New Instagram Account

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.

Taryn Raine Yoga is now on Instagram! I made a separate page just for my yoga and health related posts. Follow me for healthy eating ideas, yoga tips and videos, and positive messages.

@tarynraineyoga

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I would love to follow you too! What is your instagram account?

Much love, Taryn xoxo

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Journey of the Self

Quick post today! Just had to share a quick picture from my shoot yesterday:

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This is a great reminder for why yoga differs from all other fitness activities. Remember, asana (the physical postures) only make up one of the eight limbs of yoga. Yoga is a lifestyle. It is a way of being. It is a path which helps you discover new things about yourself everyday.

Namaste y’all! – Taryn xoxo

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!

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

Journal: Joint Freeing Series

“Each morning comes with renewed hope, another chance and a great opportunity to do better than we did yesterday.” – Mufti Ismail Menk

Good morning beautiful people!

For my YTT class, I was asked to watch a youtube video of the joint freeing series done in a chair. The joint freeing series was designed to reach every joint in the body, allowing the stiffness to melt away, and lets the body prepare for a longer (and more comfortable) meditation. I found this journal particularly fun, so I wanted to share it all with you:

Joint Freeing Series         12/3/2014    6:20 am

I woke up this morning eager to do the joint freeing series because I was quite stiff this morning and did not want to get out of the warmth of my bed. when I finally got up, I washed my face, made some tea, and sat down to watch the suggested video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvqziaddigk

Prior to starting the lesson, I was feeling rather achy from a restless night (my dog had me awake a number of times throughout the night) and my body was a little cold, adding to the stiffness. I was grateful the series would be practiced in a chair, for if I was to get on the ground this morning, I would savasana past the time I need to leave for work.

The practice started with my chilly toes and immediately I began to feel warmth in my feet (Thank heavens, I had thought). As the practice moved into the ankles and knees, there was a little bit of creaking here and there, but not too bad. The backs of my legs felt rather tight in the first leg movement, but felt a little warmed up after the three rounds of the knee movement. Then, the practice followed into my hips. Good morning! My hips were popping and making all sorts of grumpy sounds this morning, but the movement felt like I was breaking free of those grumpy noises and shining some light in there (now I know why it is called joint “freeing” series).

Yes! Now we are moving into the spine, twisting up, up and away. This is my favorite movement in the morning because I immediately feel taller and composed. The shoulders were rather grumpy this morning too, popping in all sorts of directions, but I felt like the shoulder blades sat closer together and with more ease after the movements. What surprised me the most was the tightness in back of my thoracic spine. as I arched the back and lifted the chest into “cow” pose, everything felt swell. Then, as I rounded into “cat” pose, I felt an overwhelming tightness in the top of my back, between my shoulder blade and was very eager to return to cow. After the three rounds, it felt a little less tight.

After the complete series, I definitely feel more awake and I am surprised at how comfortable I feel sitting here at the computer to write up my journal. Typically, sitting down at the computer is my least favorite part of the morning because I feel pretty achy. I feel like it is easier to hold my head up, as if it miraculously become lighter and my lengthened spine is actually able to stand up tall, ready for the chaos of the day.

Good morning Joint Freeing Series! Thank you for getting my body awake this morning and for shining light on the grumpy gremlins that found a place to rest over night in my stiff joints. They have been evicted!


xoxo Taryn

Modern Day Saucha: Insta Cleanse

“Through simplicity and continual refinement (Saucha), the body, thoughts, and emotions become clear reflections of the Self within. Saucha reveals our joyful nature, and the yearning for knowing the Self blossoms.”  ~ Yoga Sutras 2.40-2.41
Last night in yoga teacher training, we learned techniques on cleansing the body. While there are many radical ways to cleanse the body, Jala Neti practice is becoming a common practice with Western yogis. This practice is great for clearing the sinuses, removing access dirt and bacteria, and can give a cooling sensation to the brain. A few of us practices this ancient tradition in class last night:
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I left the practice feeling energized about learning something new and eager to implement new aspects of Saucha into my life. Saucha is the Sanskrit term for purity and cleanliness. It is one of five niyamas (restraints) practiced in the eight limbs of yoga. Saucha can represent cleanliness in all aspects of life, internally and externally.
Here are some examples of practicing Saucha:
– Keeping your surroundings clean: let’s clear the clutter, clean our mats, dust the cobwebs, whatever needs to be done so your environment feels welcoming
– Keeping our bodies clean: this includes what we put into our bodies and how we take care of ourselves.
– keeping our thoughts clean: eliminate the thoughts that don’t serve us like negativity, judgment, etc.
In the modern world, we are becoming overwhelmed with social media clutter. I am super guilty of getting caught up in the world of buzzfeed videos, instagrama celebrities, and silly “Did you know?” articles. It can be a serious distraction from my goals and I find myself being rather critical of myself when I play the comparisons game.
So, I am challenging myself and anyone else who would like to join me to take an “Insta Cleanse”! Or a Facebook cleanse, twitter cleanse, email cleanse or whatever. I am not deleting my account (which is a great options if you really feel a certain social media is distracting you from actually living), but I am cleaning it out. I follow too many celebrities I do not care about or “negative nancy” type people. I don’t have time for that and it is not doing anything to better who I am and encourage me to become a better version of me. I want to follow users who dare me to dream!
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I would love to hear about the ways y’all practice Saucha, or clean living in your lives!
xoxo Taryn

Update: From Burnt Out to On Fire!

“Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire” – St. Catherine of Sienna

I am so excited to give you all an update on how I have been doing since my posted titled: Confession, I am burnt outI had such an out pour of support from family, good friends, and acquaintances and I felt so loved and understood. Getting everything off my stress and admitting how I felt really gave me the courage and motivation to lay it all out and let it all go. I did not beat myself up or let shame dwell inside me; I simply walked away. I thank you all for letting me use this as a platform for my transformation.

It’s been a few weeks, so obviously, life isn’t perfectly transformed. However, I feel so different. I feel excited for the future and eager to grab a hold of every opportunity that crosses my path. Let me tell ya, that’s huge improvement!

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I read this great article today: 10 Simple Act of Radical Self-Care by Mind Body Green. I just read this a few hours ago, but it perfectly sums up some of the commitments I have made to myself and it is a good read for anyone needing some motivation. (It is funny; just last week I had a co-worker tell me that the concept of “self-love” was for hippies, so I have been sharing these articles with her. This one is perfect)

#6 on the list has been HUGE for me! It isn’t just about forgiving myself, it’s about letting go of my high expectations. Can I tell you something crazy? As soon as I let go of my desire to complete my yoga teacher training by the end of this year, it suddenly became possible. Letting go of the expectation removed the negative energy I had directed at my yoga homework and practice. Now, I am eager to get homework done and learn more things. I have stopped finding excuses for why I can’t get things done or try something new and I am finding many reasons for why I can and should! I feel like I am on fire about yoga again, especially after taking the time to expand my horizons and try something new: acro yoga! I am in love!

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Another major practice I have implemented into my life is meditation (#1 on the Mind Body Green list). Not that I never meditated before, but I never made it a priority. I meditated maybe once a week, and felt terribly guilty about how terrible I was for not being yogi enough. Again, as soon as I let go of that expectation and reminded myself that it is just as important as brushing my  teeth in the morning, it became easier. I’m not gonna say I have sat down every morning, but almost!

Changing my perspective about everything has been such a game changer for me. I am working hard to remove negative words from my vocabulary and find the good in my life. I am practicing gratitude and acceptance. I am putting my health first, because I can’t take care of anyone else if I am not taking care of myself.

However, I swear the best change I have made is #10 on the list: Do what you LOVE. It is such a simple concept, but it is making such a difference in my life. Let me give you some examples of the silly, fun, and positive activities I have been adding to my life:

Audio books: I feel sad about the lack of time in my life to sit down and read a book, but audio books are perfect for my long drives. I am absolutely in love with Amazon’s Audible membership. I suggest reading Brene Brown. Her audio book The Power of Vulnerability is just amazing!

Singing and dancing: If I am not listening to an audiobook in the car, I am singing. AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS! I am jamming to Glee, passionately bellowing love songs (to myself!), and my animation goes through the roof when I start playing my Disney tunes. I am not embarrassed by passer-byers, I am thriving in my courage to do whatever the f*** I want! (safely of course!) I also dance in the kitchen and sing to my dogs, which I think really annoys them…

Doodling and journaling: About nothing, about everything, zentangles, alphabets, you name its.

Smiling. For. No. Reason.

Calling friends: This is one of my all time favorite activities, as most of my friends are really far away.

Baking. New Recipes. Documentaries. The list goes on and one. Actually, I have made myself a fun list of things I can do when I need a pick-me-up:

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I wish I could explain to everyone how different I feel. I hope you can hear a change of tone in my writing, as those around me are seeing. I even had a fellow classmate tell me I was “glowing love and happiness” the other day. Who? ME? YES!!! I am dreaming. I am making goals. I am optimistic. I feel connected with my husband more than I have in months. I feel confident. I hope you are all feeling confident too. Radical self-care is soooo important!

I love you all. Keep dreaming and keep doing the silly things you love.

xoxo Taryn

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Balance: Feminine and Masculine

“Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman. ” – Margaret Fuller

Quick post for today, as I am anxious to get packed and loaded for our weekend fishing trip!

It seems like I have had a “theme” for my life this week: balancing masculine vs feminine. Seriously, it seems to be repeating itself to me everywhere I go. I have just started a marriage class with my church and our first study is on the book, Love and Respect. This week’s lesson really hit hard on the difference between male and female and how neither is “wrong,” just different. It is really important to appreciate these differences and find balance between them. A harmonic marriage is found by balancing between the masculine and feminine needs.

Likewise, my yoga teacher last night mentioned the need for the masculine and feminine features of the body to work together in order to find peaceful practice. The head (masculine) cannot work efficiently without the aid of the heart (feminine) and vice versa. Without lifting the chest, you are unable to properly lift the head. They must work together in harmony and not fight against each other to find stability and peace.

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This theme just seems to be following me around lately, so I had to share. I can’t wait to share details and recipes from our fishing trip this weekend. I am going with my husband, father-in-law, and our dog, Wesley, so I hope the masculinity in this bunch won’t overwhelm me too much!

Have a safe weekend – Taryn

How I Cool Off When Stressed

“When you are balanced, you find that the world will come to you exactly as and when it needs to. Just like you learned in summer camp: if you get lost, just stay put until you are found. Breathe.” – Amy Jirsa – Quiet Earth Yoga

So, I am having one of those mornings in the office. You know how it goes: you hit snooze too many times (have no time for morning yoga), get to work and are handed awful news, spend an hour on the phone with the rudest customer service agent you have ever dealt with in your entire life, realized you forgot to grab breakfast and it’s already 10:30 and you’ve been so busy that you haven’t even had a cup of coffee. And you neeeeed that cup of coffee! ASAP! Move out of my way people!!!

You know what I’m talking about right? We all have days where we feel terribly overwhelmed, unbalanced, emotionally strained. We are human! It is completely normal to experience moments of stress and exasperation. In these moments, I am so thankful for learning pranayama techniques. Pranayama is a sanskrit word used to describe the extension and control of the breath, the life force. It is through the controlling of the breath that we are able to slow ourselves down, allow the entire body to become oxygenated, focus our awareness, and become grounded. There are many different types of pranayama and I encourage you to look into different breaths that can positively effect your life and your practice.

I tend to run into these stressful situations when I am at work, or someplace in public. Therefore, arching my back, making giant googly eyes, and sticking my tongue out for Lion’s Breath (Simhasana) won’t work if I want to keep a sane reputation. My favorite pranayama to simmer me down is Ujjayi or Victorious Breath, which is the most common type of breath during a Hatha yoga class (Great article: 8 Reasons Why We Use Ujjayi Breath in Yoga). I love Yoga With Adriene’s pranayama videos and she has a great explanation of Ujjayi:

I love this breath because I can just take 1-2 minutes here or there when I am feeling overwhelmed and I am really able to steady my emotions. The best thing is that Ujjayi breath is typically not noticed by my co-workers or the man who just cut me off on the freeway. A lot of people compare this type of breathing to Darth Vader (my husband compares the sound of Ujjayi breath to someone being constipated…), but it does not have to be practiced very loudly. It should be audible to yourself and not the person in the cubicle next to you.

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Sorry, I thought this was really funny

“Just breathe” isn’t quoted by everyone on the planet for no damn reason; it works! Even if you are not into yoga, taking a moment to breathe and unwind doesn’t harm anyone, so why not try it out? I’m telling y’all, it will do wonders for your mood.

If you are really feeling overwhelmed and the breathing just won’t cut it today, find something to laugh about. Seriously! Take five minutes out of  your work schedule or busy day at home and find some silly video about funny cats or goofy baby laughs or army men singing Frozen or whatever! When I need a laugh, I just enjoy the presence of my goofball dog, Wesley.

Hope y’all are able to find some time to breathe (and laugh) today! – Taryn