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MARANDA PLEASANT’S

MANTRA YOGA + HEALTH

TRUE BEAUTY. LABELS. DIVORCE. VEGAN RECIPES. CANCER. RECOVERY. YOGA MEN.


Bring it ‘om for the holidays Warrior II Wheel

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Namaste

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One Million! THANK YOU for helping JadeYoga plant 1,000,000 trees through our “Buy a Mat, Plant a Tree” program.

Let’s keep it going!

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Nature’s Best Yoga Mat Founder: JadeYoga Philosophy: Businesses can make a difference in the world Mat: Jade

Great grip. Earth friendly.


mantra

CONTENTS

14

SIDE ONE

38

SIDE ONE

26

SIDE ONE

10

SIDE ONE

31

SIDE two

“I wish I was full of tacos, instead of emotions.” —Rose Pepper

54

SIDE ONE

44

SIDE two

16

SIDE two

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SIDE two


CONTENTS SIDE ONE

SIDE TWO

10

Sianna Sherman

6

Lyndelle Palmer Clarke

14

Kia Miller

8

CHRISTEN PRESS

20

Coby Kozlowski

34

Goldie Graham

Going through divorce: Support tools for the transition, and the pain of transformation.

Messy relationships, masks, projections, couples counseling, and always choosing to see the best in one another.

Softening, surrendering, slowing down, and realizing not everyone is going to love you.

Yoga teachers unite: Stop the bullshit. Band together. Support each other.

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Sophie Jaffe

Discovering my husband was a sex addict: Recovery, healing, and growth.

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Jennifer Banks

From a meth addict to her yoga habit. One woman in Wyoming is transforming lives through drug court yoga.

Journaling: Giving a voice to emotions that yoga awakens in your body.

The standout forward: 2015 World Cup Champion, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, and star of the Chicago Red Stars.

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photographer Amy Goalen

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Anne-Marie Berte

31

MANTRA INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION

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winter essentials

44

chef Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram

Capturing strong yoga men.

Health tips for glowing skin, a radiant spirit, and a clear mind.

Editor’s picks for the new year.

Impacting a million people a day through social media, inspiring health through a raw, plant-based diet.

58 SIDE two

Words. Labels. To Make Us Shrink. Comments Meant to Diminish. To Make Us Small. To Make Us Feel Shame. To Disable Us. We ask these strong, inspiring women: What have you been called?

Labels MANTRAMAG.COM

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mantra yoga + health

mantra TEAM PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maranda Pleasant Twitter: @marandapleasant

EDITOR’S LETTER

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melody Tarver COPY EDITOR Dana Kimmelman

Love From Paris!

Not another cliché new year/new beginnings, Pollyanna editor’s letter. Many of us dealt with real pain and extreme loss this year. We’ve all faced heartbreaking issues, and my hope is to help transform our pain into healing and growth. I am in Paris, finishing up our art projects for the recent climate summit. We projected our statement of climate action on the Eiffel Tower, a message for world leaders. I am still in France for a while. I feel as if I lost the part of me that was most alive and creative these last few years. I’m committed to bringing that energy back. You can give so much that there is little left for yourself. Do you know the feeling? We did an important piece on emotional violence against women this issue. It’s offensive that no one seems to talk about how women are diminished with labels. Our Strong Women series addresses the names that so many of us have been called, and we are taking the power away from those words. Notes for 2016 1. Don’t Behave We are strong with wild, creative, pulsing hearts. Don’t fall in line. Don’t behave. Live your most full, colorful, vibrant life this year. Shatter your confinement and any walls you have built around yourself. Don’t do vanilla. Break boundaries. Let’s focus on what we want our lives to look like, not just our bodies. 2. Leave Relationships That Are Not Supportive Notice how you feel in your relationships. Conscious women tend to get into some really messed up relationships. I see patterns where women are paying for everything, overgiving and feel unsupported, affecting their feeling of self worth. Cut that shit out. You deserve more and you know it. This year, no barnacles or vampires sucking our energy or resources. 3. Love Deeply. Do Yoga. Take No Crap Let’s drink our green juice. Do our yoga. Meditate so we don’t hurt people. Clear out the chemicals and toxic products from our lives. Consume less crap. Eat organic. Open your heart, but don’t take any shit. Tough love is still love; it establishes boundaries that support us. Teach people how to treat you. No more making yourself small to keep the peace or fit in! 4. Let’s Get Weird We finally did it! Mark your calendars for May 20–22, our first Mantra weekend gathering ever—in the beautiful Berkshires, at Kripalu. We’ll laugh, heal, burn things, dance, and celebrate our big asses and beautiful lives with top teachers and musicians.

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY side ONE Top Middle: HK Visuals Top Right: Catherine Just Middle: Sofía van der Dys Middle Right: Tashi Palmer Bottom Left: Amy Goalen side TWO Top Left: Bethany O Photography Middle Left: Catherine Just Middle: Ali Kaukas

Contact uS Head Ninja editor@mantramag.com Advertising ads@mantramag.com Subscriptions mantramag.com SUBMISSIONS mantramag.com/article-submission Ad Rates + Specs mantramag.com/advertise Rates begin at $3,400/Full page 713.922.8584 Join Our Team team@mantramag.com Twitter: @mantrayogamag

5. Pretty Gets Boring We need pioneers. Trailblazers. Risk takers. Badass makers. We need some real change, and we’re going to have to take our yoga off the mat to get it done. Lead with your heart, your brilliance, and your interesting, creative mind. Take back the joy of your body. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore. Media and men telling us what beauty is. We get to tell our story. We define our own sexiness and worth. Stop feeling bad about your body. Your life is too precious to put on hold. 6. Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Lonely and Make Bad Mistakes Nurture yourself, and don’t fall back into some unhealthy treadmill relationship for Valentine’s Day. Stay strong. Make space. Heal your crazy, and find a love that feels like a full meal, instead of crumbs.

ORIGIN MAGAZINE editor@originmagazine.com Twitter: @originmagazine thrive magazine editor@mythrivemag.com Twitter: @readthrive

Maranda Pleasant Mantra Yoga + Health • ORIGIN Magazine • THRIVE Magazine • REAL Magazine Founder / Editor-in-Chief photo: LECHON KIRB

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T H E

FInding Balance with Family and Work, L e a r nin g t o S lo w D o w n ,

MANTRA SERIES

and

Not Taking Life For Granted Robin Martin Instagram: @robinmartinyoga

Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles, and how did you deal?

A:

I’ve had my fair share of challenges. One of my biggest struggles has been finding balance between family life and working; pursuing dreams that take me to faraway places, yet staying grounded for my girls at the same time. Dealing with it on a continual basis. Always working to put family first, and grateful for technology that allows communication even in those far-off places.

Q: One truth you know for sure? A: Life is short—too short. Don’t take the

ability to breathe for granted.

Q: Best lesson you’ve learned or advice received?

A:

Life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Slow down. Don’t rush. Take your time to enjoy the process, and don’t focus on the finish line. And, for the procrastinator in me, the best advice is get on with it. If you’ve got time to think about it, you’ve got time to do it.

A certified Yoga Medicine teacher and SUP yoga teacher through Paddle Board Bliss, Robin loves to share her passion for yoga both on land and at sea.

robinmartinyoga.com

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PHOTOS: Tate Englund


MANTRA MASTER TEACHER SERIES

Sianna Sherman Going Through Divorce

Support Tools for the Transition, and the Pain of Transformation is Real.

Q: What has been one of your greatest struggles? A: My greatest struggle is happening right now as I go through divorce with a man I truly love. My heart is in the trenches, and I’m dissolving like a caterpillar in its chrysalis. It’s messy. I feel like I’m being digested. I’m encountering a spinning wheel of emotions with many nights; as Mirabai says, in the “heat of midnight tears.” This is a time of utter surrender and humility. I’m recognizing parts of me that are living in exile and how I’ve made choices from my woundedness. I’m attempting to be accountable for my mistakes and to grow my soul in this dark night. I’m in a sacred rearrangement from within. These are the tools I’m using right now: • Prayer and invoking my guides and guardians, especially the angels. • Mantra. My two life supports right now are the Sri Durga Ashtotram, (108 names of the goddess Durga) and the Lunar Mantras by Govind Das and Radha. • Shadow Work. This is essential for me, and I can’t imagine going through this process without skillful Shadow Work as I navigate this dark terrain and become increasingly intimate with my emotions. I’m tracking my shadow more than ever before. I’m especially dealing with shame, blame, regret, and a fierce inner critic. I wish to see the hidden places in my psyche and all the ways I’ve cast out parts of my own self. I want to wake up my innermost vision and learn how to see in the dark. • Being in nature, especially the ocean, and grieving with the Great Mother. • Journaling and dancing to give voice and expression to the raging storm of feelings. siannasherman.com

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• Lots of sleep, acupuncture, nourishing foods, and being quiet and very still. • Underworld priestess journeys with two main myths: (1) Persephone’s abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, and her loss of innocence as she transforms into a true sovereign queen of her inner domain and (2) Inanna’s descent into the underworld to meet her sister, Ereshkigal, queen of death, who hangs the queen of heaven on a meat hook as a rotting corpse until her transmutation emerges from within. Both myths are helping me to descend more willingly in my psyche and see the truth versus any facade that my ego might attach itself to. • And, perhaps most of all, holding kindness for myself and for my husband as we move through this gateway of tremendous change and trusting in the Great Mystery. Q: One truth you know for sure? A: The only truth I know at this time is this: when it’s all stripped away, and we are in the nakedness of death, what really matters most is love and that we give our very best effort to open our hearts into life. Q: Best lesson learned or advice received? A: At the moment, this is my refuge teaching and I’m hanging in there for the pearl of wisdom to shine within me. The pain of transformation is real, physically and psychically, but only the intensity of the fire can unite the body and soul. This is a soul-making process. “The body is the grit that produces the pearl,” as one of my greatest heroines, Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst and mythopoetic author, puts it. Sianna Sherman is an internationally renowned yoga teacher, visionary spirit, and founder of Rasa Yoga, Mythic Yoga Flow, and the Goddess Yoga Project. PHOTO: KiraGrace + Claire Sheprow


transformation

is real, physically and psychically, but only the

intensity

of the fire can

unite

the body and soul.

transformation

The pain of

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T H E

Yogi, Dancer, and Adventurer

MANTRA SERIES

Angela Jean Weber, Santa Monica, California

Defining True Beauty, R e f l e c t i n g o n N e w B e g i n n i n g s, a n d

Writing a New Story for

Our Lives in the coming Year

Q. What is true beauty to you?

Q. What does a new year represent to you?

A. This question brought up a lot for me. When you love yourself, all of yourself, even the parts that aren’t seemingly beautiful or pleasant, your true beauty shines through in the confidence, self-love, and acceptance that you radiate to others. True beauty isn’t about being perfect or flawless; it’s about embracing our darkness and our light, knowing that without one, the other can’t shine as bright.

A. A new year is a beautiful opportunity to reflect quietly on all the moments that brought us to where we are now. To look at all the pieces of our lives and observe how they have come together to create our personal story. Every story has its twists and turns, its ups and downs that give it color and make it interesting and unique. When it comes to our life’s story, the pen is always in our hands. If choices made leading up to this new year steered the story off track in any way, we can always steer it right back on. By taking the time to reflect, observe, and put the pieces together, we can make wise choices in how we decide to move forward with our story.

True beauty comes in the form of unbridled, unbounded, unconditional love. The kind of love that can heal anything. The kind of love that doesn’t ask for anything in return and that can never run dry. There’s no need for greed, no need to protect it, because there’s an unlimited supply. When we live from this space of unconditional, boundless love, regardless of whether we’ll get it in return and in spite of what happened to us in the past, no matter how hard or traumatic, we are practicing our own, human superpowers. This infinite source of love exists at the core of each and every one of us, and when we tap into it, miracles happen. angelajeanyoga.com

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Angela Jean Weber is a yogi, dancer, and adventure enthusiast teaching yoga and living the beach life with her husband and son in Santa Monica, California.


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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER FEATURE

Interview with Our Kundalini teacher,

Kia Miller Messy Relationships, Masks, Projections, Couples Counseling, and Always Choosing to See the Best in One Another.

kiamiller.com

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When challenge turns into struggle, it is usually WHEN I am ‘not getting’ the lesson that is being presented.

Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles, and how did you deal? A: Life has posed a series of challenges and struggles that have been extraordinary opportunities for growth, although they have not always appeared that way! When challenge turns into struggle, it is usually when I am ‘not getting’ the lesson that is being presented. I think of a couple of relationships that I had in my late twenties. They were replete with illusion, projection, and underlying that a crippling codependency. My teacher, Guru Singh, has a wonderful analogy, of showing up to a date with a series of masks. We put up one mask and “try it on” for a moment (“Do you like this?”), and then another (“How about this?”); If it gets the results that we want, we keep going, and maybe it becomes one of the prominent masks we wear through the honeymoon period, until it gets all too exhausting, and we let it slip. Oh, horror! Now they can see who I really am, but all the while I am trying to be what I think they want me to be. Couple this with equal projection from their side, and pretty soon you are in a complete mess, feeling terribly let down. But of course . . . when we are not seeing the lesson being presented, we think that it is just that they are not the right person. There is nothing about this relationship that

is authentic. How could one possibly judge whether it is working out or not until we see through our game and the great illusion it produces? Q: One truth you know for sure? A: I have to delve into the yogic teachings for this answer! In Kundalini yoga there is a great mantra that underlies my belief when it comes to what is actually “truth”: Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru; There is only one truth, one creator thread through all creation and inseparable from it. Knowing this is indescribable bliss. How do any of us know this? Guru Nanak, who first spoke that mantra, experienced the “truth”; which was beyond the drama of the mind, the pull of the senses, our appetites and material possessions. This is the level of truth I am seeking in my life, as everything else seems to pale in comparison. So what is one truth I know for sure? I am not this body, I am not this mind, I am not all my preferences, attachments, and aversions; I am the indwelling “soul”. Relating to this one “truth” on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment level is my highest assignment in this life. Q: Best lesson you’ve learned or advice received? A: The best lessons I have learned from others

have been practical ones. My husband and I see a very special couples counselor. He has shared some real nuggets with us over the years. One of my favorites is the idea of “continuously consciously choosing” to see the best in your partner, no matter what the circumstances. This concept can be seen in all of life. Are we seeing the crack in the pavement or the flower growing through it? Are we focusing on all the little things our partner does that we do not prefer, or are we able to relate to the essence of them that we love and appreciate? We can program ourselves on a daily basis to be either “in love” or “in irritation” with our partner and all those we are close to. The more we enhance the aspects of their being that we love, the happier we are, and the more we contribute to a positive co-relating. This does not mean avoiding the tough conversations when they come up, but do we really need to focus on the way they squeeze the toothpaste, or load the dishwasher, or leave a wet towel on the floor? Sometimes, all it takes to create more peace in life is a small shift in perception or a simple tool we can apply to all areas of our life that helps to bring more awareness to our actions and speech.

One of the most well-known Kundalini teachers in the West, Kia Miller leads workshops, retreats and teacher trainings throughout the world.

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T H E MANTRA SERIES

Dancer

Marlo Fisken Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles, and how did you deal?

A:

Not clinging to stuff. All my life I have had tons of clothes, extras of everything . . . stuff, stuff, stuff. Once I began my adult life, I knew I wanted less. I would read books on decluttering, but I couldn’t actually minimize. I was too attached to my excess. Then I started traveling the world to teach ten-plus months a year. I realized how little I actually need and what a burden excess is. It steals your energy, literally, as you laboriously haul it up and down stairs. Now, every time I come home, I have a field day disposing of things that no longer bring me joy.

Q: One truth you know for sure? A: I believe there is immense freedom and

knowledge (sometimes trapped) inside each of our bodies—we just have to move in the right way to release it. Like a key and a tricky lock, sometimes it takes some wiggling or even another set of hands to get parts of the body to open or align. When it clicks, voilà!, you are greeted with new possibilities, new freedoms, and new perspectives. This, to me, is one of the greatest joys of movement exploration.

Q: What inspires you and makes you come alive? A: Music, in particular new music. I can go from completely uninspired to unstoppable after hearing a few bars of something that stirs my soul. Having been a dancer all my life, my movement is guided by rhythm and sound. I have a particular affinity for breathy, deep, enigmatic electronica, hauntingly beautiful contemporary classical, worldly and Afro-inspired dance music, and hip-hop/trap sans negativity.

Marlo Fisken teaches the the the art of flow movement all over the world. She is known for her detailed eye and kickin’ playlists.

flowmovement.net

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PHOTOs: HK Visuals


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MANTRA TEACHER Interview

The

Seane Corn Series

PHOTOgraphy: Gerald Slota

Real Yoga,

True Friendship, and What Yoga has Taught Her the Most. Q: How do we yoga correctly? A: Get it out of your head that your legs need to be straight or that it should look a certain way. If you’re breathing, and you’re not compromising your body, then you’re doing yoga brilliantly, beautifully. Q: Tell us about true friendship. A: Throughout our lifetime, if we are blessed, there will be beings that cross our path, reach out a hand, and stroke tenderly, fiercely, our soul. Their embrace, their guidance, will awaken in us a deep sense of connection, a safe haven of belonging, that will ease our aching, uplift our spirit, and bring us to know the wondrous and eternal peace of true intimacy. Their grace has taught us well and stirred our awakening so as to honor all as one in love’s light. Q: What has yoga taught you? A: Twenty-four years of practicing yoga have taught me that God is truth and love and exists in every moment, both dark and light. This essence is in each experience

seanecorn.com

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and in all beings equally. Yoga has taught me that you are in a conscious body to learn what love is—not romantic love, although that may be part of your learning, but God-love, which is inclusive and infinite. Yoga teaches you that everything that happens to you in this life happens perfectly and synergistically in order for the soul to transform and understand this level of God-love. Everyone has karma to burn, lessons to learn, and each one of you will walk some challenging and funky paths at times, but these moments will also be the divine catalysts, providing great insight, healing, and wisdom.

PHOTO: Gerald Slota


LIFE

CHANGER

To heal the world, we must first heal ourselves. – Seane Corn

Seane Corn, Celebrated yoga teacher, activist, & co-founder of Off the Mat into the World

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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER SERIES

Our L ove

Softening, Surrendering, Slowing Down, and Realizing

Coby Kozlowski

Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles, and how did you deal? A: Let go, soften, and surrender. I had become an expert at doing and taking action. I wasn’t valuing moving slowly, observing, taking in the magic of a warm breeze, or just walking consciously and feeling my feet on the earth. At one point, I went through a period of great loss, where my world seemed to crumble, and I woke up, with the support of my dearest friends, to the fact that I simply needed to let go, to rest, and to not do. Rather than my normal, vigorous practice, my practice became about softening, slowing down, and relaxing. I made a commitment to a “softening sadhana,” where I would take baths, do the most gentle yoga, go for slow walks, learn how to grow a garden, start painting again, and, maybe most importantly, remember to ask for help. I dedicated a year to this practice to bring myself back into balance and remembered that when I slow down, I am allowing myself to taste the sweetness and to savor all that life has to offer. It was critical for me to learn to soften and how every exhale was teaching me about death and the ultimate letting go. This practice of softening, letting go, and surrender reminded me to trust the current, allow myself to be held, and admit that I can’t and don’t want to do it all. cobyk.com

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Not Everyone is Going to Love You

Softening reminded me to take time out to simply enjoy—nothing to learn, nothing to share. Yes, we can do better as a species, and we have many problems that need to be addressed, yet it was and is vital for me to remember that we don’t have to take on the whole world and its problems all the time. For many years, I didn’t have TV or watch TV. And [as] another part of the softening sadhana, I was “challenged” to buy a TV—give myself a break from thinking about evolution, potential, possibility, philosophy—and to do less work and learn to watch The Office, I realized that everything doesn’t have to be your calling or purpose, and taking time to be simply entertained is just as valuable as fully engaging with the potential of the planet! Thank you, Michael Scott, you are my teacher. Q: One truth you know for sure? A: The one thing that is in our own hands always is our own integrity and accountability. Unfortunately, not everybody is going to love me, not everybody is going to like me, and there is nothing I can do about that, but I can take responsibility for the ways in which I am out of alignment. Accountability and integrity comes down to the practice of “tolerating the consequences of being ourselves.” Yes, you get to be you. Yes,

you are a free being. Yes, you get to have preferences. Yes, you get to push back and have boundaries. And, yes, you need to be accountable for how you being you has an impact on the world. When you are deeply called in this lifetime and want to contribute in a way that is life affirming, it is vital to step into the dynamic relationship between authenticity and accountability. It’s a beautiful dance in which you celebrate being you and take responsibility for what you put out, and be willing to clean up any messes along the way. And, one other truth: my mom totally loves me.

You need to be accountable for how you being you has an impact on the world.

Q: Best lesson you’ve learned or advice received? A: Live in wonder.

Coby Kozlowski, MA, is a speaker, expert in transformative leadership, Kripalu faculty member, and founder of Karma Yoga Leadership Intensive and Quarter-Life Calling: Creating an Extraordinary Life in Your 20s.

PHOTO: monika broz


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Unfortunately, not everybody is going to love me, and there is nothing I can do about that, but I can take responsibility for the ways in which I am out of alignment.

�

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O ur Y o ga H er o ine

T H E

Heidi Williams

MANTRA SERIES

Instagram: @heidiwilliams89

Survivor of

PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and Rape. Now an Advocate and Coach for Healing, Spreading Love and Awareness Through Yoga.

Q: Your greatest struggle? A: My greatest struggle? When my baby was 6 months old, he died. His body somehow just stopped working. I watched in terror as he slowly took his last breath, turned grey, and fell limp in my husband’s arms. Something happens to you when you accept the horrifying truth that someone you love more than life itself, is gone. And I felt it. It was the feeling of that heart I had grown specifically for him, dying. By miraculous divine intervention and CPR, he was brought back to life. But my heart wasn’t brought back. That traumatic event changed me forever and it was the beginning of severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder episodes, massive depression, suicide attempts, and constant anxiety. It was in this place of mental illness hell that I found yoga and grace. Yoga brought me to a safe place again. A place of peace and self-acceptance. Grace carried me through and gave me strength to be able to identify and remove the massive emotional blocks that had derailed my life two years earlier. I was able to heal from my mental illnesses and have now dedicated my life and career to helping others through the self-healing process. I plan to do my yoga teacher training next spring and create therapeutic yoga classes and retreats specifically designed for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. hdwilliams.co

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Q: One truth you know for sure? A: There is no amount of self-discipline, hard work, or even sheer brute force that can heal a sick mind. Only grace, self-forgiveness, and unconditional love can do that. Q: Best lesson you’ve learned? A: There is an inherent goodness inside every single human being. Buddhists call it bodhichitta. Christians call it the light of Christ. Atheists call it their conscience. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Everybody has it. It’s that melting feeling you get when your ego gives way and your heart softens. It’s that second you drop your judgement and you see the pure beauty someone else’s soul. It’s what makes your eyes sting when you read about terrorist attacks happening. It’s what makes you want to spread your arms wide enough to fit the entire human race. And just hold them. Because you can feel. There are no bad people. Only bad choices. We all have this beautiful life energy inside us. You can cover it, dam it up, build walls around it to seal it in as best you can. But it will always be there. Love will always be there.


The Day the World Stopped: {

My Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and the Healing Powers of Costa Rica Stacy Seebart

t

The town of Nosara, Costa Rica has since become a second home to me, and I spend time annually on its beaches and within its jungles. I’ve dedicated myself to the people and culture of Nosara for the past ten years, training in various yogic modalities of healing and self-inquiry. Little did I know that this work and this environment would become so instrumental to me when going face-to-face with my biggest challenge in life yet: My own health.

flat tone to her voice. She left her cell phone number, and she said to call her back at any time of the day. Panic. I knew something was wrong, but I never ever in my wildest dreams thought of what I was about to hear her say. I called her cell phone back and she answered right away. Within moments she had said the tests of the biopsy came back as cervical cancer. I was immediately having an out-of-body experience. No, she did not just say that to me. There was a mistake.

The environment of Nosara is heavenly. The life force, prana, of its beaches and jungles have had a palpable effect on my practice and in turn my well-being. The language of energy is omnipresent and most tangible each time I step off the mat following a long, sweaty practice. Everything feels plugged into a very high vibration. The power of the ocean puts the journey of life into perspective for me. Ride the wave.

Writing down what she was telling me, adenocarcinoma, glandular, only 25% of cervical cancers are this form, cone biopsy, hysterectomy, treatments, chemotherapy, radiation, trials…. I was writing down her notes as if I was taking someone’s food order. This isn’t about me. This isn’t real. This isn’t happening. In shock I stumbled through some questions, took some deep breaths, and I think I even tried to make a joke to make her feel better as I could tell she had that tone in her voice that she felt very, very sorry for me. That actually made me feel worse, like I had an immediate death sentence. Holy shit, I have cancer.

In 2014, I received news that would require me to tap into the wellspring of healing potential revealed to me by the teachings of yoga and the Nicoya Peninsula. On April 14, 2014, I received a voicemail from my doctor. I saw it sitting there on my phone screen earlier in the day and ignored it. Around 4pm, I listened. She had such a

stacyseebart.com

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The wave of the next five months of my world was very high and low. My practice of yoga came into play when I was in need of healing, clarity, perspective, and self-discovery. The resonance within the jungle of Costa Rica

gave me support, a feeling that there were powers greater than my own in action, and that I always had a choice to connect to them. I could choose to open up to a new level of existence or to shut down. Every day I was faced with thousands of choices, which doctor, which treatment, which tests, which surgeries to do or not do. I would sit, breathe, stretch and meditate and then answer one by one trusting that I was on the right path. I am proud to say that I am now one year cancerfree. I went through a fast and furious fight in 2014. My determination to seek within myself, to find the best medical care around and literally change my chemical makeup on a cellular level from the inside out, could not have been possible had my body, mind, and soul not received the tools of self-inquiry and healing through yoga and the innate wisdom of the Costa Rica environment. I knew I was in the right hands when I was speaking with my surgeon about what I needed to do before my last surgery. His answer? “Do more yoga.” Thank you Dr. Sean Dowdy. Thank you Yoga. Thank you Costa Rica.

Stacy Seebart is a yoga educator for Blooma in Minnesota as well as the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort in Nosara, Costa Rica.


mantra

Elizabeth Gilbert

BIG FREAKIN‛

Magic

{ Elizabeth Gilbert } Writing to Solve the Mysteries of Her Own Life, the Handiest Tool in Her Arsenal, and How the Most Interesting Game in Town Is Being Alive.

Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: I adore your approach to life. Elizabeth Gilbert: Oh, well, thank you! RP: There’s a certain sensitivity to life and the human condition that shows up in your writing. Can you explain how that sensitivity towards life has influenced your life? EG: Oh gosh, first of all, thank you, and I’m happy to hear that you enjoy it. I don’t know. I’m just excited to be here. I think it’s the most interesting game in town, being alive. It’s not necessarily easy and it’s not necessarily always fun and it’s not certainly always fair, but it’s damned interesting. I think that’s probably what informs my work and my life. It’s just following that thread of interest, that thread of constant curiosity. When you follow that, then you become knowledgeable. I think there are some periods in my life where I passed the stage, lost the trail of that information, and I think it’s your obligation to keep that high, keep that trail blazed as much as you can. RP: Throughout your life, you’ve collected a vast amount of different experiences, from your travels to your different jobs, to the people you’ve written about. Why a novel at this point? EG: Well, it’s a homecoming for me. I guess every writer reaches a point where they do books, where they write works of fiction, and elizabethgilbert.com

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my whole youth—all I wanted to do when I grew up was to write fiction. I was on a path for that, and then I really sharply veered away from that around the age of 30 because I had to use my writing for another purpose. Up until that point, I did my writing in a power ranger to invent the world that I wanted to discover or discover the world that I wanted for this. I needed to use the handiest tool that I had in my arsenal, which was my writing, to help me solve major questions in my own life. I didn’t think when I was in my 30s that I’d be writing for that purpose, and obviously, I don’t regret having done it. It was great to have, both personally and actually, that [it] turned out well. What happened is that I woke up and 12 years had passed, and I hadn’t written any fiction, and I had lost some really essential part of myself in the process because it’s really who I am. I needed to go back to it and to go back to it in as big of a way as I possibly could, like the bigger girl went home. I was like, “I’m not just going to write a novel, I’m going to write a giant novel.” It was such a pleasure to let myself tumble/free-fall back into that routine again. It was really wonderful.

EG: Just the way it transforms everyone. The thing about suffering is that it can be a tremendous transformation of bitterness, but only if you make it that. Suffering does not automatically bring transcendence. It does not automatically deepen your compassion. That’s your admission to it, if that makes sense. I had a friend that died that I wrote about in this book, and she has a friend who lost his leg in a car accident, and then years later had another car accident, unbelievably, and became paraplegic, and he had been through more suffering than almost anybody I had ever known and was really stubborn and missed what life was about, using it, using it to build something out it. He gave me this line where he said, “You don’t make your suffering into your catharsis. It’s just wasted pain.” We’ve all known instances where people felt their pain and they don’t make anything out it, and then it’s just wasted. It’s just pain for no gain. For me, I’ve just tried really hard to formulate some sort of intimate response to it that will better me and even me out. I haven’t always been able to do that, but I’ve certainly tried really hard because I don’t want the pain in my life to be wasted. It doesn’t benefit anyone personally to use everything…. RP: That’s great. EG: Aw, thanks.

RP: Can you explain how suffering has transformed your life? PHOTO: Jennifer Schatten


I’m just excited to be here. I think it’s the most interesting game in town, being alive.

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T H E MANTRA SERIES

Calming a Racing Mind, Staying Present,

Never

Regretting a Yoga Class, and Learning

Not to Be Reactive. Melissa Lee

Instagram: @pocketdwarf Q: One of your biggest struggles so far? A: One of my biggest struggles is my ability to be present. My mind is constantly racing and always thinking about what needs to happen next. I have a very restless personality and struggle to enjoy the present moment. I have found that doing yoga daily has helped slow down my thoughts and allow me to feel more relaxed. It’s a work in progress though. Q: A truth you know for sure? A: I have never regretted going to that yoga class I didn’t really feel like going to. Q: Best advice that you’ve received? A: Wait twenty-four hours after getting mad and reacting to a situation. If it doesn’t bother you in twenty-four hours’ time, it probably isn’t important enough to get mad over.

Melissa Lee is a wife, mother of two, and yogi from Canada. When she isn’t practicing yoga, she can be found making custom sandals on the side.

TOP Photo: Eliisa Tennant Photography

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visit irest.us


T H E MANTRA SERIES

Yogi We Love:

Rita Jamijian, aka Yoga Rita Instagram Guru: @yoga.rita Q: What inspires you and makes you feel alive? A: This BREATH that keeps on coming. The first thing that we did when we were born was INHALE, the last thing we do before we leave our body is EXHALE, and what we do in between is what matters the most. Either we fill that gap with harmony, love, and compassion, or with hatred, jealousy, or any other low-frequency emotions.The choice is ours, each morning we are born again, either to make a living or live fully! Q: One of your greatest struggles? A: To learn how to LET GO, and surrender to G.O.D: the Generator, The Operator, The Destroyer. I learned that whatever we do by force, it will hit back, it is a law like any other law. Whether we believe in gravity or not, whether we are a saint or not a saint it will be working on us anyways! If we jump from the 10th floor, we will all have the same result and that is physical destruction. Like the law of gravity we have the law of letting

beirutyogarita.com

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go and surrendering and trusting that God, the universe, the big bang, whatever we want to call it, it is working to bring the best results for us in this lifetime experience. Like everyone else, I learned from my own experiences. Q: One truth you know for sure? A: The One is All, the All is One. We all come from one source, whatever that source is. If we judge others, we are judging ourselves, if we help others, we are helping ourselves. We are We, just change the M with W, from Me to We.

Yoga is a self-discipline practice. The majority of the work happens off the mat. This is how Rita describes Yoga. Rita began practicing Yoga and Meditation at the age of 16. Her mission is to inspire people through the practice, bring balance and joy into their daily life, and let them connect with their own personal wisdom and expansive potential that resides within.


The

WORLD'S COMFIEST HAREM YOGA PANTS bohemianisland.com @bohemian_island


T H E MANTRA SERIES

Overcoming Fear, Perfect Timing and It Is Never Too Late to Follow Your Passion Impacting More Than

Instagram Yogis Everyday

Laura Kasperzak [ I n s ta g r a m : @ l a u r a s y k o r a ]

Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles and how did you deal? A: One of my greatest struggles has been overcoming my fear of public speaking. I have a slight lisp that I have always been extremely self-conscious about. Becoming a yoga teacher was something I never thought I could do. Not because I didn’t think I was good enough or didn’t have knowledge to share, but because speaking in front of people scared me to death. What if they heard it? Would they make fun of me? Laugh at me? This was the main reason I stayed safely in the confines of a cubicle for years. Instagram was what brought me to life and prompted me to follow my dharma. In 2012, my niece asked me to follow her on the little square app that ended up changing my life. Initially I started using Instagram as a personal diary for my yoga practice. Astavakrasana was the first yoga picture I

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ever posted! From then on, I found other yogis on there and started to find such a supportive community that it made me start to think I could actually overcome my fear and become a certified teacher. With the amazing guidance of my teacher, Victoria Arvizu, I graduated YTT in August of 2013. I still struggle with fear of public speaking, but it no longer stops me from going out there and doing what I love: Teaching yoga! With every class I teach, with every kind comment from students and fellow Instagram yogis, the fear gets smaller and smaller. Q: One truth you know for sure? A: One thing I know for sure is that things happen for a reason and when they’re supposed to happen. Never before and never later. These events in your life happen to mold you, to shape you, to help you become a better you. We are all students for our entire life and we should never stop learning, growing, and

trying to become our best selves each and every day. Q: Best lesson you’ve learned or best advice you received? A: It is NEVER too late to follow your dreams and to become the person you want to be. It will be scary, frightening, exhilarating, eye opening, have its ups and downs, have you laughing, crying, and frustrated, but in the end, it will change you and you will never look back. Q: Favorite Breakfast? A: Currently, it is multigrain bread with avocado mixed with lemon and red pepper flakes and fresh fruit.

Wife, mother of two minis, international yoga teacher, ACROVINYASA certified teacher, founder of LauraSykora Yoga and co-founder of Two Fit Moms, and handstand addict.

Photos: David Tufino


“

We are all students for our entire life and that we should never stop learning, growing and trying to become our best selves each and every day.

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Goldie Graham

There are always people who try to tear you down as you rise up.

Article:

Goldie Graham

Yoga Teachers Unite: Stop the Bullshit. Band together. Support Each Other.

t

here has always been, and unfortunately will always be, shit-talking among yoga teachers. The lack of support so many instructors have in their community from their own like-minded peers and teachers is awful. I started teaching yoga full time in Boston in 2009, and within a year I couldn’t believe the competition my supposed friends and colleagues displayed. If you’re not closely associated with the yoga community, you probably think being a yoga teacher has the least amount of drama associated within the walls of the “work space.” You probably think we all Om in unison, speak in low tones, and drink chai tea together. Wrong. I’ll never forget my mom’s advice while I unloaded what I witnessed going on behind the scenes. Mom said, that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what career path you’ve chosen, there are always people who try to tear you down as you rise up. It didn’t matter that you’re not in grade school anymore, there will always be bullies. From that moment on, I became hyper-aware of the conversations I contributed to and the people I wanted to associate with.

you like it. Don’t be typical. We as teachers are all doing our best to create, educate, and give back to every class we stand in front of. The vulnerability it takes to put our teachings, our physical selves, our thoughts and words on display as a contribution to others’ lives is magical.

With all of the devastating violence in the world and most recently in Europe, we all now more than ever need to unite. It’s so easy to get caught up in contributing to the gossip. It’s so typical to leave a class and rip apart the teacher’s sequence because it wasn’t taught the way

Goldie Graham, based in San Diego, is a traveling yoga instructor who leads workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats globally. Goldie is known for her ability and creativity to combine playfulness with precision and alignment.

GOLDIEYOGA.COM

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If you’re a yoga teacher reading this and wonder what you can do, remember that actions speak louder than words. Let’s band together as yoga instructors and instead of thinking our way is the only way, let’s take each other’s classes more. Didn’t love your experience in a teacher’s class last year? Just like the asana, teachers are constantly evolving. Go try it again! Notice yourself getting involved in mudslinging? Disassociate yourself from that situation or, better yet, take a stand, be different, and drop positive affirmations all over their trash talk. Let’s remind ourselves that we are all doing the best we can, and if there was ever a place for drama and bad-mouthing to be absent, it’s from inside the walls of what is supposed to be a sacred practice place, our yoga studios.

PHOTO: Nick Isabella


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Yoga Teacher feature

Healing From an Eating Disorder, D e p r e s s i o n , A n x i e t y , a n d Y o ga a s a Part of Recovery Leslie Ann Ellingburg RYT-200. Yoga by Leslie

K n o x v i ll e , T e n n e s s e e

I am a dancer and a registered yoga teacher based out of East Tennessee. I have been dancing since I was a little girl and took up yoga when I was 16 when I went on hiatus from ballet. In college I pursued dance, exercise science, and dived deeper into my yoga practice. Towards the end of my college career, I went into recovery for an eating disorder and to seek help with my depression and anxiety. Yoga was a major part of my recovery, which fueled my desire to teach and reach out to others. My goal is to one day become a yoga therapist and work with those in recovery. Let us find inner peace through the play and practice of yoga.

PHOTO: Katie Norrell (Silver Highway)

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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER SERIES

Ana Forrest

Interview:

Fondly known as the first lady of modern yoga,

40 years

Ana Forrest celebrates of teaching AND evolving Forrest Yoga. We caught up with her at the helm of this global yoga movement.

Q: Ana, this year marks 40 years of you teaching yoga and evolving Forrest Yoga. What are your most memorable yoga moments? A: One of the exciting moments was starting to teach people the things that were breakthroughs for me. For example, designing my own ethics, which include becoming vegan, no longer adding to or ingesting animal suffering, becoming accountable to my own Spirit, and then teaching that. Another one is using Forrest Yoga Ceremonies to do the impossible on a regular basis. That’s so fucking fun! Creating changes that were believed unchangeable in myself and others, like healing my own epilepsy, which I was told was incurable, was incredible. Hunting and tracking love was a huge evolution for me. So is being brave enough to open up and teach from love. My yoga demos are deeply significant. They are the dance of my Spirit. They are my call to inspiration and hope, because if this suicidal, alcoholic cripple can come so far,

forrestyogA.COM

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anything is possible. The yoga demos are literally demonstrating how I connect to Spirit. Q: There has been a Forrest Yoga explosion over the past few years. Why is that? A: I think our people are hungry for something that is real, raw, primal, and authentic. Forrest Yoga taps them into where they are real and raw and primal and authentic. That is so exhilarating! Q: You often mention that your Spirit Pledge is to mend and heal the Hoop of the People. Tell us a little about that. A: The Lakota Medicine Man Black Elk lived through the shattering of the spine of his people. Describing the desperate spiritual bereftness he saw around him, he said, “The Rainbow Hoop of the People has been broken.” The Rainbow Hoop refers to people living harmoniously just as the colors of the rainbow lie side by side. The people he speaks of include the other inhabitants of the earth, including the animals. I created Forrest Yoga to do my part in mending the hoop of the people. This is my life’s calling, my Spirit Pledge.

Q: What would you like readers to understand about you, your life journey, and about Forrest Yoga? A: Life has taught me that I can make a difference by teaching the people how to heal and quest for their own spirit. We are giving our people tools and skills to transmute craziness and anguish in their life. By walking this Good Medicine road we learn to respect ourselves and others. We are gleaning wisdom from our experiences and that brings healing and a broader experience of the truth. As we heal, we build our life force and we get more generous of heart. I encourage you, dear reader, to care enough to nourish your own spirit. Then quest for your part in making a difference in our world. Join us!

Ana’s tour dates for 2016 have just been released: Visit forrestyoga.com/events

PHOTO: Sofia Van der Dys


“ Because if this suicidal, alcoholic cripple can come so far, anything is possible. MANTRAMAG.COM

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MANTRA TEACHER FEATURE

Interview: Susanna Harwood Rubin

Digging Deeper

& Growing Community with

Sue Elkind

Susanna Harwood Rubin: So many yoga teachers feel torn between family, work, and their own personal practices. Whenever I’ve stayed with you, no matter how busy you are, you consistently make time to meditate and practice each day. How do you do it? Sue Elkind: Yoga is the promise you make to yourself. As hard as it is to be a householder and juggle life, you learn to prioritize. For me, meditation is non-negotiable. I always make the time because I know I am better for everyone when I refuel. Even when my two boys were young, I’d sit in their bed and meditate while they were falling asleep. SHR: What advice do you have for new teachers who are trying to figure out where their future resides? SE: Hone your craft! The best way to stand out is to be exceptional at what you do. This requires digging deeper and getting clear about who you are and what you love so you can offer your teaching and message in the most authentic way. I also think more yoga teachers need to study biomechanics and therapeutics. There are way too many students getting hurt throwing themselves into poses without alignment. Lastly, I always recommend that new teachers do not quit their day jobs! It doesn’t mean don’t teach a lot! It just means that trying to get experience and making a living at the same time can lead to burnout quickly. Yoga teaching can be a lifelong pursuit; building a strong foundation will help tremendously. SHR: What words of advice do you have for people wanting to establish a yoga studio or community? SE: I started my first yoga studio in 1995 in the garage of a small private fitness gym in Hollywood, California. We shared our space with boxers, and even a boxing ring! It was hilarious when I think about how I would go into the gym and ask someone to take down the punching bags so I could teach my yoga class. Amazingly, even with the bags and stink, people came. Two years later I outgrew the space and opened a truly spectacular studio. My advice for those wanting to build community is to start out in a manageable way. Don’t invest so deeply into your space and rent that you lose sleep every night wondering how to fill it. Be prepared to work hard. The first fourteen months are really about getting the wheels to turn. It may take two to three years to feel like you’ve shifted gears. During this time, focus on building your reputation. Word of mouth is your best form of advertising. Ask your loyal students to help you spread the love. SHR: I’ve known you for almost fourteen years now. The thing that has always struck me is how you manage to create strong, vibrant community wherever you go. How do you manage to create and sustain community? SE: Creating and sustaining community requires both intention and attention. For me, this arises from a deep irrepressible urge to infuse my environment with more SHRI—value, beauty, abundance, light, healing. Intention helps me navigate my outer direction from the inner compass of my truest heart. My husband, Naime Jezzeny, and I set the bar high for ourselves both at home and at our studio DIG YOGA. I think people can sense that level of commitment and appreciate our authenticity. We live what we teach. ‘Misalignments’ ›

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have a way of taking care of themselves, either by moving on or transforming into stepping stones for growth. Sustaining community requires paying attention and watering all your relationships. People want to feel appreciated, seen, respected, and heard. SHR: You are known as a teacher’s teacher, having trained approximately 1000 teachers in a very personal, hands-on way over the past fifteen years. Some of your students have established their own communities, while others are featured at prominent yoga festivals. What is it like to see so many of your students out there creating lives for themselves? SE: I’ve had the incredible privilege of working with so many bright lights over the years, some totally unaware of their potential and not planning to teach, others obviously talented right out of the gate. I definitely feel like “mama hen,” excited and proud when I watch teachers really come into their own. I’m not interested in laying claim to my students, and simply offer my best teachings authentically, with the goal to inspire and empower.

Sue Elkind is recognized internationally in the yoga community as a teacher’s teacher. Sue is an expert in prenatal and postnatal yoga and skilled in meditation. As an activist, Sue is dedicated to empowering women through yoga in all stages of life. Sue is co-owner of Dig Yoga and director of Dig Deeper Yoga Studies (DDYS) 200 and 500 hour Teacher Training programs.

“ For me, meditation is non-negotiable. I always make the time because I know I am better for everyone when I refuel.

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Article: Coral Brown

The Search for MEaning

Depression, Sexuality, Searching, and Taking on Personas

I

feel confident in who I am and I am aware of my strengths and my areas of growth. At age 43, I can finally and humbly say that I am confident. This is a fairly new revelation for me. I remember being a little girl and looking sideways into my own eyes in the bathroom mirror and wondering who I really was. I had this pervasive sense that I was missing something; that there was more to me than what I saw in the mirror. I searched for purpose and searched for meaning in nature, books, and my surroundings. I was fanatical about symbology and Greek mythology and not so interested in the Catholic church culture in which I was immersed. However, I had a culture that predated my time with the church. My father opened the first head shop in Alaska in 1969. It was around then that my mom walked into the Aquarian Age, as it was called, and met my dad. The two, along with a few other couples, purchased twenty acres of land abutting the Chugach National Forest, thirty miles south of Anchorage. Cabins and outhouses were built, gardens were planted, and the community of Bird Creek was born. This selfsustained, off-the-grid commune had no electricity, running water, or plumbing. What it did have was a lot of love, hope, and idealism. It was the ’70s after all!

My mom and I eventually left Alaska for her home state of Rhode Island, but I traveled back and forth to Alaska to visit my dad. Starting at age 7 I would fly to Alaska by myself and have grand adventures on the way! I realized that for the duration of the trip from RI to AK I could be whoever I wanted to be. It may sound fun and foolish, but that’s what kids do and, when we think about it, isn’t that what we do as adults? We take on the persona of that which we think we are, that which we think we should be, or we take on the characteristics that other people have assigned to us. None of these representations offer a clear reflection of who we actually are. As a mental health professional who has studied developmental psychology and how it intertwines with the chakras, I know that at ages 5–7 we are developing and investigating our identity. We are exploring the different facets of our psyche and persona through the hallways of our imagination. We create characters and plays and other realms of existence. All the world’s a stage in the imagination of a child. What happens when these imaginary worlds collide with reality and a parent or caretaker harshly snaps us back into the present is when the relationship to creativity is sabotaged. Shame and fear replace the belief that you can be anything you want, anything that you imagine.

Fast forward a few years. My mother, sister and step-father are living in tents on our wooded land in Rhode Island. There’s a house, it just isn’t built yet. Every morning I get up and put on my Catholic school uniform and run down our half-mile driveway to catch the bus. Once on board, I become who I think I am supposed to be, I want to fit in, I want the other kids to like me and they like people that are like them so I do my best to be what I am not. Eventually the other kids figure out there is no house and that I am a weirdo living in a tent. But I deal with it, I get through it, I am resilient. I am also depressed. The feelings of darkness, hopelessness, and fear are very familiar to me and always have been. Depression wrapped me up and tucked me in to the point where I did not just want to be in bed or under the bed, I wanted to be between the mattresses. It took me a long time to figure out how to live with depression and still feel alive. High school didn’t do me any favors, as it was the same story as middle school. However, even though I stuck out like a little hippie in my class of thirty middle- to upper-class peers, I found two gems who would direct me on my path. The first was my amazingly accepting and wise AP English teacher. The second was a girl. Yup, a girl. ›

PHOTO: Bethany O photography

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that you have “toI learned take risks to reap the benefits of being true to yourself, that you will disappoint other people and possibly suffer some significant but temporary losses. It is all worth it.

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Coral Brown

The Search for MEaning

My depression is not “entirely gone, but it has

definitely dwindled to a manageable state.

College. Finally, I am in a big enough sea that I find some similar fish. I skip the dorms and move into an apartment with my girlfriend. I feel like I have “settled down”; I even get a dog. In school I decide to be a music major. Not because I have any musical talent but because I want to have it. The first day that I had to do a vocal solo, I changed majors. Theater came next—not the most practical degree, but I had loved it in high school. Since I am awful at math I take a logic class to satisfy my math requirement. This class spun my compass right around. I loved it so much that I started filling my course load with philosophy classes. Before I knew it, I had accumulated enough credits for a minor. I had also stumbled into eastern philosophy and in doing so stumbled into myself. Hinduism in particular not only fascinated but healed me in so many ways. With philosophy as my new major, I felt filled with purpose and direction. Between college and graduate school, I continued to battle with depression that would cause me to lose jobs and relationships. I bartended at a high-paced gay dance club. I was fast and in my fury was not polite, but people loved me because I wasn’t faking it. It was the first time I felt like I belonged. But here’s the game changer: My mom told me that since I loved Eastern philosophy so much I should try yoga. I quip, “Mom, yoga is a fad, Madonna’s doing it.” It was the ’90s after all! Mom’s response: “It is a 5,000-year-

old fad and you should try it.” Ok, so my mom was right. Yoga dragged me in deep, all the way to the center of myself, right down to the spark. It challenged me to question my beliefs; were they mine or were they gifted to me by my culture, my family of origin, or my peers? Yoga demanded that I make changes. Yoga taught me that if I wanted to live up to my fullest potential I had to embrace all aspects of myself, the shadow and the light. Yoga taught me not to shrink but to shine, to be truthful with myself, to respect and honor myself and the divine that lives within me. This didn’t happen overnight. There was a steep learning curve for sure! I recently received a Facebook message from an old friend. She reminded me of a conversation that we’d had at the bar where I bartended. I had told her that I was 28 and getting old, I didn’t want to be a bartender anymore, I want to start really practicing yoga. So, I quit the bar, went to Morocco and did an Iyengar training, came back to RI and did a 200-hour vinyasa training and then met my forever teacher, Shiva Rea. I received a master’s degree in holistic counseling and started a mental health wellness collaborative with my mom. The last fourteen years have been about serious self study, svadhyaya. I have made changes that I was petrified to make, all in the pursuit of living in alignment with my authentic self. I thought “coming

out” in high school was hard. Going back “in” was even harder. When I met the man that I eventually married, I realized that I wasn’t gay and that I had to take action. When I did this I lost most of my friends and my community. I learned that you have to take risks to reap the benefits of being true to yourself, that you will disappoint other people and possibly suffer some significant but temporary losses. It is all worth it. My depression is not entirely gone but it has definitely dwindled to a manageable state. The search for authenticity doesn’t come with a road map, not one that we can read anyway. Given time, space, and a shift in perspective, the twisting and turning path of our lives start to make sense. Each and every one of those times that I stumbled, crashed, and recovered I learned something that would serve as a valuable tool if not immediately, then eventually. The landmarks and rights of passage of personal, physical and spiritual development serve a very specific outcome: You. Me. We. Here’s to Yoga, love, hope, faith and the idea that we can change the world. Coral Brown is a licensed mental health counselor and draws on her extensive experience in yoga, philosophy, and holistic counseling to provide fertile, open space for the processes of healing and transformation. She is a senior teacher of Prana Vinyasa Flow and leads teacher trainings, retreats and workshops worldwide. PHOTO: Bethany O photography

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photographer feature

Brandon Smith

i

I have been a yogi for seventeen years, but only in the last two years have I beautifully been shown the true yoga of meditation. Deep, silent self-awareness can change you. It frees you. I love sharing this path with others through powerful imagery and words that point at truth.

brandonsmithphotography.com | Instagram: @brandonsmithphotography

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photographer feature

“Deep, silent self-awareness can change you."

Brandon Smith brandonsmithphotography.com | Instagram: @brandonsmithphotography

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Sophie Jaffe

Sophie Jaffe, certified raw food chef, yoga teacher, and the founder of Philosophie

Discovering

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Sex Addict

+Growth Recovery, Healing

W

hen Adi and I first met, I was 20 years old with a fake ID. We met in an undergraduate neuroscience class, and he was the super hot, got-it-all-together, grad student in a suit. Up to that point, I had only slept with one person, my high school “sweetheart” (a euphemism for my abusive ex). Now here I was at UCLA with Adi, who was eight years older, mature, cultured, and kind. As we hung out more, Adi revealed that he was an ex-meth addict and used to sell drugs. He had wrecked his motorcycle, and the cops found a pound of cocaine in his jacket, sending him to jail on thirteen felony counts. But this “story” didn’t seem real. He was sober for five years after jail, never took shots, and never touched drugs. As a diehard optimist, I just thought this part of his past was gone for good, besides the growth it had given him. During the first two years of our relationship, I almost always had a hard time being sexual and fully open, even though I felt genuinely cared for. On our second date, Adi told me he had been with four partners. I later learned he had been with closer to forty, and he was only counting the women that he has been in relationships with. I thought he just lied to protect me, but I began to think that there was something wrong with me. Why had I only been with one person? I felt ashamed. Even though I kept trying to give and try new things, our sexual life didn’t seem to flow. Then two years down the road, he told me something that would send me on a long journey of soul-searching. He had met someone at the gym and after hanging out several times, they slept together. I broke up with him on the spot and traveled to Guatemala, Cambodia, and Thailand, where I volunteered and taught English and yoga. Almost a year later, he wrote me a letter that read, “I saw this quote: ‘What would you do if you knew you could not fail?’ Even though it’s

ThePhilosophie.com

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cheesy, I would do everything in my power to get you back and prove to you I’m the one for you. I love you. Tell me if I should go away forever or if I have a chance.” While I was enjoying my adventures, Adi’s letter confirmed that I missed him. We talked and came to the understanding that if we got back together, we’d go to therapy. When we were engaged, I still didn’t fully trust Adi, so I would check his phone sometimes. One day, I found text messages to other women where he told them that he wanted to hook up. When I confronted him, he fell apart. He didn’t want to lose me, and for the first time, he admitted, “I think I’m a sex addict.” Apparently, each time we’d fought, he would text other women to feel validated. Adi started attending Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings five days a week, and we began seeing therapists individually in addition to the couples therapist. The New Year’s Day after we got married, I found out I was pregnant with our first son. Then, around Valentine’s Day, I discovered that Adi had an account on Ashley Madison, a website for married people who want to cheat on their spouses. He was nearly relieved that all of his secrets were finally out and swore he wasn’t meeting up with anyone for sex, but I took my ring off. Adi continued to see his private therapist and also decided to attend an outpatient rehab program for sex addiction (he would have done inpatient, but we couldn’t afford it). Something about seeing him do so much to work on himself made me feel like we still had a chance. We also joined a support group, and I realized I wasn’t alone in this struggle. And when I began to view Adi’s addiction as my problem too, everything


transformed. We practiced mindfulness, yoga, couples therapy, and talk therapy and set boundaries: he couldn’t be friends with girls or drink with his friends. These practices helped us realize our problems and understand that his addiction was ultimately an escape from intimacy. We’ve been married for six years now and are more intimate than ever. I have no fear for the future of our relationship, and every day, I trust him more. I never look at his phone, and we no longer need those strict boundaries. I do think he’s recovered, but it’s not like it never happened. I’m not hiding, and neither is he. Some people ask why I didn’t just leave. I probably would have, but I saw a willingness to change. He went to one of the best Ph.D. programs for psychology and is now helping the world as an addiction specialist. I couldn’t want anything more from my partner and the father of my children.

Some people ask why I didn’t just leave. I probably would have, but I saw a willingness to change.

Not only did Adi grow, I had to as well. If I didn’t work on my own sexual issues with him, I would’ve had to confront them at some point...because “everywhere you go, there you are.” When we recognized both of our truths, failures, and successes, and actively worked together to support each other, we came out on the other side, stronger than ever.

Sophie Jaffe is a certified raw food chef, yoga teacher, and the founder of Philosophie, a superfood and wellness company that aims to help everyone attain optimum health and radiant wellness.

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mantra

Cocaine. Heroin. Pills. Jail Time. Transformation

. n i o r e H . e n i a Coc . e m i T l i a J Pills. mation Transfor

Artic le :

Je n n if er Ba n k s

From a Meth Addict to Her Yoga Habit. One Woman in Wyoming is Transforming Lives Through Drug Court Yoga

I grew up in Gillette, Wyoming. The biggest industries are coal, oil, and gas. The population is transient, the politics are conservative, and the people are few. You can bet I never did yoga growing up and that the only exposure I had to the idea was when my liberal uncle would visit carrying a mat and performing asanas behind closed doors in the basement of our home on Thunder Basin grasslands of the high plains.

I started shooting up meth when I was seventeen years old. I would fix the needle before school to make it through my classes. I took time with the set-up, savoring the ritual. Let the crystal meth dissolve in the spoon, draw up thirty CCs and feel the intense rush—the reward for the ritual. I worked at the local diner late at night and went from school to work every day until

midnight and maybe as late as 3 a.m. on weekends when I would work the bar shift. This is where the need for meth started and I had the same ritual in the bathroom at the restaurant, finish up, and come back out into the diner only to see a gentlemen passed out in his chicken fried steak. The scene glittery as if in a snow globe. It got worse and I continued on drugs through college, shooting up cocaine, pain pills, heroin—anything I could get my hands on. Anything to disassociate. I got my first DUI in 2005. Then my father, a coal miner, passed away in our home. He had been drinking and he took pain pills and fell twelve feet out of our home, hit his head on the concrete pad below, and froze to death. The pain was unbearable. Second DUI in December 2008. Third DUI in January 2009. I was spinning out of control. And then I ended up in jail. For a while. Spring. Part of summer. I was recruited into the local drug court where I would receive treatment in conjunction with some punitive measures to help me recover. I continued to use meth, pills, and avoiding piss tests became a professional endeavor for me. I guess this is really where my yoga started. Yoga is a path to self-love through the physical body. The turning point in drug court was when a counselor helped me to see my own PHOTO: Suzy and Jessie Quinn

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""‟We were happy to be awkward with one another and to learn to be in our own skin without being high. Yoga had given us the gift of connecting our minds to our bodies.”

worth. When I started loving myself, I started being okay in my own skin. For the first time since I was 15 years old, I was sober for longer than six months. The sobriety was the strangest trip of them all. I had to relearn to deal with emotions, with bodily sensations, to live with some anxiety and pain. I started working out again and found running, then lifting, and then I entered my first yoga class. Anxiety was high at that first class at Hot Power Yoga in Laramie, WY. There were four of us. I was wobbly. I remember horse pose. And I remember sobbing in savasana. After practicing yoga for about eight months, I came up with the idea of giving yoga away, of making it mobile. I was maintaining sobriety, and I had even managed to quit smoking cigarettes which I hadn’t planned and thought was the true magic of yoga. I wanted to share this gift with Wyoming—a rural state with plenty of substance abuse, suicide, and not enough people that wanted to talk about these issues. I wanted to bring yoga to the people. I thought of my dad in his Wrangler jeans and pocket shirt and how his body could use yoga. I thought of all the times and laid on my mat and cried because I could not shoot up. I thought about the blue collar workers, I thought about the addicts and how we could

all cry and heal. Yoga could help our bodies and our souls. I approached the management team for drug court including the county sheriff, county prosecuting attorney, the bailiff for the county jail, and coordinator of the drug court treatment program. I suggested a yoga class designed for those in recovery to take place on Friday night when cravings can be excruciating and when the studio was open. It was the first series of drug court yoga. It was the first time I could use words like “fuck” and talk about probation officers in yoga class. I wanted to keep the yoga accessible, keep it mobile, keep it blue collar, and serve the needs of the state of Wyoming. I watched addicts come to class barely able to sit in child’s pose. Folks wore blue jeans and it became the running joke that you don’t have to have special pants for yoga. Many participants would stand outside the yoga studio arriving on bikes and smelling of cigarette smoke. Seeing dirty socks kick up into the air during three legged dog, and baggy shirts flop over sweatpants in warrior II brought the yoga into a space of humility and gratitude. We were happy to be awkward with one another and to learn to be in our own skin without being high. Yoga had given us the gift of connecting our minds to our bodies. Yoga had given a us a piece

of freedom in a highly controlled environment. I began to teach yoga all over southeast Wyoming— in churches, in basements of hospitals, in classrooms, in living rooms, beside pews, next to CPR dummies—we made it work. There can be a lot of anxiety at first because these folks coming out of addiction were crawling out of their skin. You could hear it in the breath and in the sighs. But we kept at the practice, and we still believe all is coming. I starting using yoga when I was 29. Sometimes, yoga and meditation were all I had to get through work. I took time to roll out my mat and towel, savoring the ritual. Let my breath dissolve into space, draw up my pranayama and feel the contentment. The reward for the ritual is life. I am finally well.

Jennifer lives in Laramie, Wyoming and teaches in the community where she has created programs and classes specific to those in recovery. She specializes in alternative treatment modalities for rural and recovering populations and has created alternatives to yoga delivery outside of a standard yoga studio, including traveling yoga. Her current projects include alternatives to the 12 Step Program, meditation courses guided by the seven spiritual laws of yoga, and vinyasa yoga classes at the local community college.

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mantra

readers' photos from across the globe

Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe

Featuring the most awesome photos sent in by our Mantra Yoga + Health community of

yogis, meditators, and athletes

Elizabeth Rowan • Atlanta, GA • Photo: Raftermen

Amy Tenney • White Sands, NM Photo: Helene Farland

Katie Krier • Colorado • photo: Brett Seeley

Send us your pics: photos@mantramag.com 54

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Holly • Milwaukee, WI

Chelsea Dwyer • South Dakota photo: Allen Dwyer

Whitney Mara • New York City • Photo: whitney mara photography

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Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe CONTINUED

Alyssa Exposito

Stephanie Diaz • Miami, FL

Jess Braccia photo: Lauren Howland

Kendell Sullivan • Chicago, Il Photo: Lisa Gramlich

Ashley Copertino • Lindenhurst, NY photo: Scott Dengrove

Tommy Housworth • Atlanta, Georgia

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Jess Amendola • San Pedro, CA photo: Steve Simpson

Carmen Curtis • AIReal Yoga Ventura, Ca • Photo: Nosim

Margot Strauhull Portland, OR photo: Christy Cassano-Meyer

Kino • Photo: Jason H Reinhart

om girls • New York, NY


Emma Mammano • Brick, NJ Photo: Find Orion Photography

Brittany Mckay

Amanda Brown • Jackson Hole, WY Photo: Krista Herring

Riva G. Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Blaine Esty • Joshua Tree photo: Nosim

Alicia Brust • Chicago, il photo: stephen brust

Kindred Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Ayesha Meriweather

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Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe CONTINUED

The Aerial Studio Ventura, CA • Photo: Nosim

Vivian Lee • Bronx, NYC

Rhia Cataldo Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Courtney Chalfant photo: Claire Deliman

Dawn Yang Los Angeles, CA

Lina • Ventura, Ca • Photo: Nosim

Debs Richards • Santa Monica, CA Photo: Nosim

Sara Stafford • Orange, Texas Photo: Katie Krantz

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Katie Ashley • Charleston, SC Photo: Anna Ward Photography

Rebekah Johnson • Pedricktown, nj

AIReal Yoga • Ventura, CA Photo: Nosim

Myrah Penaloza • Playa Diamanté, Dominican Republic Photo: @nurturingnova


Daniela Peon Fort Lauderdale Beach

Nihan Hantal • Istanbul / Turkey

Caitlin Hickey • Kauai, HI

Raven Brown • Savannah, Ga photo: Jonathan Oppenheim

Alice Harris • Lithonia, GA

Nina Wilson Photo: Rachel Kaminski

Brian + Mikki Trowbridge • Salem, Or Photo: Jack Wolberg

Elizabeth Marti Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Kandis Tagliabue Coachella Valley, CA

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Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe CONTINUED

Elizabeth Johnson Harper's Ferry

Joanna Ryan Shippee • San Diego, CA

Kuniko Nakamura • Mexico Photo: Mac Erwin

Karla Tafra Sandy Root • Miami Beach, FL

Stacey Vespaziani • Bath, UK

Brook Cheatham • Dallas, Texas • brookcheatham.com

Kate Vantuccil • Rochester, NY

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Marissa Sheehan • Ashland, VA

Dr. Julio Hernandez Miami Beach, FL


Melissa McNaughton • Montauk, NY Photo: Renee Choi

Lily Russo

Sizzle Mayfield Cape Three Points, Ghana Photo: Justin Humphrey

Brittny Lowe Photo: Jason H Reinhart

tiger darrow • NYC

Morgan McFadyen

Marielle Tordone • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photo: Jewels Photography

Lynn Lisella • NYC Photo: Renee Choi

Bianca Mora • Accra, Ghana

Maris Degener Photo: PJ Crame Photography

Grace Millsap • Charlotte, NC photo: Julie Corder Photography

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Readers’ Photos from Across the Globe CONTINUED

MarissA Beauvais

lyndi fowler

Jay Michaels • Freetown, Ma

Monica Sevigny Wilmington, NC

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Heather + Joseph Bernstein • NYC photo: Melanie King

Amanda Abella • Miami, FL

Aline Marie • Sandy Hook, Ct

Jodi Ascherman • Photo: GBear

Erin Trentel • Erie, PA • Photo: Merve Kayan

Leslie Greinstein Port St. Lucie, Fl

Melissa Buchner Cape May, NJ

Dana Campbell • NYC Photo: Renee Choi

Micki Freeze • Sanford, NC


Gay Mayes + Debra Harrison + Jessyca Livingston + Kyle Casserly • Nashville, TN

Maelie Burke • New Jersey

Carolina Silva Westchester County, NY

Kyle Casserly + Lauren Gregory Franklin, TN

Joanna Neher Albany, NY

Emily Watcher • Baltimore, Md

Ashlyn S. • Wisconsin photo: @paleoga_momma

Shannon Wickware • Oklahoma

Brigitte Christensen Port St. Lucie, FL

Liz Floyd • Long Beach Island, NJ

Lauren Adelson Gilbert, AZ

Tara Huff

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Lyndelle Palmer Clarke

Interview:

Lyndelle Palmer Clarke

Dailygreatness Founder

Journaling:

Giving a Voice to Emotions That Yoga Awakens in Your Body

MANTRA: How has personal journaling enhanced your yoga practice, helping you to stay centered, in a world gone mad? Lyndelle Palmer Clarke: Journaling was the tool that I used to overcome severe depression and it saved me at a time in my life when everything was falling apart. Journaling gave me a way to express my inner thoughts and to see myself, my inner landscape, and the unconscious patterns that were playing out in my life, creating the issues and challenges I was facing. While I also practiced yoga, journaling was a perfect complement to my practice, giving voice to the feelings and emotions that yoga was waking up in my body. I’ve learnt that when you are willing to connect with yourself honestly, openly, and courageously, listening deeply to your inner voice, you can finally heal the wounded parts of yourself, free up your energy, and move into more of your potential. Journaling, like yoga, is a gateway to our higher consciousness. It’s a sanctuary we can retreat in order to release our thoughts, tap our inner wisdom, uncover answers to our challenges, hear our intuition, and reveal our deepest desires. It is an awareness practice, so deceivingly simple, that it is often overlooked. However, the real transformation is not in journaling itself, but how it changes our thinking and behavior over time—until we no longer need to do it every day. Journaling is a perfect starting point for upgrading our thinking habits. When we upgrade our thinking our life automatically improves. Instead of needing to journal every day, we soon notice that our improved thinking has become second nature. That’s when we know we’ve transformed. Journaling is a universal tool available to anyone, anywhere, regardless of finances, ability, or understanding of self-help concepts—making it a powerful tool for transformation and an idea worth spreading.

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If you want to know yourself— journal If you want to heal yourself— journal If you want to empower yourself—journal If you want to forgive yourself—journal If you want to love yourself— journal If you want to grow yourself— journal Wellness Guru Lyndelle Palmer Clarke is the Founder of the Dailygreatness Journal series & creator of the 12-week holistic health program Rocking Fit.

However, the real transformation is not in journaling itself, but how it changes our thinking and behavior over time—until we no longer need to do it every day.


mantra

Top Athlete Series

V e d ic Medi tati on, Feeli ng Like Yo u’ r e Falli ng S ho rt , H av i ng Bi g G oals a n d High Standar ds , t he P o w e r to C h oos e Yo u r Re sp ons e, and th e Life P u rp os e of Ser v i ng Ot he rs. Inte r vi ew by C hr i s Lucas

CHRISTEN PRESS

T h e Sta n d out Fo r wa r d : 2015 Wor ld Cu p Ch a m pio n , The U.S. Women's Nationa l Socc er T ea m , a n d Sta r o f the Chi cago Red Star s

Q: You’ve had sustained success at a high level within the soccer world. Has there ever been a point where you wanted to stop? A: I never had a moment that I thought I would stop playing soccer. But I definitely had a moment—a long four-year moment at Stanford—where I really struggled with my relationship with the game and trying to understand my identity and what part soccer played in it. I got wrapped up in that college sports culture where if you win you’re a “winner” and if you lose you’re a “loser.” I have a lot of big goals for myself and I hold myself to extraordinarily high standards, so while it might look like success from the outside, I always felt like I was falling short in college. It was definitely a moment in my life that was transformative, but difficult. Q: But you didn’t stop, and now you are clearly playing at the highest level with even more pressure to be defined by the wins and losses. How did you get past that pressure in college and enable yourself to enjoy the game in a way that’s authentic to you?

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A: It was a long journey back to being able to enjoy soccer from when I graduated. In January 2012, a few things happened simultaneously. The women’s league folded, so I couldn’t find employment playing soccer in this country, and I moved to Sweden. I left my family and friends being able to watch all my games, and was just playing in a completely different world where I didn’t know anyone and no one cared what I was doing. That was really freeing for me. I was so present because I didn’t have the opportunity to look forward or backward because everything was happening so quickly. It brought me to a present and conscious kind of living that allowed me to rediscover my love for soccer. At the same time, right before I left for Sweden, I learned Vedic meditation. I absolutely think that changed my perspective on soccer and my life. Q: Can you walk us through Vedic meditation for those who aren’t familiar? How do you get set up for meditation; is there a routine you go through in order to get ready to meditate?

A: Vedic meditation is one of the oldest and most widely practiced types of meditation. It’s a twice-daily practice where you sit down for twenty minutes and they give you a mantra— which is just a word in sanskrit that should have no connotations for you, it’s just a sound— and twice a day you go over your sound for twenty minutes. When you are meditating, thoughts come in and interrupt and infiltrate your mantra and your transcendental state. The lesson is that’s OK! You’re gonna have stressors and thoughts; you could be thinking about what you’re having for dinner or why you are getting a divorce. It impacts your meditation differently, but at the end of the day a stressor is a stressor, and meditation teaches you to take the power away from it by not giving it any attention. For these twenty minutes, all you’re doing is repeating your mantra. For me, it’s less about the benefits of a transcendental state than the lesson that I have the power to control how I react to whatever is happening in my environment. In Vedic meditation, it’s a seated position with ›


T h e injustice in the wor ld is s o cr a z y a nd if e v e ry s ing le pe r son f ough t just one injustice in th e ir lif e , w e would be a ble to ge t th e m a ll.

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Top Athlete Series kickoff and it was just back to chaos! When you are playing with your instincts, that’s because you are not thinking. And that’s what meditation is about. It’s not thinking, it’s about playing, it’s about perceiving, it’s about being present, as opposed to being in your head.

When everyone gets as cl ose as p oss i bl e t o t hei r best self, everyt hi ng i s frui t ful fr om t hat p oi nt.

Q: How do you balance that intense focus on your game with what comes after your soccer career is over? What’s next?

Christen Press your back supported and no support for your head (so you can’t be laying in a lounge chair for example). Sitting up on a seat or a sofa, or on the ground with your back supported, is perfect. Your legs and hands can be however they feel most comfortable; your hands don’t have to be the traditional hand open, thumbfinger touch; use a natural position that allows you to relax without falling asleep. Q: You mentioned it gives you the power to choose your response. How have you seen that show up on the field? A: I think there are two main ways that meditation has impacted my sport and my profession. The first thing is generally I am happier, I have less stress, and that just makes me a better person and better player. When everyone gets as close as possible to their best self, everything is fruitful from that point. Actually, meditation has allowed me to find a new focus on the pitch. I think back to my college days. I was a terror on the field, my teammates will tell you, and I yelled at everyone and was constantly stressing out about the shots I missed or why that person passed there instead of here. I was in my head so much. Not only did it make me unhappy, it distracted me. What meditation taught me is that all those thoughts are completely unnecessary. There’s nothing constructive about me worrying about the shot that I missed. The

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only way that you can let that go is by refocusing. That’s what meditation is, it’s constant refocusing. I kind of made my mantra about the ball. I just come back to “Where’s the ball on the field?” and I think this loudly. “Where’s the ball on the field?” and then, “Where should I be?” By the time I fixate on the ball and reposition myself, I’m back in the game. I do this constantly during the game.

Q: In your goal against Australia in the 2015 World Cup, you lose your defender by stopping short to lose your defender, and it left you open to score. It had to take an immense amount of presence to thing “Where’s the ball” instead of “I might get the ball,” right? A: Yes. It allowed me to be more ready, more perceptive. You sense it outside of your streaming consciousness, and you are only allowed to do that when you are super focused. I think about that goal a lot in regards to meditation because that game was so chaotic, and I was completely overwhelmed. It was my first-ever world championship, and Australia was way better than we thought they’d be, and it was back and forth. That moment that I scored was the only bit of calm that there was in that whole game. I slowed my run down, refocused, and put the ball where I knew I could, and there was no distraction and there was no chaos about it. Then came the next

A: I think that’s a new thing for me. I still don’t know if I’m making space for what’s next. I think I’ve been pretty focused on soccer in a way that I haven’t built up other things I need in my life. It hasn’t hurt me or made me have less of a life, but I’ve been so single-minded in my goals with soccer, that I’m completely unprepared for soccer to be over. In the upcoming years, you start to build outside of the game—building a house or starting a family. What I’ve learned is that people have this fear about a capacity, they only have so much of a day, or they don’t want to learn a third language because they’ll forget the second one, and I just don’t believe in that at all. I think the brain is endless. You have the capacity to learn twenty-five languages and have twenty-five jobs, it just depends on what you want. Once I start to lay down the foundation for what’s next, I think it will only make my sport and my life much richer. I’m a funny athlete where I get up and go to practice and I’m so happy and love what I do, and yet I come home every day and I think, “Why is my job soccer? What is my larger purpose? Who am I helping? How am I contributing to the world?” I constantly want to be helping people and serving others. No matter what I do after soccer I will be doing a job that is directly helping others. I love working with children, and I volunteer at an elementary school in Los Angeles for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, because I speak a little bit of Spanish. The injustice in the world is so crazy and if every single person fought just one injustice in their life, we would be able to get them all. My goal and my post-soccer career will one hundred percent be to fight my bit of injustice in the world for kids.


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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER FEATURE

{

Our Most Intimate Interview

}

SHIVA REA

Her Personal, Private Struggle,

and

C ho osi ng t o L ove ,

I n s t ea d

of

H ar d e n

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles? A: One of my greatest struggles is to not be able to be open about one of my greatest struggles, out of privacy, and basic respect. It is simply the kind of struggle that can happen as part of adult life that will either wear you down, break or bankrupt you, or crack you open. It is a struggle that brought me to my knees physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually, as it is beyond my control and something very, very expensive to take on the “good fight.” It is a struggle that caused the loss of half my hair out of the heinous pressure. This long cycle has taxed every aspect of my stamina beyond anything I have ever experienced. It is a struggle that has a long duration, but is almost over. It is a struggle that is transforming me because there is no other choice, crumble or rise. There is a light on the horizon. I give a bow to anyone who is carrying a private struggle, that for

ShivaRea.com

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whatever the reasons, needs to remain private. I feel you. When we are looking tired or haggard while passing through intense waves, we can’t really tell anyone why. There is humility in that. So I am sending compassion to all who are in a similar boat and a “YES! we are going to make it.” There are some struggles we must bear in privacy. Q: How do you deal with that struggle? What truths did you realize? A: I could see early on that I had to make a deep personal pact, either my heart was going to be a garden or I would have to suck on the bitter thorn of this experience, which would be the greatest loss. When we can speak openly of our journey, I can see now that there is a freedom and lightness that becomes available as we listen to each other’s experience. The only difference in the private struggle is this release has to come through more personal ritual. The stone thrown into the ocean, the twig into the fire, the ritual dives into holy waters. ›


I give a bow to anyone who is carrying a private struggle, that for whatever the reasons, needs to remain private. I feel you. When we are looking tired or haggard while passing through intense waves, and we can’t really tell anyone why. There is humility in that.

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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER FEATURE

SHIVA REA

“ ”

It is a struggle that is transforming me because there is no other choice, crumble or rise.

I have been really moved by the response of the father who lost his wife and mother of his small son in the Paris bombings. He said that the terrorist cannot have the happiness of his family or the victory of hatred. We must claim our inherent right to happiness, freedom, and the power to thrive in the face of any terror, difficulty, or challenge. My teachers of this rising power have been all over the world from the streets and shanty towns to simple villages. It is a personal commitment to the greatest wealth we have—the revivifying power of love. The Dalai Lama’s practice and encouragement for all people, particularly the Tibetan people in exile, to meet challenges and challenging people with wisdom and compassion in action—is an extraordinary practice. Mantra; prostrations; affection; self-care; openness; honesty; cacaobased superfoods; being on the ocean, in the mountains, in caves; sunrise yoga to wake up and sunset yoga to let go; loving, loving, loving my partner, family, and good friends; collective yoga, music, movement, spontaneous joy, breath, love in all ways, all forms,

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shapes, tastes, and sizes are the great elixirs that fertilize my heart and keep a connection to the inextinguishable fire alive. I love my ancestors from the wild north, and I give thanks for hearty cells! Somewhere along the journey we realize the power of love that we were born with, that is given in every breath as the greatest nectar, in an incredible diversity of forms—tough love, tender love, sensual love, holy love, raw primal love, sacred love, love of justice, universal love, love in action not just in words or ideas. I bow to the lioness of love.

Shiva Rea, M.A, a global yoga teacher, activist, and innovator in the evolution of vinyasa yoga around the world from large-scale festivals and conferences to unplugged retreats. She has taught thousands of students, teachers how to integrate yoga as a way of life. Founder of Prana Vinyasa & Samudra Global School for Living Yoga, she integrates the roots of vinyasa, yoga, ayurveda, and tantra in her teachings.


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photographer feature

Capturing

Interview with Photographer Amy Goalen

StronG Yoga Men Q: What inspired you focus on men in yoga? A: After I photographed a few of my male yoga teachers here in Santa Monica, I started to notice how many yoga images were of women and how few were of men. Once I noticed it, I found that I REALLY noticed it. So it got me thinking, how men out there DO practice yoga? Not just here in Los Angeles, but even in other smaller cities or other countries. I mentioned to a friend of mine, who is a male yoga teacher, that I was thinking of focusing my yoga portrait series on men and he said, “Good! It’s about time.”

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Not long after that decision, I was introduced to Julian DeVoe, who is a writer as well as yogi, and we discovered we were both working on similar projects. He was in the process of writing a book about men who practice yoga and had already started interviewing a long list of men. We decided to collaborate and our book project, Inside the Warrior—the Masculine Side of Yoga, was born. I’ve been photographing male yogis for over two years now and it’s been a fascinating journey to see all these different yoga practices come to life from behind my lens. I love that I get so many men wanting to be a part of this project. I enjoy talking to men about their practice and being able to create stunning images of their asana practice. My favorite reaction from an older male yogi after seeing his images is “Wow! I can’t believe that’s a picture of me! How did you do that?” I love that. Q: One truth you know for sure? A: For me, one thing I know for sure is that you can’t rush anything. Everything comes to us exactly when it’s supposed to. This is my cornerstone truth when I’m connecting with yogis all over the country or even the world. When it’s time for me to cross paths with a certain yogi for a portrait, it happens exactly when it’s supposed to. When it’s time, it’s time.

These are all the shots Amy Goalen’s 2016 Yoga Men Calendar on sale now. You can order at amygoalen.com. Goalen is a LA-based photographer, digital artist, and yogi. She makes strong images of men in yoga, fitness, AcroYoga, intimate couples, and sometimes the moments in between.

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photographer feature

For me, one thing I know for sure is that you can’t rush anything. Everything comes to us exactly when it’s supposed to.

Photographer Amy Goalen

Capturing StronG Yoga Men amygoalen.com

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Clean is Beautiful MyChelle is committed to full transparency when it comes to the botanicals and high-performance ingredients we put in our skin care.

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mantra

lewis howes

Living Bigger,

Loving Deeper, and Choosing

Not to Give Your Power Away in Adversity Lewis Howes Q: What are the three best pieces of advice you can give? A: 1. Adversity serves as a choice point for each one of us. We can choose to play into a victim mindset and give our power away or we can use challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and become stronger. Interview: Maranda Pleasant

I want everyone I meet to feel that they matter, that they are worth it, and that they are capable of anything they can dream of.

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Q: Can you share with us some of the struggles and comebacks that shaped who you are today? A: Growing up was tough. I was an awkward kid, no good at school, and really struggled to fit in. Then I discovered sports and channeled all my energy and frustration into those. In college I got drafted into playing professional football in the Arena League and I thought I had it made. Then I smashed my wrist into a wall during a game my rookie season. I spent six months in a full arm cast recovering on my sister’s couch, broke, and clueless about what I was going to do next. My dad had been in a major car accident that year and couldn’t work anymore, so I was really feeling the pressure to get my career together. All I had at that point was hustle and ambition. I started spending hours everyday on LinkedIn learning everything I could about how to use it to connect with people. That led to me becoming an expert of sorts, which I turned into a coaching business, and that led to a multi-million dollar business in online marketing. I never would have guessed when I was broke and injured that I’d be where I am today, but I knew I was going to get off my sister’s couch, so that’s where I started.

2. If you are going to be great, you have to be willing to do what average people are unwilling to do. Hustle means sacrifice, sweat, hard work, long days, and crazy determination, but it’s also worth it. 3. It takes a lot of energy to make decisions all day long, so the more good habits you can create, the less energy you have to spend on deciding what to do for every part of your day. Q: What would you like people to remember you for ? A: I want people to remember me for my huge heart. I want everyone I meet to feel that they matter, that they are worth it, and that they are capable of anything they can dream of.

Lewis Howes, Lifestyle Entrepreneur and author of the upcoming book, The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving A Legacy. Lewis built a million-dollar online business before he was 30 and is now a business coach, angel investor, speaker, and podcast host with nearly one million downloads per month.


Mantra Health feature

Health Tips for

Glowing Skin, a Radiant Spirit and

a Clear Mind

Health Coach + Personal Trainer:

Anne-Marie Berte

A: Nourish my mind, body and spirit.

I want a treat I am not going to punish myself for it, because it’s about balance, living and enjoying life and many times, life is celebrated over food with friends and loved ones.

1.

4.

Q: Your Health Secrets and Tips?

Don’t diet, but consciously choose to nourish your amazing body with healthy fuel. Eat more plants, fruits, and vegetables that pump awesome superfoods with antiinflammatory benefits, into your body. If you have a farmers market near you, start there!

Work out! Move your body daily and don’t be afraid to sweat. It is so beneficial to do so! There is no such thing as a bad workout and you always feel better afterwards!

2.

Hydrate. Water, water, and more water. Your skin will thank you, your internal organs will thank you, and so will the nagging headache you might have midday.

Incorporate healthy fats into your diet daily. Coconut oil is one of my favorites and I even use it on my skin! You can lose fat by eating fat—the right fats—as you fire up your metabolism and feel more satisfied resulting in better food decisions throughout the day!

3.

Also make sure to kick-start your metabolism with a healthy breakfast. This sets the tone for your day, and when you provide your body and mind with healthy fuel, you not only benefit your overall health, but your mind is sharper and decisions clearer and you feel more energized. Eating clean is something I do regularly but I also don’t believe in deprivation or cheat days. If amfit.guru | Instagram: @amsunshinefit

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5.

6.

I would say that the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to my health, to surround myself with those who truly feel good to be around, those who inspire me, push me to be better, do better and love me for me! Letting go of those who don’t is quite freeing and allows me to be better to myself and those wonderful loved ones in my life.

7.

Do the things that fire up your soul and do more of them because when we are happy and showing ourselves love, we attract that

back into our lives from others.

Q: How do you stay fit? What is your regimen? A: I work out every morning to kick-start my day and I always feel better mentally and physically. I tend to work out outdoors as much as possible with my go-to workouts being running; it clears my mind and feels great to just lace up the sneakers and go running, hiking, and cycling, but balance things out with weight training, three to four days a week in the gym. I train my entire body and mix things up to keep my heartrate up with HIIT training, trx and dumbbells. I incorporate yoga into my weekly regimen as well to keep me balanced. It forces me to slow down, disconnect, and breathe. Yoga also helps my overall fitness regimen as it has increased my flexibility and opened up tight muscles so I can continue to feel stronger in body and mind.

Anne-Marie Berte is a health and nutrition coach and personal trainer, specializing in optimizing overall health and wellness, and educating on what fuel nourishes your mind, body, and spirit to achieve your best self.

Photo: Robin Nathan


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T H E MANTRA SERIES

Featured Yogi:

Former NFL Wide Receiver, Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor

Derrick “DJ” Townsel Instagram: @dade2shelby

Dade2Shelby.net

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PHOTO: AMY GOALEN PHOTOGRAPHY


Q: What Inspires You? A: Connection is what inspires me:

connection to people, the earth, and a divine power.

Q: What’s been your greatest struggle? A: The greatest struggle is the illusion of

self. People expected my appearance or background to define me, but yoga and meditation have taught me that I am so much more than my appearance. My message is to help the world acknowledge this illusion and start to see each other as piece to a greater puzzle.

Q: One truth you know for sure? A: One truth that I know for sure is that

we are all divine light. The journey of life is to find your light and use it to make this world a better place for ALL.

Miami native and former NFL wide receiver (Houston Texans), now Orlando-based personal trainer & yoga instructor. Started yoga journey Nov 2012 as a means to prevent injury in professional football and fell in love with the spiritual and mental benefits. Inspirational yoga practice and West-Indian roots, people know him as the “Rasta Yogi.”

the Greatest struggle is the illusion of self.”

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T H E MANTRA SERIES

Creating Your Own Reality,

Koya We b b Instagram: koy aw ebb

Finally Learning to Love Herself, and Her Best Skincare Secrets

Q: One of your greatest struggles? A: One of my greatest struggles has been learning to love myself.

Growing up in rural Tennessee, I was the tallest girl in all of my classes. I would try to shift my weight to one hip to appear shorter and ended up stunting my growth in one leg because I wanted so desperately to be shorter. As I got older, being taller than most of the boys made it hard to date and it didn’t help that there were never any cute shoes for girls with size 10 feet. If that wasn’t enough, I was usually the only minority in the advanced classes in school so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was always the last to be picked for projects, and although my complexion is chocolate I was often called “white girl” by other minorities. To fit in I’d often study day and night so I would be picked first in my advanced classes and after school I would hang out with the toughest girls on the block, and steal and fight just to prove I wasn’t a “good girl.” I never felt like I truly fit anywhere. It wasn’t until I learned to love and accept myself that I really started to feel good and that happened through track and field.

Q:

One of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

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A: The best lesson I’ve learned is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and we create our reality with our thoughts and emotions. The best advice to go along with that is to practice daily meditation for at least 10 minutes to connect with spirit and think and visualize want you want in life more than what you don’t want.

Q: Your best skincare recommendations? A: My best skincare tips: • Consume a low-fat vegan diet of mostly fruits and veggies • Drink a gallon of water a day infused with fresh lemon juice and cayenne • Use witch hazel to tone skin • Wear as little makeup as possible. My favorite is lip gloss and mascara • Smile all the time. It’s like a workout for your face. Smiling keeps your cheeks nice and toned and gives you that glow.

Koya Webb is a holistic health and wellness coach, author, motivational speaker, and professional fitness model who is helping revolutionize raw/ vegan cuisine, yoga and the holistic living landscape. A “transformational specialist” when it comes to helping people reach their goals. Her Get Loved Up retreats and new online program Healthy Vegan Rx help people make positive lifestyle changes.


T H E

Q: What is true Beauty to you?

MANTRA SERIES

What Makes Us

Beautiful,

Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle, Nourishing Ourselves Deeply with Plant-based Food and Watching the Company You Keep. Kristine Kelly M i a m i B e a ch

A: Beauty is when you really know how to love yourself. Your body is a temple and it craves to be nourished with healthy, local food. As a personal chef specializing in plant-based cuisine, trained by Matthew Kenney Culinary, I educate others on how simple it is to use pure ingredients sourced locally to prepare a plant-based meal with vibrant flavors. When we nurture our bodies like this way, it transforms us. It fills us with so much energy that you feel powerful like a warrior; you’re ready to conquer anything. Some people might say you have a beautiful “glow” about you. We glow when we reflect something special we have inside of us—it’s Spirit-filled. When you have a beautiful soul that is nourished with healthy food, it will radiate. Another dimension of this inner glow is related to the company that you keep, so surround yourselves with people you love, admire and want to grow with. There is no need for competition, we are here to lift others up and support one another on this journey of life. Q: What does a new year represent to you?

Beauty is “when you really know how to love yourself.

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A: A new year represents an opportunity to create a healthy community wherever we are in the world. It’s a time to give to our community fully, sharing love through cooking for others and through a meaningful yoga practice. Finding new and creative ways to educate others on how they can live a healthy lifestyle is what it’s all about.

Kristine Kelly is a Miami and St. Barth Plant-Based Chef, Yoga and Wellness Retreat Organizer.


mantra

Mantra Instagram Inspiration: @MantraMagazine

Love these Quotes? Cut these puppies out! Everyone deserves

morning sex and pancakes.

Surround yourself with people who get it.

I need you to love me a little

louder

today.

You can be

messy,

& afraid. Show up complicated

anyway.

If you don’t intend to love her, leave her alone.

i do yoga to burn off the crazy.

Always be yourself. Unless

you are an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.

“Stop pressing rewind on things that should be deleted in your life.” —Ocean Pleasant

I’m a big fan of people being exactly who they are.

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mantra

Mantra Instagram Inspiration: @MantraMagazine

Love these Quotes? Cut these puppies out! “It’s important to realize that you can miss something, but not want it back.” —Paulo Coelho

Honesty is the highest form of intimacy.

“I wish I was full of tacos, instead of emotions.” —Rose Pepper

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When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else it madness. —Eckhart Tolle

You can never laugh too much or have too many orgasms.

“You can’t be committed to your own bullshit and to your growth. It’s one or the other.” —Scott Stabile

“It’s not your job to love me, it’s mine.” —Byron Katie

u o y ore r

ou y s, the n d love o i is nee

The

m

dec s you to les thers m. o the

love

Sending love to all the girls out there trying to love themselves in a world that’s constantly telling them not to.


EDITOR’S PICKS for THE NEW YEAR:

WINTER ESSENTIALS Sauvage Black Active Bra + Green Capri Pant Great for performance and support, we like the breathable Italian perforated fabric and a supportive racerback fit. Kick it on the trail, studio, or gym with these workout capri pants, bright and highly functional. SauvageWear.com

The HighChi Leadership Mala Raise your energy with this 108 Bead, Hand-Knotted Mala made from turquoise, pearls, lapis lazuli and Rudraksha beads. HighChi.com

We love this mala!

Breathable Designer Mali Sabatasso Our favorite from her latest collection, the antler necklace made of 24k gold vermeil. MaliSabatasso.com

Aura Cacia Body Soaks A bath isn’t an indulgence; it’s a healthy practice. These body soaks combine functional ingredients to bring new purpose to your bath. AuraCacia.com

Delicious treat

Tulsi Turmeric Ginger Tea SouliÉ Yoga Bag Renée creates the most beautiful yoga bags we’ve ever seen, made with hand appliquéd ribbon. Photos don’t even do it justice. Love it!

Our favorite combo! A delicious treat that brings the many benefits of tulsi, turmeric, and ginger to your day! OrganicIndiaUSA.com

Renée-Soulié.com

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T H E MANTRA SERIES

Yogi Feature

Instagram: @beachyogagirl

Kerri Verna Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles and how did you deal?

A:

The greatest struggle in my life thus far was the failure of my marriage about eight years ago. I never thought it was going to happen to me and I thought I could “fix” it. I became completely sick with co-dependency trying to help my alcoholic husband. After seven years of a toxic marriage, I finally said “enough” and separated from him. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a pivotal moment in my life where I decided that I was going to surrender to a power greater than myself and let go. I’m happy to say that through God, the 12 steps of recovery, counseling, and inner healing we were able to not only restore our marriage, but become stronger and more in love than ever before. My husband just celebrated seven years of sobriety and I’m so grateful for the miracle that was done in not only his life but mine. I believe that asking for help and realizing that you don’t have the power to change anyone was key to overcoming the biggest struggle in my life.

Q: One truth you know for sure? A: I don’t know everything. Q: Best lesson you’ve learned or advice received?

A:

What someone else thinks of me is none of my business.

Kerri Verna, with close to 900,000 followers on Instagram, leads monthly yoga challenges that inspire thousands of people of all ages, all over the world to practice yoga each month. Based in Lake Worth, Florida, a wife, mother of two young boys, speaker and photographer, her life represents the full integration of everything that she loves.

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What someone else thinks of

me is none of my business.

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“

photographer feature

Sean Shelton My photography is inspired by seeing others inspired. The reward is in the art of stepping behind the lens and capturing something magical. As a yoga teacher in the Phoenix area, I have seen firsthand the power of yoga transform many lives. It is my goal to see my students grow as people and most of all, to bring a lasting smile to their face. I often comment that yoga is the act of building a relationship with the world. Be it climbing, photography, or my ashtanga practice, I see all of these things as yoga. I see yoga as anything that brings great transformation into one’s life. Life should be lived with curiosity, love, and a sense of play. Through my art and teachings, I know I can help a few people take on this approach to life.

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Sean Shelton capturedconnections.zenfolio.com | Instagram: @capturedconnections

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Yoga Teacher feature

“Stop competing with one another. The best chance for humanity to survive and thrive is in cooperation, between countries, businesses, and individuals.”

Yogi

Ruslan Kleytman beings, skilled practitioners, and inspiring teachers is my contribution to a positive change that the planet is so in need of at the moment.

Q: What is the one thing you can’t live without? A: Today it is my Bansuri flute, carrying it with me everywhere. I’ve got to make some noise.

Q: What are some of the most important things to you? A: My relationships with God, my family, my wife, my son, my Self.

Q: Q:

What are your biggest passions?

A: My airy nature always moves me from one thing to another; making pottery, learning to play the flute, walking the slackline, or making jewelry. The one thing that is constant in my life is yoga. When I discovered yoga it was a homecoming, an instant recognition. It was like remembering that this is what I have done for many lifetimes. I knew right away that yoga is my life. I wanted to live it and breathe it. Studying, practicing and teaching yoga became a pillar in my life. I developed 200h and 500h Teacher Training Programs, and I feel that it is my life’s true calling and Dharmic duty. Helping students to become more conscious

RuslanKleytman.com

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What are the things you try to do every day?

A: I spend quality time with my kiddo, and we build a lot together; woodworking, elaborate sand castles, giant lego structures. I teach him. I learn from him, or we just roll on the floor or make up stories.

Q: If you could say something to everyone on the planet what would it be? A: Cooperate. In my opinion, Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest messed up many generations. Stop competing with one another. The best chance for humanity to survive and thrive is in cooperation, between countries, businesses, and individuals.


HOW TO DONATE

My Yoga Exchange starts with you. We provide a home for the forgotten yoga pants collecting dust in your closet; your only job is to dig them up and let them go! We buy, sell, and donate yoga clothing from yoga teachers, students, studios and retail companies.

1 Fill out the contact form on our website and we will send you a MYEX bag with instructions, a prepaid return label and a welcome package.

OUR MISSION My Yoga Exchange (MYEX) is a sustainability-driven business that aims to make the practice of yoga more accessible and inclusive while doing our part to protect the environment in the process. We accomplish this by creating a marketplace for recycled men’s and women’s yoga apparel and accessories, creating a unique opportunity for yogis to buy, sell and donate gently loved yoga gear that is both on trend and up to industry performance standards.

2 Gather the new, gently loved or never been

worn yoga clothing you would like to donate with the possibility of receiving credit for items purchased by MYEX.

3 After you receive the MYEX bag fill out the donation form, including your current contact information.

4 Place the items in the MYEX bag with your completed donation form.

5 Attach the provided prepaid return label,

deliver to the designated mail carrier, and they will handle the rest.

6 A representative from My Yoga Exchange

will contact you regarding any applicable credit as soon as the items are processed.

@MYYOGAEXCHANGE MY YOGA EXCHANGE @MYYOGAEXCHANGE

www.myyogaexchange.com


T H E MANTRA SERIES

Q: What’s been one of your greatest struggles and how did you deal?

A:

One of my greatest struggles has always been resisting the urge to doubt my physical and mental abilities. But that’s my yoga. That’s my search for balance. Becoming my own cheerleader has been the greatest gift of my yoga practice because it has helped me turn one of my greatest struggles into one of my most consistent motivators.

Q: One truth you know for sure? A: Be true to yourself. No matter what. Even if you must walk alone, and in darkness. Value authenticity at all costs.

Q: Best lesson you’ve learned or advice received?

A: Don’t listen to other people if their

opinions make you feel bad about yourself. You have nothing to lose by standing on your own two feet.

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley is a North Carolina-based yoga teacher and writer. Her blog and Instagram offer body-positive advice for yoga practitioners and attract thousands of followers daily.

Turning Struggles Into Motivators, Valuing Authenticity at All Costs and Not Listening to People Who Make you Feel Bad About Yourself. Instagram: @mynameisjessamyn

jessamynstanley.com

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PHOTO: Allie Mullin Photography


Q: What is true beauty to you? A: True beauty is a vibrational frequency of light

and harmony, radiating out, free of grasping. It is an effort towards a heartfelt life, and the grace found in surrendering. The inner peace of a being in continual remembrance of their light body, this quality transform any external perceived imperfections, allowing true attractiveness and beautiful. It is unconditional love.

Q: What does a new year and new beginnings represent to you?

A:

Rae Indigo Miami, Florida

“

True beauty is a vibrational frequency of light and harmony, radiating out, free of grasping.

YOGA

ANYWHERE & EVERYWHERE LIVE ONLINE YOGA CLASSES with KK

Rae Indigo is yogi, mystic, thirty-year student of yoga, martial arts, ceo of United Yoga School, sharing love, radiance and teaching therapeutic yoga, the art and science of healing with yoga. PHOTO: VICTOR BRODEN PHOTOGRAPHY raeindigoyoga.com

KATY KERN, RYT

YogaByKK.com

561.714.5284

Logo: tjlubrano.com | Photos: melissakellyphotography.com

�

Any new year, or new beginning, is an invitation and a reminder for us to make choices to move towards a life that is full of meaning. Discarding outdated habitual patterns, and returning our attention to inner awareness, we can make personal commitments towards a life that is of service to others, like training for a marathon that is a fundraiser for a cause, instead of just pursuing limited personal fitness goals. Make it something bigger than you, and see how much more you are able to stick with commitments, and feel better not just in your own body, but in your own skin. Dream bigger and include others in your vision. Everyone is worth it.


T H E MANTRA SERIES

North Carolina in the House

Instagram Phenomenon: Yogi Megan Lawing Instagram: @northcarolina_yogagirl

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“I was made

Mantra: What inspires you and makes you come alive?

for a purpose and I am loved beyond comprehension. Megan Lawing: My family, yoga, photography and Instagram. I have been following so many amazing yogis for the past few years, and their hard work and dedication has led me to strive for the best in myself as well. It is amazing what your body can do if you put the hard work in to get there! I also love that through Instagram, I can incorporate my love of yoga and photography into one platform! And last, but certainly not least, my family. Their love and support inspires me to keep pressing forward every single day. Getting to spend time with them means the world to me, and there is nothing better than planning an adventurous day to all hang out together. Mantra: What’s been one of your greatest struggles + how did you deal?

ML: Through the Instagram platform, dealing with the criticism that can come from having a larger audience of followers. I have learned that as your numbers get bigger, it’s important not to lose sight of who you truly are. You don’t change yourself to fit the crowd, you stay true to what you believe in and never back down. Personally, I have always had body image issues. Since my torso is kind of short, I always thought that my stomach stuck out too much. I was always seeking attention and approval from others to prove that I was beautiful. Now I no longer need that approval. Mantra: One truth you know for sure? ML: I was made for a purpose and I am loved beyond comprehension. Every single part of me, inside and out. Once you realize that, and actually BELIEVE it, you can accomplish and overcome anything you set your mind to. I believe that with all certainty.

I was made for a purpose and I am loved beyond comprehension.

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FullyRaw Kristina

chef Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, aka FullyRaw Kristina

Impacting

a Million People a Day

through

Social Media,

Inspiring Health through a Raw, Plant-based Diet. Transforming Trauma, Hitting Rock Bottom

with Her

Health,

Supporting Local, Organic Food Systems. I n te r v i e w : m a r a n d a p l e a s a n t

Maranda Pleasant: You haven’t eaten cooked foods in ten years! Do people think you’re crazy? Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram: Changing my diet changed my life. And not just my life, but my entire world. My body, my mind, my career, my family, and my community. Does it sound mundane to say that eating a FullyRaw vegan diet completely changed me? Does it sound crazy to say that I haven’t eaten a cooked meal in ten years? Am I an extremist because I haven’t eaten any meat, dairy, pastas, breads, rice, etc. in ten years, and I choose to eat only foods that make me feel good and alive? The answer is YES to all of those questions. Yup, it all sounds totally crazy. But, it’s true. MP: You’ve changed a lot over the years. What happened? KCB: I went from being a little Lebanese Ecuadorian girl who had just graduated with three majors in the top of her class striving to be a potter, an artist, while working night shifts as a calculus tutor to a woman who risked it all to run her own produce co-op in Houston and inspire health. I’ve given the past ten years to my passion. I’ve sacrificed so many opportunities, lost too many loved ones, dealt with massive betrayals, witnessed some of my closest friends take advantage of me/my businesses, healed from two horrible heartbreaks, said goodbye to people I thought cared about me, hit puberty at 26 with a public audience, was left to support my family fullyraw.com | Instagram: @fullyrawkristina

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financially, and more. Do the details matter? No. What does matter is this: All of these challenges were growth opportunities that finally opened my heart to experience vulnerability and follow the inspiration, the light, within my soul. Each experience has transformed me into a stronger, more intimate, more passionate woman. I may be left with a few scars, but ultimately, I am more beautiful because of them. MP: Why did you start eating FullyRaw? At what moment did you decide you could overcome your illness? KCB: When I was 18, I went FullyRaw vegan and I haven’t turned back since. I am now 28 years old. I run three of my own companies in Texas, and they are growing and developing daily. All three of them are sisters and work together to inspire greater health within our community, and this world. My story began at 16 when I was diagnosed with hyperglycemia, the onset of type 2 diabetes. I was 5"6' and 87 pounds at my sickest point. I spent too much time going in and out of hospitals, and I nearly didn’t graduate from high school because I had so many sick days. I wasn’t alive. I wasn’t living. I didn’t know the difference between depression and pain. Was this a rock bottom moment in my life? Yes, but now that I see it in hindsight, it was the greatest gift given to me. My sickness was my biggest growth opportunity, and I took it. MP: You made the change in one night? How and why? What does it feel like to hit rock bottom,

and what tools can you give our readers to inspire them towards greater health? KCB: Hitting rock bottom literally feels like a moment of life or death—or maybe you feel dead because the emotions are too mulled together to notice a difference. When you’re that thin, that frail, that sick, that depressed, you either try everything you can to try and get better, or you just give up. To some, it may seem extreme to switch to eating a raw vegan diet overnight, but I didn’t really feel as if I had a choice because nothing else had worked for me. I grew up on my mother’s Lebanese food and my father’s Ecuadorean food, both heavy in meats and oils. I basically ate fat, salt, and oil growing up as a child, and the only fruit I ate was in the Summer when we would cut open a watermelon and share it. God brought me an angel in a grocery store named John Rose who randomly approached me and started talking to me about juicing and eating raw. I thought he was a “rabbit man” when I first met him, but it wasn’t until I got out of the hospital again at my lowest point that I called him up and said, “I am desperate. I have never tried anything alternative before, but what the doctors are telling me isnt’ working. I am willing to do whatever it takes.” We met at a Whole Foods, and he educated me about REAL health. He told me to pick my favorite fruit and eat it for two weeks straight. I told him I couldn’t do that because I had blood sugar issues. He said that the sugar in fruit is different, and that I could heal myself on a plant-based diet. I was 87 pounds at the time, and I walked out of that store with 80 lbs. of peaches to last me the next 3 days. ›


I may be left “ with a few scars,

but ultimately, I am more beautiful because of them.

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FullyRaw Kristina

MP: Do you have any grave health issues today? KCB: Within three days of eating FullyRaw, or an abundance of raw, organic, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, I noticed a difference in my health. No migraines, no dizziness, no nausea, less depression, fewer blood sugar issues. After a month I knew I was hooked, but I never told myself that I wasn’t going to eat cooked food ever again. I merely told myself I wanted to eat what made me FEEL good and happy. After a year and a half of learning to LOVE the feeling of health, I was free of my hyperglycemia, and I have not been back to a hospital for health issues (or any related issue) since. MP: How did your story inspire your lifestyle? How did this lead you to create three successful businesses, all about raw foods?! KCB: My health success story of overcoming hyperglycemia is what inspired me to start a food co-op. I run an organic produce cooperative in Houston called Rawfully Organic, and it is now the largest organic/vegan/raw produce co-operative in the U.S. My intention was merely to afford feeding my family quality organic produce. After helping to start up the Tuesday farmer’s market on Rice University campus, I decided I wanted something “closer to home” and with more produce options. I started the co-op with about seven to twelve people in my living room about nine years ago. It went from being a small neighbor-toneighbor pick-up in my garage to having three locations, a home delivery service, and over 52,000 members in the Houston area alone. Seeing the number of people who needed access to quality food, seeing the need for local produce, the need to help local farmers, and seeing HOW MANY people really needed help with their health is what truly inspired me to grow this venture. The mission: to HELP people and to help change our food system as we know it. My passion was no longer just to feed my family, but an entire city. MP: At what point did you start making YouTube videos and why? KCB: Rawfully Organic gave birth to FullyRaw, which was my mission to educate people on how to eat healthy raw foods. Families were going home with their boxes of produce and LOVING the freshness, but no one knew what to do with kale, or swiss chard, or arugula, especially since it didn’t look like the produce they were used to getting in grocery stores. So I started my YouTube channel. One of my first videos ever was me coming home from co-op, setting the box on the counter, and making a smoothie in just a few minutes with the ingredients from the box. That’s it. With the help of our community and the online vegan community, my channel grew rapidly. It’s been nearly three years that I have had my channel, and I’m almost at 700K subscribers,

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and these supportive and health-inspired friends aren’t just in Texas, they are all over the world. MP: Are you just an “Instagram Star”? KCB: The other day someone called me “an Instagram star,” and I got upset. I got upset because that’s not who I am. I am not just an online figure or on YouTube. My main work is in the community. That’s where my passion started, that’s where I am rooted, and that’s where my heart is: changing our local and organic food systems to be sustainable and educate our WORLD on why eating CLEAN, REAL, PLANTBASED, RAW FOODS is the BEST for our bodies. MP: You always seem so happy in your posts and videos. Do you ever have bad days?! KCB: HELL YES, I have super terrible horrible heart-shattering disappointing shouldn’t get out of bed days...and I have them TOO frequently. HOWEVER, I made a commitment to myself LONG ago never to give up. Even my bad days now are not as bad as my rock bottom points that I experienced before I found this lifestyle. Even on the worst days, I still show up and do the work. I do it because I know that people, even if just a few, are looking to me as an example. People underestimate what it takes. My biggest

vice is sleeping four hours a night. I’ve done this for about eight years now just to keep my businesses and my life thriving and I still run six to ten miles a day! It’s continuing to do what you love even when shit hits the fan. That’s passion. The shit list I mentioned above, I choose to call all of those blessings in my life. The illness, the heartbreak, the pain, the betrayal, all of it made me into a stronger woman. To shift my mentality, I think of the phoenix and how it rose from the ashes, I think of the things that bring me strength and joy, I count my blessings, and I spend time with those whom I love. This love lifts me up. People don’t realize what it takes to heal your mind and body, and it’s not a shift that happens overnight. It takes time, but when you do it right, you develop the skills to strengthen your soul and find light in even the darkest of moments. My social media has become more personal to me and has become an outlet of expression apart from my work where people can get to know me, Kristina, apart from my companies. I’ve learned to be open and vulnerable rather than holding it all it. It sets me free. MP: What are your next big thing? KCB: My most recent baby is my first book called The FullyRaw Diet coming out in January everywhere. I am honored and excited to be able to share my story, my recipes, and more with so many people.


The

FullyRaw

Strawberry

Shortcake You won’t realize that it’s FullyRaw or even vegan

Ingredients for the Crust: 2-3 lbs of pitted, fresh dates 1-2 cups of dried, raw mulberries 1-2 cups of raw, dried figs (white or black) 1 pinky of vanilla bean 1 tbs of cinnamon

the cashews and replace the almond milk with coconut water.

Run all ingredients through a food processor until the mixture reaches a crust-like consistency. Push the crust into the bottom of a pie pan or a cake dish, and get ready for the next layer. If you want your cake to slice smoother, feel free to add wax paper lining on the bottom of the cake.

For your FullyRaw Strawberry Cool Whip, simply use the remaining white cool whip and blend it with a few strawberries to turn it pink! Spread this layer on top of your second layer of sliced strawberries and top it with ANOTHER layer of sliced strawberries!

Add a layer of sliced strawberries onto your crust.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Glaze: Half to one pound of fresh strawberries Half a cup of fresh, pitted dates

FullyRaw Cool Whip Ingredients: 2 cups of freshly prepared almond milk Either 1-2 frozen bananas or a half cup of raw cashews The meat of 2-3 young coconuts Note: if you want the cake to be lower in fat, use the bananas instead of

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. Spread this FullyRaw "Cool Whip" onto your first layer of strawberries. Add a second layer of sliced strawberries on top and get ready for another layer of Cool Whip!

Blend the ingredients for the strawberry glaze and spread it on top! Add your final layer of sliced strawberries! Place your cake into the freezer for approximately 4 hours to harden it. When ready, take it out, slice it up, and ENJOY! Share with family and friends!

rawfullyorganic.com

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FullyRaw Kristina

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FullyRaw

Vegan Pad Thai More often than not, you want to eat something colorful and delicious and fun, but you want it to be more than just a salad. If that’s you, this is the dish for you! It’s my version of a raw vegan pad thai, and it’s amazing! All you need is a Vitamix blender for this recipe and a good knife. Ingredients for the Pad Thai: 4-5 cups shredded zucchini 2-3 cups of shredded carrots 1 cup shredded red cabbage 1 sliced red bell pepper 1-2 cups of sliced mushrooms 1 cup bean sprouts Half a cup chopped cilantro 1 cup of sliced scallions or green onion Thumb of ginger, thinly shredded Juice of one lime Quarter cup of crushed pistachios as a topping Fresh mint Optional: Jalepeño To cut some of the veggies here, I use a mandolin slicer to help get the veggies sliced thinly. You can also use a spiralizer. In a large bowl, add your mandolin sliced zucchini and carrots. Then, chop or shred your cabbage, bell pepper, mushrooms, and other ingredients and add them into the bowl as well. When all of your desired ingredients are chopped and mixed in the bowl, grab your Vitamix blender and get ready to blend. FullyRaw Sesame Ginger Dressing: ¾ cup raw, unhulled sesame seeds ½ cup fresh apple juice ¹/³ cup orange juice ¼ cup crushed pistachios ¼ cup tamarind sauce 1 thumb fresh ginger Half to 1 lime squeezed When the dressing becomes creamy, pour it over your salad, grab some chopsticks, and enjoy! 


rawfullyorganic.com

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FullyRaw Kristina

FullyRaw

Fettuccine Alfredo Raw Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo! Try my twist on this classic recipe! It’s creamy, satisfying, SO delicious, and perfect to share! For this recipe you will need a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, a serving bowl, AND a spiralizer. You may have seen me use this before in my previous videos, and this is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It makes noodles (or what I like to call zoodles) out of veggies like zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, beets, and even apples or cucumbers. It even has 3 different size blades or noodles that you can create. Zucchini noodles are a much healthier alternative to eating pasta, wheat, or gluten. We are going to make this recipe in 2 steps. First, we are going to make the zucchini noodle pasta for our fettuccine. Then, we will make the sauce to mix in. Take your zucchini and peel it. I only peel it so that we get rid of the green skin so that it looks more like pasta, but the skin has nutrients too so if you want to keep the skin on there go ahead, it will only help ya. Then, you’re going to cut off a little piece from each end of the zucchini, place it into the spiralizer, and spin it on in. I am using the largest blade to give me the largest size noodles that resemble fettuccine strips. When ready, go ahead and place these gorgeous babies in your serving dish, then get ready to make the alfredo sauce! The reason why I love this alfredo sauce so much is that you don’t have to wait for an hour for it to simmer and set on the stove. It takes just a few minutes to blend! How cool is that! For the alfredo sauce, you will need to blend in your Vitamix approximately 1 large zucchini (peeled or not peeled), a half to a quarter cup of pine nuts, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a sprig of fresh basil, and a sprig of fresh sage. Once you finish blending, mix the alfredo sauce into your noodles. And as a special added touch if you’re missing your Parmesan, simply grind up some cauliflower and sprinkle it on top for that special added flavor and touch!


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The

FullyRaw

Piña Kale-ada Smoothie When you don’t have time to make a fancy raw meal, you need a go-to delicious smoothie to make in less than 5 minutes. Save this recipe and slap it on your refrigerator, because it will quickly become your favorite! It’s raw, it’s vegan, and it’s low fat. Enjoy this delicious sweet drink for a quick get-a-way! Ingredients for the Green Smoothie: 2-4 cups ripe pineapple, diced 1-2 cups of young coconut water 2 cups kale, destemmed 1 tsp. rose water Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender, pour, and enjoy! YUM!

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The

FullyRaw Kristina

FullyRaw

Epic Burger Recipe

Do you love “junk” food but need a healthier alternative? This FullyRaw Burger is EPIC. Not only is it stacked with the works, but it’s healthy for you, and you can eat the entire burger and not feel guilty! It has a sunflower seed beet patty and guacamole. It’s so rich and flavorful, I know you will love it! For this recipe, you will need either a Vitamix blender or a food processor, but really...neither are necessary if you don’t want any of the spreads.

Then, start layering your toppings like lettuce, tomato, cucumbers...whatever you want on your burger! If you want to make some GUACAMOLE, go ahead and ADD IT ON IN! easy and delicious guacamole: Add ingredients into a bowl.

For the bun of this burger you will need a large portabello mushroom. If you want to use an eggplant, cut it in half and dehydrate it overnight so that it takes on a bun-like consistency. If you don’t want to wait...just use a mushroom. This will be the “bread” of the burger.

1-2 ripe avocados 1 ripe beefsteak tomato or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes Quarter of one red onion 4 sprigs of green onion The juice of half of a lime or lemon Optional: a pinch of himalayan salt

We will first make the raw vegan mayonnaise and ketchup to spread on each side of the portabello mushrooms.

the sunflower seed beet patty: Use a food processor to mix up.

FullyRaw mayonnaise: Use a blender.

3-4 large carrots 1 medium sized beet (bulb, excluding the leaves) 3 heaping tablespoons of sunflower seeds 1 cup of soaked and rinsed sun-dried tomatoes Large handful of basil Large handful of cilantro Half of one red bell pepper 1 tablespoon of cumin Juice of half of one lemon Optional: 2 large tablespoons of pepita seeds Optional: 2 stalks of celery

2 large tablespoons of cashews (and keep in mind this will give you more than you need) Small teaspoon of lemon juice Small teaspoon of coconut water Blend this until it reaches a consistency of a mayonnaise. Then, spread it on the inner side of one of your portabello mushrooms. FullyRaw Ketchup: Use a food processor to mix up. 1 cup of sundried tomatoes 1 large ripe tomato 1 tsp of dried rosemary or a small handful of fresh rosemary 1 tsp of dried oregano or a small handful of fresh oregano 1 tsp of dried basil or a small handful of fresh basil Process this until it reaches the consistency that you desire. If you want it to be smoother, you can also use a blender. Spread this on the other inner half of the bun. rawfullyorganic.com

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When ready, roll these into patty shapes and place on a wax sheet and place into your dehydrator. Dehydrated this overnight until it reaches the perfect consistency. I have even tried not dehydrating it and eating it like this as well. It’s amazing! If you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t worry because it will work either way. When ready, assemble ALL ingredients and create your EPIC FULLYRAW BURGER! Enjoy immensely!


Jungle Dwelling Yogini Speaks Out on The Dark Side of Yoga Teacher Training an interview with Adi Shakti by Talamanca Voz Costa Rica

TVCR: What is the dark side of yoga teacher training?

Adi: Making a commitment to something this profound requires support to succeed. We are all connected, always. When you go away to a Yoga Adi: Your shadow is revealed as you shine more light into your soul. You have no Teacher Training, you are leaving your old self behind. There is an evolved version of you waiting at the end of the journey. It is such an incredible choice but to face your shame and to bring all of the parts of yourself on your path with you. It is not easy work. You can only offer guidance on what you have blessing to see the passion and potential in the students when they arrive. It is important to me that our program is accessible to those that experienced yourself, and the right teacher training serves as an opportunity to need it, and sometimes we support our students through scholarship to gain a direct experience in expanding your spirituality and working towards make ma this experience possible for them. un unconditional self love.

TVCR: What happens to your personal foundations once you begin a committed yogic path? Adi: Your foundation may be shattered. We begin to recognize which of our ideas are borrowed and which ones have come from our own life experience. Yoga is about connecting to Source through direct experience, and for many of our students, our programs may be the first time that they are encouraged to feel and embody Source. Powerful stuff. TVCR: When you mention the shadow side of ourselves and facing our demons, what do you mean?

TVCR: You mentioned scholarships. Could you tell us more about these? Adi: Passion Yoga School trainings take place near the beautiful jungles and beaches of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. During your teacher training, you will connect at a soul level with your teachers, your fellow students, and with yourself. We do deep work at Passion Yoga School. There is a powerful shift that happens when people come together with a goal of spiritual transformation.

We do offer scholarships and are currently giving away a free enrollment to our June 12 - July 2, 2016 training, you can go to www.passionyogaschool.com/scholarship to apply for the giveaway. Our next upcoming programs in Costa Rica are June 12 - July 2, 2016 and July 24 - August 12, 2016, and you can get all the details at www.passionyogaschool.com or you can send questions to passionyogaschool@gmail.com.

Adi: With deep spiritual inquiry you begin to see through the illusion of duality in your own life force energy and in existence as a whole. You are forced to face the question; "Am I using my life energy to promote my deepest purpose?" Examining our lives and seeing where we fail to fulfill our duties is wrenching at times. This process may lead to a bit of a spiritual crisis, and it is vital to have a support network as move along this journey. Only those ready to begin the work of sacrificing As you turn toward the light, you will begin to integrate spiritual truths. their own ego and moving towards unconditional love should begin this work. You will be continuously confronted by these truths, and it can be a challenge to integrate new levels of awareness into your previous way TVCR: This sounds like heavy work. You mentioned a support network to help, of being. You are not alone and signing up for a Yoga Teacher Training what do you mean by this? may just be the best thing that you will ever do for yourself. Just be aware. Once you turn toward the light, there is no going back!

We begin to recognize which of our ideas are borrowed and which ones have come from our own life experience.

For more information on Passion Yoga School visit www.passionyogaschool.com

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mantra

Kim-Julie Hansen

I n ter v ie w w ith K im-Julie Hansen // aka @ b estofvegan

The Beauty

of an

Unconventional Life,

Growing up an Awkward Outcast, the Battle Between Pursuing Dreams

Self Sabotage, Traveling the World Her Vegan Blog that Reaches Millions a Week. and

and

Maranda Pleasant: What motivated you start sharing your passion online in 2013? Kim-Julie Hansen: At first, it was just the desire to show my friends and family what vegans eat, as well as share my tips and tricks for being a vegan in Brussels, the city I lived in when I first became a vegan. I was still rather shy and very private at the time, so for the first few weeks, I ran the account practically anonymously. It took me months to build up the courage to share a picture of myself. I’ve always been somewhat of an outcast and felt out of place wherever I went. Surprisingly, having an online presence allowed me to connect with so many others who felt the same way. It gave me a sense of belonging I could have never anticipated. While it was all about food and ethical veganism in the beginning, I noticed that people were also interested in my personal story and the challenges I had faced over the years. I went from being someone who has a hard time showing emotions in front of even her closest friends, to completely opening up and sharing some of my rawest, most vulnerable moments with perfect strangers. The response was overwhelming. What I love the most is when I receive emails from people telling me about their own stories and how they can relate to what I’ve been through. Just a few months after starting my personal Instagram: @brusselsvegan @bestofvegan

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account @brusselsvegan, I started a second one called @bestofvegan. The idea was simple, to share and showcase delicious vegan recipes and beautiful photography. It had over a thousand followers the first night, a hundred thousand the first year and now, not even two years into it, it has a reach of over 300,000 people worldwide. I would say that my main motivation behind everything I do is to share information about veganism and to inspire people to go for what they really want in life instead of settling for less. It’s what drives me every single day. MP: Can you share some of the challenges you just mentioned? KJH: Before making the decision to follow my dreams a couple of years ago, I was actually miserable for many years. When I was ten, I switched schools and the awkwardness that I now embrace in myself and others, was a problem for the kids in my class. I was bullied for the next four years and dealt with it by overeating and isolating myself even more. When I was fourteen, I started smoking and drinking just so I would get accepted. It worked. I was no longer bullied, but I started losing myself more and more. Food, alcohol and cigarettes helped me numb my emotions and deal with my family’s and my own issues. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a desire to run away

and escape my reality. I still do that, but now I call it “being a nomad.” When I was fifteen, I ran away from home and moved into a small studio apartment in Berlin. A year later, shortly after my sixteenth birthday, I quit school for a year to move to New Zealand by myself. I had this feeling inside that I can only describe as the opposite of being homesick. I started working when I was fifteen and inherited the rest of the money for the trip from my paternal grandmother who had passed away just a few months earlier. After a year in New Zealand, I wasn’t ready to go back to Europe, so I changed my flight to go to Brazil instead. I returned to Berlin at age seventeen as a changed person. That’s when I knew that I would never want to lead a conventional life. I finished high school, worked and traveled for a couple more years and finally moved to Brussels in 2008 to go to college. Throughout the years, I continued overeating, drinking and smoking and at my heaviest, I weighed over 210lbs. The best words to describe my life at that moment are “unhealthy and unhappy”. I got into a few very toxic relationships and when my dad died from a heart attack in 2010, I gave up on myself entirely. I pretended to be fine and never once cried in front of my friends, but on the inside I saw his death as a sign that I, too, was doomed. I felt like he and I were so much alike that it scared me. I didn’t see the point in trying anymore and just accepted that I would end up destroying myself the way he had. › BOTTOM LEFT Photo: Timothy Pakron


to encourage people “Itowantbe unconventional and

show them that you don’t have to live according to plan. Dare to dream bigger and don’t dim your light just so others won’t feel threatened.

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Kim-Julie Hansen

The other part of my message is equally as close to my heart. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I've been told that I couldn’t do something in my life. Whether it was because I’m a woman, because I’m not good enough according to society’s standards, skinny enough, wealthy enough, the list goes on.

The first year of grieving his loss was a mix between feeling like I couldn’t breathe when I was by myself and numbing everything when I was with people. About a year after his death, I finally realized that I had a choice, to be him or to learn from him. That day, I stopped fearing death and promised myself that I would do whatever it took not to become like him. It wasn’t easy and it’s still a struggle sometimes. My life is a constant battle between pursuing my dreams and self sabotage, but I’ve learned to be grateful for every part of it and I’m continuously moving

closer to making my dreams my reality. MP: When and why did you go vegan? KJH: I went vegan in 2011, coincidentally around the same time I made the decision to learn from my dad’s mistakes. I was what you’d call the opposite of a vegan before that. I had meat and dairy every day and didn’t really care about animals that much. Mostly, I was just very misinformed. While doing research for one of my college classes, I read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and went vegetarian instantly. I had no idea how bad

things really were and how much of an impact animal agriculture had on the environment. Just five days later, a quote from Gail Eisnitz’s book Slaughterhouse changed my life forever. I became a vegan in a split second and haven’t looked back since. It remains the best decision I ever made and interestingly, my personality changed around that time too. I became more extroverted and also a lot more empathetic, not just towards animals, but towards people too. MP: What would you say your main message is? KJH: I would say that I have two main messages that go hand in hand. When it comes to veganism, my message is an inclusive one. I want to get people excited about the lifestyle, inspire them to make a change, any change, even if it’s just one meal to begin with. I think that veganism still seems incredibly difficult and unapproachable to many. Of course I’d love for everyone to go vegan today, but some people just need a little more time and encouragement to make the connection. I’m also very passionate about intersectionality, as well as moving away from the stereotype that veganism is just for rich white people. I come from a multi ethnic family myself and therefore find it very noticeable how underrepresented minorities still are in the vegan movement. Furthermore, I want to show that vegan food doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as you have the right kind of information. The other part of my message is equally as close to my heart. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve been told that I couldn’t do something in my life. Whether it was because I’m a woman, because I’m not good enough according to society’s standards, skinny enough, wealthy enough, the list goes on. I refuse to let circumstances or other people dictate how I should live my life and I want to show others that they can do the same. After high school, I wanted to travel the world but neither I nor my parents had money, so I ended up working in hotels. The hours were crazy long and the pay very low, but I got to travel for free and the experience was worth every minute of it. It’s your life, you can do whatever the hell you want. It may be a little more challenging, but you can do it. People often tell me that I’m “lucky” to have lived in seven different countries and to live the kind of life I live now and sure, I am lucky, but I also worked my ass off for it and so can you. I want to encourage people to be unconventional and show them that you don’t have to live according to plan. Dare to dream bigger and don’t dim your light just so others won’t feel threatened. As Marianne Williamson says: “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Kim-Julie, 28, is a passionate vegan who runs the instagram accounts @brusselsvegan and @bestofvegan, as well as brusselsvegan.com. She is a blogger, author, artist, yogi and world traveller.

Photo: Timothy Pakron

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STRONG WOMEN feature

We are taking these words back, laugh at them, and watch them lose their power over us.

Too fat. Too old.

Too strong.

Too independent.

Selfish Working Mother.

Too Emotional. Too Wild. Too Direct. Too Much. Not Enough. Bitch.

Too Bossy. Too Confident.

Too Aggressive. Cougar. Too Passive.

Crazy.

Words. Labels. To Make Us Shrink. Comments Meant to Diminish. To Make Us Small. To Make Us Feel Shame. To Disable Us.

We Ask These Strong, Inspiring Women:

What Have You been Called?

If we are going to fulfill our big vision and work in the world, we have to stop caring what people think. We don’t need validation and external approval. Our worth has nothing to do with our appearance or popularity. It’s time to shine, not shrink. #MantraMakers Instagram: @Mantramagazine Tag us and tell us your story.

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Diva Swears Too Much

Changeable Too insensitive

T oo E m o t i o na l Arrogant

In a Hurry

D a n i e l l e LaPo r te Author of The Desire Map “Writes like a valley girl on uppers.” There was this: “Well it looks like someone forgot where she came from.” And this gem: “I think fat people are always trying to overcompensate, I don’t trust her.” And most recently, “Privileged”. Here’s what I know for sure, with every cell of my being: I’m a deeply loving person. And I’m here for three reasons. To be self-expressed, and to be of service to the collective—very especially to women. And I’m here to be my son’s mother. That makes for some intense— and intensely fulfilling focus. I can be hurt. I can definitely be distracted and annoyed. But darkness, meanness, myopia, and utter stupidity, it’s no match for what I know to be true—THE LIGHT OF MY HEART. DanielleLaPorte.com @daniellelaporte Photo: Catherine Just

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what have you been called?

Overly Emotional

mantra

Cunt Y Anorexic Horse faced

Thin-skinned Melody Tarver Creative Director, Mantra Magazine. ORIGIN Magazine. THRIVE Magazine. Yoga Instructor Through yoga and meditation, I’ve learned that projection is real and that I do not own the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of others. It’s taken me many years, but I know how to love myself and no one will ever take that away from me. I am no longer a victim. I am the same as anyone else. Now I stand grounded in myself and send love to those who can’t see past their own anger and sadness. OriginMagazine.com Photo: Allan Hayslip

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Too Sensitive

Crazy


Miss P iggy

Loud

Impulsive

Brown Cow F lirty Sara Agah Jewelry Designer. Nurse. CoFounder, Do It For The Love Foundation with Michael Franti These are few of the names that have stung, since childhood. I wish I could tell you that I’ve risen above all of them, but truthfully, I’m still a work in progress. They are still empowering mantras for the woman I am today. Being called “Brown Cow” in school for being Persian, made me want to stand taller and proud of my heritage. Body shaming sucks and being called “Miss Piggy” led me to question my body image. I still have times when I love my curvy body and times when I don’t, but today I’m aware of my of my nutrition and exercise. Perhaps, I am “impulsive” and “over emotional,” but if I didn’t follow my passions and wear my heart on my sleeve, I would not have started my own business or done relief work in Haiti. As for “loud” and “flirty,” I’m guilty as charged. I’m clear with my intentions, and if I’m flirting with my man, he knows it! I live life to the fullest. I laugh, play and love hard and I’m not ashamed of any of it. I’m grateful that each of these words has given me the chance to reflect on my true self. SaraLua.com DoItForTheLove.org

Overly Emotional MANTRAMAG.COM

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what have you been called?

Slut

Crazy

mantra

Too Much Not Enough

F*cking Bitch Cunt

:

Zo ĂŤ K o r s

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When people call me names, the sting is always accompanied by a certain satisfaction. It means I am doing a good job of waking them up. The only reason someone would feel the need to diminish me is if what I am presenting is powerful enough to threaten their sleepy complacency. And that is exactly why I do what I do, to shift paradigms. A wildly-expressed woman cannot be a good girl. The point is not to be liked, but to serve. ZoeKors.com Photo: Danny Kosarin


Kerri Kelly Founder, CTZNWELL I’ve spent a lot of time in high-stakes spaces, whether it be in the board room, yoga studio or on the street. And the name that has stuck to me through it all is “Bossy.” Not “competent” or “convicted,” but rather too much of the thing I have witnessed men do my whole life: Lead. And I know I’m not alone. “Bossy” is the equivalent of bitch leveled against women in leadership. What for men, would often reference assertiveness, for women is used to imply that we are not entitled to take charge. Fuck that.

Pushy

I am bossy, when I need to be. But I am also compassionate and collaborative and courageous. Through my practice I have learned not to curb my power, but to know it, to harness it, and to use it to make a difference. It doesn’t benefit anyone to play small. This moment is calling all of us, women and men, to reclaim our power and potential and collectively direct it towards the wellbeing of all people. On behalf of all girls everywhere, I’m Bossy and you’re welcome.

Bossy

ctznwell.com Photo: Jennifer Graham

Bitch

Aggressiv e

Too much MANTRAMAG.COM

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what have you been called?

Drunk

mantra

Crazy Bitch

Freak Tease

Devil

Amy Putney Koenig Artist. Yoga Guide I was once told that if I got a boob job and would grow my hair out I might be dateable. My mother told me early on that when people are mean, they are often jealous or afraid. The Four Agreements says this too and goes on to say that even when people are in our face raging, it is all about them and has nothing to do with us. The most abusive person I have ever lived with was my own damn self. There was a time, when the non-stop ego mind was always putting me down. I was called a loser, a fake, damaged, fucked, a waste, and ugly. Then I would treat myself accordingly and drink to pass out, drug to overdose, cut and burn myself, and get in unhealthy relationships, etc. Then I woke up. It was brought to my attention that whether I think I am the WORST person or the BEST, it is still ME thinking about ME. I had to escape my small, scared, self-centered way of being. I realized my life was not happening to me, I am participating in it! I work to create love and acceptance for the temple I live in, take care of and love today. What a gift to be here, to breathe and go through the beautiful and the difficult, to be present and open to learn and help others. It takes effort to find her, but we all have a powerful, strong, compassionate, brilliant, creative spirit within. Let her shine. The world needs you to be you. It is not your business what other people think of you. To quote Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.� Shine on. AmyPutneyKoenig.com Photo: Michael Watson

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gypsy too independent

unrealistic

dramatic

l i v i n g in a fairytale

high-maintenance Selfish b ossy

Egotistical

Traci Wallace Writer and Conscious Marketing Strategist at Silvr Social I remember these words being used to describe me since I was a little girl; mostly in a joking manner, yet always with a slightly negative connotation. What I have learned is that everything, including words, contains both light and dark. When you let others define what these things mean, you risk the opportunity to let a part of you shine through. It’s funny that defending the fact that we are not something keeps us from seeing what truly is. My lesson: When you see the light in what could appear to be something negative, you are one step closer to seeing the light in yourself. Photo: Ashley Fierro

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what have you been called?

Difficult

mantra

Vain You Walk Like a Whore

Aggressive

You Work , for Me, So I ll F*ck You If I Want To

B itc h

Founder of ART NOT WAR, director of MEN

Bossy

That’s just a small sample. I used to take this kind of thing to heart. I used to ask myself, over and over again, what I could have done differently? Could I dress differently? Not wear makeup? What was it about ME that invited these kinds of comments? Street harassment and these kinds of digs, plus more subtle forms of intimidation, were just a part of my life as a young woman who has worked across several industries.

T he Mozart of Pushy

Now, as a successful director and activist in my 40s, I just flat out don’t take it. A young man tried to harass me on the street last week and I turned on him like a viper. He went from “why don’t you suck my d*ck?” to apologizing and nearly crying after I was done with him. I didn’t yell. I just let him know that I was a wife and a mother, and that his behavior was unacceptable. And I will leave any working situation I’m uncomfortable in, or where there isn’t a shared level of personal and professional respect.

Awfully Smart for Such a Gorgeous Girl

Learning to speak up for myself, learning to advocate for myself and to set acceptable limits has been one of the most empowering aspects of aging as a woman. As I raise a young daughter, who already has men approach her in the street to offer comments on her looks, and she’s TWO, this will be ever present in my mind. And as an activist and filmmaker, spreading the message that how we treat women in a society actually affects the health of the entire society, is one of my top priorities.

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Laura Dawn


Sarah DeAnna Model and author of the bestselling book, Supermodel YOU I am way too nice, to a fault! I do not typically elicit a lot of name-calling or labels other than that people think I am “Being Fake.” Which isn’t the case. I’m honestly just a nice girl, but no matter how nice you are somebody will always have a problem with you. The best part is that the adjectives all came from people really close to me; people I love. Most of these words came from family members. In my experience, these are the people whose words and actions actually have enough power to hurt you. Hurt me they have, and they do, but less and less today because I know who I am and who I am not. Am I selfish? Sometimes yes. It’s important to put yourself first or you are of no help to anyone. Ungrateful? Absolutely not. I have seen the worst of times and the best of all worlds and I am extremely grateful for having that disparity. Can I be a bitch? Absolutely! Especially if I don’t get my beauty sleep. @SupermodelYOU SarahDeAnna.com

Stuck Up Nothing But A Welfare Baby

Righteous Ungrateful Bitch

Judgmental

Selfish

MANTRAMAG.COM

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mantra

what have you been called?

Not Smart Enough

A Burden

Too short

Ri n a J a k u b o w ic z In high school, a boyfriend told me I was a burden and I carried that with me for years, until I understood the truth. Every judgment is a teacher. A teacher of truth. A truth of knowing who I am and who I am not, objectively. If I am what I am being called, then I reflect, apologize (if needed) and vow to myself to be more aware next time. If I am not what I am being called, then I am able to disregard it and move on with clarity and confidence. Objective reflection is key to building deep, inner strength. RinaYoga.com

Good for Nothing

Ugly Lazy

Yulady Saluti These are words that rang in my ears many times over the course of my life. When I was younger, such invectives would really hurt me. Sometimes making me feel horrible about myself or how I looked. I actually questioned whether they were true, spending time examining my looks or actions for shreds of validity. I have learned two important lessons from this name calling. First, the only way another person can make me feel bad about myself is if I let them. Second, almost always, the person that called me the name didn’t really believe I was in fact ugly, lazy, or good for nothing. Generally the person projected the qualities in me that they least liked about themselves. Learn to love yourself unconditionally by loving others unconditionally. YuladySaluti.com

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Zhena Muzyka

Welfare mom

Author. Publisher of Enliven Books and Conscious Media Host

Ball Buster

Being seen as a “welfare mom” at health clinics and hospitals exposed me to how our expensive medical system shames the poor. Because birth defects were considered uninsurable preexisting conditions, I had to enroll in a welfare program to get my newborn the healthcare needed to save his life. I carried the blue Medi-Cal card and each time I checked in to a hospital or doctor’s office, the receptionist’s face would drop when I presented it, she’d point to the “other” hospital. We were sent to the “clinic” where the waits were long and the care by volunteer doctors was rushed. When I discovered fair trade business practices and began working in the tea fields as an advocate for workers, one estate owner told me to “go back to America, we don’t need your money, you western white woman.” At first, I was devastated, but then understood—my money was to him like that blue card had been to me: a source of shame, or somehow proof of his inadequacy.

Not qualified

Unrealistic

Bossy

Unreasonable

Intense

Too independent

This taught me that the shame I felt had been of no service to my son—the healthcare he received saved his life. The workers were hungry, and this man’s rejection of funding would force them to remain so for the time being. I woke up to the fact that name calling can only shame me when I’m stuck in a place of pride, instead of true service. Why would it matter what people thought of me with that blue card? What would it matter to that man to have funding from a westerner if it meant his workers would be better cared for? So whether I’m called welfare mom, a western white woman, a ball buster or not qualified, holds no power over me so long as I’m attuned to the only thing that matters: Service to humankind. Zhena.TV Photo: Mariana Schulze

Wild

, Doesn t Follow The Rules

Dreamer

Too Direct

Suzanne Bryant Filmmaker, YOGA IS film and YOGA IS online. Yoga and meditation teacher As a woman who is independent, almost six feet tall and walks to the beat of my own drum, many names have tried to break my spirit, but eventually they made me strong. I used to struggle with people’s expectations of me, but over time, I stopped listening to what others thought of me and started on a path to discover who I was. I learned that others words are their agenda, not mine. Their perceptions are not me. The names fueled my spirit to learn to love all the aspects of me. Be proud of being called strong woman! Respect yourself, let go of fear of people’s judgments of you. Embrace yourself and that is where you will find your magic! yi.yoga SuzanneBryant.com Photo: Tashi Palmer

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what have you been called?

Over-Confident

Michelle Marchildon Michelle Marchildon is the Yogimuse. Award-winning journalist and she won't apologize for that either. I’m told that I am over-confident. You know what I’m over? Being criticized for having ambition, strength, and being totally f*cking capable. You do not hear men being criticized for confidence. As a woman, it is not a popular path to be strong. It will cost you a prom date, or even a marriage. Yoga teachers do not have to be humble, modest, weak or depressed to be effective. They simply have to be honest. Seriously, I’m one tough mother. I won’t apologize for it, and I won’t play small. I would rather spend the end of my days being exactly who I am, than trying to be someone else. It is so much better to be authentic, than to try to be popular, and I’m mostly okay with what they say behind my back.

One Tough Mother

Nadia Prescher Co-Founder and Owner, Madison House, Inc. These words could easily be complimentary, but in the past when said to me ill-intentioned, have been pretty off-putting and hurtful. Words are a tool, and for me, it’s usually about the intention behind them. About 15 years ago, a colleague from England whipped out the room-silencing word “cunt” at a meeting when telling a story. He didn’t mean the ultimate derogatory word used in the U.S. He meant it like an American would use the word “jerk,” and we all took it in the casual way he meant it, (after we put our eyes back in our sockets and told him of his ethnic, yet comedic faux pas.) Cultural difference or not, it was a huge reminder then and today; it’s all about what someone is ultimately trying to do when speaking to me. If they are trying to slight me personally or professionally, regardless of the word choice, I will stop noticing their attempt and the person all together. If they are positive, and trying to raise us both up using language and intention, I’m leaning in and contributing. Intentions behind words are everything. MadisonHouseinc.com Photo: Tobin Voggesser

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Emotional

YogiMuse.com YogaDownload.com Photo: Shannon Hedlund

Sensitive Aggressive

Independent

mantra

Female


Environmental Consultant. Yoga Teacher. Animal/Vegan Advocate. Mom As a gentle soul, being bullied as a schoolgirl and hearing diminishing words later in life inspired me to strengthen my voice, confidence, and set healthy boundaries. It was the perfect “training” for relationships, motherhood, teaching yoga, and directing my passion to protect the planet as an environmental professional for over twenty years. Committed to use my voice to shift outdated paradigms, I also speak up to educate and illuminate love, compassion and kindness for the billions of innocent, gentle animals exploited as commodities for food, clothing and entertainment. I now stand my ground as a graceful and strong woman. GoliGabbay.com Photo: Michel Andreo

Passi v e

Stupid Immigrant S a r a E l i z a b e t h I v a n h o e Overly Protective

Yoga Scholar

Was told I used too many big words. This was said to me on a date! I’m not kidding. Judgemental? Try ethical. Neurotic? I’m Jewish, what do you expect? Overly protective? I do lose my temper when people mess with my friends. Kali? Honest. Pushy and manipulative? Another way of saying that they didn’t get their way from me. My definition of the word “strength” has evolved. While I could dismiss feedback by saying “They don’t get me,” I believe that would be too easy. True strength questions itself, admits fault, and is open to the ideas of others. Recently a friend shared how his ex-wife taught him to not care what other people think. I suggested that instead, one might strive to be in such truth that there would be no doubt of everyone’s support. Valuing community is strength. The word “hatha” can be translated many ways, but one of them is force or strength. Hatha yoga means that we are all channels of that same strength. It is not “my” strength. I don’t own it. Strength lives inside of me, but lives inside of all of us. True strength does not alienate others. True strength sees itself in others. True strength brings us into union. True strength is yoga. YogaNation.com

Too Serious

Overbearing

Overly Sensitive

Martyr Mom

Goli Gabbay

Manip ulat i ve

Intense

Too Smart Neurotic P us h y MANTRAMAG.COM

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mantra

what have you been called?

Maranda Pleasant

Cougar

Founder, Mantra Magazine, ORIGIN, THRIVE Magazine. Artist Worthless I’ve lived my life believing labels, and carrying them like commands, living them out since I was a child. I was ridiculed for not having a father by other kids and beaten, leaving scars on my body and deep fear in my bones, from my caretaker. I carried the worthless label most of my life, attracting partners that would validate it. The importance of this piece was recognizing and embracing the words and beliefs that bring us shame, and taking them back, along with our power. They stopped owning me. This released me from a lifetime spent in shame. Bossy Cunt This was a first. Last month, as I was about to meet a music executive on a first date. He failed to tell me he was running an hour late, and called me a bossy cunt when I told him that didn’t work for me. Then he proceeded to call me old, unsuccessful, a whore and attacked my sexuality. Great guy. I was shocked how people still resort to name calling and violent language for women. What I didn’t do? Internalize it, take it personally or feel responsible for his anger issues.

F*cking Bitch

Difficult If you have boundaries and standards and you’re a woman, at some point you will be called difficult. Every day I get hundreds of emails with people making offers that barely benefit my company and yet take great expense, time and resources on my part to only benefit them. Even when I politely decline, I’m labeled as difficult. When people ask more of you than they want to give, and it does not nourish you, just say no. No explanation or apology necessary. Women are afraid of hurting people’s feelings, at the expense of our own and our companies. We are here to make the hard call. We’re the boss. We protect our vision and everything that we’ve built.

Worthless

Difficult

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F*cking Bitch I was walking down the street one evening in New York. A man started walking next to me and then in front of me, and refused to stop talking to me and was too close. In my strongest tone, I demanded that he get away from me immediately. I noticed how it made me feel violated on some level.

Too Sexua l

Too Direct

Bossy Cunt

MANTRAMAG.COM

He started yelling obscenities as I kept walking. He didn’t stop yelling. So I turned around and walked toward him and told him that women are taking back the motherfucking streets. He doesn’t have the right to get in our faces and continue harassing us when we ask him politely to stop. He yelled. I held my ground. The look on his face was priceless. Imagine if all women, in a safe environment, would hold their boundaries with men who belittle us like this. What kind of movement could we start? Stop worrying about being polite and start speaking up. Wear the badge of bitch, as in total honor. If we don’t stand up for ourselves and other women, who the hell will? Can you imagine that he would ever do this to another man? The idea that some men think that it is acceptable to treat women this way, is outrageous. Too Sexual. Cougar I love sex. I mean, I really love sex. I talk about it all the time. I have as much sex as possible, when it deeply nourishes me. Someone asked me why I talk about sex so much. I think it represents women taking back their power and overturning a male-dominated system built on shaming us and violating us. The narrative of men as the predator and women as puritanical, really has to go. We really have to own our sexuality. One in five college age girls will be raped. Read that again. One in five. Millions of women are violated every year around the globe. Sexuality for me is claiming my power and calling my own shots. We should love our bodies and love pleasure. I actually laugh out loud if someone calls me a slut or a whore. Do we do this to men? If you don’t do it to a man, then don’t even think about doing it to me. We call the shots. We’s say if we’re strong and sexual. It’s our story and we get to write it and define it. No one else. Oh yeah, and when I date someone eight years younger, I am called a cougar, but when men date 20 years younger, no one flinches. Nope. Can I get some equality over here? Photo: Lechon Kirb


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Mantra Yoga + Health: Issue 12.  

The Viral "labels" issues. What women have been called to make us shrink, diminish us, and feel shame about our bodies, weak in the workplac...

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