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The Long Road to Overnight Success

I am living the dream. I am in Ubud, Bali for a month and half working as a yoga teacher and running my location independent design business from Soulshine a lush tropical retreat center owned my Michael Franti.

Before I left and since I have been here, I have been asked the same question numerous times. Don’t miss out! Keep reading…

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Soulshine Yoga Retreat Center in Bali

I know I have not written in a month. Which is a shame because I have had so many things to write about such as the yoga studio, Deep Art and Yoga, that I managed and taught at closing it’s doors and the space, along with me, taken on by Yoga Shala.

I could also have been writing about my new found love of Ashtanga yoga and how it has transformed my body in just a few weeks.

And the biggest thing of all that I could have been writing about is Don’t miss out! Keep reading…

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How to Reach Your Goals Part 1

I imagine waking up in the morning around 8am, opening the double doors in my bedroom to a beautiful Italian countryside as a gentle breeze sweeps my face. After standing there for a few quiet moments I start the morning sitting down with my family in our pajamas to eat a fresh fruit breakfast with some local goats milk cheese, eggs from the hen house outside and homemade bread.

Once I have gotten ready for the day, I sit down at my computer which is connected to a high speed and reliable internet service, and uninterrupted, I take care of my business, which consists of projects like this blog, designing and publishing books and web consulting. During this time my son is being home schooled by my partner Derrick.

After about 4 hours of productive working I go meet with my family for lunch and we sit around with a couple of friends, chatting around the outdoor dining table as we eat a light, local and fresh vegetarian lunch. Our friends consist of a friend or two who are also location independent and travelled to Italy with us on our 3 month trip as well as new friends met in Italy.

Then we just sit around and rest for a bit, after all it is a beautiful day outside.

The afternoon consists of family chores in the house and garden, riding the bicycles to the market, doing yoga, reading books (or blogs!), exploring, playing, going swimming or learning Italian individually and as a family.

When a later evening dinner time comes along, family and friends reunite. The outdoor patio is lit up softly and there is a warm glow from the fire pit. There is some slow but funky jazz playing in the background. We eat delicious, and even slightly decadent fresh and local Italian food full of garlic. After dinner we spend time with our guests, talking, singing, dancing and laughing.

Once my son has gone to sleep and our company has gone on their way, Derrick and I spend time together chatting about our day, making plans for home, travel and nights out in Rome or simply enjoying each others company. Then we go to sleep around midnight and sleep peacefully through the night, waking in the morning ready and refreshed to do it all again.

What do you want?

Sit for a moment…and imagine…

What does it feel like? What does it look like? What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it sound like? Who is there with you? Write it down and come back to it every day for a few days.

In order to reach any goal you must have clarity about what your goals actually are. I mean real clarity. Be as detailed as possible.

Instead of “I want to be more flexible,” try, “I want to be able to touch my toes and sit in saddle pose for 5 minutes so I can start to alleviate the pain and tension in my legs and low back.”

Instead of “I want to have more money,” try “I want to make $20,000 a month running my own yoga and life design business online, so I can take care of my families health, education and retirment needs while living on a 20 acre property within an hour of my town, and traveling 3-4 times a year to Bali, Italy and Baja.” Just wanting to have more money is not enough, you need to know how much you want and why you want it.

If you are an entrepreneur I highly recommend you read my article: For Those Who Run Their Own Business… or Want to! in order to start gaining clarity about your business.

After you have become clear about your goal, hold it in your mind and stand up. Make sure you aren’t going to run into anything, close your eyes and take a step forward as you inhale deeply through the nose. Imagine that you are stepping into the time and place where you are experiencing what it is that you want. See it, feel it, taste it, smell it and hear it.

The stepping forward and deep inhale ingrains the visualization within in your body memory, which helps to solidify the goal as being more real in your mind. Therefore it is more likely that your conscious and subconscious mind will act in accordance with the achievement of the goal.

If you want to achieve something, you have to believe that it is possible.

Next: Ask yourself: What part of this goal can I start living right now?

We have goals because we are looking to live a certain kind of lifestyle. If that lifestyle seems too far away from where we currently are, it is easy to loose our motivation before we even begin.

In my above visualization there are many things that I can start doing now. For instance I could certainly get up around 8am with my family and have a lovely fresh breakfast together in our pajamas instead of rushing through breakfast and heading off to work. There are may other things I could do as well, but I will start with that.

Find one thing about your visualization that you can work on experiencing right now. Once you are able to do that one thing consistently, doing the rest will start to seem more attainable.

Your goal doesn’t have to be like mine. Maybe you are wanting a promotion, maybe you want to learn a musical instrument, maybe you are looking for a relationship, maybe you want to master the Ashtanga yoga primary series. Whatever your goal is, you can make this technique work for you.

Now the big question is….

Are you really going to follow this tip in order to start fulfilling your dreams or are you going to continue sitting around, wondering how on earth you are going to reach your goals?

To reach your goals you must start performing some kind of action!

In How to Reach Your Goals  Part 2, we will explore how to get past the “starting” hurdle.

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Start Connecting with People for a Joyful and Healthy Life

As a yoga teacher I often encounter the same scenario at the start of a yoga class.

Students come in and sit down as far apart from each other as possible. When  I am teaching I will often wait till everyone is situated in their comfortable spot and then right before the start of class I have everyone move closer together towards the front. When I do this, the level of discomfort in the room is noticeable. This is, of course, one of the reasons why I do it. After all, one of the many wonderful aspects of yoga is it’s ability to take us beyond our comfort level.

Many people go about their day with minimal contact with other people. They create walls and keep their distance, which hinders them from connecting with others physically, sharing emotional intimacy even with those they are closest to, and also avoiding any kind of contact with strangers.

Recently I have been riding my bike to my office. It is a leisurely, half hour ride through the beautiful tree lined streets of Sacramento. By the 3rd day I started to notice something very interesting: I felt more connected to other people. In any given bike ride people wave to me, say hi to me, smile at me, nod towards me, and sometimes even go out of their way to compliment me on some aspect of my physical appearance, my bike or just the fact that I am obviously commuting on my bike, versus driving to work. One day on my bike ride to and from work I counted almost 30 separate instances of positive communication between myself and others.

How many people do I communicate in this pleasant manner with when I am driving? Zero.  As we all know, if there is any communicating with others while we are boxed inside our vehicles it is usually a negative experience!

It is amazing to me how much more elevated my mood is by the time I get to work when I am riding my bike. Partly because of the exercise, but partly because I already started my day with so many pleasent moments with other human beings.

People need to make positive connections with other people in order to be healthy. Loneliness and separation are a major contributing factor to stress and depression which cause dis-ease in our body.

If you find that you are spending your day avoiding contact with other people or are just looking to connect more often, here are a few things you can try in order to start breaking down you barriers:

Strike a up a friendly conversation with the person working the supermarket register.

Spend a day making eye contact with everyone you pass by.

Smile and say hi as you pass someone walking on the sidewalk.

Give your significant other or children a hug everyday (at least 1!).

Sit down next to someone in your yoga class who you haven’t met before and introduce yourself.

Call a friend you don’t normally talk to on the phone and have a chat.

Get off of Facebook and go out to dinner with a friend.

Next time someone invites you to a gathering where you hardly know anyone…go!

When Traveling:

If you want an incredible travel experience, I highly recommend you stop sight seeing and start looking for opportunities to engage with the people of the culture.

See if you have any friends who know someone in the country you are visiting and try to meet up with them.

Stay as a guest in someones house by utilizing websites like AirBnB.com.

Live and work with a family through websites like Workaway.info.

(You can often find hosts who are yoga practitioners on both of the above sites!)

Do your best to speak the language even if you feel you are not ready.

The best experiences in life are the ones we share with others. You will find that as you start connecting more with other people that not only will you feel elevated, you will be giving the same gift to others.

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Travel Well, Travel Light: Tips for Simplified Travel

I can not tell you how thrilled I am to offer this post by Leo Babauta from ZenHabits.net

- The Wandering Yogi

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“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

When you travel, do you want to be as light as possible? A light bag, and a light itinerary?

Many of us have had the nightmare experience of lugging around too much luggage, waiting in the baggage claims area, trying to cram too many activities into each day, and generally being so stressed that we need a vacation when we get home. 

Instead, simplify your travel.

I’ve compiled some of the best tips, combining some of them or choosing tips that were representative of a lot of comments. There are dozens more, so if you’re looking for the full list, see the comments in the original post. 

I’m definitely going to be following some of the tips. Although there are a lot of great suggestions about useful items, my biggest aim is to pack as lightly as possible and to keep my itinerary loose and light. Here’s my packing list for my small backpack right now: 

Travel docs (passport, credit card, ID)

deodorant

2 pairs of shorts

2 T-shirts

2 pairs underwear

swim trunks

1 book

journal and pen

camera, charger

Anything else I need, I’ll buy in Thailand.

“I travel light; as light, that is, as a man can travel who will still carry his body around because of its sentimental value.” – Christopher Fry

 What to Pack

Many of the tips were about packing: how to pack light and what items are essential or useful. What follows are some of the best, but be aware that there may be contradictory tips — choose the ones that will work best for you.

Pack as light as possible. Ask the simple question: “Do I want it or do I need it and if I need it am I will to cart it around?” There is little you really need when you travel.

Travel with a light backpack. If you are moving between places, backpacks leave your hands free to hold their hands.

Pack just a few clothes with only a couple complimentary, solid colors — no patterns. Black is a good idea if you need to be able to dress up and be casual.

Pack only what you can carry on to the flight.

Put everything you want to bring in a pile and slowly strip away things that aren’t necessary.

Leave the laptop behind, as well as blackberry and any other tech gadget. For computer addicts, being away from the internet’s constant flow of data for a few days recharges and relaxes you in ways that you never experience at home.

Bring along a small, foldable umbrella to protect against the UV rays of sunlight and possible rain.

Most toiletries can be found easily in your destination country.

If it’s something you think you can buy there more cheaply than at home, then don’t bring it (especially if it’s something you don’t already have).

Bring one book, and when you’re done, find a book-exchange and trade it for a new one.

In Asia, sarongs are a traveler’s best friend! A sarong works as a towel, a skirt, a makeshift bag, a scarf, a sheet. They’re especially good to have if you’re traveling low-budget, staying in hostels or guesthouses, which often don’t offer towels or even top sheets. The best thing is that they dry really, really quickly, even when it’s humid. A wet towel can take all day to dry in the tropics, and if you have to stuff it in your bag before it’s dry it can get all dank and midewy, and so can all your stuff.

Get one of those totes or bags that fold up into a small package to slip into your backpack. You can use this to collect your souvenirs. Alternatively, mail your purchases home as you go. This reduces what you must carry around with you, what you have to list for customs.

Bring old clothes and undergarments and dispose of them each day leaving more room for momentos to bring home if you choose. It also cuts down on items that need frequent washing while away.

Take baby wipes. And lots of Ziploc bags.

Don’t travel with anything in your pockets except your passport and wallet. You won’t have to dig everything out of your pockets every time you go through security. Sitting in the plane is a lot more comfortable as well. Make sure your wallet is in your front jeans pocket. Sitting on your wallet for long periods of time will put your back out of alignment.

Photocopies of sections of guidebooks so at the end of a leg of trip the copy goes in the trash.

Take a photocopy of all your credit cards, passport and any other valuable document you have. Write down the emergency phone number for each credit card beside its photocopy. Leave this with a neighbour or family member along with your itinerary. Should you have your wallet and bags stolen and be only allowed to make one phone call, call this contact person who would be able to cancel your credit cards etc. for you. Alternatively, instead of photocopying your important documents consider scanning them and mailing them to yourself. That way you can always access these documents. Another reader suggested that you should encrypt documents if you email them to yourself.

Pack only high-tech fabrics, the kind that dry quickly so that you can do a wash in the sink. You can get away with 2 pairs of socks for a 2 week trip by rinsing out the dirty pair at night. High tech fabric means it’s dry by the next morning. Cotton will stay soggy for days.

Tilley makes underwear you can wash in the evening, and it will be dry by morning. You only need two pair, or even one if you are sure of finding somewhere to wash it!

Tip for quick drying: roll a towel over wet fabric,and squeeze tightly.

Bring a small amount of foreign currency to cover incidental expenses upon arrival, then change the rest in your destination country, as exchange rates are usually more favorable.

On Planning and Doing

Aside from what to pack, there were some great tips submitted about what to do when you get to your destination (along with some tips en route to the destination):

 Don’t overplan your trip. Keep your travel itinerary fluid, so that you can soak up the atmosphere in each place. Leave room for the serendipitous and when plans don’t work out, treat it as an opportunity!

Arrive earlier than you think is necessary — for domestic travel, try to arrive at least 2 hours before flight time; on international, make it three. This reduces the stress of waiting in a long security line as the time of your departure inches ever closer, and those desperate rushes to your boarding area. Besides, a relaxing drink at one of the restaurants is a lovely way to start a vacation!

Take time for naps. Seriously.

Smile a lot and talk to the locals.

Eat, eat, eat and savour the flavors.

Don’t get caught up with sights. Plan some must-dos and leave the rest to chance.

Wander around at night and stay open to the crazier elements of the culture.

Get lots of massages.

Prepare for security check in: Wear slip-on shoes; don’t wear a belt with metal; put the jacket or sweater in your carry-on before you get to security; have your electronics on the top of your carry-on along with the plastic zip-lock bag with your liquids so you don’t have to search through your bag to find them (and then repack after you go through security).

Split your cash and financial assets up. Credit card in one pocket. Some cash in another. Some in a hidden backpack pocket. Some in your shoe(s). Some in a money belt. Go to the bathroom and enter a stall before taking out cash from any of these places.

Don’t bring all your cash/credit cards etc. on you when you go out. Leave some in a safe at the hotel, and leave the extra credit cards back home.

Keep a card on you featuring your embassy’s #, some local friends’ numbers.

Get up early. In hot climates, this will help you avoid the heat of the day; in any climate, it will help you avoid the crowds and get more out of your day at a more leisurely pace. Equally, do the thing you really want to do first, as often plans go awry as the day goes on.

You shouldn’t try and see everything in a given place. In fact, you’ll probably have a better time if you focus on meeting great people (instead of going to great places): visits to great places will naturally following if you meet the right people during your travels.

Try to stay away from big tourist spots (unless there’s something you REALLY want to see). meeting locals, doing the things they do, and eating the things they eat always makes for a better stay. If you have any friends there, ask if you can stay with them for a short while; that would give you a true local experience.