By Laura Mills
Those who know me best know the size of my sweet tooth, particularly my fondness for anything heavily frosted. Most cakes (especially corner pieces with lots of flowers) and giant frosted cookies hold special places in my heart. My closest friends readily joke about my gargantuan smile at spotting a bakery, and in delicious fun I laugh with them because, trust me, me plus frosting equals pure bliss.
While the idea is tempting, I don’t keep emergency cake in my car or cookies in my purse. Yet I often wish I could transfer my “frosting bliss” to other parts of life. Of course, I don’t spend all day eating desserts; however, why can’t I experience the same delight, or even something close to it, when I do laundry? What about when I grocery shop? And when I clean the house? What if I could somehow figure out how to infuse more contentment into those activities and make them as blissful as enjoying my favorite desserts?
And so, my quest has become to bring something close to “blissfully happy” to as many moments as possible. Practicing yoga is a great start because it continuously reminds me that a lot of life—more than I ever thought possible, in fact—can actually be pretty sweet. But among the secrets, I think, and something I desperately need to work on, is slowing down and allowing myself to actually taste it. From there…who knows?
May the moments of your life be “Cookie Moments,” too.
DO SOMETHING JUST FOR YOU BECAUSE IT FEELS GREAT!
JOIN ME DECEMBER 8-12, 2010 FOR A 5-DAY YOGA RETREAT DESIGNED TO HELP YOU REDISCOVER YOUR BLISS. JUST YOGA, YOU, ME, BEACH, LUXURY, PRIVACY, TIME.
TAKE $250 OFF!! AS MY STUDENT.
- Integrate Spirit and Nature as you practice yoga, hike, swim, lounge at Haramara private beach, enjoy meditation beach walks with a group dedicated to doing the same.
- Fully discover (or rediscover!) the Joy of Yoga.
- Experience a place filled with serenity for those looking to reestablish balance.
- Enjoy exceptional yoga, hiking, eco-adventures and camaraderie, connecting with pristine beaches, gourmet vegetarian meals, relaxing jungle spa treatments.
- Take advantage of opportunities to experience epic surfing, fun zip lining, horseback riding, whale watching, snorkeling and more!
- Recharge, refresh and renew, leaving totally more inspired about your life!
WHERE IS HARAMARA?
Haramara (a sacred Huichol word for "Grandmother Sea") is located amid the mountains in the most beautiful coastal region of the state of Nayarit in Mexico. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountains, perched on a pristine natural beach, Haramara is an idyllic retreat offering outstanding serenity, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring scenery. The surroundings are marked by volcanic highlands, lakes and rivers, as well as innumerable beaches, many of which still remain untouched. The Pacific breeze keeps the climate deliciously mild.
ACCOMODATIONS AT HARAMARA
Breathtaking views and untouched tropical vegetation embrace the charming and cozy palm-thatched "cabañas" (bungalows). There are some beautiful photos on the resort’s website Each cabaña has been carefully designed to subtly merge the internal and external environments while meeting strict ecological standards. The cabañas feature comfortable beds, with hand woven sheets, and carefully designed bathrooms. The folks at the retreat center have graciously arranged for two lodging choices. All lodging choices are inclusive of tax, gratuity, meals and use of the facilities.
HEALTHY NATURAL CUISINE
Enjoy delicious gourmet meals served in a spacious open air palapa roofed restaurant overlooking the jungle and ocean. Meals are tastefully prepared and served with beautiful and artistic presentations. Our wait staff is friendly, well trained, and attentive to your needs.Haramara acknowledges that good nutrition and well balanced meals are an integral part of yoga, meditation, a good mind-body learning experience, and overall health and well being. You will be served 3 complete gourmet vegetarian meals per day.
Come and enjoy the beautiful 1,300 sq ft yoga deck set uphill amidst the deep jungle vegetation. It can comfortably hold up to 40 students. Practice and learn with a panoramic view to the jungle and ocean, ideal for group practices.
An array of treatments, massages and facials will help you relax, detox, heal, and reach a greater sense of mind- body balance through your stay.
$700 for Dorm shared
$850 for a double room
$1200 for a single room
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR INVESTMENT?
- 4 nights of accommodationat Haramara Retreat
- 3 complete gourmet vegetarian meals per day.
- A social hour on select evenings
- 8Yoga classes with Silvia Mordini
- Yoga clinics and mini workshops with Silvia Mordini
- Sunset Yoga Ceremonies
- Private Dharma talks facilitated by your Guides
- A special goodie bag with loving gifts
Airfare to and from the trip, transfers, gratuities for your guides, and spa services.
Deposit: A $500 dollar deposit will reserve your space. Balance must be received by TBD
TIPS AND GRATUITIES
Gratuities for your guides may be given at your discretion in response to their leadership and professionalism throughout the trip. We suggest 5-10% of the trip price per individual to be divided between the guiding team as an industry standard.
TO REGISTER AND SAVE YOUR SPOT:
You can pay with check, direct bank deposit, or credit card or Paypal on line but we most prefer checks. Please send checks to Alchemy Tours c/o Total Body Yoga, 210 Terrace Drive, Mundelein, IL 60061.
For more information contact: email@example.com or visithttp://silviamordini.com/yoga-retreats.asp (530) 408-6877.
REDISCOVER YOUR BLISS HARAMARA DAILY AGENDA
8:00am - 9:00am Breakfast
9:30am - 11am Vinyasa flow yoga
11am – 12pm Yoga clinics, mini workshops
12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch
1:30pm - 5:30pm Daytime Fun (Beach, Spa, Hiking, & More)
6:00pm - 7:00pm Vinyasa flow yoga and meditation
9:00pm Dharma talks
DOWN WITH PROCRASTINATION ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
SEPTEMBER 4, 2010: From the teachings of yoga a teacher shared with a teacher that shared with a teacher that shared with teacher Pamela Bliss who shared with me, "One of the most profound bits of wisdom shared with me in a teaching yoga is that procrastination is severely detrimental to one's development on the spiritual path." For me the truth of Yoga is that if you practice regularly you see swift changes mentally, emotionally and physically. And if you step away from your practice chances are inertia takes over and it is epically difficult to get back on the mat again. Or as Jon Kabat Zinn says, "not practicing is a form of practice." And the follow up from my friend Dr. Gregg "so how's that working for you?"
"The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize." RUMI
This is not about blaming ourselves for our shortcomings. Not at all. Instead just think of yoga as TRUTH SERUM (SATYA SERUM). The body doesn't lie. When you are on one leg balancing and your mind is in a million places you will fall out of that 1 legged balance for sure. If you are in a warrior pose and your leg is shaking after not practicing yoga all summer well, not doing something has resulted in your muscles responding by shaking when they didn't do that when you took action and came to class 3 times per week. On the other hand your life is not a dress rehearsal so be happy you are pushing all your poses to that point you call the soft edge.
To me there are 2 kinds of procrastinators: (1) those that have gotten off the couch and attempted and (2) those that have never fully tried. Interestingly, just because you might fall into category #1 of procrastinators doesn't guarantee you momentum. For that you have to stay engaged. So whether you've tried a little, a lot, or not at all procrastination in any of its forms will stunt your spiritual development. You will forever stay a Spiritual Baby and never evolved towards spiritual toddlerhood or adolescence or adulthood. The path is sequential.
I have healed myself of procrastination is through yoga and my spiritual practices that support my yoga, because I grew up enough to ask for help from the universe. The reason I would often get paralyzed by procrastination was I was afraid of having to do everything by myself, I even felt like I had to always offer my prayers for others but never for me. "Where did you get that idea you aren't allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe. You're a constituent - you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me - it will at least be taken into consideration." -Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love
So start now or reboot, or restart today. Stop blaming, stop waiting for everything to be perfect, stop postponing your happiness and just ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT! And keep asking, continue the momentum. And if you want a really easy way to to keep up with yourself and your intentions well then make regular, consistent appointments with your yoga mat and I promise you will see your life blossom beyond your wildest intentions! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS if you need a quicker kick off then join me on Retreat for a 4 day adventure in Moab, Utah or Pagosa Springs, Colorado this Fall come November and December. www.alchemytours.com
LOVE IS YOGIC: GUEST BLOGGER FROM ELEPHANT JOURNAL
By Dylan Barmmer on May 7, 2010
I have always been deeply and madly in love with Love.
I was named after a romantic poet. I was raised by a would-be Priest and heart-on-his-hairy-sleeve hero of a father. I started falling in love with girls when most boys were pulling their pigtails and screaming about “Cooties”. I listened and felt and sometimes cried to The Cure, The Smiths, REM and U2. I thought John Lennon was the baddest rebel lover ever – even if my Catholic Programming suggested I should condemn him for “imagining there’s no Heaven.”
An ex-girlfriend of nearly four years even told me I was too in love with Love – after insisting to her other lover and I that we had never made love. But that’s Another Story for Another Day (!).
I’m listening to Enigma while writing this. And chatting with a friend about the beauty of Unconditional Love. And hoping and dreaming I catch a good case of The Cooties soon.
What can I say? I’m a Hopeful Romantic. I’m a Leo. I’m a poet.
I guess it’s like Osho says so beautifully in “Emotional Wellness”:
“If you are rational, really rational, you will become a scientist. If you are really emotional, you will become a poet.”
But I wasn’t always so good at loving myself. In fact, sometimes I was downright terrible at it.
Yoga changed all that. And continues to do so.
I’ve tried a lot of different things to patch that hole in my Old Soul through close to 36 years of living this life on this beautiful earth, and I can’t say I’ve ever found anything that makes me as happy or alive or truly in love – not just with the idea or feeling of love, but with life and truth and beauty and others – as my yoga practice.
But most importantly, yoga has taught me to love myself. Unconditionally. Without judgment. Without fear. Without reason. Without boundaries or borders or limitations. All ways.
And it’s not just because it’s honed and toned and sculpted my 30-something body into the best it’s ever looked (though that doesn’t hurt). No, it’s way beyond that. It’s more about how I feel inside. How present I am. How aware. How passionate. How compassionate.
I’ve always been highly passionate, tactile, affectionate and sexual (I am a Leo Man, after all). And I’ve always been fascinated with living and loving at the intersection of The Sacred and The Profane. The link between The Divine and sexual passion has also always fascinated me (consider the use of bedroom talk like “Oh God that feels good!” or “Jesus, that’s it right there!”). The one Truly Tantric sexual experience I’ve had (thus far) literally rocked my world, and opened me up to a whole new dimension of Love and Freedom and Expression.
Anyway, my mom might be reading this (if so, Happy Mother’s Day. I love you!). So I’ll stop there. The point of all this is that yoga, at its very core and elemental essence, is really all about Love. Love of The Divine. Love of all other beings. Love of life. Love of service. And, most of all, love of self. Because it all starts from within – and radiates outward. You know, kind of like the sun.
So I wrote this poem – after a yoga + poetry class I had the honor to help create and facilitate with my amazing friend Cindy Sitara Lee at my beloved Yoga Swami – called “Love Is Yogic.” And I’ve been performing it more and more lately.
You might even say I’ve fallen in love with it.
Following are both the written form of the poem, as well as a link to a videotaped performance prior to a class in the Yoga Swami yurt (home to a true Abundance of Love). Enjoy. And tell your mother you love her on Sunday – and beyond!
Love Is Yogic
Love is an asana
it comes and goes, ebbs and flows
how long can you hold it?
Love is a sutra
it binds and holds, folds and unfolds
connecting at The Source
Love is a mantra
it is O! O! Ommmmmmmmm…
waves of bliss, an endless kiss
Love is a journey
it starts within and where it ends
is entirely up to you
WHAT IS REAL WHO HAS IT EASIER THAN YOU?
LIVING FROM YOUR HEART OPEN TO BLISS
YOGA SUTRAS FOR TODAY: 1.3 United in the heart, consciousness is steadied, then we abide in our true nature, joy. The expansion of this joy is infinite LOVE, which encompasses and then transforms everything it touches. Everywhere we look, we see the reflection of our Divine and joyful nature.
1.4 Sometimes we identify with the rays of consciousness which fluctuates and encourages our perceived suffering
This means that as we come to understand that our nature is joy and love suffering can’t take over our lives as easily. Now we will in our humanness continue to experience some fluctuations (ebb and flow, up and down). What this sutra is saying is that if we “identify with grumpy, negative, fearful, angry thoughts the mind BEAMS them outward to the universe and those same thoughts and grumpy, negative, fearful, angry people are attracted to us like a magnet.” (Translation from Secret Power of Yoga)
What is the answer?
Love is the answer.
Bhakti is love. Bhakti is love in action.
Love is active.
Yoga is active, yoga is love in action. Yoga is bhakti.
Ask yourself are you living from your heart? Are you actively living from love? Are you waiting before you listen to your heart? Well, there is no reason to wait when your life can be better right now. This is not a rehearsal. This is your life and each day we only ever get to do just once! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEANING OF LIFE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE
JUNE 19, 2009:
Are you Looking for the meaning of life or a Meaningful life?
As I looked out at the Tuscan countryside with but an occasional car driving past, not even a street sign or visible way to distinguish the drive to our farmhouse I was surrounded by waves of grass blowing in the wind. It was here I contemplated what am I doing with my life? Am I looking for the meaning of life or a MEANINGFUL LIFE? As a spiritual seeker I learned long ago that seeking is different than finding answers, it is the freedom to ask more meaningful questions. Quite frankly just asking the questions can be more than enough.
Victor Frankl who wrote of his time in a concentration camp says, “Freedom is not something which can be given to you by someone else. It is something that you have inside of you, a way you choose to be.” So we can all choose a MEANINGFUL life where we declutter and determine our spiritual well-being. This requires us to be bold and courageous.
Why? Because meaningful lives are messy. Getting all the answers is a way to live life propholactically where we are hyper careful not to make any mistakes, erroneously thinking that if we only “get things right” “live our lives right” that it will all be ok. But who wants an ok life? A meaningful life is MORE! It is a philosophy of living life BIG AND BRIGHT without limitations. Now of course we can't control everything that happens around us or the choices that others make but this need not limit us. You have in a sense a "magic wand' that can transmute even the greatest challenge into an opportunity for greatness.
In the book Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner writes, “Most of the time I keep my imagination on a leash.” Are you the same way? Do you keep yourself so tightly wound up and leashed in that you’re literally drying out from the inside out. Wouldn’t your life be more meaningful if you let out your imagination again?
So join me in aspiring to choose a more meaningful life rich with adventurous questions! Don’t just stand at the shoreline of life looking out but afraid to get messy, just dive in and get involved with making a meaningful life. Big love to each of you! Silvia
ARE YOU HAPPY?
MARCH 15TH, 2009: We began with a type of meditation called Japa, repetition of a mantra. This has three stages and it begins with choosing a mantra. As the focus of our practice was answering the question for ourselves, ARE YOU HAPPY, we used Anandamaya Namaha.
However any variety of mantras can be used for meditation in japa meditation. No matter the mantra its sacred sound can help us move through three stages of japa practice which are:
1. link the mantra sound with the flow of breath
2. next let go of the breath and focus your attention on sounds of the mantra alone
3. as the mind becomes familiar with the sounds of the mantra it will naturally begin to pulse more quickly and effortlessly. This then turns it into ajapa japa as the mantra gains momentum. It becomes like a pulsation of energy.
We used Anandamaya Namaha as our japa. This translated means "We observe & celebrate the bliss, the state of happiness held within us!"