10 REASONS TO PRACTICE YOGA
By Andrea Bogart
Why practice yoga? I have an abundance of reasons with a pot of gold at the end but let's just ease into this.
Have you felt the benefits of this practice yet? It's no surprise to me that a Forbes article indicated in a 2016 study that the amount of people practicing yoga in the U.S. nearly doubled from 2012. Bringing it to 37 million, which is estimating that one out of ten people are practicing now. Yoga has been so impactful in my life that it's a bit of a mouth full to describe just how so. Several of my blogs have been inspired by this journey and my first post was about how consistently practicing lead me to becoming a certified instructor. I care deeply about this practice and all of it's tremendous benefits. It's a non negotiable for me... yoga will be in my life for as long as I live. Here's my top ten reasons why.
Yoga is the union of the mind, body and spirit. This ability to connect to a deeper sense of self arrives as you drop into your breath, begin to link it with movements and quiet the mind. The hope is that the discoveries you find as you explore the eight limbs of yoga will cultivate a joyful, non judgmental awareness in which you can use as a vehicle for transformation. This connection isn't only enriching for the self but in all your relationships if you want it to be. It's a journey inward that guides you to connect with the present moment with compassion and acceptance.
There is loads of research that supports yoga reducing stress and anxiety in conjunction with elevating your mood and over-all sense of well-being. When we stretch the body, create a fluidity with our breath and movements we release stored toxins and calm the mind quite beautifully. Stress wears differently on all of us so my suggestion is to simply see for yourself. As you begin to practice consistently you will start to see the benefits show up in your daily life. A heaviness you may have often felt before becomes lighter. As relaxation is practiced, a calm nervous system encourages more balance in dealing with life's upsets and disappointments as you navigate toward joy and healing more readily.
EASE JOINT PAIN
You gotta love when Doctors and Chiropractors are prescribing yoga for pain, which I'm delightfully hearing more and more. I'm a prime example with having had severe knee pain from being a former dancer/ gymnast and using yoga as rehab instead of surgery. It was pretty miraculous for me. This is not the case for everyone but worth a shot in my book. Combined with anti-inflammatory foods you may save yourself in a multitude of ways; Ie., medical bills, painful procedures with recovery times, being on prescription drugs. Increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles that support our joints are key components when practicing various styles of yoga.
Many of the yoga postures are strengthening poses that tone your entire body. I've had some incredible athletes try yoga for the first time with me and express that it was the hardest thing they ever did. Don't let that scare you... there's a practice for everyone. It's a full body work out physically and spiritually. Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga are three styles I'd recommend for someone wanting to focus on gaining muscle strength. Remember, strength comes in many forms as well.. it's not just about the tight core, killer triceps and buns of steel. As your awareness starts to inspire better life choices, it would be fair to say you've definitely strengthened your mind as well.
There are many styles of yoga with a variety of level's and intensity's and exploring them will help you land in a practice that's right for you. I was in the gym for years pounding the treadmill, using weight machines and not particularly enjoying myself at all. I was introduced to yoga in my late twenties switching gears, using it as my consistent form of exercise. I explored styles and levels and fell in love, quickly becoming addicted to the physical and mental challenges and happiness shift I was experiencing. At large, it seems everyone wants to maximize their time and efforts with quick results. I think of yoga as great work out for everything. With the right combination of style, instructor, level and commitment the benefits go far beyond the time spent on your mat and my top ten reasons.
your ability to relax, restore and revive. Day to day activities often leave us restless with mind-chatter and a yearning for a way minimize that. Finding balance and an understanding of your mind, body, spirit connection will invite more calm into your life. With a constant the need and/ or expectations to respond to things, this is one perk of the practice that can be detrimental to communicating positively and effectively. Savasana can be an out-of-body, calming experience... make sure you never miss out on that.
If I had a dollar for everyone who said "I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible", I'd be treating us all to fancy vacations regularly. My understanding and empathy with this is that, if you feel a lot of tightness or stiff areas in the body, yes postures will feel more challenging in the beginning. Anyone who has practiced at least three times with-in their first week I believe would tell you they felt better in some tight area of their body. I was always decently flexible due to my dance training but I've never felt flexibility combined with strength the way I do now from yoga. I've worked with several clients and watched their progress during a few short months and over the course of several years. There's no need to become gumby and some would advise that being overly flexible isn't smart for the long hall. However, I will cheer you on to consistently and mindfully practice asanas and stretch as it will lead to an increased range of motion and life long vitality.
There is a lot of life we live just traveling through on auto pilot. The foundations of yoga teach us how to create more awareness and to be present. Hitting your mat regularly is likely to reveal more that you would expect and shift your ordinary responses into a place of thoughtful perspective and curiosity. I learned what a competitive perfectionist I was even in my yoga practice and how humbling it's been to let go of that. It's sort of like holding up a mirror to yourself and learning how to compassionately embrace every morsel of what you see and grow from it. Setting intentions, feeling gratitude, exploring the senses and taking in whatever arrives creates mindfulness that is transformative.
Often reasons we don't sleep well are due to the worries, anxieties and constant information coming at us that is overstimulating. Exhaling is a release in the nervous system and postures relieve tension in the body thus often acting as a natural sleep remedy. Different styles of yoga, like Restorative or Hatha are slower paced and support better sleep than say an energizing power flow or hot yoga. If you suffer from insomnia you'd want to pay more attention to that and perhaps the time of day you practice. An evening gentle practice just might be the recipe for you to get your proper zzz's.
BRILLIANT FOR THE MIND
It makes sense that yoga can sharpen the mind. With so much emphasis on the nine reasons above how could it not? Strengthening the immune system, central nervous system and deepening your focus are all tangible, physical health benefits. Neuroscience studies are reporting that our happy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine levels are increased in our logical and emotional brain when we practice sustained discipline in our mind/body (like hatha or vinyasa yoga). Yay for more feelings of relaxation and contentment. We all need more of that right?
I'm a hopeful Inspirational Addict here and wishfully thinking, one of these reasons may be enough for you to give yoga a try or lock down that commitment to consistently practice. For the first time, I am discovering how difficult it can be to carve out space for self-care since having a baby so I get that it may take some strategy. Lucky for us with 37 million practicing we have several outlets to try to do it. Just like the various styles, there is something for everyone that could be your cup of tea; be it physically making a class, having a private instructor come to your home or lead you on-line, find an event near you or going on an amazing retreat. I'm always here for you guys with questions or comments! Big hugs and thanks for popping by.
Travel like a New Hollywood Woman
by Jamie Latta
Ahhh. It’s summertime; That easy-breezy time of year that brings longer, lazier days. Nights are filled with fireflies and al fresco dinners and weekends disappear on a hammock with a good book. By far, my favorite thing about summer is that it’s the time of year to give in to my inner nomad and let go. I spend the first half of the year, digging in, planting roots and building a foundation for a life I love. Summertime is my season to stop, climb to the top of my tree, spread my wings and fly away.
There’s a reason travel always makes my list of resolutions. At TNH, it’s a popular and important goal for many. Personally, my goals is to leave the country twice in 2018. Here’s why: travel feeds my soul, fuels my creativity, makes my world bigger and my problems seem smaller. It breeds tolerance and an open mind. Without these qualities, my creativity is stifled. Without creativity, I cease to work. For me, this goal is just as important as any career goal.
Because I am a typical Type A personality, I’m efficient, organized and competitive. I’m a get it donekinda gal. If you’re following The New Hollywood (and you’re reading this, so you are), you understand we love goals. Once I make it to my destination, the goal is achieved and life becomes all about intentions. These travel intentions become mantras and allow me to let go and let it flow. They are important mantras in life, but I find them especially useful while travelling.
literally designed my garden to replicate this experience. Had that museum been open, I would never have known how to create space that makes me feel provincial all year long. I meditate in my garden. I entertain in my garden. I lie in a hammock and read. That museum being closed for renovations changed my life.
Presence over Hustle
It’s not about the Instagram photo or putting a check mark next to a destination. You can be somewhere without really having experienced somewhere. Become a flaneurand a explore the art of passionate wandering. It’s one of the great joys of traveling. It’s about experiencing a place, its people and its history. I like to pick neighborhoods that have historically been magnets for writers, artists, activists and musicians. A place has energy. I want to draw from energy that has inspired great works of art and movements of change.The last couple of European trips I have taken, I’ve rented amazing Air B&Bs in Trastevere, Rome and Montmartre, Paris. I set aside days to walk the streets, talk with locals and go where no guidebook or blog is going to send you. It’s days that I practice presence over hustle when the locals sent us to the pasta making legends at Pasta Di Mani and gave me so much food I had to run around a piazza to make room for more. Or getting a little lost with my love in Montmartre only to get a private outdoor concert from some indie band who set up shop in an empty lot. Their music filled the Parisian air while our afternoon bottle of Bordeaux wore off. The point is, you don’t get to have this experience without wandering about (flaneuring) and being open to what the day brings. You have to bump into these moments that will become treasured memories.
Come Home and Shine Brighter
When I return, inspiration gained through travel nourishes my roots. For me, travel is part of the natural cycle of life. It’s fuel for creativity. I fill up on different cultures, art, traditions, architecture, music and food. When I come home, I pour that inspiration into the last push of my year. It spills into my work and I let it fall like leaves from my own tree of life. Those leaves fall to ground, nourish my roots and I repeat the next year stronger, wiser and having expanded my world in all directions.
Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of “The New Hollywood.
Living Fuller Lives in the Present Starts with Looking at the End
By Shelley Whizin
I know that death and dying may not be the hottest topic of cocktail conversation, but I have also found that because we live in a death-phobic society, we stay away from the subject with a ten-foot pole. Many people walk around with a terrifying hidden fear of death that is paralyzing, affecting their lives here and now. And, when someone they love is dying, they don't know what to do, what to say or how to behave, because there is such anxiety around the "D" word. There's got to be a way to find some peace and feel a sense of well-being, but how?
In looking at life and living through the lens of death and dying, we realize just how temporary and precious our time is on this earth. By diving in and grappling with the subject, we end up living fuller lives in the present, because we become more conscious of the quality of life we are living, focusing on what's really important, engaging with passion. "What" we do in life, professionally or personally doesn't really matter. What matters is howwe do what we do. Do we bring a sense of honor, dignity and regard into our life experiences, infused with love, compassion, genuine interest, and kindness? And if we don't, why not?
We all have a parent, a sibling, a friend, a pet, a family member, or someone we love and care for deeply, who has died or will die one day. We can't help but grieve and mourn, because we love them, and the ability to love is a gift that we wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Love is our magic elixir that heals, that touches our hearts, that co-creates, that helps us to navigate through our human experience with a sense of grace. And, yes, because we love, we also feel our hearts break when we lose someone. That too is part of the cycle of life. All of these experiences deepen the quality of living, enriching our human-spiritual understanding.
As a life coach, death midwife and hospice trainer, I have witnessed people shift their views, just in being able to talk about death and dying in a safe and friendly environment. Expressing helps to soothe the way, allowing us to approach the cycle of life and death a little easier, enabling us to be better equipped and prepared to handle life and death experiences in a way that is healing, not horrible. When we are able to hold the space for a sacred dying experience, we are bringing with us the same sense of reverence, as we do when a baby is born.
For those of you who are interested in healing and shifting your perspective of death and dying and receive practical tools to help you navigate through this journey of life and death, Shelley is facilitating The Twilight Brigade, 3-day, 20-hour Certification Training, June 29th - July 1st.* It's a 20-hr certification program that will stay with you forever.
The Twilight Brigade was created in 1997 by Dannion Brinkley, author of Saved by the Light, to teach people how to be with veterans who are dying, to understand what it truly means to be present, so that no vet (or anyone) ever die alone. It has become one of the country's most impactful trainings of its kind.
You will learn more about your own notions of death and dying and will be better prepared to handle it in your own live, int he lives of those you love, in the lives of our veterans, and int eh lives of others who need a friendly hand. Don't be surprised if the trepidations you have when you walk in are alleviated when you walk out.
It will be held at the West Los Angeles Veteran's Administration. Register at: www.thetwilightbrigade.org. Shelley will hold the space for you to have a life-changing experience.
Limited spaces. To register go to www.thetwilightbrigade.com or contact 818-414-5111 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to read some articles that may help you traverse your personal journey, go to www.lovelifeandbeyond.com
"It’s your life. Enjoy the journey! And, remember to bring love into everything you do." Shelley Whizin is the Founder of the Soul Diving Institute and Lovelifeandbeyond.com
"The Twilight Brigade training is forever embedded in my being. The training healed my "Soul,"
and I thank you for allowing me to bring my brokenness for mending through the various exercises and the ultimate power of love. Thank you! I tell everyone I come in contact with that are in my similar condition or just broken about your powerful healing workshop/training. I hope they are open to an incredible healing that is enduring and special. Thank you for loving me and introducing me to lovers of healing. I love you and pray for your continual call to heal. Forever grateful!"
-Porchia J, Graduate of The Twilight Brigade Training.
Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of “The New Hollywood.
Manifest Your Mission: It’s Never Too Late
By Beth Navarro
To anyone who knows me it’s no secret I like to write things down. I’ve been a list maker since I could catalogue my Barbie’s wardrobe. The power of writing down my goals became clear to me when I was 12 and created “The Puppy Project” making a case to my parents that I needed a dog. It worked! I even began teaching classes on journaling when I explored how healing writing about your life can be.
Something happens when you write down what you want out of life. It becomes a bit more real. When you write down steps to how you get there, all of a sudden it’s doesn’t feel as far out of reach. When you make yourself accountable the manifesting, magic happens.
Brianna Brown and I created the first version of Manifesting Your Mission that we used within the organization years ago. I wanted to give the members something concrete to use to discover their goals for the year, create a plan to accomplish these goals and track their progress through the year. One of the truly amazing things about The New Hollywood is watching everyone grow and that was a big reason why it was important to me to create this book. Brianna and I were so excited to create a tool to help in this process. After years of seeing what worked and what didn’t, Brianna and I refined the guidebook and this year we made it available to the public!
Three tips I’ve learned as I’ve used this book: