My #the100dayproject

One of the first blogs that I read the entire archives of was Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility Du Jour. This month on her blog, she is stressing the importance of a passion project through pursing a #the100dayproject challenge. The idea of the challenge is simple: for 100 days, you commit yourself to doing a little something of a creative act each day. Wilson writes,

Elle Luna, author of The Crossroads of Should and Must, hosts a 100-Day Project encouraging participants to commit to 100 days of doing a creative project for 5-10 minutes. No fancy tools or training needed. Just a desire to try  and commit to something for 100 days.

unnamed-2.jpgIMG_4323.JPGI have wanted to to take this blog more seriously (in a #livelightly way, of course) for quite some time now. This #the100dayproject feels like an ideal way to commit, in a manageable way, to honing my blogging skills through consistent practice. My goal is to, for the next 99 days (I started yesterday) work on my blog for ten minutes a day. As is my belief with my yoga practice, consistency matters so much more than quantity in the formation of meaningful habits. Because I started four days after the above start date, I will end four days after it as well and will track my progress through a chart I set up in my new bullet journal (post on that forthcoming!).

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Here is what I would like to accomplish through this project (because writing it down is the first step in making it happen in my book):

  • I want to develop my photography skills on social media and through incorporating original photographs into blog posts.
  • I want to curate content that inspires people to lead meaningful lives. I want to blend in all aspects of my own life into the posts.
  • I want to grow my readership…by a lot, if possible, and start to form virtual relationships with this blog’s audience.
  • I want to update the overall look, style, and layout of Growing Up On OM as a brand for 20-somethings who are trying to lead balanced, nourishing, holistic and sustainable lives with yoga in mind.

Do you have an idea for a passion project you can do consistently for one hundred days, for only 5-10 minutes each day? 

Blog Updates

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illustration by the amazing julia drachman for yoga u

Hi all! Long time no blogging – trust me, I know! In the past month or so since I last posted (sorry about that!), I’ve started up the new school year – both in graduate school and as a third grade teacher again. I also went back to blogging school; I took advantage of a massive Gala Darling sale and purchased The Blogcademy Online. My intention in taking this fabulous course is to be able to serve my readers even more. Not only that, I want to expand Growing Up on OM in all sorts of ways; I believe that growing up with mindfulness is more than a blog, more than these posts, and most of all, something that 20-somethings deserve to have reach them from multiple channels.

The blogging landscape looks totally different than it did a few years ago, and that’s great, but it’s also tricky. This is the crux of the online word: you gotta adapt, you have to keep evolving. For me, that constant sensation of transformation is what keeps things interesting. – Gala Darling

header.pngI spent a lot of time this weekend taking the online course, and I’m not even halfway through. I realized that not only does this blog need to be more than a blog – I wanted to make it easier to access. So, I took some time and created a few new social media accounts. Here’s how to get connected:

Facebook Page

Instagram: @GrowingUpOnOM

Twitter: @GrowingUpOnOM

Pinterest

I also majorly updated the About Page on this blog.

What are your waiting for?! Follow for some extra mindful inspiration!

Namaste,
Shira

P.S. I’m working to post more frequently so hopefully, I won’t go this long without posting in the foreseeable future – expect another later this week!

EuroTrip 2016: Day -10

The above photo of me as a baby emotes perfectly how I’m feeling now, pre-trip. I’m 10 days out! In 10 days, I will be galavanting in the UK with my guy (in London) and then with my sister (in Edinburgh). At this point, I can actually say that I’ve been looking forward to this trip for years. I’ve wanted to go to London for as long as I can remember and when reading Harry Potter, I wanted desperately to go to Edinburgh, the place where J.K. Rowling’s magic began.

But what does my (brattily-named) EuroTrip have to do with this blog?

huge part of Growing Up On OM has to do with doing everything that life has to offer mindfully. Travel is one of the hardest and most rewarding things to do mindfully. Travel inspires us to life life to the fullest. Going someplace new and stimulating offers countless opportunities for personal growth and development. The yoga of traveling is challenging to maintain, but during this trip…and especially when traveling with loved ones – there is nothing more important than maintaining a balance of excitement, enthusiasm, and positive energy.

During AmeriCorps, I did a lot of event-planning. The rule of thumb with event planning is to have a solidified plan ten days out of a given event. That way, there are ten days to modify that plan…but at least there is something in place to modify in the first place.

Ten days out from Big Ben, here’s my plan:

Sights to See

  • Fortnum & Mason
  • Westminster Abbey
  • The Tower 
  • Borough Market 
  • Millennium Bridge
  • British Museum
  • Elgin Marbles
  • Foyles Bookshop
  • Daunt Books
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum
  • V&A museum
  • National Portrait Gallery  (Vogue 100, Charlotte Bronte Exhibit)
  • Hamstead Heath
  • Calton Monument
  • Rose Leaf Cafe
  • Arthur’s Seat
  • The Castle
  • Camera Obscura
  • Elephant Cafe
  • Meadowlark Yoga

Sanity Plan

  • (Possibly) Try TriYoga Camden (London)
  • Yoga at Meadowlark Yoga (Edinburgh)
  • Purchase Lara Bars for Trip
  • Journal, Journal, Journal
  • Airborne Vitamins
  • Meditation + Pranayama on Planes

Blog Inspiration

In ten days time, expect updates. I’ve always wanted to be a travel blogger, so this blog will most definitely take on that format when I am abroad. After all, it’s all part of #growinguponom.

July Link Love

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view from the hawthorne bridge while exploring portland for these last few weeks of living here…what july has been about!

Introduction to the monthly Link Love column: One of my favorite blogs (and a total blogger role model of mine) is Gala Darling. Every month, Gala Darling publishes a link roundup in a narrative form of what she’s been reading. Lounging in bed on lazy Friday mornings (when I was in college) or Sunday mornings (now that I’m a working lady), I open up the links Gala posts like presents on Chanukah evenings. I want to create a similar experience for my readers…with the added bonus of documenting these reading gems so I no longer have 17 tabs open on Google Chrome. So, without further adieu, thank you Gala for the inspiration. Here is a delightful (Central Park) link carousel of my own.

The caption to the above photo pretty much details what July was about for me: living and loving in Portland for a few more weeks, and soaking it all up (plus, I had out of town visitors in the form of elementary school and college friends to make sure that happened!). Here are some of the truly amazing articles I read this month.

Teaching With a Mountain View provides suggestions for preparing for the new school year (Eep! I can’t believe it’s coming up so soon!).

I recently visited Nourish NW, a beautiful holistic nutrition institution in Portland, and fell head over heels in love with their approach to nutrition and celebrating the Abundance that is food.

HerCampus reveals the 7 types of people you become after college.

I am so sad I am just finding out now about Mikdash, an intentional Jewish social justice community in Portland. Meh! Makin’ me want to stay. Thank goodness for Romemu.

Gala Darling answers 10 questions about life, rapid-fire. In her “Whatever Forever” blog post, Gala Darling writes on why to not “play it cool” on the interwebz. I shared my favorite quote about it on my Tumblr.

I am trying like heck to scheme my vacation time to be able to attend the Penning in Paris 2016 retreat with Kimberly Wilson! #dreamingsohard #makeithappenuniverse

Glamour suggests some easy summer work outfits.

Macy Gray wrote a love song to her vibrator.

David Brooks from the New York Times writes about the (economic) structure of gratitude. Interesting read not to be taken at first value. Also from the Times, Jennifer Weiner exposes her daughter’s desperate texts from camp (my mom sent that one to me because, well, it rang true for this New Yorker). And finally (on a very different note), the Times magazine necessarily details what happens when people leave prison, and what options are available to them for moving forward.

During the last month of my AmeriCorps service, OPB came to my school to film the amazing class of 2025 that make me tear up with gratitude daily.

According to The Chalkboard, this is what what happens when yoga, therapy, and, yes, bootcamp, have babies.

This essay on what it means to go through a gender transition in an ashram, and so much more, from a fellow yoga teacher and former colleague, made my heart swoon and ooze. A must read.

Meet 2 millennials helping to educate girls around the world! Oh, hay, She’s the First, nice to see you on the Today Show!

This news of people stabbed at the Israeli gay pride parade is just too heartbreaking for words. And beyond, beyond, beyond unacceptable. Let freedom reign…everywhere. Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.

A teacher of mine, Francesca Bove, shares a totally gorgeous article on SONIMA about how the sequence of a yoga class affects your body, by brilliantly providing readers with an analogy that links sequencing to how we move through our days in the most optimal ways possible!

If you were to close your eyes and visualize an ideal day in your life—a day that combined work and play, effort and grace—what would it look like? In the yogic tradition we think of an ideal day as one that is all about fulfilling our dharma, or lawful duty. When one finds his or her dharma, work does indeed begin to feel like play. Work and play intertwine and unite, and balance becomes progressively easier to create. A well-sequenced yoga class is just like that: the quintessential analogue of a day well lived.

An elementary school friend of mine made it big in the poetry scene when we were in high school…and she keeps going!

Women’s Running Magazine had a “plus-size model” on the cover. Progress, but we still need more of it!

Alexandra Franzen provides advice for the predicament of how to charge for something usually done for free. Helpful for me as I start to teach yoga privates!

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On Blogging, Portland + Vulnerability

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This morning, I did something that reminded me of why I moved to Portland in the first place. I went to a positively chic and adorable blogger meet up brunch at a publishing headquarters in an industrial district of the city that was only 20 minutes away from my house. At ten past ten, I walked in with my DIY “business cards” (i.e. strips of paper where I wrote the URL to this blog), tinted Burt’s Bees on my lips, wide-rimmed glasses and WordPress pulled up on my iPhone. A fabulous food platter was out with New York bagels (oh, how worlds collide) and Black Rock coffee.

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I filled up my plate, chatted with these fabulous bloggers and got down to the highly enjoyable business of speed networking (i.e. speed dating, but – I assume – way less awkward because there are set questions to help everyone identify and fine-tune their passions). I learned so much from this event in much more of a qualitative way than – and this was what I had initially expected to get out of it – a quantitative way. We didn’t discuss the information you could find online on how to boost numbers or ratings or followers. No, we discussed the heart of why we do what we do and what about what we do makes others’ hearts tick.

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Here are five lessons I learned and realizations I had while in good company:

1. Vulnerability, which was the dharma talk theme of the yoga class I took yesterday, is what makes our messages powerful. One of the networking questions we were asked to answer was on which posts surprised us by being so successful. One woman shared that she didn’t expect her most successful blog post to be about depression yet it was. Another shared on writing about her struggles to find time. My answer was about all those blog posts about me and my broken leg. Vulnerability…it’s the connective tissue between all us humans.

2. Focus your time on where you get the most traffic. This little tip will, I believe, prove to be a large time-saver in the long run.

3. Networking – meeting people in person – is where the online work is done. It is all about that personal connection.

4. Instagram, baby.

5. The beautiful thing about blogging is that it encourages self-expression in an informal yet inspirational way.

This post was written at The Dragonfly Coffee House, an utterly blissful new find in NW Portland that has poems by Rumi on the wall, energy bars made with almond butter and no-sugar goodness and classical music playing in the background.

January Link Love: Selma, Style + Safe Sex

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Introduction to the monthly Link Love column: One of my favorite blogs (and a total blogger role model of mine) is Gala Darling. Every month, Gala Darling publishes a link roundup in a narrative form of what she’s been reading. Lounging in bed on lazy Friday mornings (when I was in college) or Sunday mornings (now that I’m a working lady), I open up the links Gala posts like presents on Chanukah evenings. I want to create a similar experience for my readers…with the added bonus of documenting these reading gems so I no longer have 17 tabs open on Google Chrome. So, without further adieu, thank you Gala for the inspiration. Here is a delightful (Central Park) link carousel of my own.

January has been another month of lots of reading…but this time, mostly reading on the go, which has been a pleasant change from December’s broken-legged stationary ways. Reading on the go has been aided largely by my (relatively new…at least in terms of use) Twitter account, Pinterest and The Skimm, my daily news email. The above image, created (also on the go) with the app Kanvas, has to do with a large fraction of the articles I mention in this Link Love column: articles from the New York Times Styles section, which I devoured like the ritual devouring the New York Times is when paired with tea and a couch one Saturday afternoon. Taking the time and spaciousness to read large portions of a newspaper…even on an iPad…has the potential to be a profound act of ritualizing life, something all us busy souls could use a bit more of in our days, weeks + months.

Well…here goes!

* Last weekend, I saw Selma, which broke my heart in dozens of ways. Here is what Common Dreams says you should know about the historical event…that feels all too current.

* Which made me think about Solutions Journalism and the importance of all of us – especially writers – to never stop imagining political possibilities (in fact, possibilities should be inherent in the word political).

* Glamour Magazine shares 7 ways to be happier right now and 5 signs of happy, healthy relationships.

* Now that I live in Portland, I really, really want to go to the World Domination Summit!

* The Left Brain Buddha shares 40 ways to bring mindfulness into your life!

* From my entire afternoon of devouring the NYT:

Ours was the kind of accelerated intimacy I remembered from summer camp, staying up all night with a new friend, exchanging the details of our short lives. At 13, away from home for the first time, it felt natural to get to know someone quickly. But rarely does adult life present us with such circumstances.

It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time.

Most of us think about love as something that happens to us. We fall. We get crushed.

But what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him.

I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be.

We spent weeks in the intimate space we created that night, waiting to see what it could become.

Love didn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each made the choice to be.

* Thank goodness Glamour recapped the Golden Globes because I was too busy watching the GIRLS premiere.

* Forbes’ 30 Under 30 came out…lovin the young people power. These young entrepreneurs started businesses like Bloglovin + The Toast.

* Remember when I wrote a novel in a month? NaNoWriMo calls what comes after the Now What months and here’s how to bump up that manuscript.

* My dear, dear friend and former roommate EmK is truly gifted at making GIFs of our most beloved president.

* Yes, January was the start of the New Year, but it was also the 15th anniversary of The Princess Diaries! And at this point, the Link Love column has got to know how much I adore Mia Thermopolis as a fabulous role model of a three-dimensional female character.

* Gala Darling’s Blogcademy went online!!! And I’ve been devouring the free videos on bettering blogs with style!

* Peppermint Mag interviewed Gala Darling on being a business babe + radical self-love.

* I really need to re-read this. Fellow Lotus Flow teacher, based in Austin, wrote this article about finding your focus as a yoga teacher.

* Speaking of Austin, they’re having a TV festival!

* My high school writing mentor and her hubby who’s also a YA author (if that wasn’t cute enough, they got married on the roof of Scholastic HQ) started a podcast: Writing in Real Life.

* This Is What A Yogi Looks Like tees!!! Can you say Wish List ten times fast?

* Right now, what a yogi looks like for me is being broken-legged and attending yoga classes anyway. That means I have to pay particular attention to my alignment and integrate physical therapy into my asana practice.

* Be You Media Group asks a yoga and Ayurveda teacher some intelligent questions.

* The Guardian brilliantly does an expose on exploitation in the wellness industry. A must-read for wellness professionals.

* BUST Magazine bows down to the last-living women of the 1800s. BUST has also been busy reviewing Tina Fey’s new Netflix show starring Ellie Kemper of The Mindy Project. BUST also interviewed the GIRLS girls on life, love + that amazing show of theirs.

* In looking to revive my thesis, I’m loving HuffPo’s thesis project.

* Brene Brown was interviewed on NPR’s On Being podcast on (you guessed it!) vulnerability.

* The monthly newsletter The Balance has a list of new PDX healthy food companies.

* Yet again, fellow FGSS major Ella rocked it with writing about writing the Other Love and safe sex in hookup culture and erotica.

* As an avid journaler, I am grateful to the NYT blog Well for advocating writing as a path to happiness.

* Gretchen Rubin explains happiness using the best literary example ever…Little Women!

It’s Meg’s wedding day, and she and Laurie start talking about drinking wine. Laurie explains, “I don’t care for it; but when a pretty girl offers it, one doesn’t like to refuse, you see.”

Meg answers, “But you will, for the sake of others, if not for your own. Come, Laurie, promise, and give me one more reason to call this the happiest day of my life.”

Yoga, Yoga Questions Answered

I am about to get all PBS commercial (I know, an oxymoron) on you, but in truth, this blog is made possible by…other blogs. Specifically by the ones I’ve included in the sidebar: women bloggers who totally rock my world with their content.

One of these bloggers, whom I’ve followed since I was in college, and who seems to always be just one year ahead of me, is Carly from The College Prepster. She blogs about organization, the art of blogging, style, writing in general and what it’s like to be your own boss (the new meaning of BYOB!). These are all things I am interested in, which was reason enough to read this blog for a few years…so imagine my delight when this morning, I found this post about how the lovely Carly is about to take a yoga class…in my own stomping grounds, the UES of Manhattan, no less! One of the reasons I loved this post was because of all the questions and vulnerability Carly posed to her readers. As a reader, and yoga writer in my own right, I am thrilled to provide some answers for the newbie yogi or returner!

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My post-writing warning: this post has kind of turned into a lengthy manifesta…but I think it’s worth it!

How early do I show up for class? If you’re already wearing your yoga clothes (which I recommend!), show up 15 minutes before class. As someone who now has a ton of experience working MindBodyOnline at yoga studio front desks, it’s just nicer to the people signing you in…and I have yet to meet someone who goes to yoga to be mean. Plus, if you get signed in early and set up your mat, take the time to do your own practice. This can mean child’s pose, meditating or my fave – a supported bridge pose with a block underneath the sacrum.

Where do I put my clothes? Only some large studios (usually chain ones/franchises) have lockers for you to put your clothes in. My suggestion: take up two cubbies in the studio room – one for your clothes and another for your bags. It makes the clothes way easier access because the most competitive part of yoga is the post-class mad dash to the few dressing rooms afforded in most studios.

Will everyone be in tiny shorts and a sports bra? No and yes. Sorry, but as a veteran of the Upper East Side, the chances of tiny shorts and a sports bra are definitely high, especially for hot yoga classes at Pure Yoga, New York Yoga and Earth Yoga (studios on the UES). And you can bet on it at any Bikram studio…but that’s a whole other ball game and my diplomatic opinion on that is…to each their own, but if it were me I wouldn’t venture there. If you go to a regular vinyasa, the tiny shorts + sports bra is a 50/50 chance. If you go to Slow Flow or Yin or Restorative (all options are so yummy!), you’re likely to find lovely leggings and fitted full-length tops. This latter option – in any yoga class – is my bias as a yoga teacher. When adjusting students, I adjust over the clothes and depending on the clothing brand/how much you’re willing to invest, the clothes will prevent your mat from getting too sweaty.

photo via laughing lotus nyc

photo via laughing lotus nyc

Where do I put my mat? Middle of the room! Next to a wall! Why? You can look to the people at the front of the room as a reference for proprioception. If you’re near a wall, you can use it as a prop for balancing poses, inversions and some restorative poses – plus, you’ll avoid the rush when the teacher will tell you to go there anyways.

Now that we’re past the etiquette, here are some of my answers to Carly’s more direct questions (yes, this is a maha post!):

Does anyone have tips for overcoming that gym/studio fear that sets in?

Breathe! Remember that everyone is there for themselves just like you’re there for yourself. They’re too busy worrying about their downward dog to worry about yours.

Has anyone tried a yoga studio that they love in NYC or on the Upper East Side?

Pure Yoga East on 86th and 3rd  is where I first got my education. I met teachers there who inspired me to become one myself. There are still some fantastic educators, but the ones I “grew up on OM” with have moved on elsewhere…and it’s on the very expensive side. For New York Yoga, I recommend Chloe’s classes and they have two locations: 85th and Lexington and another on 86th and York. I discovered Earth Yoga more recently (before I moved to the West Coast and on a particularly chilly winter). Every teacher I’ve taken class with there is a power house (Matt is particularly amazing), but be ready to be hard-core and combine some martial arts with yoga! And then there’s the gem of House of Jai that has an awesome two weeks unlimited new student special on 76th and 1st. If I were a beginner, I’d go there. My friend Leo Rising teaches there and he’s a doll. But really the best place for beginners if you’re okay with making a trek to Harlem 125th is Harlem Yoga Studio, my beloved studio that I taught at when I lived on the East Coast.

Any must-have products? What kind of routine has worked out best for you?

Not at first. Go low key. Rent out studio mats for a dollar or two and figure out which one you like best. Then – and only then – invest. The usual internal battle is between Jade and Manduka.

~ a yoga blog post written (not ironically?) from the orthopedist’s office ~

On the Difference between Finding Community, Creating Community and Joining Community

written at world cup roasters at powell’s city of books

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I arrived to Portland just over a month ago and am grateful for how this city does prioritize a sense of community and camaraderie: Sunday night potlucks, music jams, AcroYoga meetups in parks, biking alone and then suddenly finding oneself surrounded by bikers. One of many. Yet I came here with the intention of joining three distinct communities: AmeriCorps, a writing group, and “the” or “a” yoga community.

The first was easy. It is where I put most of my time and where I was sort of handed a community on a…compostable platter. I realize now that I am used to being handed communities on platters (Wesleyan, with its wealthy campus, just happened to be a silver one). My yoga community was there for me to join in New York and for me to create at school. These communities were abundant and, while I put a lot of effort into creating and joining them at the time, I forget about them now, as they are established and rather than still being a part of them, I am now seeking community elsewhere. I was an English major at school and part of Girls Write Now in high school so my writing communities were relatively implemented for me.

And now I am searching.

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I remember a pivotal phone call I received from a friend my sophomore year of high school as I lamented leaving all my NYC communities and returning to school, where I felt like a lone ranger. It’s funny to think about now, as I’m in a similar boat, though this time school is what I sometimes lament leaving (though don’t get me wrong; I am above all thrilled to be here!). Walking out of the student center and checking my voicemail, I heard her response to my predicament: “You’re a yoga teacher. You’re you. Create your own community.”

Now, as I sit here in Powell’s City of Books, looking out the window over Northwest Portland on this rainy Wednesday morning enjoying my second cup of delicious coffee and catching up on blogs, I am reminded of these words of wisdom and how they shaped so many of my experiences.

Today, the Wednesday after my weekend of “failed” attempts to find a yoga studio to teach at regularly and a writing group to join, Gala Darling published a post entitled, “Stop Waiting to Be Picked; Choose Yourself.”

There was something in the title that sounded familiar to me. And with that familiarity came that Third Chakra comfort of knowing myself and the potency of what happens when we fully commit to starting something. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are some gems from that piece, which I would like to keep with me:

You could spend years refining your book proposal, honing your elevator pitch, or mastering your demo, when you could simply be CREATING. Making more stuff, trying new things, growing as an artist and as an entrepreneur.

It doesn’t matter what you do: you know your audience, your clients, your people, better than anyone. You know their needs, and you know how to help them. So don’t let someone else’s lack of vision get in the way of serving them. Do what you need to do!

I agree with Gala Darling, but at the same time, the critical thinker in me still believes that community and helping hands are vital. With AmeriCorps, I am serving at a community school and that, combined with being raised by a single mama makes me know one thing at the core of my being: it takes a village. That “it” for me now consists of me creative and professional passions: writing, yoga, applying to graduate schools and service work. But this can be extended to whatever we all do. It all requires balance. So, without further adieu, here is a revitalizing three-pronged approach to the different ways we find ourselves In Community:

FINDING COMMUNITY: This is when we join a community that already exists, but is loose in its formation…like a potluck group or generally-structured meet-up. We stumble upon it, but we don’t decide right then and there whether or not we are going to join it. It doesn’t feel like totally our own and that’s okay; it doesn’t have to. Sometimes it’s nice to simply be a part of.

JOINING COMMUNITY: Found that community that already exists that you want to be a part of? Join it and become an active member. In my experience, there are few things more comforting than realizing we are one of many and not alone in our passions.

CREATING COMMUNITY: This is what me and my wellness-enthused friends R and L did at Wes when we created WesBAM!. We innovated because we saw a lack and our ability to fill it. We created the community we wanted to be a part of. It’s like the piece of advice I received when I contemplated writing Yoga U: “Write the book you want to read.” This one is very much in line with Gala Darling’s advice above. This takes a lot of work. A lot of help. And an abundance of creativity. But it’s possible!

And above all, thank you for letting me write the post I needed to read this morning.

Namaste,

S