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  • 26 Apr 2021 by Jodi Rose Gonzales

    When you think about your business goals for teaching yoga, do you feel scattered, stressed, burnt out, or drained? I get it—I felt that way, too—until one of my yoga mentors advised me to ‘teach from what the well spills, not from the well itself’. My mind immediately explored this as an off-the-mat profit-versus-loss model. I wondered: what if my business decisions were based on an energetic (not monetary) cashflow? 

     

    Yoga Teaching and Your Energetic Profit

    As Westerners, we are enculturated to believe that business “success” means that we are financially profitable. Yet, this often conflicts with our values as yoga teachers. Our practice is often an observation of service to others, humility, and simplicity. Our beliefs about “abundance” can overshadow—and even redefine—our ideas about success. 

    Meanwhile, it’s easy to conform to expectation. Our family, friends, and business planning mentors rarely ask us to probe our individualized, ultimate picture of success. To be fair, we often forget to pause and ask those same questions of ourselves. It is assumed that as teachers, we are in business to make money. Yet, as practitioners of yoga, we know that isn’t necessarily so. 

    What follows is inner conflict—and an energetic principle that happens anytime your values are overstepped: you feel drained, overwhelmed, fearful, etc. The more you try to fit yourself into a traditional or expected model, the more your internal batteries continue to drain….and so does your energetic profit.

     

    Permission to Explore the Energetic Profit Model

    While money-making has its place (you have to pay your utility bill, after all), it doesn’t have to be the sole guiding principle in your yoga teaching business. Here are some questions to consider as you start your energetic business plan:

    • Name 3-5 core values such as safety, ethics, gratitude, freedom, excellence, kindness, inclusion, etc. Google “values list” to explore options and ideas. 

    • Clearly define what “success” means to you. Complete the following sentence: For me, success is less about monetary profit and more about _______ . Be thorough!

    • What would your life look like and feel like as the ultimate expression of your yoga teaching, values and self-defined success? Sit with this image and notice any sensations in the body. Do you feel lighter, expansive, or warm in the heart? Take time to collage or journal about this embodied vision of business. 

     

    Now’s the Time to Build an Energetically Profitable Business

    Remember, when it comes to energy, like attracts like! Therefore, when you can envision and feel yourself earning an energetic profit, you will start to explore your business with more gusto. As you become clear on your values and success models, it will be easier to expand your vision and to align with opportunities that fuel you and move you head. Energetic profit will improve your business and your outlook. NOW is the perfect time to consider how to stop living a business vision that drains you: choose expansion, instead! 

     

    Join the author from 10am-Noon CST on Saturday, May 15 for Business Mindset for the YogaPreneur: Claim Your Vision! Cost is $15. 

    You can also join the author on Mondays at 7:30pm CST for the YogaDoodles®, a fun fusion of art therapy journaling and gentle hatha yoga. YogaDoodles® are designed to help you deepen your yoga practice and live with more intention. Register for this donation-based class on the Yoga Specialists website.

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    Jodi Gonzales ATR, NCC, RYT200 is the creator of the YogaDoodles® and a credentialed art therapist, yoga teacher, and top-selling Amazon author. She offers weekly YogaDoodles® classes and monthly Business Mindset workshops at YogaSpecialists.org. Jodi’s virtual services including art therapy life coaching, business coaching, and yoga classes from her studio in the northern Wisconsin. Find Jodi on her website JodiRoseStudio.com and check out @jodirose.studio on Instagram and Facebook.

     

  • 20 Apr 2021 by Jodi Rose Gonzales

    Does the “BUSINESS” of yoga make your head spin? Do you have unchecked beliefs (or fears) about becoming an entrepreneur? Believe it or not, your role as a yoga teacher gives you an edge over other small business owners. At the heart of it all is your yoga practice.

     

    Business as an Off-the-Mat Practice

    As a yoga teacher, you are uniquely positioned to be a heart-centered entrepreneur. You can use the teachings of your own asana practice to guide your self-inquiry into what means to be in business. Much like your responses to any singular pose, your response to being in business is unique:

    • Are you naturally predisposed to certain aspects of business?

    • Do you resist certain ideas about being in business?

    • Are there certain areas that need more time for growth?

    Just like a complex or difficult pose, your business vision doesn’t always immediately appear. It happens over time. With consistent study, you can cultivate the skills you need while clarifying your business model and goals.

     

    Yoga Teachings Give You an Entrepreneurial Edge 

    Teachings such as the yamas and niyamas offer a wonderful guide to approaching business. You can use their principles to establish a business vision and culture that is compassionate, meaningful, and responsive to your own design. This applies to whether you plan to open a studio, or wish to be a business of one. As you consider your business, ask:

    • Is your business idea true to your values? (Satya)

    • Does your business idea steal from other responsibilities, needs or dreams? (Asteya)

    • Does your business idea trigger a strong inner critic? (Ahimsa)

    • Does your business idea inspire contentment versus a need to achieve? (Santosha, Aparigraha)

    Once you honor that yoga’s teachings are evident in all aspects of your business design, business planning offers you the opportunity to deepen your yoga practice. Practice self-study (svadhyaya) as you start to explore what being in business means to you. Notice where your mindset can be re-aligned or improved.

     

    Business, Redefined: You are a YogaPreneur

    Ultimately, yoga teaches you how to quiet your mind so that you can connect with your True Self. As your yoga practice develops, or deepens, you learn to how to live your life as an expression of your True Self. Your business is simply an extension of that. Few disciplines offer the opportunity to serve others in a manner that is so deeply aligned with your own self-discovery practice! 

     

    Evict Your Inner Critic

    It’s natural to have fears and doubts about what you will do as a yoga teacher. Still, your future is one of possibility. Allow yourself space for compassionate self-study. Use the model of your yoga practice, and your teaching skills, to explore the unique path of the YogaPreneur.  

    Join the author from 10am-Noon CST on Saturday, April 17 for Business Mindset for the YogaPreneur: Inner Critic Eviction. Cost is $15.

    You can also join the author on Mondays at 7:30pm CST for the YogaDoodles®, a fun fusion of art therapy journaling and gentle hatha yoga. YogaDoodles® are designed to help you deepen your yoga practice and live with more intention. Register for this donation-based class on the Yoga Specialists website.
     

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    Jodi Gonzales ATR, NCC, RYT200 is the creator of the YogaDoodles® and a credentialed art therapist, yoga teacher, and top-selling Amazon author. She offers weekly YogaDoodles® classes and monthly Business Mindset workshops with Yoga Specialists. Jodi’s virtual services including art therapy life coaching, business coaching, and yoga classes from her studio in the northern Wisconsin. Find Jodi on her website JodiRoseStudio.com and check out @jodirose.studio on Instagram and Facebook.

  • 07 Apr 2021 by McKenzie Wallace

    by Sarah Maurer

    Think of all of the steps that we take each day with the goal of finding or maintaining a sense of security.  For example, my partner checks the stove every time he leaves the house. If he forgets, he will either turn the car around if I am not at home, or call me to double-check that everything is turned off.  While I give him quite a bit of flack for this behavior, it is also incredibly endearing.  We all have certain habits that help to quell our uncertainty and worry, things which give us the peace of mind and have found a way to safeguard against potential problems or harm. We lock our doors, install security systems, set reminders on our phones for important meetings and appointments, and check to make sure the oven is off.  All of these actions take place in our external environment to ease our minds, and hopefully, our internal ecosystem.  

    Our nervous system can be thought of as our body’s security system. It sends signals to our brain allowing us to process threats in our external environment.  Unfortunately, our beautiful internal security systems cannot distinguish the stress of a looming work deadline with more acute threats, it reacts to our normal daily stresses like it would react to the threat of a Saber-Toothed Tiger on the Serengeti. As humans living in a modern and complex world, it is imperative to find ways to shift gears from the sympathetic, or our fight, flight, or freeze response, to the parasympathetic, our rest and digest response.  Similarly to building muscles to gain physical strength and agility, we also need to find ways to tone our nervous system, so our body’s reaction to stress does not overtake our ability to tap into our inner peace.  

    Toning Your Nervous System

    Finding ways to ground yourself throughout the day is beneficial to alleviate stress.  This will look different for everyone, but one relatively simple game-changer is spending time outside.  First of all, if you are working from home, you need to give yourself opportunities to separate from your workspace.  Spending even fifteen to twenty minutes outside offers mood-boosting vitamin D, and it can also give you some perspective. If taking breaks is not an option for you, here’s a short grounding exercise from therapistaid.com that might help in moments of overwhelm.  As you go through each step, bring your awareness to the physical sensations that arise.

    1. Take 5 long, deep breaths through your nose, and exhale through puckered lips.
    2. Place both feet flat on the floor. Wiggle your toes. Curl and uncurl your toes several times. Spend a moment noticing the sensations in your feet.
    3. Stomp your feet on the ground several times. Pay attention to the sensations in your feet and legs as you make contact with the ground.
    4. Clench your hands into fists, then release the tension. Repeat this 10 times.
    5. Press your palms together. Press them harder and hold this pose for 15 seconds. Pay attention to the feeling of tension in your hands and arms.
    6. Rub your palms together briskly. Notice and sound and the feeling of warmth.
    7. Reach your hands over your head like you’re trying to reach the sky. Stretch like this for 5 seconds. Bring your arms down and let them relax at your sides.
    8. Take 5 more deep breaths and notice the feeling of calm in your body.

    Years ago, I was in my therapists’ office and he had me go through an exercise for anxiety, after I had been experiencing regular panic attacks.  He asked me what my favorite color is, and he had me identify where I saw that color in my space.  It was also important to the effectiveness of the exercise that the objects were stationary and unchanging.  I invite you to try this exercise yourself.  This can create an anchor for you at the onset of anxiety, and I still use this to center myself when I am stressed or feeling anxious.  

    Lately, I take a walk to a place near my house where I can see the mountains in the distance.  Feeling the magnitude of nature around me, helps me to ground myself and recognize my place in the world.  It reminds me I am alive and exactly where I need to be.  Whether you decide to take a walk outside, or you use these aforementioned grounding exercises, it is important to have a few tools that help to take the edge off in moments of stress, especially if you are experiencing acute anxiety. In more extreme cases, these types of grounding exercises can help to lower your heart rate, and bring you back to homeostasis. 

    Journaling

    Perhaps you take time before you start your day to journal and get clear on anything that may be looming over you, taking you out of the present moment.  Part of experiencing a sense of peace is identifying the things in your day and your life that strip you of that feeling.  Maybe your journaling practice reveals certain recurring themes over time, which you never really recognized, and this can be very valuable information.  It can also highlight areas of your life which may benefit from some minor tweaks so you can circumvent these mental loops in the future.  These types of changes do not need to occur overnight.  Finding effective ways to navigate through your daily experience more mindfully takes time and courage, be patient with yourself, and make sure you are being truthful about what is actually possible for you to accomplish.  

    Remember, if any of this stuff was easy and effortless the world would probably be a very different place.  However, creating a toolkit for yourself establishes new habits or that reinforces your existing practices in response to stress, is important.  You can think of it as adding another layer of reinforcement to your internal security system, and your nervous system will thank you for that.

  • 15 Mar 2021 by McKenzie Wallace

    Do Emotions Affect Heart Health? 

    There are contributing factors to the health of your heart. Experts say that eating more vegetables, working out, not smoking, and getting enough sleep can contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. But more recent studies show that forgiveness can play a huge part in your heart health as well. 

    We all experience anger from time to time; it is a human response that when handled with care can be healthy, and in some cases, a necessary catalyst for change. But when we stay angry for an extended period of time, our bodies are eventually triggered to release stress hormones, such as adrenaline, which causes our blood pressure to rise, and our heart-rate to increase. 

    It is well known that stress plays a leading role in heart disease. And when we grip tightly to a powerful emotion such as anger, the physiological effects manifest similarly to stress

    Forgiveness Exercises the Heart Chakra and Leads to Better Overall Heart Health

    Maybe you have experienced it: someone has done or said something so offensive or obtuse that your anger boils your blood, your face grows warm, your heart rate speeds up, and your fists grip tightly. It is not unnatural to be angry; it’s not even unnatural to be really angry for a bit of time. But when we are so angry that daily life is made less enjoyable, it is time to check-in with whether or not this emotion is serving us. Though we may be justified in our anger, and though it may feel satisfying at first to direct our anger towards the offending party, in the long run, as the Buddha says: “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent to throw it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” 

    The immediate and delayed cardiovascular benefits of forgiving have become more apparent over the past decade or so, but to say to the offender that they are forgiven when they offer an apology can be very different from consciously releasing anger. However, when we come to understand that the benefits of forgiving those who have wronged us extend beyond the offender’s liberation to the potential to heal our physical hearts, we might feel more inclined to let go. Though forgiveness alone may not cure heart disease, holding onto anger has such a negative impact on our overall health, that forgiveness is essential for healing the impact anger has on the physical body. 

    Recognizing that it is time to forgive is the first step to healing, but this alone is not enough. The connection of mind and body is undeniable, and evidence suggests a strong connection between the anahata chakra and cardiac plexus in cardiac activity. 

    What is Anahata?

    The anahata chakra is the fourth chakra, and it is located at the heart-center. “Anahata'' is translated from Sanskrit as unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten. The anahata chakra is responsible for unconditional love for self and others, compassion, and empathy. When the anahata chakra is open and balanced, one may be full of love and the ability to forgive. 

    How to Heal Anahata Chakra

    When the anahata chakra is blocked, we may protect ourselves by withdrawing from love and allowing ourselves to become cold and rigid. There are several holistic heart health tips we can use to unblock the anahata chakra, including asanas for anahata chakra healing, heart chakra crystals, heart chakra affirmations, and anahata pranayama practices.

    Asanas for Anahata Chakra Healing

    There are several asanas we can utilize to promote anahata chakra healing. You can decide which ones are best for you depending on the present energy in your body. These targeted postures offer expansion of the space around or behind the heart.

    Gomukasana- Cow Face Pose

    This seated posture can be done with a strap if the bind is not available. 

    Bhujangasana- Cobra Pose 

    There are several variations of this pose, but in each variation it is important to continually lift the heart and soften the shoulders away from the ears. 

    Bitilasana and Marjaryasana- Cat/Cow Pose

    These two poses are generally sequenced together. By synchronizing your breath to your movement you can utilize Cat/Cow to create a moving meditation. 

    Ustrasana- Camel Pose 

    You can take a very gentle variation of Camel Pose by placing your hands on your low back with your fingertips pointing down (almost as if you were tucking your hands into your back pockets), and gently lifting the gaze towards the sky. 

    Setubandha Sarvangasana- Bridge Pose 

    This is a great posture to support yourself in by incorporating props. To do so, you may use a block or a bolster between the sacrum and the earth. 

    Urdhva Mukha Svanasana- Upward Facing Dog

    This posture is often included in Vinyasa style classes sequenced after a chataranga and before a downdog, but it can be incorporated elsewhere. 

    Garudasana- Eagle Pose

    Though this pose may ask you to balance on one-leg, it is possible to find more stability by using a block under the hoovering toe.  

    Matsyasana- Fish Pose 

    This posture could be made more restorative by utilizing a bolster underneath the length of the spine.

    Heart Chakra Crystals

    Heart chakra crystals can be used in meditation, or they can be worn. These crystals have been known for promoting the healing of the anahata chakra. 

    Rose Quartz 

    Rose quartz is one of the most well-known heart chakra crystals used to promote the anahata chakra. It is known specifically for increasing unconditional love and forgiveness.  

    Rhodochrosite

    This stone helps to cultivate compassion and is known for benefiting the heart, respiratory system, blood pressure, and circulation. 

    Jade

    Jade is generally perceived to bring good luck, good health, wealth, and love. Jade is good for addressing stress and anxiety. The energy given off by Jade has been studied, and what they found is that far-infrared rays radiate from the stone and affect the body in a plethora of ways.  

    Malachite

    With its vibrant green color, malachite is also associated with anahata chakra. It is thought to assist in the regulation of what we permit to enter our lives, and what we might resist. It is also thought to promote love and security within your relationships. 

    Prehnite

    Prehnite is another green stone associated with anahata chakra. It is considered to represent unconditional love, and it is thought to assist in controlling the emotions. 

    Heart Chakra Affirmations

    Affirmations are declarations of what we choose to invite into our lives. They are powerful, especially when repeated aloud. When declaring your affirmation, you create space for your desire to manifest. You can use several affirmations throughout your day, or you may have just one affirmation that you return to throughout the day. The following are just a few examples of heart chakra affirmations, but always take the liberty to modify them according to your specific needs. 

    • I am open to give and receive love.
    • I choose forgiveness. 
    • I am worthy of unconditional love.
    • I forgive myself and I understand that my worthiness is not hindered by my mistakes. 
    • I choose to release my anger. I choose peace instead.

    In the examples above, you can see that they all begin with an “I” statement, and they all directly relate to self. Feel free to say these out loud, or write them down somewhere where you will see it throughout your day. You may even write it down and take a picture of it to make it the background on your phone. 

    Can Balancing Anahata Chakra Help To Improve Overall Heart Health?

    Forgiveness heals the soul, but it can also assist in healing the physical heart. When we come to understand the way emotional health partners with physiological health, it can motivate us to pay closer attention to what is happening in our emotional bodies. Building rituals around asanas and elements known for balancing anahata chakra can assist in balancing the emotional body, and in effect, improve the overall health of your physical heart.