Finding Balance On & Off The Mat

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Finding Balance On & Off The Mat

I was recently interviewed by the founder of the Toronto Yoga Conference and tell my story not only got me thinking about HOW I came to yoga but also, WHY I stayed...

You may or may not know that teaching yoga is my side-hustle. In fact, I've spent the last 20 years in Corporate Marketing, working for Fortune 500 brands - a job that I love and have no intention of leaving.

You may or may not know that I dedicate most of my evenings [when I am not teaching yoga] to helping women entrepreneurs with conscious marketing because it's my real dharma. Honestly, it nourishes me more than anything else I do.

It's important that you know that I don't have it 'all together' and I know what it feels like to reach total exhaustion. To take on too much. To feel stuck in the shadow. And that the Desire Map changed everything for me.  

Read about it HERE

 

 

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10 Yoga Poses to Find Clarity this Fall

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10 Yoga Poses to Find Clarity this Fall

The Fall Equinox, when the light and the dark make up equal parts of the day, marks the beginning of the harvesting and composting phases of the year. As the weather gets cooler, we begin to draw energy inward, lending us time to pause, reflect, take stock of and process what came of the summer growing season.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Fall is associated with the lungs and large intestine organ systems, which govern the respiratory and elimination function of the body. These systems are powerfully symbolic for the natural giving and receiving cycle of life. The lungs accept oxygen and later release it as carbon dioxide. Similarly, as food nutrients enter the large intestines, they are later released as waste. The same parallel can be drawn in nature, when the multi-coloured leaves, perform an encore on their way down toward the earth before taking their final bow.

This 45–60-minute Fall Equinox practice offers an opportunity to gain perspective, insight, and clarity after the year's growth phase before moving into its dormant period. We will stimulate the lung and large intestine meridian pair through the interplay of extension and contraction along the upper torso and by exploring different arm and shoulder variations. Remember to move slowly, always respecting your physical and mental edges.

Enjoy! You can watch the slideshow HERE

Meditation Seat (6 Mins)

Butterfly Pose (3-4 Mins)

Melting Heart (3-4 Mins)

Seal/Sphinx Pose (3-4 Mins)

Child's Pose (4-6 Mins)

Lateral Dragonfly Pose (3-4 Mins/Side)

Supported Fish with Blanket (4-6 Mins)

Banana Pose (3-4 Mins/Side)

Legs-to-Chest Transition (2-3 Mins)

Savasana (8 Mins)

 

 

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Doorway Into the Second Half of 2016

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Doorway Into the Second Half of 2016

I like to think of the Summer solstice as the entry point into the rest of the year. It's an ideal time to check in on your progress against the goals you set at the beginning of the year and revisit how those goals are working for you. Do they still feel relevant and aligned? Do they still feel like the right things to focus on? Or do they need replacing because you crushed one of them? Do they need revising because... well.. life is taking you on a scenic detour?

However you answered those questions reflects your personal truth - and no one can tell you otherwise. If it means that you have to cross it off your list because, you've changed your mind, then... so be it. Far too often, we end up chasing goals that seemed like a good idea at the time (and once were) but don't feel good anymore. Perhaps what once served us, no longer does - and that's OK. I urge you to meditate on what matters now.

To be clear, I am a BIG fan of goals (bite sized and revolutionary) but they need to be fluid. They should reflect what's important to you, and sometimes what's important changes. I digress...

Now, back to Summer solstice. With the warmer weather, comes increased physical and social activities (and dare I say Radlers!). And, because the fire element is at it's peak, it's important to find a balance between doing, and being. Consider this transition period as an invitation to slow down and surrender to the joy of the present moment. If you are with friends, be totally present in that. When you're working on a project, be all in. 

So, whatever you end up doing this summer, be sure to make it great.

Peace Out,

Dani

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Go In. Then Expand.

During a recent interview with Yoga Journal, the interviewer [Deanna] ask me for the foundation behind successful goal setting & how to break-through?

Here is what I told her...

The winter season [albeit mild so far] is upon us and this is a natural time for retreat and hibernation. The cold, dark days can lend themselves to physical stagnation, fatigue and decreased immunity. While it's true, this is an ideal time to go inward and reflect, it's also important to stay fluid and compassionate with yourself.


Try these writing prompts (inspired by Danielle Laporte’s #DesireMap) to help you get started in setting some soulful strategies from the heart:


1. What do I want 2016 to FEEL like? Whether you end up with one intention for the year of a handful or Core Desired Feelings (CDFs), the intent here is to get clear on the physical emotion you are trying in invite in. Challenge yourself to see beyond the words with “How does that feel in my body?” “Where in my body do I feel that?”


2. What’s not working - what am I willing to change? Declaring it is part terrifying and part liberating. Keep it simple. Don’t allow yourself to go down the road of shame, blame or excuses. Just name one or two things and move on. THIS is your sacred NO.


3. What’s working well - What do I want MORE of? This part is super powerful. Acknowledging the stuff you’re already doing and you already have [that fills you up] brings you into a place gratitude. It’s both a clue and the answer. THIS is your sacred YES.


Next, try these simple daily practices to keep you fluid, focused and more likely to follow through:


1. Wake up with your words. Write them down in your journal/planner. Repeat them silently as a mantra in meditation. Say them out-loud before you go to bed at night. The how is up to you but the the essence is to guide your attention to land on your intention, before you start your day.


2. Crowd out NO with YES. Have a go-to list of simple things you can do to generate your intention or CDFs. For me this looks like: light a candle, go to a yoga class, have a bath, lather myself up with coconut oil,  splurge on a green drink, donate well loved clothing items,  indulge in a face mask or read a chapter before bed. When you notice yourself drifting into a NO state, pick something from your list and DO IT.


3. Share your intention with your partner or a close friend. If you are serious about moving towards your desired state, this will keep you accountable. Not only will they be your number one cheerleader but they can also give you a loving nudge when you fall off track. Have them ask you questions like “ How does that make you feel?” and “Does that feel like a YES or… a NO?” “What would feel like a YES instead?”

And remember, you don't need a new year to start again.

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The Body Knows Before The Mind Does

Emotions are not stored up in the "cloud", nor are they stored up in your brain. They are contained within your physical body, in your connective tissues - and ready to surface at a moment’s notice.

In yin yoga we use the physical body, to energetically stimulate the meridians pathways, which are know in Traditional Chinese Medicine to correspond to major organs in the body.

It is believed there is correlation between particular emotional responses and specific areas of the body. For instance, fear is centered in the kidneys, anger in the liver, worry in the stomach, anxiety in the heart and grief in the lungs. Likewise, we are also beneficiaries of positive emotions: beauty resides is in the lungs; joy in the heart; creativity in the stomach; compassion in the liver; and wisdom in the kidneys.

In this years Yin Yoga Teacher Training, we explore these 12 superficial pathways and learn to identify, target and treat imbalances.

Join us : http://bitly.com/YTTIntensive

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Light Cannot Exist Without Dark

I've come to know that nothing is REALLY as it seems. WE give labels meaning, when often these are perceptions of relativity [to each-other]: light and dark, good and bad, sweet and savory.

Similarly, in yoga we typically associate with the labels of yin and yang to describe styles of practice. While it's true that a movement can be slow and passive, in contrast to one that is fast and active, I've learned that ‪#‎yinyoga‬ is much more about the way we inhabit the shapes [or postures]. The question then becomes: What am I embodying in this moment? Softness or strength? A sense of grounding or buoyancy? Is my focus moving inward or outward?

Once I came to understand this concept, I knew that I could CHOOSE how I wanted to feel in my yoga practice... whether I was practicing ‪#‎VinyasaFlow‬, or #YinYoga, and anything in between.

Moral of the story is that YOU get to choose HOW you practice, regardless of the LABEL on the schedule heart emoticon

On that note come explore the yin aspects of your ‪#‎yoga‬ practice in the 2016 Yin YTT Weekend Intensive - we start on Feb 5!

Whether you're looking to explore your personal practice, to deepen your knowledge of the subtle body [chakra + meridian systems], or to expand your teaching toolbox - Yin has the power to transform you ‪#‎onthematoffthemat‬

http://www.daniellemarch.com/training/

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Stillness is a Great Teacher

Stillness has... well, it has made me a better person. It's shown me patience, when mine was running out. It has taught me to feel a full range of emotion, when I felt like running. It has revealed compassion in the place of expectations and vulnerability in the place of ego.

I want you to know that you don't have to have an advanced meditation practice to get a glimpse of stillness. It all starts with a moment. And then another.

For me personally, it all began with yin yoga. The shapes allowed my body to find stillness. It is my belief that the body knows before the mind does - I had no idea at the time that this very [y]insight would later inform ALL of my teachings.

Whether you are looking to explore your personal practice, to deepen your knowledge of the energetic body, or to expand your teaching toolkit - Yin Yoga has the power to transform you ‪#‎onthematoffthemat‬.

Join me this February for the 2016 Yin YTT Intensive. ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT!

http://www.daniellemarch.com/training/

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Moon Cycles in January

I'm no authority on astrology and moon cycles but as a curator of inspiration, I see it as my duty [and consider it a privilege] to share with this tribe the lessons that reveal themselves along my own personal journey. It is also an opportunity for me to connect you to the people and things that I love and, turn to for inspiration.

Here is what I do know to be true in my own experience: New moons are a blank slate on which to declare our desires, while full moons are for taking inspired action and harvesting our crop. When we tune into the Moon’s phases we tune into the lunar aspects of our essence: female, passive, intuitive, and creative with full permission to feel our full range of emotions.

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Go With The Flow

On days when things just don't seem to be going your way... flow like water.

Water has this amazing ability to adjust its course based on the surroundings. It can easily flow around, over, under - and sometimes through, roadblocks.

Now, I'm not suggesting conforming at the first hint of resistance but rather loosening your grip and being open to changing your course. Trying something different. Another way.

You could also consider that the universe might actually be trying to tell you something on that day.

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Move On

Perfectionism and comparison can be debilitating. It's easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. "They" seem to have it all together don't they? Maybe they do - or maybe it just seems that way, from where you are standing.

Be inspired by them and shift your focus back to you. Place your attention on what you want for yourself and take one step towards that.

Start today. Move on... It won't be long now.

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Write Your Story

I know how intimidating a blank journal/planner page can seem although some of you may see it as exciting and freeing. There was a time when the absence of lines on a page made me freeze and my perfectionism would kick in.

So, here is the thing... It's day 2. Don't sweat it - just put some ink on the page [write your story/goals]. Remember that you can change the ending, and your mind, anytime.

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Meditation: Let it be easy...

A little over 5 years ago now, I started to be curious about meditation. At first [and for a long time] it was really hard to sit still, to silence the distractions [both physical and mental] and to let go of expectations. I would spend anywhere between 2 & 10 minutes before I eventually gave up trying to get quiet. For real - some days I would actually spend more time getting set up then I did actually meditating.

But then I realized, the way I felt when I was lighting the candle, pulling an oracle card, fluffing the cushions and wrapping myself in my favourite blanket was... exactly how I wanted to feel after meditation. I felt a sense of calm, ease, focus and devotion.

And...that's when meditation completely changed for me. Once I allowed the intention to meditate to be enough [candles and all], I was able to let go of the struggle. As time went on, I was able to build my meditation practice up to 20 minute sittings, daily. On some days, twice a day [truth].

One of main lessons that has revealed itself along my journey has been to release the struggle - to stay... and to keep coming back, no matter for how long.

I am very passionate about sharing the possibilities of meditation with you [and the world] - so I created something special to help you develop a meditation practice that works for you.

I recently launched my first meditation album, Still™ [my chest just expanded as I typed the words]!  This album was born from love [the wild, mad, insatiable kind]. It consists of 5 guided meditation tracks of varying lengths [60 minutes in total].  It's perfect for you if you feel a little lost when it comes to meditation, or struggle to find stillness and stay present.

I'd be honoured if you to have a LISTEN

It it my hope that this practice assists you in lifting any veil that may jade your perception.


With Deep Reverence,
Dani

 

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And then I realized I'd be just fine.

This year, I spent several months in reprise. I'd cut back teaching drop-in classes by half, I'd started working with fewer and fewer coaching clients, I neglected my own yoga practice and {i confess} subscribed Netflix. To be frank, I really wasn't sure just how long I'd been in the shadow and spent a large part of that time resisting {and dreading} having to get motivated again. The thought of going back to doing it all, felt heavy and overwhelming... It took every ounce of light I had left to ignite the spark that would get me back to my mat but when I eventually did, I realized I'd be just fine.

I think that as yoga teachers, we sometimes feel as though we are held to a different {and higher} standard. "Drink green smoothies, don't eat meat, don't strive, don't covet...etc." I am over-simplifying but let's agree that for the most part, we follow some {or most} of these standards, some {or most} of the time,  out of reverence and for NO OTHER REASON. We choose our causes. We always have.

So... while I was busy feeling shame for saying no {to things I usually say yes to} and indulging in a {new found} guilty pleasure, I had succumb to my own imagined expectations of what I should be doing instead. Isn't it true that our students don't care what we had for lunch or how much television we may watch in a given day? Isn't it true that they see us as real people, having a human experience? Isn't being real and vulnerable what attracts our tribe?

In that moment, I decided to let myself off the hook...Let go of my grip and surrender to expectations.

May your yoga practice remind you of why you started on this journey of inquiry and exploration. May the pause be a gentle and loving reminder that YOU get to choose your cause. And, that you always have. 

 

 

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I confess...

I confess - I like making lists and I LOVE crossing things off said lists...often as a result of getting shit done but lately because I am saying (a sacred) no. Whichever the case, I get a #rush <3

I use my #desiremap planner to set a daily intention, get clear on whats important to me, and commit to at least one thing I will do each day to feel the way I want to feel. It's deceptively simple and it works. Don't be fooled. #writethatshitdown #gamechanger

I recommend the daily version. It's a huge part of designing my day and sets the tonne for how I show up in my life.

On sale now. The limited edition looks divine. They ship in November BUT they will sell out before then. Order your copy today.

http://www.daniellelaporte.com?dlap=476

 

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The pause... in all of its' greatness.

I recently found myself slowing down and it wasn't until I had a heart-to-heart conversation with my mentor that I was able to see that this pause was actually... sacred. Just when my mood was turning to melancholy, the inspiration for my new meditation came to me. After 8 long weeks stillness, my body was finally rested, my mind focused and the universe clearly nudging me.

So, I answered...

I am so excited to introduce to you a free preview of my newest guided meditation.  I've collaborated with my go-to musical goddess to deliver a meditation track from the heart.  It's pure magic and I'd be honoured if you'd have a listen. If you like what you hear, I'd love for you to buy the full track or support my passion project on Indiegogo.

As many of you know, I recently returned from a week of reflection in the mountains where I embraced the new life design principle "savour", which will serve as the inspiration for my next album (targeted for release later this fall): Still - A Meditation Project.

I've got a big dream to help stillness go mainstream. Our society values doing, over being, and I am very passionate about changing that. I'd be grateful for your contribution and support.

Grace + Gratitude,

Dani

 

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