Inspiration Within Us All

Inspiration comes in many forms, but the greatest form it comes from is within people. People inspire people. Just by being one possible human, you inspire what is possible for others too. It’s not about becoming a clone of people you admire most, it’s about seeing the little things each individual person does that you feel you can take and do something with yourself.

One of my greatest inspirations comes from writers like Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book “Big Magic” is a testament to what she knows to be true, inspiration flows through all of us. She talks about revealing the hidden treasure within yourself and dares you to have the courage to let whatever it is within you shine big and bright for the world to see.

I draw inspiration from people’s stories, from hearing their “why”, from hearing what drives them to do the big magical things they do. When i see why they do what they do, i look within myself to discover my own “why” and how to serve, contribute and make a difference to all that “why” that is so important to me and me alone. This lights my inspiration, my passion, and my drive ablaze.

Peach’s Need Feet is a non-profit organization that I have seen grow and bloom over and over again throughout the years. I love the family and tribe that runs it and they show me on a daily basis how to get things done, through very hard work, and fiery passion. I’ve also seen the many yoga studios I’ve worked in or practiced in grow and bloom throughout the years and I’ve come to see what it takes and how time and time again I would like to do things differently.

Since moving to this amazing small town of Salina, Kansas I’ve found the courage to finally take steps towards uncovering the treasure within myself. I’ve decided to say out loud “I am going to open a non-profit yoga and art studio”. Wooo it’s still scary to say that and put it out there but, I’m brave, I’m courageous and my why is shining big and bright for me to see every single day.

Am I ready for the hard work and challenges it will take to make this dream, this plan, come to life? HELL NO. But I’m not scared of hard work and challenges. I’m ready to step up to the plate and start swinging. I can’t always hit homeruns and there is always the possibility of striking out but like Elizabeth Gilbert says, ideas (inspirations) want to be made real, and if I don’t act on this dream that is buried deep within my heart it will go somewhere else and find someone else to bring it to life. I don’t want my idea or my inspiration to leave me, I want to let it flow out of me so that I can inspire others to do the same. So here goes nothin… or rather here goes EVERYTHING.

Motivation to Move

i asked my yogi email list if there was anything anyone was curious about and one of my friends asked me two things, 1. for tips on working towards handstand poses and 2. (my words) how do you light a fire under your ass to get “moving”?

there are so many answers to these questions, my answer to #2 is my first answer to #1, so i’m starting my handstands tips and tricks there.

so how do you light a fire under your ass to get yourself moving? i think it boils down to a few key elements: accountability, discipline, will, and desire. if you’ve got 3 of those 4 goin strong, you’ll find that motivation you need because that IS your fire.

accountability only works if you are the kind of person that means what you say, and doesn’t make a commitment without considering the challenges and choosing to truly stick to it, regardless of those challenges that will occur.

discipline, a choice you make without letting your emotions, excuses or limitations get in the way. it’s almost not even a choice at all because you are more than 100% committed to IT. IT just IS what you do, IT becomes part of you.

will is like drive. the inner, mindful, heartfelt stuff that keeps you going. will is often the spark of the fire. it’s determination, it’s like the motor that propels your soul to continuously gain and to continuously grow.

desire goes deeper than just what you “want”. every single experience and influence throughout your entire life shapes what your desires become. listen to the desires of your heart & the desires of your mind to see what continuously shows up.

here’s how 3 out of 4 work for me:
my accountability – my mate and i go to the gym every morning at 5am. we hold each other accountable for waking up to get there. it’s an unspoken agreement between the two of us that we don’t break. having another person grants easy accountability but personal accountability is a whole other ballgame. i’ve put myself out there on the web and social media displaying my intentions to share my yoga practice. because i’m the kind of person that means what I say, i feel shitty when i don’t follow through.

my discipline – my discipline is shit. the reason i go to the gym at 5am every morning is because my mate does. i want to, but i just cannot make myself do it like he does (thank goodness for accountability!). so i piggyback off his discipline since mine is #weaksauce.

my will – i have a strong will to “live the highest vision of what is possible” (inga grace) and “to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that [i] have lived and lived well” (ralph waldo emerson). my strong will seems like a natural and instinctive thing for me, no work required.

my desires – they are many, but when it comes to my body, i have to do what i can. i’ve got things that hurt, and swell, and frustrate the cuss out of me, seemingly many things that are not possible for me but my stronger desire to explore what IS possible, shows up constantly. yoga is my outlet in that way, you never get to the end of mastering yoga, so there is endless possibility. when mindful movements and body control are my focus, i can do SO much that the things i can’t do seem like very little. i have desire to constantly be curious, and to consistently grow, but my ultimate, motivating desire is to stay comfortable in my body for as long as i live. mindful movement and mindful eating grants me that desire, and gaining strength only further improves my level of comfort.

if you can’t commit, your gains and improvements will take longer and may not be supported (meaning potential injury). ^^^ this ^^^ is how i light a fire under my ass and how i recommend you commit to your own practice, whatever it is. if you can’t apply 3 out of 4 of these things to your motivation to handstand (or to do whatever you’re looking to do), find something else that you can motivate yourself to do.

Insta Inspiration

so i know social media is kinda taking over the world and even tho i TRY not to spend toooo much time on it, i figure while i’m there i should make sure to be seeing things and people that inspire me the most. i even clean up those that i follow ever so often to get rid of the junk posts or people that no longer spark anything for me. so in case you are looking for some new social media inspiration, here are a few of my current favorites on Instagram:

1. Kerri Verna: beachyogagirl

this chick seems to be a lot like me in the way that her intention is to share her own practice with others. she’s a handstand expert and posts handstand exercises almost daily. i love all the variation in her practices and exercises, it gives me tons of inspiration for my own handstand practice.

2. Jordan Bach: thebachbook

this guy is full of soul-empowering inspiration whether it’s from him or others that light a fire within him, he’s full of things that lift me up, make me think and challenge me. he’s honest, he’s real and he lets his freak flag fly – just my kind of guy 🙂

3. Dee Dee Lantzy: deedeefoodini

deedee is actually a buddy of mine who feeds me the BEST food with the BEST ingredients. she inspires me to keep trying new things in the kitchen and to not only keep it simple, but to use whole ingredients. her recipes are quick for those on the go or mom’s with kiddo chaos that need to be efficient.

4. Dr. Andreo Spina: drandreospina

dre’s knowledge and understanding of the body completely changed the way i feel, the way i think, and the way i teach. i’ve attended two of his seminars and after using his methods for only a short time, i’ve experienced greater flexibility and vast improvements in my joint strength and mobility.

5. Kathryn Young’s Yoga Detour: yogadetour

this yoga teacher, who also attended dre’s training (the guy above), is not only very knowledgeable about the functionality of the body during movements in yoga, but she’s full of awesome tips and tricks to help gain strength and access to a variety of yoga poses and exercises.

Article: The Science of Happiness

Why complaining is literally killing you.

by Steven Parton

Sometimes in life, all the experience and knowledge simmering around in that ol’ consciousness of ours combines itself in a way that suddenly causes the cerebral clockwork to click into place, and in this fluid flow of thought we find an epiphany rising to the surface.

One such point for me came in my junior year at University. It changed the way I viewed the world forever as it catapulted me out of the last of my angsty, melancholic youth and onto a path of ever-increasing bliss. Sounds like I’m verging on feeding you some new-agey, mumbo-jumbo, doesn’t it? Well, bear with me, because I assure you the point here is to add some logical evidence to the ol’ cliches, to give you what I would consider my Science of Happiness.

At the time of this personal discovery, I was pursuing a double-major in Computer Science and Psychology. Aside from these declared interest, I also had an affinity for (Eastern) Philosophy and Neuroscience. This led to semester course load comprising of two 300-level psychology courses, one 300-level philosophy course, and a graduate-level artificial intelligence course for both biology and computer science majors. This amalgamation of studies quickly tore my brain into a dozen directions, and when I put the pieces back together, I found myself resolute with rational reasons for optimism and for removing from my life the people who liked to complain.

  1. “Synapses that fire together wire together.”
    This was the first phrase my AI professor told the classroom, and to this day it is still one of the most profound bits of logic I hold onto in order to dictate the decisions of my life. The principle is simple: Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about. It’s very similar to how nerves carry electric from the sensation in your toe all the way up to your brain where it’s actually “felt”.

    Here’s the kicker: Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross. This is a microcosmic example of evolution, of adaptation. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger. Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality. Let that sink in for a moment before you continue, because that’s a seriously profound logic-bomb right there.

  2. Shortest Path Wins the Race.
    Beyond the absolutely incredible fact that your brain is always doing this, consistently shifting and morphing with every thought, even more exciting is the fact that the synapses you’ve most strongly bonded together (by thinking about more frequently) come to represent your default personality: your intelligence, skills, aptitudes, and most easily accessible thoughts(which are more-or-less the source of your conversation skills).

    Let’s dig deeper into the logic behind that. Consider you have two pairs of people throwing a ball back and forth. One pair stands ten feet apart, the other at a distance of 100 feet. One partner from each team throws their ball to their respective partners at the exact same moment with the exact same speed. The first team that catches the ball gets to dictate your personal decision and mental state of mind.

    So which team will get the ball first? Basic physics of distance, time, velocity tell us that it will always be the pair standing 10 feet apart. Well this is basically how your thoughts work. Through repetition of thought, you’ve brought the pair of synapses that represent your proclivities closer and closer together, and when the moment arises for you to form a thought ( and thus throw our metaphorical ball of electric energy), the thought that wins is the one that has less distance to travel, the one that will create a bridge between synapses fastest.

  3. Acceptance vs Regret, Drift vs Desire, Love Vs Fear.
    In the time of my scholastic renaissance, this is where Eastern Philosophy came in and handed me a sort of Occam’s Razor of simplicity that I could use to strengthen my forming ideology.

    It was simple, every time a moment came my way and brought with it a chance for reactive thought, my two choices were simple, regardless of the flavor you put on them: Love or Fear; Acceptance or Regret; Drift or Desire; Optimism or Pessimism.

    And now, my friends, we have our two pairs playing catch.

    Naturally, for my own well-being, I realized that all I wanted to do was move the pair of lovers closer together so they would always beat the fearful, pessimistic pair. And so I began to implement a practice into my life of loving everything that came my way, accepting it while relinquishing the need for control. The Buddhists say that the universe is suffering, and I believe this is because the universe is chaos, and thus by its very nature out of our control. When we try to force desires, we are bound to find innumerable occasions where the universe will not comply. And so I decided to stop desiring to the point of attachment. I started to practice the acceptance that Buddhists speak upon, to Drift in the Tao, to accept the natural flow with an optimistic love, to say to every moment that came my way, good or bad, “thank you for the experience and the lesson, and now bring on the next moment so I can give it the same love.” Over and over I did this, moving those synapses closer and closer together, to the point where any synapses in my brain associated with sadness, regret, pessimism, fear, desire, melancholy, depression, etc had a smaller and smaller chance of triggering before the synapses of love gave me my reaction, my thoughts, my personality. And so my default state become one of optimism and appreciation, and the illusory burdens I attached to this existence lessened.

    Now, as I pointed out, nature appreciates chaos, and our brain is no different. And so it’s important that I point out that this obviously is not a fool proof practice that will completely eradicate negativity from your consciousness; sometimes emotion weighs too heavy and sometimes the pair that catches the chemical charge will be the negative one; but, like any muscle, if you exercise those loving synapses enough, you will find yourself in possession of a new innate strength that will make the world shine more beautifully far more frequently. You will also find yourself being far more happy because of better health–which I’ll get to in just a moment, but hold on, because we’ve got one more point to discuss beforehand.

  4. Mirror-Neurons.
    So if your mind hadn’t already exploded when you learned you could alter reality with your thoughts, you may want to get ready for it. Because guess what? It’s not just your thoughts that can alter your brain and shift those synapses; the thoughts of those around you can do it as well.

    If there’s any ability that truly separates us from our primate ancestors, it’s that of imagination. It’s the root of all art and architecture, of the (fictional) stories that formed religions that now control the lives of billions—even to the point of war over which fairytale is the “right one.”

    That human failing aside, imagination lets us live in the past and in the future, and by escaping the present moment we can use our memories of the past to predict what will happen in the future; ie: I know from past experience that fire burns skin, so I know inside my minds-eye that if I stick my hand into a fire I will lose my flesh. This is so instinctual we don’t even recognize it’s constantly happening with every symbol that we’re perceiving in our day-to-day moments. But it is this ability that allows us to navigate the complexity of our society. Even more exciting is the fact that this skill also works with emotions, not just situations.

    The premise, again, is quite simple: When we see someone experiencing an emotion ( be it anger, sadness, happiness, etc), our brain “tries out” that same emotion to imagine what the other person is going through. And it does this by attempting to fire the same synapses in your own brain so that you can attempt to relate to the emotion you’re observing. This is basically empathy. It is how we get the mob mentality, where a calm person can suddenly find themselves picking up a pitchfork against a common enemy once they’re influenced by dozens of angry minds. It is our shared bliss at music festivals, or our solidarity in sadness during tragedies.

    But it is also your night at the bar with your friends who love love love to constantly bitch, whether it’s about their job, the man, the government, or about their other so-called friend’s short-comings, or whatever little thing they can pick apart in order to lift themselves up and give themselves some holier-than-thou sense of validation when you nod your head in acquiescence, agreeing like a robot afraid of free-thought : “Totally, man. It’s bullshit.”

    But it’s not bullshit. It’s life, it’s chaos, and as you continually surround yourself with this attitude, you are continually trying out this attitude by firing the synapses in your brain. And as I explained above, every time you fire these synapses, you’re reshaping your brain. This is why it is so important to spend time with people who lift you up, because your friends are moving those fearful, cynical, pessimistic synapses closer together, making your default, short-path-personality as jaded and bitter as your peers. Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people who rewire your brain towards love, not towards fear of being invalidated. I’m NOT saying don’t be there for friends who are having a hard time and need an ear or who need to work through a difficult situation. Nor am I saying you can’t be critical about the failings and injustices in the world. Positive change usually requires critical thought.

  5. Stress will kill you.
    You see, the thing about all this negativity, of regretting, of attachment to desires, of pointless complaining about impermanent things that will always continue to pass in an existence where time moves forward—the thing is: it all causes stress. When your brain is firing off these synapses of anger, you’re weakening your immune system; you’re raising your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and a plethora of other negative ailments–as psychologytoday points out below.

    The stress hormone, Cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated Cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… the list goes on and on. Chronic stress and elevated Cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. This week, two separate studies were published in science linking elevated Cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence. Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. — Psychology Today

    And if you need more evidence for the damaging effects of stress, there are innumerable more studies that show the negative impacts of pessimism, bitterness, and regret on your health.

The bottom line is this:

The universe is chaotic, from unpreventable superstorms of wind and rain, to unpredictable car accidents or to the capricious whims of our peers whose personal truths even have the ability to emotionally damage or physically hurt others. And every moment holds the potential to bring you any one of these things, any shade along the gradient of spirit-soaring bliss and soul-crushing grief.

But regardless of what it brings your way, your choice is simple: Love or Fear. And yes, I understand it’s hard to find happiness on those nights when you feel like you’re all alone in the world, when a loved one passes, when you fail that test or get fired from that job; But when these moments come, you do not have to live in regret of them, you don’t have to give them constant negative attention and allow them to reshape your brain to the point that you become a bitter, jaded, cynical old curmudgeon that no longer notices that the very fact that they’re alive means they get to play blissfully in this cosmic playground where you get the godlike power of choice.

What you can do is say; “Yes, this sucks. But what’s the lesson? What can I take away from this to make me a better person? How can I take strength from this and use it to bring me closer to happiness in my next moment?” You see, a failed relationship or a bad day doesn’t have to be a pinion to your wings, it can be an updraft that showcases to you what things you like and don’t like, it can show you the red flags so that you can avoid them. If there was a personality your ex-partner had that drove you insane, then you now have the gift of knowing you don’t want to waste your time with another partner who acts the same way.

If you are mindful to the lessons of the failures, there is no reason that you can’t make the default of every day better than the one before it. Do something new everyday, learn its lesson, choose love over fear, and make every day better than the last. The more you do this, the more you will see and appreciate the beauty of this existence, and the happier you’ll be.

If you’re looking for another way to empower your mind and make these decisions even more easily, I’d recommend: Avoid becoming a Sheep. Finding Purpose and Creating A Better World.

Original Article:

The Invitation by Oriah

the longer i live the more i realize the things that seem to be important to most of the people around me, are not important to me. i don’t think you are better or smarter for having gone to college. i don’t think you are successful because you make a living that provides more than enough. your age doesn’t gain you my respect. your birthday or your sign doesn’t make us a good match to get along. i don’t think who you studied with creates a better student or teacher and what you’ve studied is only of interest to me if you can make it interesting for me to relate to.

this poem says so much without saying much at all. it brings into light some very important and deep truths i find resonate with me and align with how i think.

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Alan Watts: Choice

uncertainty can have a binding effect on me… if i let it. however, we must make choices knowing the inevitable uncertainty of what will actually happen. sometimes i cling to that uncertainty but there is nothing to hold onto so it just makes me anxious. but other times i remember my yin practice, to let go of how it all comes to pass—a much more comfortable state for my mind and my body. but alas, i’m human and can’t ever let go completely, so i find myself in that “mental wobbling” as alan calls it. to be ok, or not to be ok, a choice only i get to make.

Get Inspired to Move – No Matter What It Takes

yoga has “moved me”, to say the least. for many years of my life, i struggled to find something that could keep my body moving, challenge my physical skills and fuel my urge to excel at something athletically. at first, i didn’t see yoga as an outlet for this, but the more i played with it, the more i realized, not only can i continue to grow with this practice for a really long time but i get to make it whatever i want it to be. many teachers try to instill their rules for practice on me but, nothing ever sticks because, just like my body, this is MINE to do with what i please.

and as i move from interest to interest, from yoga style to yoga style, from manipulation of breath to manipulation of the body, i have come to see: many people in the world means many moving practices in the world. at the root of yoga or fitness or breathing or meditation is movement. these things move us and exploring them is a way to move the body, move the breath and move the mind. we move ourselves through life and at the top of my priority list is to live and move in a body that can support me on my journey.

sure the depth of yoga goes well beyond physical movement, but this is where it starts, with you, living in a body, and figuring out all that that means. yoga can’t teach you everything and neither can anything else. but the more you try the more you learn, so explore movement practices that you like, continuously observing what you are capable of. if you aren’t growing, start moving in a new direction.

ido portal is one of my favorite movers in the world and he inspires me greatly. check him out…

Waking Up With Ryan

ryanif you’ve never heard of him, this guy is a writer who inspires people to be the best possible humans they can be. he writes love notes and emails them to you for you to wake up to every morning. or you can just go to his site and read his stuff there. when i woke up today, holy moly, this is exactly what i needed to hear. thanks ryan and thanks uni. this was this mornings email:

Take a second to be grateful for your human form – it gives you so much. One of it’s greatest gifts is the exploration of the question: “Am I more than this body?”

A question that has been asked for ages. The truest answer can only be answered by you for yourself.

That being said…I’ll share my answer, as it stands today, for me.

No matter what I face, I can rise above what reality shows me. I can choose to lift my thinking to a higher perspective, to see things I may not have seen, to explore other possibilities.

This is the gift of Easter – the resurrection. We can feel stuck, tied down, not sure how we will find our way “off the cross”.

The beauty of the story is the willingness to shift our thinking about our stuckness.

Even though we feel stuck, we can forgive the people causing our pain, we can be willing to see the situation through the eyes of love.

In doing so, the freedom from our bondage will come.

It’s hard to endure the pain and confusion of our problems, yet if we can, even for just a moment, be willing to surrender our thinking, our deliverance to freedom comes that much closer.

Remember – you are in charge of your thoughts. You are in the driver’s seat of your life.

The miracle of rebirth is always waiting for us to greet it into our lives.

To those who celebrate today, happy Easter. To everyone, as always, I am loving you from here.

Shine Bright. Love Big. Find Freedom.
Love, Ryan

Alan Watts: How do we love

love is interesting. it’s more than just a word. i don’t think it can even be defined really. but one thing i love love love about alan watt’s idea of love is that we make ourselves “conduit pipes” for the flow of love. i call people love, i say “i love” many many things, i feel love, i see love and i even hear love. i can project love, i can hide from love, i try to hold onto love, but there’s nothing to hold onto. therefore, the only thing left to do, is to become a “conduit pipe” so that love can flow through me.

We were here

this song of spoken word leaves me speechless, it’s nearly impossible to even write something here now to introduce it. i say this often: i truly believe “the purpose of life is not to be happy. it is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well”. this word reflects that truth back to me, this word reflects infinite things back to me and like i said, it leaves me speechless. i’ve watched it many times over, and each time it takes me somewhere new. thank you so much for being you Shane Koyczan.

i knew his voice and his style sounded familiar, there’s another one from him a absolutely love, below called ‘To This Day’. he also did a TED talk and performed it, i’ll add that to the bottom in a link. i’m just so touched by these poems, inspiring people are everywhere <3

The TED talk version of To This Day