Ready! Set! Meditate!

“Every day, set the simple goal of being more awake and less distracted.” – Russel Simmons

Happy Friday readers! I was not planning on doing a blog post today, but I was very inspired by my sister. She text me today and asked me for some help starting a meditation practice. This got me all sorts of excited and figured this kind of information should be shared with all of you!

First off, what is meditation? Yogi Bhajan said meditation is “when you empty yourself and let the universe come in you.” Through meditation, we become aware of ourselves and aware of the universe. We become a witness, outside of our body and our mind and our emotions. This is where we are able to learn the true nature of who we are, apart from the material suffering that plagues us. Sounds good right? Let’s get started!

This beautiful yogini is my dear friend Cindy! Follow her insta @cindy_sue_asana
This beautiful yogini is my dear friend Cindy! Follow her insta @cindy_sue_asana

No idea how to get started? I know it can be intimidating. You seriously want me to sit still for that long without thinking about anything? That’s hilarious! Don’t worry; I still struggle with this too. I am no meditation master. AT ALL. My anxious, little thoughts creep in so fast and suddenly I am lost in a world of dinner plans, work drama, and how I should be decorating my meditation space. Start small. Try to start with ten minutes in silence a day. However, finding silence is sometimes difficult, so here are some great ways to get started:

  • Guided meditations. I still do these most mornings to give me something to focus on. There are a number of guided practices on youtube and other websites. You may want to do some research as to which ones fit with your needs. This is also a great way to direct your meditation towards a given theme, such as forgiveness, strength, self-confident, etc. Here are a few links I’ve enjoyed:
    1. Evening mediation by Louise Hay
    2. Meditation for Honoring Yourself by Gabrielle Bernstein
    3. Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Relief 
  • Focus. Focusing all your attention on one thing can help to pave a path to a clear mind and is less intimidating than simply “emptying the mind”. The focus can be place on anything. You can stare at a candle flame or beautiful picture for ten minutes, count your inhales and exhales, or become engulfed in the rhythm of some music. When you lose your concentration, simply forgive yourself and re-focus on whatever you have chosen to give your attention.
  • Guide yourself. Sometimes the best meditations I have were guided by my own needs. Where do I want to be right now and what do I want to be experiencing? I may wonder into a field of flowers with a warm mist of rain, dancing around and laughing in my momentary freedom. Or I may picture myself finishing that goal, receiving the praise I have been craving, or discovering something new. It’s whatever you want it to be. There is no right or wrong way to do meditation.

Create a consistency with your practice. When and where will you meditate?

  • When? I believe the easiest time to practice meditation is first thing in the morning. Our minds are mostly empty from the long sleep from the night before and we are not burdened by the events of the day. I have a hard time not falling asleep if I meditate right away, so I usually take a shower and sometimes practice some yoga prior to taking a seat on my meditation pillow. However, I know others who do not like morning meditation and would rather take the time to meditate right after they get home, as a way to shift from work to home life. Others love to clear their mind before bed, which is especially great for insomniacs like me! I try to meditate for at least five minutes each morning and as needed at night time.
  • Where? Find a place in your home that you can go to that is quiet, clutter-free, and feels right to you. Make your environment comfortable and make it your own. Grab a comfy pillow or blanket you can sit on (a chair is great too!), maybe light your favorite candle and play some calming music (especially if it is difficult to find a peaceful silence within your home). It does not need to be extravagantly decorated with Buddhist sculptures and prayer flags, although you are welcome to do so! You may find in time that you are drawn to certain items in your space that inspire you, but there is no need to rush this.
My meditation space is super simple, but it is my own space in my craft/office/yoga room
My meditation space is super simple, but it is my own space in my craft/office/yoga room

Try active meditation practices. Anything that allows you to become focused and stills your mind can be considered a meditative practice. You could take a quiet morning walk, allowing your mind to focus on the beauty of nature and the gifts that surround you. Maybe you find your meditation in an art practice, by doodling a mandala, painting abstract designs along a canvas, or molding a new figurine. Maybe it is through a new gardening project or whatever it is that suites you! Meditation is merely the act of stepping back and becoming the witness. We experience a meditative state through self-awareness and becoming disengaged from our thoughts, body, and emotions.

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My favorite active meditation: Zentangles

No judgments. You may not get to meditate every day. You may not get that pesky grocery list to disappear in today’s practice. You may not feel connected to any of the guided meditations you’ve tried and are becoming frustrated. I cannot stress this enough: let it go! There is no perfect way to find yourself. If you are trying, let that be enough. Take pride in the fact that you are doing something wonderful for yourself and, in turn, helping those around you. Also, you should never allow yourself to feel guilty when doing something good for you. It is not selfish, because through your transformation you will be able to better assist those around you. Enjoy it. It may not be easy today; it may not be easy tomorrow. It is a journey, and a great one at that!

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I can guarantee you that if you make the choice to start meditating, the tools you need will come to you. You have to be patient and open to accepting the help of others and the universe.  A Course in Miracles has a great prayer that I have started implementing at the beginning of my practice. It goes as follows:

“Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say? And to whom?”

Trust that if you are truly looking for something, you will find it. Be open minded to the suggestion of others. If a book practically calls out to you, falls into your basket at the bookstore, read it! If someone encouraged you to seek out a great teacher, listen to them. The universe wants to guide you; please be ready to listen.

Have a lovely weekend beautiful people! – Taryn xoxo

Another dear yoga friend and fellow writer, Joseph. You can follow him on instagram @lapis_yoga or click on this picture to find a link to his new book!
Another dear yoga friend and fellow writer, Joseph. You can follow him on instagram @lapis_yoga or click on this picture to find a link to his new book!

Make Ahead Freezer Meals

Good day friends! I have had a bit of a tough week so far, as I have been spending all of my friend time helping my mom and step-dad load up for their move to Oregon. Wednesday morning, their house keys were handed over to new owners and they hit the road, with my young half-siblings and large caravan in tow. Family means everything to me, so watching them go was very difficult. However, I am eager to hear about their new life and the beauties of living in the country. They’ve wanted to do this for years and I am very happy for them.

Anyhow, back to the juicy stuff! I do my grocery shopping every other Saturday and meal prepping. It is a big day for me because it takes a lot of planning and I usually make multiple stops that morning. This previous Saturday, I decided I really needed to overstock the freezer with meals for the hubby, so I can spend more time this next month focusing on building my businesses rather than meal planning for his packed lunches/dinners. So, I spent about five hours in the kitchen preparing enough meals to last him quite some time.

I decided to make meal planning more fun by moving an old TV into the kitchen to watch Harry Potter. Nerd fest :)
I decided to make meal planning more fun by moving an old TV into the kitchen to watch Harry Potter. Nerd fest 🙂

Let me start by stating that not all these meals are “healthy”. My husband, Tanner, and I have very different tastes and most of what I cook ahead is for him (I do not want you to feel misled in any way). Also, I did not come up with any of these recipes on my own, but I will share the ones I made:

Roasted Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
Roasted Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
  • Homemade Spaghetti Sauce by Peanut Blossom
  • Bean and Cheese burritos. This one is pretty self explanatory, but I used the refried bean recipe from Pennies and Pancakes but added a chopped Jalapeno. (side note: I totally squirted Jalapeno juice in my eye in my entire face was on fire for hours. DON’T. DO. THIS.)

QUICK TIPS: Here are a few tips I have learned over the last couple of years

1.) Plan ahead. I plan my meals according to what is on sale at the local grocery stores this week. As I am not a big couponer, the ads really help me to save money by only buying meets and produce on sale. I always compare local prices and make stops at multiple stores.

2.) Make sure you have enough freezer bags and freezer casserole dishes. I made the mistake this past weekend of not checking that if we still had foil dishes and had to make a run back to the store. (I hate going back!)

3.) Pre-write out your labels with all instructions and place them on the bag prior to filling with food. I like to print mine out, as it is much more legible than my handwritting. However, I always forget a few and have extra labels and/or Sharpies on hand.

labels.jpg4.) Use a large bowl to place your Ziploc in while filling. This saves me from spills and extra clean up.

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5.) Have fun with it! If something doesn’t get done, oh well. Adding the TV and fun, childhood movies added to the excitement. I also had a friend stop-by for a little while to make a few things and catch up. Entertaining conversation made the day go by so fast!

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I hope y’all enjoy this post! I encourage you to all check out my friend Deb’s blog: Paper Turtle. I had the pleasure of catching up with her on Sunday and spent two hours eating lunch at Whole Foods and doodling mandalas. She posted about our lovely time together here.

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Namaste! Taryn xoxo

New Look! New Logos!

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” – Bruce Lee

Quick morning post today, simply to share my excitement for my fabulous new logos my little sister, Sierra, created. She is so talented and I am too eager to share her work with the world to wait on my yoga website to take form. If you are a regular reader, you will see the blog got a face lift. The lotus-cowgirl you see in my new banner is one of my sister’s designs. She also created the yogi without the cowboy hat, so I can use it outside of my blog:

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While I LOVE the lotus design. However, my sister and I were talking about my lifelong obsession with trees (I know, weird huh?) and my mother tends to poke fun at me for standing in tree pose all the time. (I seriously don’t even know I’m doing it!) Therefore, she wanted to create an extra logo that incorporated my love for all things green:

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She rocks! I am so thrilled about the new graphics and think I will be making some fun tanks and bags to sell. What do you think of the new logos? I would love to hear your opinions!

Interested in a custom logo or other design? Email my sister, Sierra, at inspiredbysisters@gmail.com and tell her I sent ya!

Namaste friends! – Taryn xoxo

Tricks of the Ego: Idols

“A miracle is a shift in perception. The moment that we choose to perceive our life with love, we can create miraculous change.” – Gabrielle Bernstein

I have to share this great book I am reading right now called “Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein (and by reading, I mean listening to her audiobook of course). I’m only a few chapters into the book and I already love it. She has a pretty down-to-earth message about getting in touch with your own spirituality, which she calls “~ing” (inner guide).

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This week, I read one of her chapters which speaks about the ego tricking us into idolizing someone or something, making them “more special” than others in our life. By idolizing others, it makes us feel separate from them, as if there is something within them which is better than whatever is within us. This is not just in people; it can be with jobs, hobbies, fashion, etc. Our ego makes an illusion in our mind that these people or things are better than us or that we cannot live without them. Outward projections convince us that there are those who are “special” and those who aren’t. This separation is a game the ego plays to keep control over us, encouraging the mind to remain critical of others and ourselves.

We forget one important thing: we are all one. There is no “better than” or “worse than”. Not only do we find others to be “more special”, but we identify ourselves that way too when we think of ourselves above anyone else. As long as these messages are filling our mind, it is impossible to believe in equality or oneness with the universe.

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Gabrielle encourages her readers to “out the ego” but admitting to the projections we are placing onto others, weakening the effects the ego has over us. Namaste, a very popular word in the yoga world, means: the divine in me honors the divine within you. Gabrielle uses a similar phrase in her book, stating: “the light I see in her is a reflection of the light within me.” We are all equal. It is so important that we stop idolizing others because we are all the same.

This week, I was very encouraged by this realization. I do have idols. There are some friends I follow on Facebook or other yoga instructors that I find myself idolizing all the time. I think thoughts like, wow! She is so successful and here I am doing nothing with my life. I wish I had what she has. Or similarly, I love what she does with her yoga teaching. She is so creative. I don’t have what it takes to compete with people like her, full of so many good ideas. She’s amazing, and I’m just me.

In thinking these thoughts, I am not only putting people on pedestals they can hardly live up to, but I am reflecting back my personal fears and criticisms of myself. Obviously: not healthy at all! So, I took the challenge to “out the ego” by contacting some of my idols. I even text my husband: “Honey, I am sorry I have idolized you and put you on a pedestal that is hard to live up to.” Of course, he responds with this: “wtf does that mean?” Hahaha! But seriously, stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching out to some of my idols was very empowering.

I sent this email to a yoga teacher-blogger-instagramer I love:

“Okay, this is gonna sound kind of silly but I am trying this new thing where I “let go” of idolizing people so I can start to see more equality among everyone. In doing so, I am challenging myself to reach out to the people I idolize in order to help me get over it. I think your success at such a young age in incredible and I idolize you for it and your ability to help so many people. However, I acknowledge that the same light within your resides within me too and we are the same! Thank you for inspiring me! (Sorry, I know this may be weird because I am a total stranger… hope you don’t mind!)”

I was so shocked to hear back from this busy entrepreneur. Her response was:

“Hi Taryn, Not silly at all! I actually love this… So, so true that we’re all the same and I’m so honored to hear from you on this endeavor 🙂 Thank you for the kind words, for getting in touch, and of course, for doing yoga with me. It makes my day! Big love, Erin”

I seriously feel better already and I encourage y’all to step out of your comfort zone and admit that you wrongly idolize others too!

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Namaste y’all! ❤ Taryn xoxo

Weekend Recap: Sibling Sleepover

“To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” – Clara Ortega

Finally recovered from a long, successful, and fun-packed weekend. It was a great reminder of how blessed I am to have my family, who believe in me enough to start new ventures with me, who make me laugh so hard my abs hurt, and who love me so deeply that a single smile can bring me to tears. Honestly, they’re that great!

Sadly, we lost a small family member this week. Blondie, our sweetest hen is no longer chasing me down for salad scraps and our other hen, Pepper, spent a couple nights alone (sorry for the dramatics, I was devastated). Thankfully, we were able to find a new, young hen to join the coop and befriend Pepper. Our new addition, a 3 month old white maran I named Elsa. She is adorable!

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I’m super bummed my mom, step-dad, and young siblings are moving to Oregon in just over a week. I feel like half of me is leaving (especially because my other sister and her boyfriend moved to Seattle a few months ago)! Desperate to spend more time with the little ones before they move far away, my other sister, Sierra, and I decided to host the ultimate sleepover with my five-year-old sister, Brea, and four-year-old brother, Andreas. They were pretty excited about taking the fun adventure to my house:

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Knowing this would be one of our few chances to have a good time with the kids, Sierra and I wanted to go ALL OUT for this sleepover. We bought a spin art tool for the kids and canvases to paint. The spin art tool was a hit (and pretty inexpensive too)! A friend of mine stopped by to visit with her four-year-old daughter, Gracie. We decided a tea party was in order. They were delighted to have a “real” tea party, complete with cookies and fancy dishes. After Gracie headed home, we painted some canvases, decorating them with foam stickers, gave the kids a bath, and tucked in to watch a movie. We kicked my poor husband out of bed and the four of us snuggled up to sleep in our big California king size bed. In the morning, we made waffles and brought the little ones home to mom, eager to show off their art work and brag about their evening.

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It was definitely a good time, but man was I exhausted! I can’t imagine doing that every night! I applaud you moms for working miracles into every day life. I am seriously impressed, but as fun as it was, I think I am good waiting a few more years to have my own!

I also mentioned in the beginning of this post that I had a successful weekend: Sierra and I have begun the process of licensing our business and starting our etsy page (stay tuned for more on that). We also put together some ideas for a logo I can use for my yoga business (I cannot wait to share that too). It feels great to know I am developing in my word for 2015 already: Growth. I am also grateful to be reminded to count my blessings, like family!

Thanks for reading y’all. I would love to hear about your weekend fun and successes! Comments are always welcome.

Yours truly, Taryn  xoxo

My “Emergency 911” Yoga Plan for Depression

“The yoga mat is a good place to start when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough.” – Amy Weintraub

Hello again lovelies! I’m making another quick post today to share another project I did for my yoga class. We were instructed to do some kind of “anatomy project”as follows: Consider a condition (illness, injury, or physical/emotional/energetic imbalance) that you find especially interesting (possibly because it affects you or someone close to you). Look at Light on Yoga (pp. 487-506) and other sources to do some research on this condition. Come up with three to five yogic techniques relevant to the condition, and try out those techniques. Describe your results in one (or more, if you wish) typed page, which should be turned in as part of your final graduation packet.

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Here is my Anatomy Project:

1.) Describe the condition and state your intention/objective for the project.

Ah… depression. It’s strange, because most people would expect me to flat out hate the fact that I was born with an imbalance of the brain, passed down generation to generation, that can make me completely miserable for no reason at all. But honestly, I’ve learned to have sort of a love-hate relationship with depression. First of all, my entire family has it, along with millions of people worldwide. While a number of friends don’t get it and think I’m simply dramatic, being open and honest with my depression has helped me to connect with so many people that I would never have imagined inspiring without it. Secondly, it is what led me to yoga! Medication to combat the disease really works for some, but I hated it. It made me very sick when I would forget to take it (a common mistake of mine) and I really wanted to find a way to fight the disease naturally. I longed for control of my mind. I heard from a number of sources that yoga would help, and they were right! I was hooked! However, that doesn’t mean depression still doesn’t plague me from time to time. Even with a regular yoga practice, it still creeps in sometimes, unexpectedly, sometimes so strong and unexpected it can literally knock me to the floor. I wanted to come up with a series of yogic techniques I can save as my “911 emergency” sequence, so I have something established to help me feel less helpless the next couple of times I hit rock bottom.

 

2.) Describe in detail what you will do, and visualize yourself doing it while you write. Include practices/asanas, setting and location, materials used (if any).

I am really lucky enough to have a multi-purpose room in my house that I get to call my own, for crafting, yoga, office work, etc. It has all of my favorite things: handmade art covers the walls from dear loved ones, books line the shelves, art supplies are piled in the closet, and I always have some nice candles going: eucalyptus, lavender, etc. Happy smells. In this room, I get to lock myself away and be myself, even when I’m feeling overly miserable. There’s no judgement. It’s the perfect location for this “911 Emergency” practice.

As research has shown, pranayama is a great tool to use against depression. Makes complete sense to me! I feel so out of control with the sickness creeps in. The breath is something I can control and is the perfect way to start the practice. Usually I feel like concentration is difficult, so doing a pranayama such as Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing, would force me to focus on the pattern of the breath.

According to Amy Weintraub, founder of LifeForce Yoga, when we are depressed, we tend to sit with the shoulder slumped forward and the belly unengaged, cutting off the 2nd and 3rd chakra from energy flow. She suggests starting the practice with a posture, like sphinx or cobra, that engages these areas: stretching out the belly and opening the chest. While in the posture, reciting the 2nd chakra’s seed chant of “vom” will also encourage a little light into this part of the body. Followed by this posture, she suggests the practice of Breath of Joy, a warm-up sequence following the breath. This awakens the body while also expelling the negative energy on the forced exhale.

I think I would want to follow those two postures with Sun Salutation A. I have always felt better after this traditional sequence, as it is used as an offering to invite the sunshine into the dark spaces within me. Typically, I don’t feel like moving around much, so doing something more active like this will wake the body up and help me find some energy.

Lastly, to conclude my quick “911 Emergency” sequence, I would want to follow up with some form of meditation. I know this part of the practice will have to be unique to each experience, as I am already pretty confident sitting and trying to clear my mind will be the last thing I want to do when feeling that crummy. Perhaps instead, I can practice some form of active meditation by singing some of the favorite chants we did in class, doodling some zentangles or a mandala, going for a walk, etc.

Oh! And ALWAYS end with a self-hug!

 

3.) State your hypothesis: What do you expect (hope) will be the result? What would your conclusion be if you did not get the expected result?

I hope this practice kicks my depression to the curb as quickly as it comes in. However, I know it is quick possible it may linger for a few days; the important thing is that I find a way to stay committed to coming back to the mat for the battle each day. I think the first day will be the hardest because usually by the time it needs to be addressed, I has sunken into such a deep pit that I do not feel like doing anything. Perhaps through a personal “check-in” every few days to evaluate my need for the practice, I can catch it before it gets terrible. The biggest enemy of depression is hope. If this practice can inspire hope, that is all I desire, and I think it will!

If it doesn’t seem to help me out of the bad times, I know it will honestly be painful. However, I want to come back to this paper and remember that there is hope no matter what! Perhaps, the practice needs to be changed. Perhaps, I should ask some of my yogic friends who struggle with similar scars. Something will work, I just need to find it!

 

4.) Results: Describe how your practice (#2) affected you and the condition, perhaps keeping a journal or log.

  1. Alternate nostril breathing: This really helped me slow down and focus most of the time. However, I think it would be good to have an alternative breath assigned for the times I am feeling stuffy. I had a stuffy nose a couple of the times I did the practice and would get rather annoyed and agitated trying to do the breath rather than calm. I think I will add Breath of Fire to my “911 Emergency” series as an alternative, so I don’t feel stuck with one choice.(Click these links for demonstrations of the breath techniques mentions: Alternate Nostril Breathing and Breath of Fire)
  2. Cobra or sphinx while chanting “vom”: I liked the posture because it opens up the chest, which always helps give me a small boost of confidence. The chant wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really seem to do much for me either. I am thinking of replacing the “vom” chant with my own words, depending on the need for the day, such as: hope, peace, joy, etc. When I am not feeling very connected with myself, I am definitely not feeling connected to “random chants”, or at least that’s how I was feeling.
  3. Breath of Joy: This was the best! If I only have time to do one thing, it would be this one! I instantly felt lighter and like I really had opened the door for my depression gremlins to hit the road. A  few sometimes remained, but I was still impressed with the result. It really woke up the body too, which was a great way to warm up for the Sun Salutations. (Click here for a demonstration of Breath of Joy)
  4. Sun Salutations A: This is always a good one. There is a lot of chest opening, which really does increase my confidence and made me feel ready for what might still be ahead of me. I don’t know if Sun Salutations alone would make me feel as light and ready-to-go without the delicious Breath of Joy beforehand, but they are a great combination together. (Click here to learn Sun Salutations A)
  5. Active meditation: I was honestly shocked by this one, there were times I felt completely comfortable just sitting still at the end of the practice! That is huge for me and I am honestly amazed with the result. Sometimes, I didn’t feel like I could connect with the chanting (which is odd, because I normally love it), but I always felt meditative through doodling. There is something calming about zentangles and mandalas because it takes focus, yet the mind becomes empty. It is difficult to describe, but definitely awesome.

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5.) Summary and Conclusion: Summarize your results and conclude your study. Do you accept or reject your hypothesis and why? Can you apply your conclusion beyond this project? In your teaching?

I am really impressed with the results. As I suggested in my hypothesis, I stayed aware of myself and when depression was starting to say “hello”. Due to the added awareness of Yoga Teacher Training and the holidays, it never got to the miserable levels I described before, so I am curious to see how well it works if I ever get to that point in the future. I wanted to inspire hope within my heart and soul through this practice and I truly did! I am a little shocked though at how powerful the Breath of Joy practice was. I didn’t think one technique alone might help in a quick “911 Emergency” situation, but I may have found one. I am really grateful for this project or I might not have done the research that led me to the practice. Everything happens for a reason!

I am eager to continue using this sequence. I think the best part is knowing I have this “bag of tricks” to combat the depression so I don’t feel so overwhelmed, scared, and worried about what to do the next time it may enter my life. I am hoping to share my experience with my mom and sisters, who also struggle with the same afflictions, and am really encouraged that it may be a great assistance to their own battles. Furthermore, it gives me a series of techniques I can give to anyone else who might share the same needs. I hope I can help someone else feel like there’s hope, like they can say, “Hey there depression! I am ready for you this time, TAKE THAT!”

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Again, thanks for letting me share! I hope you all have a great weekend and get out and do something that makes you happy. Much love, Taryn xoxo

Independent Project for YTT

So, I have been pretty MIA for the last month because, well, the holidays are just insane, and I was working hard to complete my yoga teacher training requirements. For my yoga class, we were asked to come up with an independent project of our “yoga off the mat” as a way to show others how yoga is a lifestyle and goes beyond the basic asana practice. I wanted to share my project with you all. I hope you enjoy it!

Independent Project

Yoga: Remembering my Passions

I am so blessed by this experience of Yoga Teacher Training through Inner Vision Yoga. I have grown so much through every aspect of the yoga techniques we learned, becoming the person I have always wanted to be and remembering my passions. The practice of asanas, meditations, breath awareness, and living the Yamas and Niyamas has enlightened my sense of who I am and what inspires me. When this project was first explained to us back in August, I was quite excited about starting a blog. I got one set up and started posting right away. However, the more I learned about yoga in class, the less I felt like I knew about yoga and strayed away from posting about yoga on my blog. I then decided to focus my Independent project on the amazing rebirth of some old passions that have grown (practically overnight) through the course of our training.

I grew up in a very creative, crafty home. My mother is basically queen of all things crafty and was gifted with three daughters, eager to learn and help. She taught me how to put together my first doll blanket around the age of six, how to scrapbook not much after that, and was my Zentangle teacher later in life. I love being creative. It is such a powerful outlet for me. However, my mom moved out of my father’s home just prior to starting high school. Obviously, priorities naturally change in high school and college, but I feel I stopped caring about being creative out of a deep hurting I felt for my mom “leaving us”. I have now healed from that pain and the last few years I began re-cultivating my desire to create. Then, I enrolled in this teacher training program and “BOOM!” My creativity is going crazy. It is like a pinball going off in my head. There are so many ideas, so many! It’s now impossible to keep up.

Out of this chaotic creativity madness, something amazing happened! I got to thinking about a great idea to focus my creative passions on. And even better, it involved spending time with my younger sister, Sierra. I shared my ideas with her and on November 30th, we had it all figured out. We were opening a business and we even had a brand name: Inspired by Sisters. Within a week, we had designed a logo, printed business cards, and started our facebook page. On the 13th of December, we had our first booth at an event, making just over $250 selling our custom canvases, stocking stuffers, homemade body products and more. Such a blessing to share something like this with my sister. We plan to start an etsy site soon and continue our business. For the final yoga project, I made a custom yoga-inspired ornament for all my classmates and handmade mugs for the teachers to see a little bit of our work. Check out our facebook page to see more of what we are up to!

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Another area of my life that has re-opened since the start of class is my love for music. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and my mom worked there, so I mean it when I say I grew up in the church. I was there nearly every day in the summers and participated in every play, singing group, small group, etc. throughout my childhood. My favorite thing I got to participate in was the adult choir. It was such a thrill to come together with 30+ voices, harmonizing and praising together. Talk about some powerful emotions! Sunday mornings were all about the music for me and I felt so connected to everything when I sang with that group. Unfortunately, I turned away from the church just before my mom left home. I had a lot of anger at the church and although I still participated in the youth group throughout high school, I never felt connected again. I forgot how much it meant to me.

This past year has been a rough one for me and I found myself back inside a kind-hearted, fun church. The sermons were good, but it was the music that moved me the most. I can honestly say that one simple song got me through one of the hardest struggles of my life and it was a church song! Being so anti-religion for years, that was such a shocker for me. However, the song spoke to me, it met a hunger I had deep inside of me and held my hand when I needed it. Another great reminder of this love for music practically hit me in the face the evening of our chanting class with Michelle. I had found another group of voices to harmonize with, to be moved with, to connect our energy together in ways which brought half of us to tears. It was beautiful! That night, I went home so energized and excited about music again. I immediately called my best friend, Kevin, who plays guitar and sings. I asked him to help me perform that song that pulled me out of the dark, so I can share it with my yoga class. He agreed! The last day of yoga class, we performed this song, and to my utmost joy, half of the class joined us in song. Even better, some were moved to tears, just as I had been the first time I heard it! (The song is called Oceans by Hillsong United)

Check out the video of our performance here. (I apologize for the poor quality)

My Independent project was so personal to me and I am so grateful to have been able to share it with an empathetic, encouraging group. I hope I continue to inspire others through my passions and grow in them as I expand my yoga practice.

My awesome yogi group on the last day of class
My awesome yogi group on the last day of class

Thanks for letting me share! I am so excited to be graduated from training. The future is right in front of me and I’m ready to dive right in!

Love y’all, Taryn xoxo

My Little Word for 2015: GROWTH

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” – Ronald Reagan

Ok y’all! I have a ton to get you caught up on but today is not that day… I am working diligently to turn in my yoga graduation packet this weekend and then I will fill you all in on the past month of my life! However, real quick I wanted to share my first entry for my “One Little Word” notebook for 2015. If you have never heard one One Little Word, I encourage you to check out Ali Edward’s website: aliedwards.com. More important, watch THIS VIDEO to get motivated to make your own word for 2015.

I created journals and inspirational collages for myself and each of my co-workers who wished to join me on this venture. I told them I would give them ideas (hopefully weekly) to journal about, reflect upon, etc. so they can really embody their chosen words this year and have a notebook that was uniquely theirs.

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For today’s entry, I emailed the group the following: “Take the time to write out your little word and reflect upon it. Why did you pick it? What draws you to this word? How do you hope this word changes your life this year or reflects throughout your daily life? Whatever inspired you, write it down. This will be a great page to reflect back on when you are not feeling connected with your word or have doubts. Have fun!”

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Here is my entry:

GROWTH

My biggest goal for 2015 is to grow into more of the person I want to be, which I know is already hidden within me. This year, I will embrace the mud, allowing my personality to blossom above the ground and blooming for everyone to see. I want to embrace this quote that inspired me to pick the word growth:

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud – the obstacles of life and its suffering… The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life… whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness, and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.” – Goldie Hawn

I have big dreams for my life and I must learn to accept that with big dreams come big changes. It takes wisdom, passion, faith, and support to step out of the comforts of the grounded earth in order to reach higher and higher – to fly. Growth is not a choice; it is inevitable. However, I get to choose my environment. I get to choose the soil and the amount of sun and the food. I get to choose how tall I grow, how far I expand, how radiantly I wish to shine.

          This is my goal for 2015.

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Thanks for reading! xoxo Taryn