Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Drop the tire April 29, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 12:00 am
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Does yoga lead to weight loss?  I’m going to answer this often asked question without going on and on about why I dislike the question itself.  A caveat:  I am not a doctor, dietitian, or naturopath – nor do I play one on the yoga mat.  All the same, here we go.  Does yoga lead to weight loss?  I realize this is a controversial question, and my answer is a resounding yes.

  • Yoga builds your mindfulness muscle.  When we cultivate mindfulness on our mats through our breath, we can access the skill of mindfulness when staring in the freezer at the ice cream tub.
  • Yoga connects you with your essence and higher purpose.  When you tap into this connection, a potato chip’s grip on your mind dissipates.  When you are up to something bigger, the “small” fades without effort.
  • Yoga is movement.  Movement = caloric movement & digestive fire.
  • Vinyasa and power yoga are mindful versions of high intensity interval training.  HIIT creates the ultimate burn in that it simultaneously stimulates bursts of aerobic activity balanced by total recovery (think rinse and repeat) and strength training.
  • Yoga resets your nervous system.  When you are in fight or flight (sympathetic NS activation), you improperly digest and fire.  When we drop into a relaxed nervous system, our metabolism and digestive system operate optimally; using food as short-term fuel and detoxing our organs.
  • Yoga improves sleep.  Sleep enhances weight management.   Not sure you buy it?  Research the literature on sleep, and you’ll change your bedtime.  I promise.

One last plug for yoga as a weight loss tool…  I am a proponent of heated yoga.  (And thus both of my studios are 84 – 94 degrees based on the class style).  Heat builds stamina and flexibility.  It elevates the heart rate and detoxifies the system.  Heat reduces hunger and increases water thirst.  All of these factors are positive contributors to weight management and loss.

Here’s the bottom line… yoga decreases stress, increases mindfulness, and reconnects us with our higher purpose.  When this trifecta is in play, our desire to binge, nibble, snack, graze, and indulge is replaced by our desire to love, connect, breathe, and create meaning in our life.

Just ponder.  And choose well.


Compassion without deception April 26, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 3:04 pm
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This week, a teacher suggested a practice of self compassion without self-deception.  This calls us to look at a fact pattern peacefully without judgement & with forgiveness and curiosity.  What is there for us to learn when we discern the truth of our behavior, habits, and beliefs?

If we believe that everything is energy – every thought, fear, emotion – then we acknowledge it has a natural rhythm.  A coming and going; beginning and end.  Just like our breath, it arrives, fulfills its purpose, and without clinging or stickiness, leaves as gracefully as it entered.

It’s easy to allow our breath to enter and exit with ease because we have no story around our breath.  Fear, on the other hand, is shrouded with story, and it is the story that breeds shame and shame that breeds coagulation in our body.  Our fear literally hardens and lodges into our cellular being; locking itself in our heart, lungs, hips.  And over time, our fear becomes our way of being.

There’s a humanness to this reality, and this is where self-compassion comes in.  Can you just notice where fear has solidified in your body and give yourself permission to feel it deeply?  Just let it be and sit in its discomfort?  For we know this fear isn’t really “stuck” in our bones – we’re simply choosing to live the story that it is.

And when we’ve honored it by feeling it deeply, much like the breath completes its function and exits, we can then allow it to drain from our being.  Breathe it out.

And as new fears arise, simply breathe them in fully.  Sit in their discomfort and feel them completely.  Allow yourself to experience their teaching & their pain.  And then when you are done, breathe out what you want more of in your life.

This may be counterintuitive as we typically practice breathing in what we want more and out what we want less of.  However, by breathing in what we no longer want, we invite ourselves to process it completely.  By breathing out what we desire, we share our learning and light with the world.  This practice of sharing strength and beauty through our breath reminds us we are not alone.

Through the practice of self-compassion without self deception, we skillfully balance self-acceptance and growth.  Through the practice of breathing in discomfort, being with it, and breathing out peace, we remember we are one of many;  standing in service of a global community of human beings struggling just as we do.  Our biggest fears  are teaching opportunities for us to have compassion for the world.


Quitters Sometimes Win April 21, 2017

This week, I said no to a business invitation & I resigned from an advisory group and two non-profit boards.   I also removed myself from several meetings that would truly not be upgraded by my presence.   I took all of these actions in preparation for a relocation; a functional decision based on geography.   It felt as if I had shed 10 energetic pounds, and through this release, I created lightness and relief.

Sometimes quitting is the greatest win.  Saying NO is the most powerful YES.

When we find ourselves overcommitted & running against the clock, struggling to carve out time for what lights us up, and/or living from our to-do list and calendar, it’s time to quit.

In the book The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up, author Marie Kondo helps us declutter our surroundings by, one by one, evaluating each item we own against a simple question:  Does this bring me joy?

We can do the same with our time investments.  Our material possessions were financial investments we made at one point, and the question is, do they still serve us today?  If not, purge.  Our to-do list and calendar obligations are time investments that beg the same question.  Do they bring us joy?  Do they serve us in achieving what’s most important to us in our life?

If the answer is NO, then say NO.  And yes, you will disappoint someone, and you might miss out on something that is moderately pleasing, but these are minor risks to take.  Let it go.  Wiggle out of the tight container you’ve created and explore what more time can create in your life.  If you do, you will welcome more joy and freedom into your day.


Shed it. April 2, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 10:25 am

it not now

It’s spring!  Spring is the season of new beginnings, and it is a fabulous time to take inventory of our lives.  A quick way to
assess your life is to make a list of each major “bucket” of your life; relationships, commitments, your job, spiritual life, wellness, values, civic obligations, etc.

Then, for each and every, ask yourself one simple question:  “Is this in alignment with what I’m up to in the world and who I want to be?”  If the answer is YES!  Outstanding!  If the answer is no, ask the follow up question:  “If I commit to only those time investments that light me up, do I need to scrap this or tweak?”  Scrap it?  Do it today without apology.  Tweak it?  Write down exactly what that means, tell someone, and then commit to transformation!

I believe it is that simple.  We can’t create more of what we want without shedding what no longer serves.  Period.

And while simple, it isn’t easy.  And still….  You are worth it.  Your life is worth it.  And the world deserves an unfiltered, inspired, aligned YOU.

My dad turned 75 in March.  He told me this was the first birthday he has ever had when he realized that life is truly short, and we must demand of ourselves to live it fully.


Be awesome!

Choose well,



In a split second February 1, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 8:56 pm
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I attended a memorial today for a beautiful spirit who left this planet at age 49.  His three children, wife, siblings, in-laws, and father stood grieving as people flooded in to support and love.  There was a young man who sat in the pew throughout; the son of this family’s dear friend who had also passed away several years ago.  Both of cancer.  Both after long and sometimes grueling battles in which their physical form slowly shut down.

And here’s what I know through observation.  I know strength comes in all shapes & expressions.  I know that grief shies from the spotlight while gently turning it over to hope which emerges even in the darkest hour.  I know that people genuinely want to be of service to those hurting; that prayers matter; that baggage of who wronged who from years ago melts in the heat of life altering tragedy.

I know that we are blessed to have this moment and while we may not be mindful of it, the next.  I know that our challenges can knock us off our feet or remind us of who we are at our core – divine spirits wrapped in bones and muscles and skin.  I know that blessings deserve to be counted every day, and that this practice is our greatest therapy.

I know that this lifetime is temporary, and it deserves our best shot.  That we deserve to live our fullest expression of God’s intention for us, and that we are capable of thriving with grace in circumstances more trying than we believed possible.  I know that we are rooted in beauty and powerful beyond measure.  I know we can trust God’s hand, and while we may not understand, we can rest softly in the truth of Spirit.


Time to walk naked January 24, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 6:13 pm
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Read in inquiry. Don’t argue, agree, stomp, fight, shrink. Just consider and move from there.

I read this a couple days after someone told me they thought I was “one of those women who is more of a man.” This comment doesn’t offend me as through all of us courses masculine and feminine energy but did spark curiosity… what does that even mean? So I asked.

The response? My ambition, direct communication style, and my courage seemed atypical for a female. This individual meant it as a compliment, and I realized we send these “messages” to women and our daughters all the time.

Who I am in my spirit – who you are regardless of skin color, gender, love interest – is incomprehensibly bigger than the body that transports you, the origin of your birth, and the circumstance of your upbringing.

You are Beyond words.

People are always going to stereotype – it is our human brain trying to organize and make sense. And we get to decide if we’re wearing those labels or if we look bemusedly at their constriction, the itchiness of their fabric, the ill-fitting hemlines. Everyday, I do the work to shine bright and leave those ridiculous labels lying on the ground as I stride off with enthusiasm about what I’m up to.

And some days, that process goes well, and sometimes I realize I’m wearing that itchy garment around. And it’s all good and its all part of my life’s work.

If I could dictate anything; however, it would be that we take active, big, every day action to counterbalance societal messaging our children receive.



Invent Adventure January 21, 2017

Filed under: thoughts become things,Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 12:47 pm
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I’ve come to realize that I’ve taken on, built in, said YES to so much in my life that finding space between the action required to support these responsibilities is a challenge.  And, I picked and love (most of the time) it all.  I chose to lead a manufacturing company, to give birth to a yoga business, to buy a second studio, to have children, to join boards, to get married, to bring home the second dog…  (This list could go on but you get my point).

Each of those endeavors hold varying degrees of meaning to my heart & spirit, but they all are positive imprints in my life.  And, when you string them together across a day, a week, a month, and a year; I am not different than you – the sheer busyness can be dizzying.  God Forbid an unexpected blip hits your radar.  How does one materialize the time to care for a child home from school or a leak in the basement?

So, we either fall prey to an undercurrent of stress or we learn, through disciplined self-teaching, to ebb and flow, to let go, to lower expectations, to go easy, and to breathe our way back to center.  And…  even then something is missing.

Adventure.  Adventure is different to each of us.  Helen Keller said:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature nor do the children of man as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller 1880-1968

For me, adventure is new.  It is a hike on an unchartered path or a trip to an unexplored part of the planet.  It is swinging from a rope with Maya, dancing with my husband in the kitchen, playing basketball with Jack.  It is learning something new, taking a risk in a conversation, walking over the log instead of the bridge.  It feels like your brain and spirit waking up at the same time your lips curl up in the corners.

Adventure is waiting for you.  She is singing her mermaid song to lure you in.  And you will only notice her if you practice the art of the pause in your life.  Looking up from your task list and device to wonder what that distant sound is and then extending your pause to explore.  Following your instinct and curiosity.

My productivity & quality skyrockets when my life is infused with adventure.  And when my life gets too linear and task oriented, my output becomes less creative and inspired.  I get it all done, but that is not my measure of work well accomplished.

Seek adventure.  Thrill your spirit.  Lighten your heart.  Stimulate your mind.  Drive a new way to work, bicycle to the store, skip across the street, take the trip.  It matters.  Where will you seek adventure today?