Monthly Archives: January 2013

Inspiration

What inspires you?  What feeds your energy and happiness? 

For me, of course, my children, husband, family and friends inspire me.  My heart and soul are filled with love for them and gratitude for having them in my life.  I love being a wife, mother, daughter, niece and, friend to all these amazing people but that is who I am to them.  Who am I to myself?  Well, yoga shows me that.  It is where I found my deep down, shining light, source of energy, INSPIRATION!  And guess what, I’m pretty sure it also makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, niece and, friend.

inspiration_sign

This blog is where my love for all those roles and my love of yoga spill over because I am so inspired, I can’t help but share.  Here are a few of my personal inspirations so far on my journey…  More to come on each one of these!

Seacoast Power Yoga / Tara Whitney

http://seacoastpoweryoga.com / http://tara-whitney.com

Seacoast Power Yoga feels like home.  Owner Tara Whitney, nurtures it to be that way.  It is a welcoming community of people sharing their yoga practice and more importantly themselves.

 

Baron Baptiste http://www.baronbaptiste.com/about/baron-baptiste/

My yoga teacher and a global force.  He shares the powerful tools for transforming your life, tapping into your power, and sharing it.

 

Live Love Teach http://www.liveloveteach.com

Yoga teacher training that strips away the layers to leave you teaching from love, not fear.

 

Kris Carr http://kriscarr.com

Driving the point home one green juice at a time… Food is a powerful source of medicine.  Inspirational story and website jam-packed with info on becoming a healthier you.

 

Health and Wellness Junkie http://healthandwellnessjunkie.com

Mother, Wife, Occupational Therapist, marathoner, triathlete, cancer survivor, yogi, plant-based nutrition educator and much more.  Aimee is my soul sister.  Follow her and she will lead you to a more vibrant, empowered life by sharing her own journey.

 

Forks Over Knives http://www.forksoverknives.com

This movie will answer any question on the benefits of a whole food, plant based diet.

 

Garen’s Greens – He’s a garden guru!  If you happen to catch him with a free moment (rare), he can transform your backyard into a veggie-making machine!  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garens-Greens-at-Riverside-Farm/100772396630815

Thank you for reading my post.

If you are like what you’ve read so far, I hope you will sign up via email on this blog and “like” my fb page.

As always, wishing you health, happiness and yoga!

Love, Carlene

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By |January 30th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

It’s an inside job.

I read a little to my Yin Yoga class today and was asked by a student to share this excerpt from Being of Power by Baron Baptiste. I love the quote from Albert Einstein and think the message and book are so powerful.

“We always want to fix something outside ourselves, rearrange the pieces, repair whatever we think is “wrong.”  We can change jobs, relationships, cities, and circumstances.  And yes, maybe for a while that gives us some relief.  But no matter what we do, where we move, or who we’re in  a relationship with, changing the form of something is temporary, and fix its never work in the long-term.  Unless we transform our way of being from the inside out, it all ends up being and feeling the same, because we’re still showing up with the same mind-set.

As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

“When you undergo a transformation, the world is unchanged.  Your environment, situation, and immediate circumstances are all the same.  How you feel, see, listen, think, and act are what have been altered, and who you are and how you relate to the individuals and things in your life is what shifts.  Imagine feeling completely renewed, without having to change a single thing about your physical reality.  The beautiful thing here is that by transforming the way you relate to life, circumstances around you will ultimately shift as well.” 

~From the book, Being of Power,  by Baron Baptiste

 

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By |January 29th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Did you just hear that?

Did you just hear that HUGE sigh of relief??

My thirteen year old daughter just arrived home from nine days in Costa Rica on a school trip!  For those of you that know me, you are still picking your jaw up off the floor that she even went.  For those of you that don’t know me, lets just say she started babysitting for other kids before I felt comfortable to even leave her and her brother home with a sitter.  To say I can be an anxious, overprotective, control freak is an understatement! (although, we now qualify things with BY, Before Yoga and AY, After Yoga)  Much of my control freakiness was BY.  When she said that she wanted to go on this trip back in September, I knew in my heart, I couldn’t let my worry hold her back.  After all, we are well into the AY period!

 

I feel like what empowered her to go on this adventure is the same thing that empowered me to let her go.  “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”…right??  How could I hold her back from this experience?  Did I want her to be the anxious, overprotective, control freak mom too?  We spent many hours talking about what it means to step out of what feels easy and take advantage of opportunities that are right in front of you.  We talked about how when you do this, doors open to even more exciting and fulfilling opportunities.  Are you listening, Carlene??  I was speaking to myself as much as I was speaking to my daughter.  One of the many adventurous activities on her itinerary was zip lining and cliff jumping into the water.  How funny that this was this picture that appeared on my Facebook feed the day after she left.  Someone was speaking to me.

cliff diving

My heart broke a tiny bit, leaving her that early morning in the school parking lot.  The few days leading up to the trip were filled with anticipation, excitement, some apprehension and anxiety.  We had some really powerful discussions in those days.  Having just come home from the Boston Marathon and all the sadness of those days only added to our emotions.  Her tears flowed on the way to school but it was replaced with a quiet determination by the time we arrived to meet the group.  She shook as she was trying to calm herself to get out of the car.  I watched it happen right before my eyes.  I reassured her to just feel what she was feeling in her body, question exactly what it is and just let it be.  Are you watching, Carlene??  “What are you afraid of?”, I asked her.  We agreed that what she was afraid of were just made up stories in her mind, the what ifs.  Fear, designed to hold her back, keep her playing safe and small, lies that only pretend to protect you.  That fear wasn’t real, the only thing that was real was that moment.  Getting out of the car, onto the bus, and taking each moment as it came.  You’re listening, right Carlene??  She let all that fear and emotion come up, looked right at it, felt it in her body then, it just let her go.  She didn’t try to push it down or ignore it.  She just let it all come up and it released her.  Be sure you are taking good notes, Carlene!  I had the same opportunity to practice that very same exercise on the ride home and many times this past week.

 

This past week has had a few “out of the comfort zone” moments for me.  I sent my little girl off on what I hoped to be an adventure that will empower and invigorate her.  I launched my website, first blog post, my intention to share how yoga has changed my life and hopefully to inspire yours. All of these moments had a little bit of that person jumping off the cliff in them.  I am filled with enormous gratitude for the response on my first post and the love I feel as a result of simply sharing what expands my heart.  Sometimes, that little voice in your head tells you something good.  Your voice of intuition.  Listen to it.  It may only whisper sometimes but let it be more powerful that the constant chattering of the fears.  The voice of fear is lying to you.  Here I am again, wishing I could scream this off the page…Life does begin at the end of your comfort zone!  It’s kind of fun out here.  It’s a little scary but at times but you just have to feel that feeling and jump!

 

Thank you for reading.

Wishing you Health, Happiness, and Yoga!

Love, Carlene

 

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By |January 28th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Welcome Back!

Wow!  It is amazing how easily I was pulled down in to a total funk!  I had a couple bumpy days, well a couple bumpy weeks, and let so much slide.  Everything that makes me feel great, I just dropped!  Barely juicing, eating crappy food, still practicing yoga but not as regularly, just generally letting that old story of  “See, when you take care of yourself, everything else falls apart”.  Nothing earth shattering but, anyone with a teenager can relate.  Someday, the unnamed party may just google what Mommy’s been up to so we will leave all the boring details out.  Suffice it to say, I feel like I am on the rollercoaster of slamming doors, eye rolling, dumpster bedrooms, I love you/I hate you all in the same breath, drama …  the rollercoaster is running and no one is at the controls.  I fell back into, just hold everything as tight as you can, manage, control and things will feel safer.  Not true!  My story is, Be Prepared, the rug will get yanked!  And you know what, sometimes it does get yanked. But, when I spend all my time holding on for dear life, I miss all the other wonderful moments in between.  I can’t believe how those old feelings came back with a vengeance.

Here is what I learned.  Breathe.  The tools and power I have found in my yoga practice really do work!  Sure it’s easy to spout off all kinds of advice and yogic wisdom when things are going smoothly.  It’s when the ‘you know what’ hits the fan, you feel yourself slipping back into old patterns of coping, that you really need to put your money where your mouth is.

happinessToday I woke up, made my green juice, practiced yoga and got on with my day.  I am reminding myself to keep coming back to the center where I feel whole and where I can, most easily, see clearly and move forward.  If the peace and serenity aren’t happening on the inside, no way will I find it on the outside.

Wishing you that peaceful place!  Love ~ Carlene

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By |January 27th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

That was my Warrior II…

Published in Elephant Journal May 3, 2013

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/05/my-warrior-ii-a-recounting-of-my-day-at-the-boston-marathon-bombings-carlene-benelli/

I was recently asked, what my favorite yoga pose was?  Easy answer, Warrior II.  “What??” that person said to me,  “Warrior II is brutal!”  Warrior II, arms stretched front to back, powerful stance, laser-gaze forward.  It’s a beautiful pose to me; but, hold it for more than 20 seconds and things start to heat up!  That little voice is your head starts talking. Shoulders tense and burn as sweat drips down your Warrior 2forehead and back.  “Just set your gaze and stay”, the teacher says.  Now, the voice in your head is really talking –  sometimes screaming.  I refer to it as my “Debbie Downer” voice but really, its just fear.  What is the reality here?  I’m just holding a yoga pose.  I can choose to focus on the discomfort and write an entire story in my head. In record time, I can ask myself how long we are going to be here, question whether or not should I just let my arms down or maybe just adjust my ponytail and take a drink of water.  Or, I can stay.  Stay in my breath, in my gaze and focus inward.  I found that place in Warrior II.   At a recent teacher training, I found the other side of the burning, sweating and shaking.  It felt so good.  It was the other side of my comfort zone. There is no story, only the present moment.  I can be in each moment.  Hold the pose for THIS moment.

This past Monday my husband ran the Boston Marathon, as he has many times before.  It’s a tradition for our family.  We run to remember our mothers and raise money for cancer research.  The kids and I wait at mile 25 for Matt to come by, cheer him on to his last mile then head to the finish line or a family meeting area.  This year was the same.  We were so happy to see him ahead of schedule at mile 25 considering a significant Achilles strain.  We quickly cheered him on and sent him on his way to relish the last mile.  Within seconds, everything changed.  Matt passed us at mile 25, I took the kids and began to walk toward the finish line then, someone next to me said, “There are bombs going off at the finish line”.  That was my Warrior II.

Reliving the fear of those hours and writing a mental story of “what if’s” is worthless.  The reality is, I had to get my two children safely through the chaos, find my husband and pray he wasn’t injured by the bombs … or worse. I just decided to walk away from the crush of people on the streets, just keep my children calm, hold their hands and get where I could find Matt.  It took us an hour to go less than a mile.  Each step, each moment, it became clear how bad it really was.   We went from sunny day, cheering on runners to helicopters, police with weapons drawn, national guard, swat vehicles, and everywhere we turned were frantic, stunned, injured people.  I had a husband to find somewhere at the finish line. We couldn’t get through to the finish and could only go back to the nearby hotel where we were supposed to meet after the finish line.   As soon as my phone started working, I had 30 texts.  “Are you ok??”,  “Is Matt ok?”, “They said there are more bombs?”  “Stay away from big crowds.”  Within moments of frantically searching the hotel for Matt, we were evacuated, still no Matt.  Back on the street, still only able to receive texts and a very few phone calls,  I was becoming more and more aware that I needed to reassure the people I love and love us that we were all ok…even before I knew it was true.  That was my Warrior II.

We practice yoga and take it out into our world.  As a yoga instructor, I want to share how powerful yoga has been in my life.  How you are on your mat, IS how you are in your life.  If I could scream this out on the page, I would! …YOU ARE STONGER THAN YOU THINK!  Practice this in your everyday life!  Don’t let your arms down to adjust your ponytail or take a drink of water!  Find your strength, set your gaze and breathe!  Take each moment and stay in the present.  The story is, there I was… in my breath, laser focus, powerful stance, one arm outstretched toward where I needed to go and one stretched back hold my children’s hands.   Calm… inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.  Through phone calls, texts and, facebook posts I learned more and more.  Hours passed and I finally reached my husband safely.  He was ok, we were ok and we walked out of the chaos together.  That was my Warrior II.

 

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By |January 20th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

To BE or not to BE…

To_Be_Or_Not_To_Be____by_lateatnine

BE.

DO.

HAVE.

Three words that pack a lot of power and can transform your life.

What do you want more of in your life?  We are all pretty clear on the “HAVES”.  I want to have better relationships, I want to have more time, patience, adventure, excitement, fulfillment at work … fill in the blank.  I know I am pretty clear on what I want to have.  One of my big “haves” is that I want to have a peaceful home.  I want it to be a place where my family feels safe, nurtured and supported.  A place that they want to bring their friends, filled with joy, laughter and love.  I can see exactly what that looks like.  The issue is that I’ve skipped all the way to the “HAVE”.  I must start with the “BE”.

If I want a peaceful home with all the qualities I just listed, I need to “be” that first.  We think we have to wait for the right time, environment and circumstance to have all that we want.  That isn’t true and that time is not coming!  The good news is when I start with how I am showing up in the situation, I can see exactly why I do or don’t have what I want.

When I hold this “want” so tightly, I am controlling, perfectionistic and uptight about everything from homework being done to the perfect dinner, clean house, chores done.  This is usually anything but peaceful in my own body/mind and how I am interacting with my family.  I am looking to all the wrong things for my own peace and a peaceful, joyful home.  ‘

I really just keep checking back when I hear that inner voice say… I wish I had…blah blah.  That is my want, loud and clear.  Now I ask, “How am I being?”  If I want more time, how am I showing up in this moment?  If I want more affection, am I being affectionate?  If I want more ease, am I at ease?  If I want more respect, am I being respectful?

Be.

Do.

Have.

That is a powerful equation for me!  As soon as I back up to the BE, the DO is clear, and the HAVE will begin to show up!  Try it!

Thank you for reading and may you BE all that you desire!

Love Carlene

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By |January 18th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

My latest adventure ~ Yin Yoga!

 

As most of you know, I practice and teach Power Vinyasa Yoga based on Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga.  I love, love, love this practice!  It is dynamic, sweaty (around 92 degrees), empowering and transformative.  It works on your strength, balance and flexibility.  One of the best parts is that it is accessible to all!  It truly meets you where you are, no matter size, shape, age, experience or flexibility.  You can practice this yoga every day and find something new each time within it.  It takes you to your edge and shows you that there is more!

Yoga has truly sparked the learner back up in me.  I am constantly looking for more to read, learn and experience.  Recently, I took a little “yoga field trip” to take a Yin Yoga class in Boston.  The romantic weekend away with my husband was really a ploy to practice Baptiste and Yin Yoga at studios in Cambridge.  Yes, the guy who bought me Bruins tickets for our first Christmas together, is going on some yoga field trips…no questions asked!

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

I was excited to try Yin as a contrast to my regular Power Vinyasa Practice.  Of course, once I tried it, I knew I wanted to train in and teach it.  Wow!  I was not disappointed!  Yin Yoga is the perfect balance to a more dynamic, muscular yoga practice.  While dynamic forms of yoga use muscle, yin primarily targets the connective tissues.  It is a deep stretch!   When our range of motion is limited by soft tissue resistance, 41% of that comes from muscle tissue and 47% comes from denser connective tissues.  If we are working muscle and not targeting the connective tissue, we are only getting the job half done.  I definitely feel that Power Yoga works both but it primarily works muscle.

Yin Yoga focuses on stressing the connective tissues.  Connective tissue is the environment your cells live in.  It is everywhere.  Healthy connective tissue means increased flexibility, prevents joint degeneration and increases hydration, which will detox your joints.  The benefits of Yin Yoga go on and on.  Take a class and see how you feel, mind and body.  You will instinctively know that you did something wonderful for yourself.

What can you expect in a Yin Class?  Class can range from 60-90 minutes.  Most of the class is held in seated or reclined positions.  You will be holding poses anywhere from 2-5 minutes.  The teacher will guide you to a pose; encourage you to stay at the edge of first resistance and let time and gravity work on the tissues.  I hope I sparked a little interest in you as well.  Come try a class at http://seacoastpoweryoga.com or book a private, semi-private or small group class with me.  I can be reached at carlenebenelli@gmail.com .

Wishing you Health, Happiness and some Yin Yoga!

 

Suggested websites for more info:

http://yinyoga.com

http://joshsummers.net

http://baronbaptiste.com

 

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By |January 17th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Juicing and Blending ~ 101

DSC_0177

The sun is shining and the veggies are fresh!!!  Now is a great time to dust off that blender or juicer and finally experiment.  I am definitely not a nutritionist and not particularly proud of the damage I can do to a bag of Lays potato chips.  What I do know is that when I eat whole, clean foods and stay as close to Mother Nature as possible, I feel so much better physically and mentally!

Here is a quick 101 on the differences and benefits of Juicing v. Blending.  I will also share my two favorite recipes.

Juicing removes the fiber from fruits and vegetables, leaving behind nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body.  Juicing is good for digestive health, curbs your appetite and increases your veggie diversity.  Your body is constantly moving on a scale from alkaline to acidic.  A glass of green juice in the am brings you right to alkaline.  A more alkaline system promotes healthy weight, skin, reduces sugar cravings and enhances overall health.  Juicing will boost your immune system, help your body resist and fight infections, reduce high blood pressure and high levels of bad cholesterol.  I use a Breville juicer.

Don’t pollute the juice!… The best time of day to have a green juice is in the am.  You have been fasting all night and your system is empty and ready to absorb all the nutrients.  It’s best to have an empty stomach and not to introduce food, coffee, tea, etc for at least 30-60 minutes so your body gets the max benefit from all that green goodness.

Blending smoothies leaves all the fiber and nutrients in your drink.  Smoothies are nutrient dense, hydrating, easy to make, and can work as a meal replacement.  Blending smoothies with the proper ingredients can give all the same benefits that juicing does to varying degrees.  Blending is definitely more filling and will deliver more calories.  The consistency when blending is a thick, frozen drink while juicing gives you a thin liquid.  I use a Vitamix blender for smoothies.

Here are my two go to recipes;

GREEN MORNING JUICE (makes one large glass)green-juice

  • 5-8 leaves KALE
  • 1 CUCUMBER (peel if not organic, otherwise leave the peel on)
  • 1 head of ROMAINE (cut bottom off)
  • 2-4 stalks of CELERY
  • 1 GREEN APPLE (cored)
  • 1 LEMON (peeled)
  • Send all ingredients thru the juicer and drink immediately.  Ideally, fruits and veggies are organic.  Peel non-organic produce.  Enjoy the liquid sunshine!

 

GREEN SMOOTHIE (I love this smoothie as a light lunch or an afternoon snack)glowinggreensmoothiemainjpg

  • 8 leaves KALE
  • 1 frozen BANANA (I keep a bag of peeled, frozen bananas in my freezer)
  • 2-4 pieces frozen PINEAPPLE (cut and freeze fresh pineapple in large chunks)
  • handful RAW WALNUTS OR CASHEWS
  • coconut water
  • ice
  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth consistency.  Delicious!

Here are some more resources online;

http://kriscarr.com/

http://healthandwellnessjunkie.com/

Just think of all the crazy foods you’ve tried!  Fried Oreos?  Worm in the tequila?  Foods with a shelf life of years instead of days?  Give this a try.  You will be amazed at how you feel, how your cravings change and all the options you have for juicing and blending!

Wishing you health, happiness, yoga and a big green juice every morning!

Love, Carlene

 

 

 

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By |January 16th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Did she say Yoga or Yogurt??

She looked at me from her mat and said, “If we can do this wheel for 20 seconds, I can handle that test tomorrow, NO PROBLEM!”  We both popped up into wheel and began counting together with the class.  Honestly, I could have held it forever after my daughter looked at me from her mat.  Now, don’t get any romantic notions that she and I practice yoga together regularly or talk for hours on end about the power of yoga. She basically asked me “how much longer?” most of the class.  She is 14.  I’m not sure why, on that day, she agreed to come to yoga with me.  I ask all the time.  My invitation is usually met with an eye roll and a definite “NO”.  This particular night a few things came perfectly clear to me.  Keep trying.  Intentions are powerful stuff, when you set your intention for something greater than yourself, you can move mountains!  You can take what you do on your mat and empower your entire life!

The next morning we sat in the parking lot, my daughter was headed in for a 3+ hour test.  Right on cue,   “I can’t do this!  Lets just go home and reschedule the test.  Please, I can’t do this.”  The panic in her face was real and now typically translates into my own silent panic in my gut and the center of my chest.  There is what we call a “nervous Nellie” gene in our family and I seem to have passed it on to my daughter in full force.  I reassured her, and then remembered what she said to me the night before from her mat.  I looked at her and said, “You held a wheel for 20 seconds!  We never hold it for that long!  This is your wheel!”  No lie, it still required some poking, prodding and a lot of reassurance to get her into the test but she did it.  It was my wheel too.  I could have stayed there all night, for no reason other than it was for her.  She needed to see that we could do this pose that may be out of our comfort zone, breathe through that moment of panic and accomplish something that our first instinct may have been to say no to.

Here is my simple yoga recipe for today.  Try it out next time you step on your mat, open the door to your office, begin cooking the same dinner you have made 1,000 times… you get the picture, it works everywhere.

  • Set your intention.  Decide that you are doing this for something or someone greater than yourself.  We’ve all had those moments of “WOW, I don’t know how I did that!”  It’s because we were doing it for a greater purpose.
  • Keep coming back to that intention.  Stop, breathe, let your mind be quiet and clear, reaffirm that intention.
  • Dream big.  Dreams don’t need to be small, safe or judged.  Reach for it!

wheel

Wow… one Friday night hour of power and I am completely reinvigorated in my teaching and practice!  Truth … I did have to take her out for frozen yogurt after yoga.  That was part of the deal.  I agreed as long as she didn’t tell anyone… she did, she told everyone.

Wishing you health, happiness and whatever it takes for a little yoga…maybe even a frozen yogurt!

Love, Carlene

By |January 14th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

What’s your story?

I’ve had this conversation so many times this past week, I figured why not…

What’s your story?  We all walk around with this jumble of stories floating around us… (see Pigpen with the big cloud of dust:) ) pig-pen-lrg

These are stories that, while possibly based out of fact, are nothing but a made up interpretation.  Your stories are the ideas you have about who you are, why you are that way and why certain things happen or don’t happen for you.  If you took the time to write out this story, you could extract very few FACTS!  You really have to be perfectly honest with yourself for this to work.  Each moment, we judge ourselves and others based on that story.  Here’s a little tidbit of mine… I’m not athletic.  I’ve believed that about myself forever.  I tried softball when I was about eight but the tall, lanky girl couldn’t catch the ball.  One day… smack!… right in the face!  “Honey, maybe softball isn’t for you.”  Whammo!… I’m not athletic.  I was eight, got hit in the face with the softball and decided that I would believe for the rest of my life, I am not athletic.  I know what you’re thinking,  the happy, healthy, yogi thinks she’s not athletic?…really??  Well it wasn’t until my beliefs were tested, right there on my mat.  My mat is my mirror.  It’s also a testing ground for all the stories I believe about myself.  My mat is where I learned that I am athletic and a whole lot more.

These stories can layer onto just about any belief we have.  Someone changes plans last-minute and all of a sudden you are back in high school when you didn’t get asked to the party.  A husband or wife makes a comment and you are transported to back to the child that didn’t this he/she was good enough for the love or attention of a parent.  Where are your facts?  Come through the cloud of dust to find that it’s a simple as a change of plans or a poorly thought out comment.  The meaning comes from our story.

Try it out.  You can write your own new story.  All those things you belive about yourself…I’m not athletic, smart, loveable, worthy, as good as, blah, blah, blah.  Choose something different for yourself.  When the stories start brewing, just stop and ask, “Is this true, fact, absolute, or am I making it mean something, writing a little story?”

Wishing you health, happiness and yoga!

Love, Carlene

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By |January 14th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|