. We feel lighter when we eat kale…as opposed to a Snickers bar.

photo(99)A Snickers bar has taken natural ingredients like chocolate, dairy, nuts, etc. and processed them so much that there is very little – to no – energy left in that food. In fact, nutritionally, a Snicker’s bar is hardly a food at all. After we eat a Snickers bar, we feel sluggish and tired, not energized and alive. We are brought down by the lack of energy in a processed candy bar and other processed foods. Not Your Sugar Mamas’ mission is to put really high quality chocolate, infused with good vibes, on the shelves and accessible to anyone. We believe that the energy from the food infused with good vibes will actually transfer into the person eating it, and help, even if in a really small way, to raise the vibration of that person.

Chocolate, particularly raw chocolate, is an incredibly high vibrational food with more antioxidants than any other. It also contains the bliss chemical that we release naturally in our brains, so we feel happy when we eat it. Putting these high quality superfoods into our bodies helps to shift the vibration. When we eat foods with more life force, we feel better. Food affects everything, even our thoughts. By eating better, we will become happier, healthier and more successful people capable of anything we put our minds to.

ChocolateWhen we are aligned with our higher vibration, we are living our truth and we are able to see and think more clearly. We have more positive and powerful thoughts going through our heads and we can attract positive things to ourselves and others around us. When we are on that higher level, we have more energy, we feel inspired, we are happier, we are lighter, we are higher.

Couple Playing on a SwingThink about a downward spiral of energy. You hang out with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself, you go to the store and get a Snickers bar, you feel crabby and pick a fight with a loved one, you continue to spiral downward, feeling worse instead of better.

Now think about the opposite. When you treat your body with love and respect, feed it high quality foods, exercise your body, and strengthen your mind, good things start to happen. This is living a higher vibrational life.

This can be the case all the time. We just have to make the choice. It’s up to us whether to spiral upward or downward. It seems like people have an obsession with control, with controlling their lives to look a certain way on the outside. But really, the only thing that we are in control of is our thoughts. We get to choose what we think about each and every moment, each and every day. When our inner world is peaceful, so is our outer world. It’s really that simple.

Keep a list of the things that bring you down and another list of things that make you feel good. Try to do MORE of the things that make you feel good, more often and LESS of the things that make you feel bad. We can catch ourselves before we start to spiral downward, we can literally stop in the moment and change our direction. How powerful is that? When we are in-tune with this idea of increasing our vibration and staying true to ourselves, there is no other outcome than happiness and success. If we were all doing this, we would change the world. Outer peace starts with inner peace. If we stay responsible for raising our own vibration we will raise the vibration of the planet and heal ourselves and the planet. There is no other way.

The only thing that sets us apart from the most successful people is the way we think. If you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t, you can’t. We have unlimited potential as human beings. So try raising your vibration, now. Why not start with some chocolate?!

One Healthy Breakdown: you had me at chocolate. And happiness!

Yoga’s Gift to Me

Young Woman Meditating on the FloorMoms have the hardest job! With five kids of my own, I’m guilty of bellowing “I can’t take another minute of this!” Not so positive, I know… But I have to be honest, I meant it! I meant this and…many other negative, self-defeating thoughts and statements through the years. General stress topped with ‘end-of-day-mommy-exhaustion’ can do that to a person. Am I right or am I right?

Then one day, I heard my daughter shout in an awful, guttural, honestly horrifying way, “I can’t TAKE another MINUTE of THIS!” I couldn’t even try to deny where she got it from, everyone in the house looked right at me. It really is something when we face ourselves in our children isn’t it? The good, the bad and the ugly. Ugh.

In my highly-energized (some may say ‘wound-up,’ I prefer ‘highly energized’) way, I shared this latest exclamation with one of my serene, calm, always-balanced friends (we differ in some ways…) She suggested I join her for a yoga class. Yoga? Not fast enough for me. I spin, I run, I lift, I swim, and I do triathlons. I am fit. Yoga? I don’t think so. Truly the teacher would not want me there. I will squirm, mentally go thru my grocery list, watch everyone else, count how many ladies are wearing LuLu…nah, it won’t be good, it’s not for me.

My friend persisted….she spoke of things like breathing, (duh, I do that!) listening, slowing down, (slow is not usually my style) and sweating (now that’s what I like to hear!) So I went to yoga. And to this day, I have a dysfunctional relationship with yoga, but I did I get one of the biggest life-changing gifts during that yoga class.

My mother always said: “f you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.” In life, that saying has always stayed with me, but there’s more to it. What I learned in that yoga class was the power of positive thoughts. Pay attention, this is actually life-altering. Take it from me, the skeptical mom of five who will try anything to make life flow a teeny, tiny bit smoother.

At the end of class, the teacher had us close our eyes and lay on our backs. She continued to quietly talk about self-kindness and the power of positive thoughts. (I should probably mention the fact that she was going from person to person massaging each of our feet – THAT may have helped!) Anyway, she suggested, when we go home, to hear our negative thoughts and try to replace every negative thought with a positive thought, recite the positive thought aloud, take 3 big inhales and exhales, and then recite the positive thought again.

The payoff? That yoga teacher claimed many; serenity, calm, happiness, hope, gratitude, improved immune system, improved overall mental health, improved concentration, and more! What mom isn’t looking for a little of that? So I tried it. And it worked. Not overnight, it takes time, but it helps. A lot. It’s something I am mindful of everyday, and it works.

While I can become a bit discouraged about the number of times a negative thought still floats through my mind, I’m in awe of my ability to press ‘rewind’ and turn a negative into a positive. I’ve discovered positive behavior follows positive thinking! You know what else? Positive energy attracts positive energy! I’m constantly amazed at how greatly this one exercise has empowered me. Finally, I live a life full of positivity. And the change is actually doable. It’s free, it’s personal, and it’s mind-blowing.

The best part? The other day…my daughter was running across the playground and a little boy bumped into her. She took quite a spill. As I approached her, I braced myself for her response. Perhaps she would cry, want to go home, or even lash out at the other child. Guess what? She slowly got up and while wiping all the sand off her knees, I heard her mumbling “It’s ok, little boy. We are fine. We are strong kids! We are positive! Want to play?” And off they went!

I am inspired by that yoga teacher. She taught me that being fit is about more than just my body. It’s about being strong enough to listen to my thoughts, breath thru them, make a choice to change them, and believe in the power of positivity. It’s a great gift we can give ourselves and our children. Try it for yourself…if I can do it, you can do it!

*Norah Benincasa is the owner of Pedal and Pose Fitness Studio in Concord, MA. She is a certified personal trainer, spin instructor, TRX trainer, Body Pump trainer, more…and mom of five! Norah holds a masters degree in social work and is an expert in all things fitness!

IntenSati: The Love Your Life Workout

Love your life workout? That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? You want in? Yes, you want in to IntenSati. IntenSati is best described as “a transformational workout that will motivate you to live a life you love in a body you love NOW.” So, what does that mean? It’s aerobics, on crack. No no, not crack. Happy pills. Lots and lots of happy pills. Enticing, right? Totally. Once I took my first IntenSati class, with IntenSati founder herself, Patricia Moreno at Spirit Junkie Sati, I had to go back for more. I was instantly hooked on IntenSati, so, I attended my second class with the fabulous Natalia Petrzela at B-East Fitness Studio in Amagansett.

photo 1To start off the class, we center ourselves by simply inhaling and exhaling, eyes closed, preparing for an intense 55 minutes of empowerment. This is the only moment of stillness and silence the entire class. Suddenly, music is blasting and we’re moving, grooving, and screaming. Yes, screaming. Screaming mantras which rapidly raise much more than the heart rate, but also mood If you’re down in the dumps walking into this class, you’ll instantly be in a better place. If you’re happy as a clam, that happiness will quadruple, it’s impossible not to. (Happy pills, remember.)

IntenSati is a cardio workout utilizing nothing but the body and the voice. It can be done anywhere, anytime. Regardless of the location, the atmosphere fills with light, warmth, energy, and power because of the dynamics of the workout. The room, which is just a normal fitness studio transforms into a place of absolute bliss. Judgement, negativity, and exhaustion just don’t enter the door during IntenSati, there ain’t no space for that crap. It doesn’t matter who has the cutest Lululemons, the longest legs, prettiest ponytail, or the best arms. IntenSati is about embracing you: your life, your body, and your dreams. This class makes you not want to ever be anyone other than yourself.

Imagine punching, jumping, and kicking while yelling the words “I am stronger today. I am better in every way. I am inspired to be the very best that I can be.” Yup, that’s powerful. It’s one thing to yell that and feel like a complete wacko, I know it’s a totally weird concept to be self-exclaiming how awesome you are during a workout class, along with lots of people you’ve never met before. Natalia’s the first to admit that, but just capturing her huge smile and zest for life, you’ll want in. Natalia is a totally down-to-earth fireball, who not only exudes energy, positivity, and light, but she also brings everyone else in class right UP there with her. At the end of the 55 minutes, we’re all better because of Natalia. Hell, even after the first few minutes.

IntenSati is just as much of a workout for your brain (and vocal cords, I lost my voice) as it is for the body. Remembering the combinations and verbiage takes immense focus and concentration. The added benefit of working the muscle of the mind is not only good for a positive outlook, but actually enhances health of the brain, preventing memory loss and age-related decline.

Look for IntenSati around the The Hamptons, NYC, or other states across the nation! Lastly, I should just spell this out: if you’re interested in being stuck in a rut and staying there, this workout is not for you.

One Healthy Breakdown: I’ll be damned if I’m not back in that class as soon as humanly possible…I believe I can!

What’s a Spirit Junkie Sati?!

Yesterday was one of those days. One of those life-altering days I’ll never forget. I spent the day with Gabby Bernstein and Patricia Moreno at The Surf Lodge for their second annual Spirit Junkie Sati (#spiritjunkiesati.) Amazingness. In the sun. On the bay. In Montauk. On a yoga mat. Making history.

photo 3Gabby kicked off the morning with Kundalini Kriyas – sets of exercises, with both physical and physiological meaning and purpose. Just hearing Gabby speak can put you at ease. Doing yoga with her, that’s a whole other story. Our first Kriya is meant to bust through blocks, to bust through what holds you back in life. Another Kriya strengthened the spine; as Gabby explained, a healthy spine is a healthy life.

photo 1Having been lucky enough to have gotten to know Gabby a bit and being halfway through May Cause Miracles, I was excited to learn what Kundalini Yoga is all about. As opposed to classic yoga, which is usually more individually up to interpretation, Kundalini yoga speaks to one purpose at a time. There is a Kriya for everything. I mean everything. Look it up. Try one. As Gabby says, expect miracles.

Then, Gabby had us do something amazingly effective. A tool I will definitely keep in my back pocket and use often. You should too. To wrap up our Kundalini hour, we “shook it out” and we shook it good. Sitting on our yoga mats, we shook our arms overhead for three + minutes. We shook all of the crap that holds us back, all of the negativity, all of the problems, the constant sadness on the news, the anger, the pain, the resentment…any of that heavy stuff that weighs us down…SHAKE IT OUT! Seriously, try it now. Standing or sitting cross legged, with your arms overhead, knowing you’re getting it all OUT. Shake all that stuff you don’t need right out the tips of your fingers. Shake furiously. Even yell a little if you want to or blast some really loud music if you want. Get it all out. And then breathe, regroup, and start fresh. Phew.

After about an hour of Kundalini, we broke for an amazing lunch thanks to Byron – The Surf Lodge’s Restaurant (which I must say has jumped to my top 10 list.) The food is fresher than fresh, simple, delicious, healthy, and even better, local! If you’re ever in or around Montauk, definitely stop in to Byron at The Surf Lodge for a meal. Just a heads up, if you’re there on a weekend, it’s packed…and I mean PACKED. Be prepared to relax on the bay and have a few drinks. If I were you, I’d make a day of it. In fact, I often do.

photo 5After a nice long lunch, Patricia (two words: ROCK STAR) graced the stage. From the moment she opened her mouth, the energy was astounding. Contagious. Mind-blowing. And pretty freaking awesome. She put us on the spot and I’m going to do the same to you: spend one minute (yes, 60 whole seconds) telling someone how great you are, the awesome things you do, how much you love your body and yourself, the obstacles you’ve overcome…Can you do it? Can you spend 60 seconds saying only good things about yourself? I couldn’t either. A minute of self-promotion is HARD. But, a minute of complaining would be easy as pie, right?! That’s her point, that’s what Patricia turns upside down: the fact that we’ve been trained to think and speak more negatively than positively, which often holds us back from pure bliss, greatness, and self-love. As Patricia said: “it’s inspiring to hear people thrive. Just like negative thought can make us negative people, positive thoughts can turn that right around. What thought has done, thought can undo.” Amen, sister. Think, say, and do better for yourself and better things will come. Really, they will. Gabby and Patricia said so.

Patricia invented IntenSati, an aerobic workout NEVER been done before. It’s dance, cardio, yoga, martial arts, intervals, oh and loud and proud affirmations all at the same time. No, you haven’t done something like this before. There is nothing like this workout. IntenSati is a workout for the mind just as much as the body. It’s a cleanse, a detox, an inspiration, an enlightening. There really are no words, just find a class and DO IT, trust me. And, if you come upon a future Spirit Junkie Sati lead by Patricia and Gabby, DO IT. Trust me. And if you stumble upon something that sounds cool that you kinda want to do, but aren’t sure what to expect, something the fearless version of you would do in a heartbeat, DO IT. Trust me.

photo 5One Healthy Breakdown: That’s Patricia’s awesome sweatshirt. Sunny and happy, just like our Spirit Junkie Sati. Oh, and I’m sore. Between Gabby’s 26 frog poses and Patricia’s powerful punches, my body hurts, I’m beyond exhausted, and I’m totally enlightened.photo 4

Gratitude Meditation

You know those moments when you’re reminded how lucky you are and how good life is? Isn’t that the best feeling?! Here’s a little exercise that’s sure to brighten your day, relax your mind and body, bring out a little gratitude, and put a smile on your face. It’s also a great little activity when you’re feeling ‘stuck in a rut.’ We all have our days and there’s nothin’ wrong with a little gratitude reminder! Print the activity and practice every morning if you please!

GratitudeOne Healthy Breakdown: we guarantee this will bring you gratitude and a smile, but don’t take it for granted!