Here is another set of some of my most recent, highly recommended reads:
If you’re struggling with an addiction, you’re not alone. In the US around 22 million people are believed to be dependent on alcohol or drugs, but, encouragingly, a similar number have managed to overcome these problems. Although traditionally addiction was managed in a medical manner, it’s now known that a holistic approach that encompasses a range of therapies is more effective. The benefits of yoga to help in the recovery process have been acknowledged and taking part in a yoga retreat could be just what you need to support your rehabilitation; particularly as the 12 Steps program to recovery encourages a spiritual approach, including meditation. As an activity that can be maintained once you’re home, something that most people can take part in even if they have other medical problems and one that offers a range of additional health gains, yoga offers great promise.
Benefits to mental well-being
Yoga has been shown to be an effective adjunct to treatment for the management of addiction to tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Participation in yoga encourages mindfulness which increases self-awareness allowing you to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. This is helpful as if not managed appropriately negative feelings can contribute to substance abuse; when the mind and body work together it provides you with the discipline you need to be strong to resist a relapse. However, this isn’t the only benefit. Yoga is well-known for its ability to induce a state of calm and encourage relaxation, helping to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is otherwise associated with anxiety; drug and alcohol use are frequently used as a means to manage stress, so this offers a natural release for stress. Practicing yoga is also linked to increased production of serotonin, one of the body’s feel-good chemicals and may explain why participants report improved mood. When you have a brighter outlook, this helps to boost your self-esteem and belief in yourself so you are more likely to be successful in your recovery. Continuing with yoga once you have beaten your addiction may also reduce the likelihood of relapse or turning to other addictions owing to its ability to keep anxiety and low mood at bay.
A means of coping
Yoga can additionally be seen as a positive activity and one that you can turn to during your journey of recovery and even once this is complete. One of the themes of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is that you find new hobbies and activities to engage in – those that you don’t associate with substance abuse. Not only can this help to fill your spare time, when you might be tempted to relapse if you have a lot of time on your hands, it can help you to form new friendships with people not connected to your old habits. Particularly owing to yoga’s ability to boost your mental well-being, it is the perfect activity to take part in when cravings set in. Usually if you can distract yourself with an activity this will help your alcohol or drug cravings pass without you feeling the need to act on them. This helps to offer you life-long coping strategies.
Specific benefits of a yoga retreat
A yoga retreat offers additional advantages with regards to addiction recovery above and beyond attending yoga classes in your local area.
Firstly, a change of scenery helps to remove you from the factors that may have led to your drug or alcohol abuse. While problems at home, your social circle or money worries will still be there on your return, having developed your focus and with a greater commitment to recovery you will be better prepared to develop strategies to manage these.
Retreats are more often than not located amidst beautiful surroundings, which in themselves can have a positive impact on how you feel and your outlook, particularly if you live in a built up area with limited access to green open spaces.
You will also have the chance to meet others, possibly forming close relationships, and this will provide an additional source of support; they may not be in the same situation as you, but will be able to draw on their own experiences.
Besides practicing yoga when on retreat you can develop other healthy strategies such as eating well, which will hopefully help to spur you on to adopting an all-round healthier lifestyle once you have returned home. This will support your recovery efforts as nourishing your body is important for your mental well-being as well.
1. Start a blog
2. Write a bucket list
3. Keep a journal
4. Look back at last months bank statement and carefully scrutinize where your money is going, then create a new budget
6. Start a business (right now!)
7. Volunteer/Be of Service
8. Learn a new skill
9. Write and self publish a book
10. Overcome a fear
11. Make eye contact
12. Smile at strangers
13. Stop complaining for a day (just ONE day…you can do it!)
14. Break a habit for a day
15. Spend a day without your phone (maybe leave a vm for people letting them know you are away so your mom or close friends don’t worry when their call goes straight vm all day!)
16. Take a week off from Facebook
17. Cancel your cable
19. Clear out the accumulated stuff you don’t need, want, or use
20. Stop buying stuff you don’t need and don’t REALLY want
21. Make something you would normally buy
22. Eat more vegetables or become a vegetarian/vegan
23. Start juicing
24. Drink more water
25. Stop putting things into your body that you know are toxic (ie: quit smoking and sugar binging)
26. Make restful sleep a priority
27. Take a cold shower in the morning
28. Ride your bike to work
29. Meditate… even for 5 minutes a day
30. Practice yoga
31. Dance in your living room (or anywhere… or everywhere!)
32. Travel (you can start with your own city!)
33. Spend time in nature
34. Say no to requests that don’t create value
35. Listen more
36. Laugh more
37. Get a physical or get some blood work test (if you don’t have health insurance you can get some comprehensive health screenings done for $100 to $200 at a lab)
38. Use the power of your mind to instantly relax your muscles
39. Breath deeper
40. Cut up your credit cards
41. Contact a well known person who inspires you and ask them one simple question
42. Fix something small around the house or at work that has been annoying the shit out of you
43. Pick one thing you are grateful and write down why you are grateful
44. Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and tell yourself how good/healthy/sexy you look
45. Get your adrenaline pumping
46. Give and receive the gift of touch
47. Push your physical limits
48. Break some rules
49. Immediately take action with anything new that you learn
50. Hang out with people who inspire you
I get your emails on a regular basis. Very long emails. You generously tell me about your life, and what you want to be doing compared to what you are doing now. You tell me there is something you read on this blog that inspired you. You want to know how you can do what it is you want to do.
I have the same answer for everyone. It is the same answer I give myself every day. Sometimes multiple times a day.
Just open the file.
At this point in my career I am a thriving freelance graphic/web designer and online marketer (though you wouldn’t know it by the shape of this blog…and we can define “thriving” at a later date.). I have many regular clients. I have a fabulous home office. And….I have freedom to choose when, where and how I work.
Freedom is a lot of responsibility.
The fact is, though I love my work, I would rather not have to do it on a daily basis….or even at all, really. But I still enjoy it for what it is. It is what I do for my energy exchange in the universe, and it has many perks.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and all I want to do is dance in my living room, listen to music, read, play outside, daydream, and talk with friends.
But sometimes shit’s really gotta be done. (You can quote me on that…)
I have two driving forces:
(not necessarily accomplished in that order)
Inspiration sometimes comes, and I sit down with no blockages, and work flows through me with ease…and if I am lucky every now and again it comes out with brilliance.
Most of the time, I am on deadline and things just have to be done no matter what.
Even when I would rather…not.
So when I find myself dreading the prospect of sitting down to work I tell myself:
Just open the file.
I don’t have to do ANYTHING but open the file. Once I get to that, then I am fine, and deadlines are met. The work gets done.
It doesn’t matter what it is you want or have to do.
Just open the file.
It’s good to see the big picture. It good to see the end goal.
See that. Then just start. Somewhere. Anywhere. In anyway possible.
It doesn’t matter where you start, but you can only get to the finish line if you start.
You can only get to the finish line if you START.
I recently read the Steve Jobs biography. One of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I just want to share a little story with you about being persistent against the seemingly impossible.
Shortly after finishing the book I found myself in Reno at a craps table (I am not into gambling, but it was fun to experience something different). My travelling companion handed me a $500 chip from another casino to try and cash in at the cage since the croupier wouldn’t cash it in at the table. I went up to the cage with a big smile and asked if I could cash it in. The woman looked at it, made a call and then told me, “No.”
As I started to walk away I stopped abruptly and thought to myself. “What would Steve Jobs do?” Would he have just accepted that “no” and walked away?
So I turned around and went back. I asked her (nicely) if there was an actual written policy and if I could talk to a supervisor. She directed me over to the main cage in the next building very close by. I spoke with the manager there and she also gave me the same answer. “No.”
Now I was determined. I was not going to leave until I cashed that chip in. I knew that there must be a way, so I pressed on and asked the manager the same question, “Was there an actual written policy and could I talk to a supervisor?”
She made a call to the pit boss. He came over, looked at me, looked at the chip and said “No problem.”
I was so proud of myself.
Ultimately, between my travelling companion and I, we received 3 “No” answers before finally getting a “Yes.”
The main thing that I learned from reading the Steve Jobs biography is to not put a cap on what we think is possible. Being persistent against the seemingly impossible may not get you everywhere, but it can certainly get you further – in your yoga practice, in your business, in your MISSION.
Don’t take lazy “No’s” as a final answer from other people and especially from yourself! You have to be willing to keep taking that next step right past the nay sayers and your own negative self talk!
I went camping for two days with one of my design clients in the middle of the week (’cause I can – being a location independent entrepreneur and all). Some may find that strange, but rest assured my client relations are all fairly abnormal. At any rate, we spent a lot of time talking about who we are, what we want in life and basically…how we roll. I have been realizing more and more that I am slightly..ummm…eccentric and this conversation really helped solidify for me that I am kind of an odd duck. I have no desire to be like anyone else. NO desire. This has become apparent to me even more so recently, than ever before, when I decided to take a break from teaching yoga for awhile. My path of being a yoga teacher, as it has been, was the last bit of me trying to be like others which simply did not mesh with who I actually was. I am not a golden light of health and earthly transcendence. I like the earth. I like the struggle. I like the raw and the brash and the wild. The irreverent and the novel.
I practice yoga to keep from being in pain on a daily basis, to push the boundaries of my body and mind and to become more aware of the ways in which I limit myself. I sit in meditation for the sole purpose of watching thoughts arise so I can create space from them in order to choose how I think instead of being on the auto pilot program prescribed by my past, society, media, people around me, etc.
I do these things so I can be more me. Not to be more graceful. Not to be softer. Not to be kinder. Not even to be healthier.
Frankly I would rather sit around at any given moment and drink coffee or beer, smoke a cigarette and talk to another human being about our experiences on this planet while throwing out a few f-bombs every once and awhile (often).
And that is a-o-k with me.
For a long time I used to think that the Buddhist concept of releasing the illusion of duality meant that I had to change myself in such a way that my actions were all more in line with each other. That if I was going to be a yoga teacher, I had to stop eating meat, be a size 2, and speak the half-truth of positivity at all times, and if I couldn’t do those things and fit myself into the idea of the mold that I had in mind, then I was somehow less-than and lacking. What a messed up ego trip! By the way, life is not all positive. It is yin and yang baby – all the time.
Now, I realize that releasing the illusion of duality means just that – releasing the illusion of duality.
I am embracing myself with a giant hug and a pinch on the butt.
All the things that I do and say and think and feel ARE me. I am one, whole, fucking human being.
So for now I am giving up the idea of “bettering” myself. I am just going to do what I do – work, play, travel, practice yoga and meditation, swear , smoke, drink, laugh, talk, dance, sing, write, eat this bacon and egg breakfast burrito sitting here next to me (yum!) and explore what it means to rest in my wholeness, imperfections and all. Who knows where being comfortable with myself at this moment might lead to.
My life is awesome and I live it on my terms. I enjoy my own company and no one seems to think I am an asshole (that I know of…or care about).
What greater success is there? I am not talking about saving the world here.
How would you feel and what would your life look like if you stopped trying to be something that you’re not?
P.S. Here are some pictures from my super awesome, mid-week, trip to the Carrizo Plain National Monument … I give it 5 stars for SPACIOUSNESS.
Funny enough, it just so happens that I stopped at the James Dean memorial site on the way to the Carrizo Plain.
Hey you! Yeah you! The person sitting there in your cubicle hating your boss or sitting on your couch crying over your relationship while you read this blog and dream of a better day.
Seriously, I mean it. You have spent all these years languishing in a life you don’t want. That takes some major resolve to deal with the debilitating misery and boredom of your life. I commend you. You’ve got some big time willpower.
Crazy huh? I bet you thought you didn’t have willpower, didn’t you?
Now that your eyes have been open, for god’s sake, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN LIFE THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO PLEASE YOUR:
Conservative best friend from childhood…. (wait…what? LOVE YOOOU!)
Etc. etc. etc…. (yawn…)
Why are you doing this to yourself?
FYI 1: Catering to the whims of what other people think you should be doing with your life does not make them happy.
FYI 2: People will approve and disaprove of you no matter what you are doing.
FYI 3: YOU can totally be happy and successful even if you are totally not at this moment.
FYI 4: If you think your life kinda sucks, I promise that the stress of changing it is way better than what you are doing now.
FYI 5: Relax man, most things are not a big deal. Take a deep breath. Shit passes (heh).
FYI 7 (cause 6 is lame and I wanted to get to 10 FYI’s): You absolutely can make a living doing what you want. The internet is pretty awesome. You can learn anything. Stop making excuses.
FYI 8: It IS better to be alone than to be in an unhappy relationship. Great things can happen when you are alone. Relationships that don’t coincide with who you are and what you want, drain all your energy until you’re dead.
FYI 9: The fear of loosing everything is pretty scary (being a fear and all). Actually loosing everything (ok maybe not EVERYTHING) can be one of the greatest gifts you may ever experience in life.
FYI 10 (whew…I made it): People who try and make you feel like you shouldn’t start your own business, travel the world, or whatever that thing is that you want to do, are INSANELY jealous of your verve. Nothing more.
I would apologize for sounding a little brash, being that this is a yoga blog (partially) and therefore I **SHOULD** be using a higher vibration of conscious communication, right? Whatever. I am who I am. You are who you are. And sometimes you just gotta be set straight about the fact that you are perfectly set crooked. Embrace it, get out there and live your own damn life on your own damn terms. THEN maybe you can start thinking about how you are going to truly and deeply affect others in a positive way.
I have been paying close attention to the lifestyle, business practices and words of one of my clients, who happens to run multiple, successful, business establishments. I have noticed some very major differences between the way my client functions and the way that, well…everybody else does!
So here are the 7 ways in which YOU are different than my client when it comes to being successful. (And by “you”, I actually mean “us,” because I am pretty guilty of these as well…not that I am trying to make anyone feel guilty or anything…just sayin’…)
1. You avoid being uncomfortable if at all possible.
2. You see the limits in your abilities, time, finances and knowledge and don’t bother even starting the processes which you are capable of right now.
3. You are afraid of people’s criticisms and often let those criticisms divert your attention towards failure instead of taking what’s good and making adjustments while telling the rest of the naysayers and trouble makes to go to hell. (uhh…something like that)
4. You see an obstacle and only see the obstacle, not the many ways around it…or over it…or under it…
5. You think you have to pick one thing and that will be the only thing that you will ever do, so you don’t pick anything.
6. You think you have to do it all on your own.
7. You are not true to who you really are and what you really want.
I am going to tell you a little secret…
In the short 4 1/2 months that I have had this blog up and running, it has helped me earn THOUSANDS of dollars (well over $6 grand in fact) in cash and experiences. Don’t miss out! Keep reading…