Why Do You Use Essential Oils?

This is another question I get a lot. I’m all about a holistic approach to life and to wellness. For me, that means I use a variety of natural solutions. Things like the neti pot and ear candles are common at my house. I view self-care as a holistic way to stay well. I also try to use commercial products with fewer ingredients that are eco-friendly when I can. That doesn’t mean I don’t see a doctor or ever buy Clorox wipes. For me it’s not one or the other, it’s both. Natural solutions can be easy and work well. Essential oils fall into this category.

Essential oils have been around for thousands of years and they’ve been used for a variety of purposes. They were used in biblical times as part of a spiritual practice or ritual. EO’s (for short) are used in many household products from cleaning supplies to health and beauty aids. There’s a high likelihood that you use a commercial version of EO’s and don’t even realize it. Where do you think that lemon scent comes from in your Lemon Pledge?

The EO’s I use come in a very pure, therapeutic grade. This gives them great potency – a little goes a long way. I use them in many of the ways I just mentioned. I add them to my dishwasher or laundry detergent. I put them in my mascara and moisturizer. I diffuse them to lift my spirits or purify the air in my home. EO’s can take the itch out of a bug bite, help relieve the muscle discomfort from a workout, and soothe a fussy child.

We’re surrounded by chemicals all day every day. We breathe them in. They come from our furniture, carpets, and cars. There are chemicals in much of what we eat and drink. I do what I can to limit chemical exposure for the people I love. EO’s help me do that. Plus, I feel active and in charge when I use a natural solution. I feel like I’m in control of my well-being.

It’s easy to get started with essential oils. I’m having a class at the studio on February 9, 2017. It’s free so come out and learn more. Register here.Oils

Namaste,

Melissa

What Type of Yoga Do You Do?

This is a question I get asked at least once a week. Is this vinyasa yoga? Do you do hot yoga? Are anusara and ashtanga the same? Can you teach me power yoga? Iyengar is a funny word…do you do that type? As yoga studios popped up all over my town the style of yoga they offered became a hot topic. Everyone wants to do the most trendy style, best for you style.

But consider this…here you have a beautiful practice that’s meant to balance your body, mind, and spirit. It’s not a workout, it’s a lifestyle, a path. I mean, you don’t do yoga, you live yoga. I feel like the question of “what type of yoga do you do” was being answered in the wrong way. Here are the answers we should be giving…

I am a bhakti yogi, I practice the yoga of devotion. Bhakti yoga is based on devotion to a deity and/or a well-defined spiritual path.

I am a karma yogi, I practice the yoga of service. Karma yoga is based on serving others without attachment to the outcome.

I am a  jnana yogi, I practice the yoga of knowledge. Jnana yoga is the search for the knowledge and truth that lies within us.

I am a raja yogi, I practice the royal path of yoga. Raja yoga is the study of the 8 limbs of yoga.

Each path of yoga is trying to balance body, mind, and spirit. Each path uses asana, pranayama,  and meditation along with other practices and to varying degrees. However, the focus of the 4 paths  isn’t a handstand or the perfect lotus pose. Yoga should take you deeper into yourself. Then is should help you explore your mind. Yoga opens the door to compassion, love, and healing.

Yes, choose a style of yoga that you enjoy doing. The one that engages you physically and mentally. Then consider what path of yoga you want to pursue and let your style of yoga lead you deeper on that path.

Namaste,

Melissa

 

A Holistic Approach to Inspired Living

That’s the tag line for breath.life.yoga because my goal for the studio is more than yoga poses. I want to help people feel better physically, of course. I also want them to feel better mentally. I want them to find a spiritual practice that nurtures and elevates them. I want people to see that they are in charge of how they feel. I want them to know they can affect their health and well-being through the daily decisions they make. They can affect their whole self through simple holistic practices.

I wanted to create a space where I could share ALL my knowledge. Teaching asana is a great way to reach people and help them to start on a path. Once they’re on the mat I have a chance to teach them to breathe, to slow down, to be present. Then I can show them how to meditate or eat better or use an essential oil. I can share practical tips on food or sleep plus I get to introduce concepts like ahimsa (do no harm) or santosha (contentment).

Through all of that I hope to inspire people to look at their lives from a holistic view-point and to make changes that work for THEM. I want people to make lasting changes at a deep level so the life they lead reflects the peace within them. Maybe then they can inspire someone else to step onto the path to better living.

A holistic approach to inspired living brought to you by breath.life.yoga

Namaste,

Melissa

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The Number One

In numerology, the number one is where we start. It’s the beginning, often of a 9 year cycle. It’s the number of origin and originality. It’s an inventive number full of creative thought. The number one asks us to be courageous and strong. It asks us to embark on new initiatives and new adventures.

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2017 carries a one vibration. It’s OUR chance, collectively, to bring something new to the table. It’s a chance to take a fresh look at the world around us, near and far, and to be brave enough to explore new ideas, different ways of being. Change comes when we embrace the challenge of the one. We should face it with determination and a beginner’s mind. We have to be willing to take a leap of faith.

Although the larger one vibration that the universe feels in 2017 affects us all to some degree, you may notice the one in different ways for you and at different times of your life. You may connect strongly to the vibration of the one. It may have a subtle influence. Like most things in life the vibration of the one ebbs and flows at a different rate for each of us.

I’d love to share how the number one influences you and how all your numbers guide you on your path in life. Visit the website for information and to set up an appointment.

 

Resolutions

I love to celebrate New Year’s Day. I love the idea that we can reset our lives and begin fresh each January 1st. It’s such a hopeful holiday. I love the idea of resolutions, although that word is a turn off for many. I looked up the definition…resolution – a firm decision to do or not  to do something. The synonyms are a great group of words like intention, decision, aim, plan, and resolve.

My #1 resolution (to do or to not do) for 2017 is to live a balanced life. There’s depth to this resolution. For instance, I want a balanced diet and balanced relationships. I want work/life balance. I should balance by checkbook. It goes on and on. Balance is kind of a never-ending proposal.

Here’s my #1 action step to help me achieve balance. Meditation. I know from experience that when I take the time to meditate a chain reaction of balance is set off. So it has to be a priority. It’s the cornerstone of my balanced life. There’s an old saying (maybe from the Buddha) – “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day, unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”  Through meditation we find more time for the things we feel are valuable and important.

What other actions steps do I need to achieve balance in my life?

  • Self-care which starts with meditation
  • Sleep well and rise early which starts with meditation
  • Do a better job of prioritization which starts with meditation
  • Let go which starts with meditation
  • Stay present which starts with meditation

That’s a partial list. As I write down what I want and create my action steps meditation comes up at every turn. This one practice is the key to balance for me in the coming year.

What’s your resolution? How does meditation fit into your plan? Let me know if I can help you with your meditation practice or with setting and achieving your goals in the coming year.

Namaste,

Melissa

Why Meditate?

imagesMeditation gets a lot of hype but is this ancient practice for everyone? You bet it is! As a  yoga teacher and a health coach I would recommend a meditation practice to all my clients. But why?

Meditation provides clarity. We live in a 24/7 world. We have the ability to carry the internet in our hands. It’s possible to know anything at any time. Our minds become overwhelmed by all the incoming data. When an issue arises that needs our attention we often find it difficult to focus on just that one item long enough to resolve it. Mediation practice helps to quiet all the extra chatter and bring clarity to the issue at hand.

Meditation provides presence. Oh, how multi-tasking has taken a toll on us. We go 100 mph, in several directions at once, to do multiple tasks. How much do we accomplish? Are we doing things well? We feel disconnected even though we seem to interact more than ever. Meditation teaches us the value of only doing one thing. When we sit still, eyes closed, mind at rest in mantra, we are present. We can translate this to presence in everyday life.

Meditation provides connection. I would argue that in today’s world we miss connection. Connection with each other certainly and in a larger sense connection with Mother Earth, connection to our Source. Yes, I mean God or your version of A Higher Power. The stillness of meditation provides a space for us to re-connect (or maybe find that Source for the first time) to something larger than us. That something is there to guide and nurture us. That something makes us better because it connects us all.

If you don’t have a meditation practice I encourage you to start. If you don’t know where to start, I’ll help you. Check the website for information on meditation classes. At the studio we meditate each January 1 at 10:00am. No experience necessary. Please join us. You can sign up here.

Namaste,

Melissa

 

Will You Please Help Me?

As a Yogi and a small business owner, I find the task of promoting breath.life.yoga to be somewhat daunting. I love to talk about what I do and yet, I don’t want to sound like a broken record. Plus the idea of tooting my own horn makes me really uncomfortable. Marketing is quite a challenge.

I DO feel I offer a great deal of knowledge and experience when it comes to yoga, meditation, and holistic lifestyle. I’ve spent much of the last quarter of 2016 updating the breath.life.yoga website. I’ve refined and added to the marketing pieces. I’m trying to increase my social media presence and (hopefully) bringing new life to this blog. As I expand the offerings at the studio to include health coaching, and shine a light on numerology and reiki, I hope to serve a wider audience. I’m doing my best to get the word about me and breath.life yoga out into the world.

Will you help me? As with most small business the best marketing comes from my wonderful clients. Referrals make up much of the new business I see. Simply sharing a Facebook post or inviting your like-minded friends to “like” us on Facebook goes a long way. I’m on Twitter and Instagram as well. And did you know you can have this blog delivered to your inbox? I’m happy to provide you with materials to share and offer your friends a free class to try. Please help me spread the word about breath.life.yoga, a holistic approach to inspired living, in 2017. Thank you.

Namaste,

Melissa

3 Ways to Stay Balanced During the Holidays

 

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It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, for many  of us the holidays bring an overload of shopping, eating/drinking, running from one event to the next, being “on”, and saying yes to more than we should. It’s hard to take time for you. Here are 3 simple ways to stay balanced.

DO YOGA

You knew this was coming, right? You may skip your normal class or be too tired for to do your favorite video at home. Think small –  5-10 minutes is plenty of time. Sun salutations are best if you want to increase your heart rate and get a terrific overall stretch.  Aim for  6-12 rounds of whatever you can remember. No pressure here – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Prefer something slower? Pick a handful of your favorite poses to practice. Or do these…trikonasana (triangle), vriksasana (tree), ado mukha svanasana (downward dog), malasana (squat), ardha matsyendrasana (twist) and either balasana (child’s pose) for emotional balance or viparita karani (leg’s up the wall) for physical/mental balance.

MEDITATE

What can I say. I’m a yoga teacher. This doesn’t have to be a production. Sit down. Straighten your spine a little so your shoulders are over your hips, keep your chin neutral, and close your eyes. All that’s left to do is breathe. Imagine each exhale moves down the spine (from the crown of the head to the tip of the tailbone) and the inhale move up the spine. Stay focused on your breath and in two minutes you’ll feel an amazing change. Stay longer if you have time.

DIFFUSE ESSENTIAL OILS

The sense of smell can instantly transform your mood. Why not diffuse oils while you wrap gifts, address cards, or enjoy time with your family? Peppermint will lift you up and smells Christmas-y. Frankincense is grounding and I love its connection to the season. Any smell that soothes you will work or I can give you additional suggestions through Facebook.

You deserve to enjoy every minute of December. A small dose of self-care will go a long way!

Namaste,

Melissa

 

Needed Items List

breath.life.yoga will collect items to support the following organizations:

  • Still Waters Adult Day Center meets the needs for adults (seniors and other adults) who need supervised care.
  • Coburn Place offers supportive services and housing options to survivors of intimate partner abuse.
  • Food 4 Souls provides meals and other items to the homeless population in Indianapolis.

Needed Items

Gift items for Still Waters Adult Day Center (please donate by 12/15:

  • Scented Hand/body lotion                                      2017 calendars
  • Men’s or women’s socks                                           Men’s ties
  • Chocolates                                                                     Refrigerator Magnets
  • Candles/candle holders                                            Earrings or necklaces
  • Adult coloring books                                                  Mugs with hot chocolate mix, etc.
  • Word search or puzzle books (large print)         Seasonal decor
  • Gloves, scarves, head wraps                                   Potpourri or other scented air fresheners
  • Kitchen towels or tea towels                                   Gadgets (mini tool kit, decorative bottle openers, etc)

Items needed for Coburn Place (please donate through the end of the year):

  • Advil/Tylenol                                                              Body wash/soap
  • Combs/brushes                                                         Laxatives
  • Feminine care products                                         Lotion
  • Neosporin                                                                    Pedia-lyte liquid
  • Shampoo/conditioner/hairspray                       Barrettes for children
  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste                                     Baby Wipes
  • Windex                                                                          Dishwasher detergent
  • Disinfectant wipes                                                    Facial Tissues
  • Toilet paper                                                               Laundry detergent
  • Paper towels                                                              Trash bags
  • Diapers                                                                        Baby soap/shampoo

Items needed for Food for Souls (please donate through the end of the year):

  • Blanket                                                                                  Sleeping bags
  • Toilet Paper                                                                       Towels & wash clothes
  • Battery or solar operated lanterns                             Disposable razors
  • Men’s white socks – new or gently used              Flashlights
  • Men’s thermal socks – new or gently used               Batteries – various sizes
  • Men’s long sleeve t-shirts – L, XL & XXL                       Baby wipes
  • Hand warmers

Gratitude – 2016

Every year on Thanksgiving I blog about how much gratitude I have for my life. I am indeed blessed and this year has been no different. I have an incredible job where I get to interact with amazing people on a deep level. My family makes me smile A LOT. My husband is my rock and he makes every minute of our life feel like a gift. While there are always trials and tribulations there is an abundance of love, laughter, and joy surrounding me. Even in the darkest times there is a light that comes from a higher place to help me see the way. I practice gratitude for all of that every day.

Every year on Thanksgiving I teach a yoga class. This morning I asked everyone to share what they are thankful for on this day. Here are a few of the responses…

~ My family – they are awesome, loving, supportive, and fun!!

~ My fitness partner and her daughter (they make me happy and keep me active)

~ My patient and loving husband

~ Having a job I finally enjoy and see long-term opportunities

~ Parents because they gave me the tools I need to spread my wings and fly out west

~ My daughter’s health because she has had a chronic illness since she was little and now she is healthy through many, many relapses

~ Sunny days

Please leave a comment with what you’re thankful for today. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Namaste,

Melissa