Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Get off the “keep going” wagon June 20, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 7:08 pm
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divine spark

When we lose our connection with what lights us up or we discover our actions misaligned with our intention, it’s time for a self-audit pause.    That sounds easy, but it is in these moments that our mind screams “Keep Going.”

Here’s a simple method to self-audit:

  • Get quiet: create time to sit with your breath; landing the inhale on your heart  and releasing thought with the exhale.
  • Connect: this can be prayer, loving kindness practice, or just heart-centered breathing.
  • Believe:  Your spirit is the house of your divine spark (aka: higher purpose), and your inner wisdom knows this spark intimately.  Beyond words, you hold the truth of your purpose.  Trust it.
  • Gut Check: Not sure?  Ask yourself this simple question:  “If my life aligned with my divine spark 80% of the time, I would lay my head down at night and say, ‘Yes!  This is inspired living for me.’”
  • Drop it: What is contrary in your life?  It takes a bit of courage to let the rest of it drop away, but it is so worth it.
  • Move with purpose: As you leave the space of audit and back into action of daily life, stay awake.  Make the shift.

Be committed to your own path.  We have only this one precious life.

 

Safety Is Sexy June 19, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 6:14 pm
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The Safety Golden Rule of Yoga:  Foster a practice that leaves you feeling better at the end of practice than the beginning.  

The Art of Alignment

Other guidelines for a happy, safe experience:

  • You are the master of your body and experience, and thus, you are your best teacher.  Follow your wisdom.  
    • Know your body. Honoring your limitations is a sign of maturity in your practice. Remember, they are only limitations today!
    • Use your breath as a barometer: Is it rhythmic and deep? If not, soften your practice or rest in child’s pose.  
    • Discern between pain and discomfort.  Pain (sharp, shooting, tingling, throbbing) is never ok; however, discomfort is an incredible opportunity to cultivate peace in the midst of challenge.  
    • Slay the comparison beast.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing – love what you can do today, and aspire to what’s possible for you!
  • Practice safe alignment
    • Before extending into a pose, engage your core & move intentionally into the shape.
    • Protect your spine by engaging the abdominals and neutralizing your pelvis.  
    • Never laterally twist or lock your knee.   
    • Stack your joints.
    • Root down through the body part touching the earth before opening the pose.
    • Your feet matter.  Lift your arches while pressing of the feet down.
    • Engage the shoulders by sliding the blades back and down.
    • Micro-bend or soften the joints.  It’s subtle but it protects the join while strengthening the muscles.  
  • Food & Drink:
    • Practice should happen on a digested belly.  We suggest waiting 2 hours after eating a meal and 1 hour after a snack.   
    • Hydrate moderately 30 minutes before & during practice, and generously post practice.
 

Life laughs at the leashes we tether June 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 7:44 pm
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Laugh Out Loud At Yourself

We are in the midst of a relocation, and our moving company was supposed to arrive on Thursday of last week.  I handled the reschedule to Monday like a pro; especially given I had been sleeping on an air mattress for a week.

Friday evening arrives, and I begin my much anticipated weekend meditation training; the perfect way to spend my birthday.  As I drove home Friday after our evening session, blissed out and committed to noble silence, I noticed a flurry of messages on my phone.

The movers were now arriving the following day at 8AM.  Good Golly.  Forced to cancel my meditation weekend as my husband was still in Ohio, I spent my weekend  sorting, stacking, unpacking, folding, moving, placing, donating…. you get the point.

I had a moment of meltdown in which I left a desperate voicemail for my husband that never again in our life would we move with one person on the receiving end.  A twinge of bitterness sunk in as he was enjoying a golf trip with friends, and I found myself grousing around in a “woe is me,” and “why am I always on the work end of the stick?”

And then it struck me.  Yoga.  This is where our practice begins; off our mat when the temperature dial turns up.

These moments are a fabulous reminder that life laughs at the leashes we try to put on it.  Control is an illusion, and the real trick is to stay connected with flow and peace even when the waters are choppy and unpredictable.

 

 

Celebrate Not Knowing June 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 3:51 pm
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celebrate

The other day I was speaking with someone who expressed remorse they hadn’t discovered their purpose. They were unable to see anything unique about who they are and what they offer beyond the ordinary.

The human quandary, yes?  We all struggle with varying frequency of self-doubt.  In those moments, we can either dive headfirst into that vat of despair or consider truth:  that at the moment of our birth, we were placed on this planet for a divine reason.  A purpose that only we are wired to create.  Truly Extraordinary.

As it is my birthday today, I am reflecting on my endless gratitude for the opportunity of this lifetime.  While I may lack clarity on its total purpose, I can trust that it is blossoming before me.  All I have to do is notice.

Discovering and embracing our highest self & work is the journey of a lifetime.  And yet, our entire life is right now in this moment.  So for now, take a deep breath, honor the beauty of who you are, and celebrate that you are unlike any other human being ever created.   And be open to possibility.

 

What’s riskier than heart disease & diabetes? May 17, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 1:18 pm
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According to the Surgeon General, the greatest health risk American’s face isn’t Cardiovascular, Diabetes or Cancer, but isolation.

To varying degrees, isolation is something we have all experienced. Often times occurring even when we are surrounded by people.  So how do we learn to combat these feelings?  The answer is in creating meaningful connections.

Connecting with those around you goes deeper than merely being in their presence.  It’s breathing with them, genuinely seeing them, listening with our hearts and minds, and truly putting ourselves in their shoes.  Often times we become entranced in our own experience and forget to be fully present with others.  Mindfully shifting our perspectives teaches us to breath in our own discomfort while breathing back into the world the love and service we feel and want to cultivate in others.

Today, when you encounter someone who feels isolated, I encourage you to commit to connecting with them on a deeper level.  Through this connection, you allow them to break their cycle of fear and not only heal themselves, but through the process of connecting, heal yourself and go on to heal other.  With this cycle of healing, we can begin to heal our planet one person at a time.

 

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.