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Deep Roots Flowing Emotions
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Workshops, Yoga

Deep Roots & Flowing Emotions

I was so blessed with a beautiful group of humans at my last workshop. As we sat in a circle and went around sharing our intentions for showing up, I couldn’t help but feel an overflow of gratitude in my heart for the vulnerability I was witnessing before my eyes.

There is nothing more powerful than a group of people gathering to learn, share, and grow as individuals. It’s impossible to explain in words the exact energy and positive momentum that was rippled out into the Universe on this special day, but here’s a little recap of what was covered related to the first two chakras.

What is a chakra?

A spinning wheel, or vortex, of energy. Chakras are centers in the body through which life force energy flows. Blocked energy can often lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.

Seven Chakras

Where did the chakra system come from?

The chakra system originated in India at the same time as yoga. It’s first mention was in the Vedas, a series of hymns that are the oldest written tradition in India. The chakra system actually came from tantric tradition. Tantra is largely associated with sexual practices in the West, though the sexuality aspect is actually only a small portion of what it’s all about. It does involve sexual practices as it considers the body a sacred temple that houses the inner consciousness and spirit, viewing sexual energy as life force energy that propels us into the higher states of consciousness and growth that we desire as humans. But this is only a sliver of what it’s all about. Hatha and Kundalini yoga are big parts of tantric tradition as well as the worshiping of Hindu deities (especially Hindu goddesses), and the merging of universal forces within (chiefly the interplay of dualistic forces such as dark and light, Heaven and Earth, birth and death, etc).

India Yoga Chakra

There are seven main chakras in the human body. This “Rainbow Bridge” connects our outer and inner worlds – our bodies to our inner temple, the house of our consciousness.

The chakras are vortexes of energy existing in the subtle body that overlays our physical body. They are not actually in our body. You can think of them like gateways, or portals to our inner world, that receive, assimilate and transmit life force energy. We are constantly in energy exchange all day long with everything: food, people, our environment, and ourselves.

Yoga and the chakras go hand in hand, so understanding where the chakras come into play within each yoga pose is vital in bringing a new layer of depth and awareness to your yoga practice.

Strong Body Strong Mind Yoga Chakras

How to bring balance and opening to your first two chakras using yoga:

Root Chakra (survival and groundedness): The base of every pose. Grounding, stability, foundation. Feeling your feet in the ground. Rooted and connected to the Earth at all times. Feeling the strength of your legs that carry you confidently through life. Being courageous enough to slow down and be at home in your body.

Other ways to balance and open your root: Spending time outside in nature, walking barefoot in the grass, resting, eating slowly and mindfully, cooking and cleaning in the home.

Sacral Chakra (emotions, sexuality and creativity): Creative movement and playfulness within your practice. Pleasure and enjoyment of feeling your breath and body move and flow together. Practice embracing all feelings that arise on your mat. Dance with them. Let them flow through you. Hip openers.

Other ways to balance and open your sacral: Dancing, self pleasure, being in or near water (shower, bath, swimming, ocean), drinking plenty of water, practicing emotional release.

Remember, anything you do with INTENTION shifts the energy of your action. When you DIRECT your energy with INTENTION you invite things to MANIFEST in your life. Dance with the INTENTION to relax your hips and feel your emotions flow through you. Walk barefoot outside with the INTENTION to connect deeper to the Earth and bring more grounding into your life.

The chakra workshop series continues…

My next three workshops are currently open for enrollment! Go to my Workshops page to read the juicy details and get signed up.

Can’t wait to see you!

xo,

Loren

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Health + Wellness, Workshops, Yoga

Shift Your Energy, Shift Your Life

Ever since I moved to Costa Rica in 2014, where I learned about the chakras, it has become clear to me through working with my own energy the importance of having awareness of this part of ourselves.

Our chakras are the gateways to our inner temple, bridging our outer and inner worlds.

Seven Chakras
They receive, assimilate, and transmit our life force energy on a daily basis. We are in relationship with everything around us – with other people, with our food, with ourselves… this involves constant energy exchange… everything is energy.

Understanding each chakra’s function and how it works can bring a much more integral sense of health and vitality to your life. Learning how to heal yourself is the most valuable thing you can do, for yourself and for everyone around you.

After returning from Peru recently, where I worked even deeper into my emotional and energetic body, I have felt a radical shift as a result of what I learned and now practice daily.

I am so eager to share this with you all so that you, too, can expand your capacity for more love, freedom and personal power in your life.

With that, my intention for this next workshop, “Deep Roots,” is to teach you about your chakras (we’ll focus on the first two), how to work with your energy, and share what has worked for me. I want you to connect deeper to yourself and uncover anything that is holding you back.

I promise to provide a safe and sacred space for you to experience whatever you need to experience, share what you need to share, and leave with some amazing tools to move forward in your life. There is nothing more powerful than a group of individuals standing together in full vulnerability.

Yoga Workshop

This is an investment in the health of your body, your mind, your soul, your heart, and your intuition.

Bring your yoga mat, towel and water as we will have a 30 minute yoga practice (every yoga pose corresponds to a specific chakra so we will flow through a sequence focusing on the first two). Also bring a journal if you have one!

For my loves all around the world: I am working on an online course with this material so you’ll be able to join in soon from anywhere in the world! Drop a comment below and let me know what you think! Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated!

Sign up for “Deep Roots” (Fort Worth, TX | May 21st) here!

 

xo,

Loren

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Lifestyle, The MALA Shop, Travel, Workshops, Yoga

Material Girl Podcast

It was such an honor and so much fun to be featured on Material Girl Podcast, episode three:

“EP3 Loren Ashley Yoga – Loren Boyd, Fort Worth Mom, Yoga Instructor, Web and Graphic Designer, and Jewelry Maker.”

In this podcast I talk about:

    • My three businesses and how they all come together
    • How I juggle it all being a single mom
    • My intention behind the work I do
    • My experience in Peru at ISTA Level One training
    • Integrating my Peru experience
    • The importance of understanding our energy and how to work with it
    • My upcoming chakra workshop series
    • Yoga and sensuality
    • Favorite restaurants in Fort Worth
    • and lots more fun stuff!

Enjoy and thank you for listening! Make sure to subscribe to my blog for inbox inspiration and to receive updates on all my latest offerings!

With love,

Loren

Go to Workshop & Teaching Schedule.

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Manduka yoga mat home practice
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, My Favorite Things, Yoga

The best yoga gear & how to start a home practice

Why would you practice at home when you can go to a studio? What are the benefits of practicing at home? Where do we start?

Practicing in a heated studio is always great… there’s nothing like being led through a sequence, feeling the group energy, and getting a total body workout. But what if you could reap these same benefits at home? What about the days you just don’t have two hours to do the whole process of going to a studio to practice? What if you could create a special space in your own home where you could gain these same benefits in just 20 minutes? Well, guess what? You can.

I’ve been practicing vinyasa yoga since 2009 and teaching since 2010. Here is what I’ve learned about home practice: it takes commitment and discipline, but the benefits are huge. Follow these simple steps to set yourself up for success and carve a path to creating a mini yoga sanctuary in the comfort of your own home.

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The Benefits

  1. It can be short and sweet. Or it can be long and strong. For so long, I used to avoid home practice because in my mind I thought I “had” to do a full hour or 75 minutes. I’ve learned to let go of that. Sometimes my home practice is a simple 15 or 20 minutes. It might be a relaxed, yin style practice with no music, or it may be a jam packed 20 minute session of powerful sun salutations, arm balances and inversions with some kickass beats blasting. Regardless of what you do, the point is that you carve out the time and do it. Try to let go of expectations or judgments around what you do on your mat. Not only will you feel good physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually too.
  2. New creativity arises. Without the guidance of an instructor, your practice becomes a work of art as you connect with stillness and hold space for yourself. I promise you will be surprised and delighted at the movement your body makes all on its own. Just let your breath be the guide.
  3. Mindfulness practice. You may choose to just sit and breathe and do a few simple postures. Or you may kill it with a strong sequence. The cool thing is you get to check in with what your body needs that day. The idea is to simply set aside some time for yourself, to be with yourself, meet yourself right where you are, enjoy your breath and body, and get centered. Yoga is a moving meditation practice!
  4. Gain confidence and connect with your intuition. When you take the time on your own to sit and listen to your inner voice, a whole world of possibility opens up as you allow this voice to guide you.

Loren Boyd Home Yoga Practice

What to do:

  1. Create a sacred practice space. It can be inside or outside, depending on the season. I love practicing outside in the summertime. On a hot day it can feel exactly like being in a heated studio. Wherever it is, make this place somewhere you want to go. Place things nearby on a mini altar like candles, mala beads, incense, oils, crystals, a vision board, photographs… whatever inspires you. Get a space heater to recreate the hot studio atmosphere and work up a good sweat!
  2. Get a good yoga mat and blocks and a strap. Manduka products are my favorite:
  3. Set a realistic goal for yourself. I like to do a combination of studio practice and home practice. I shoot for five practices/week. Usually two or three of them are at home and anywhere from 15-45 minutes long.
  4. Roll out your mat, put on some music (or not), and go! Give yourself the first couple minutes in a simple seated posture, child’s pose, or down dog to just practice breath awareness. Simply place attention on your breath and allow yourself to shift from the mindstuff to the simple experience of feeling your breath and body on your mat. This is what brings you to the present moment. The movement will come naturally and your body will do what it needs to do once you connect with breath and body sensation. If you don’t know what to do, throw on a YouTube video! There are also some great subscriptions you can get through Gaia and also oneOeight with tons of awesome teachers, different styles of yoga and free trials. Also check out the free podcast collection from The Yoga Project where I teach!

The more you practice, no matter what length of time you spend on your mat, the more connected you will be to your inner voice… the easier it will be to hear it on a regular basis. Yoga is simply a mindfulness practice. When you get into what you are doing – and take it back to the basics – concrete breath and body sensation – you allow yourself to slow down and awaken to your inner knowing. Then you really start to dance with life.

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

You will discover a new rhythm on your mat practicing at home vs. practicing in a studio. Keep at it long enough to really allow yourself to feel the benefits.

Please comment below with any questions, I am here to help you!

Make sure to subscribe to my blog for more inbox inspiration, workshop offerings and tips on how to live a healthy, vibrant life!

-Loren

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Happy New Year! Set your intentions
Health + Wellness, Mindfulness, The MALA Shop, Workshops, Yoga

Happy New Year! Set your intentions…

Happy New Year 2017! This is a special and crucial time to set your intentions for what you want to manifest this year. It’s time to truly step into your personal power!

Have you taken the time to get still and listen for your heart’s desire? What do you want to happen this year?

Whether you have written down your intentions or not, I have a perfect opportunity for you to visualize your goals for the year.

Join me this Sunday, January 8th for my upcoming workshop: Vision Boards, Vinyasa & Vino!

Happy New Year! Set Your Intentions

 

A vision board is an inspiring collage of magazine cutouts – words and photos symbolizing your goals and intentions.

In addition to it being a fun and creative experience, your board will become a tool in manifesting your dreams for 2017.

In this workshop, we will spend the first hour creating vision boards, with music playing and dancing encouraged! Then we’ll roll out our mats and flow for 30 minutes to set our intentions in motion. The last half hour we will share our boards with each other over a glass of wine! Sharing is a crucial part of manifesting – you have to say it out loud and let others uphold your vision!

Come set the new year in motion with me! All levels welcome, materials and wine provided!

I will also have all my handmade mala beads for sale at the workshop. Malas make great tools for mindfulness, holding your intentions and reminding you of your heart’s desire.
Learn more about malas here and see what’s in The MALA Shop!

Join me this Sunday!
Location: The Yoga Project Fort Worth
Date: Sunday January 8th, 2017, 2-4pm
Cost: $30 (15% off for TYP members!)

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!

Lastly, enjoy this awesome New Year’s Meditation by Soul Guru – Brent Hruska. Take these 15 simple minutes to connect to your breath, body, and get clear on your intention for this year!

Blessings, Love and Light in the new year!

-Loren

Workshops
Mindfulness, The MALA Shop, Yoga

Elements of Flow Workshop // November 6

Sunday, November 6th, 2016, 2-3:30pm at The Yoga Project Fort Worth

You know that feeling when you go to yoga and then class is over and you’re like, “What just happened?” Class flew by. You were in the zone on your mat and time was just nonexistent for a while. This is flow state.

Ok, so you feel great now. But have you ever wondered exactly how you got there? What characterizes this state? What details of the practice get us there? How can we bring in more of this? What arises in flow state? And most importantly, how can you bring flow state off your mat and into your daily life?

All of these things will be explored in my upcoming workshop, Elements of Flow. We will flow to some music throughout the workshop to illustrate fluidity, play in some kickass core exercises to learn about control & moving from the center of our being, and learn how to savor the creative essence of the practice itself. We will journal, laugh and set some powerful intentions for the coming months.

Your entrance fee includes a mala bracelet (just like the one on my wrist in the pic below, handmade by me!) AND a mini journal for the journaling exercises. Bring your mat, towel and water. Class won’t be heated but we will build heat together with some vinyasa woven through!

Elements of Flow, Sunday November 6th, 2-3:30pm, at The Yoga Project Fort Worth.

Cost: $35 (15% off for TYP members!).

I will also have my mala beads with me for sale on this day! Handmade yoga jewelry makes great holiday gifts – learn more about malas and see my work here.

 

 

See you in class!
-Loren

 

Elements of Flow

 

 

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, The MALA Shop, Workshops, Yoga

Relax into the unknown…

Arm balancing is so much more than fun yoga tricks. It represents inner strength, commitment, vulnerability & getting comfortable with the UNKNOWN! Just relax…

Relax into the Unknown

So excited to bring you this ALL LEVELS arm balance workshop on July 10th! We will focus more on the foundational elements of arm balancing than the poses themselves (but of course we will play and explore various levels of some fun poses!). I wanted this workshop to be accessible to ALL, so I’m going to teach you a few things you can practice in your everyday flow on your mat that will help you gain awareness and strength to build a strong foundation for arm balancing.

Take Flight

Come play! July 10th, 2:30-4pm at The Yoga Project Fort Worth. Cost is only $25.

Sign up here:

www.theyogaproject.com/workshops

Can’t wait to see you! I’ll have my malas too, and everyone who comes to the workshop will get a discount!

Love & Light,

Loren

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Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, The MALA Shop, Yoga

Mindfulness is a Practice

What is mindfulness? To me, it means doing something with full awareness and presence. Yoga is a mindfulness practice as focus is shifted inward to body sensation and breath awareness. Your mind cannot focus on busy thoughts while being forced to put full attention on the direct experience happening on your mat.

Truth is, anything you do can be a mindfulness practice. Feeling textures and smelling aromas of the food you are cooking. Feeling the water run on your hands as you wash dishes. Breathing in a fresh breeze as you run outside. Taking in and appreciating the beauty of nature wherever you go. All you have to do is focus on the direct experience you are having, wherever you are. Let yourself be present.

Making malas and mala bracelets is a way I practice mindfulness. I love how the beads feel in my hands as I get into a calming rhythm of tying knots.

Let your mala be a symbol of mindfulness for you, when you wear it let it remind you to focus on what is happening RIGHT NOW. Because this is your Life. Love it!

Need a mala? Wanna see what’s new?

Click here: The MALA Shop

Follow me on Instagram @themalashop ❤️ #theMALAshop

Five Ways Yoga Works Off the Mat
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Yoga

Five Ways Yoga Works Off The Mat

The practice of yoga offers us tools for life that can help us tremendously when we leave the mat. It is our choice whether to apply them as we continue our day. Dripping with sweat, floating from the yoga high, we are already planning our next practice. We are yogis. Here is what keeps us coming back:

1. LET IT GO

As we flow through postures on the mat, the fleeting nature of Life becomes glaringly obvious. All we ever have is RIGHT NOW. Moment to moment, we are forced to let go of each pose as the next one comes. Each pose comes, and then it goes. We feel it, we stretch it, we breathe in ALL the goodness we can, we hold it in, and then, just like that… we breathe. it. ALL. out. We let go of things no longer serving us. We feel lighter. Less resistant. More accepting. We literally learn to go with the flow.

Let Go

2. LEAN INTO DISCOMFORT

Some postures are extremely uncomfortable. We feel a ton of sensation and we want to back out. We may even get angry. For a while we may back out of a pose or even avoid it altogether, but as our practice progresses, we learn to lean INTO these uncomfortable sensations because we notice an incredible release on the other side. It starts by showing itself physically in the form of flexibility or strength. Then we notice more. We become more adventurous. We let our hair down. Our minds open. We get comfortable going out of our comfort zone, on and off the mat, because we know it’s the only way to grow.

Comfort Zone

3. BREATHE DEEPLY

When you spend enough time listening to your breath, stretching it extra long, holding it in, squeezing it out, getting really empty, controlling it with patience, and moving your body with it, it becomes increasingly easy to do the same when you are late for work, get stuck in a traffic jam, feel an argument coming on with your spouse, stub your toe, and the list goes on. Your breath is always there for you. In every single moment that passes, whether you are aware of it or not, your breath is your anchor. Learn to see it as a friend, as nourishment, as comforting, as grounding. We roll out our mats to listen to & move with our breath. To honor it. We put it first. This simple practice of breath awareness leads us to a more automatic tapping into our breath in the moments we need it the most.

Inhale Exhale

4. MINDFULNESS

In the same way we visit a friend, we pay a visit to ourselves. We suit up & check in. We participate in a silent, moving meditation. We get quiet. We listen to our breath. We notice where sensation arises. We don’t have to do anything about it. Just notice it. We choose to step off the roller coaster of thought. We don’t judge what comes up, we just let it be. We notice, accept & embrace exactly where we are. Thoughts come in constantly but we keep choosing our breath. Each pose is just a place to come back to breath – our first priority. The postures become a vehicle to practice mindfulness. To FEEL alive. To JUST BE.

Mindfulness

5. STRONG BODY, STRONG MIND

There will always be a new challenge presenting itself on the mat, whether it be a posture or an injury. Breath and asana are the keys to freedom from self limitation that lives in your mind. There is always somewhere new to go on your mat. Modify, intensify, do what works for you, but remember, the postures you avoid are the ones you need the most. Get real with yourself. Is what you’re doing working? Get out of your comfort zone. FIND YOUR EDGE. In every single pose, find your edge. Sometimes this means backing off a little bit. Listen to your body. Lean into sensation. WELCOME the challenge with open arms. We bend so we don’t break. We go upside down to stay right side up. Our commitment the practice helps us handle life’s challenges with grace. We are true warriors.

Strong Body Strong Mind

ON AND OFF THE MAT

Every single one of these things is a PRACTICE. Everyday we have a choice. The hardest part is suiting up and showing up. Every time I roll out my mat I learn something new about myself. It’s not always pretty and I don’t always want to do it, but I am always in a better mood afterward and it has only gotten better.

With that, to all my amazing yogis and friends out there… PEACE OUT 2015! Thank you for making it so amazing. Happy New Year to ALL OF YOU, let’s make 2016 even more incredible… TOGETHER!

 

Love,

Loren

Yoga is a mindfulness practice. Read more about this in my post Mindfulness is a Practice.

Handstand, Alki Beach, Seattle
Health + Wellness, Yoga

Yoga for a Creativity Boost

The Second Chakra: Opening to Creativity

Seems like every time I do a lot of hip opening postures on my mat, I experience a burst of creativity afterward. Also, an overall sense of openness, sensuality, & self love. This is no coincidence.

Svadhisthana (Sanskrit), the Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is a spinning vortex of energy located in the lower abdomen. Turns out, it is considered the “Seat of our Emotions,” it is the second of seven major chakras along the central core axis. Chakra two allows for emotional and sensual movement in life.

  • opening to pleasure
  • embracing change & creativity
  • connecting to others
  • learning how to “go with the flow”
  • Color: orange
  • Element: water
  • Associated Body Parts: hips, sacrum, lower back, genitals, womb, bladder & kidneys

Imbalance & Deficiency Signs

As a result, when this chakra is out of balance we may experience sexual problems, low back issues, hips & reproductive organs, bladder infections, kidney problems, overly emotional behavior, sexual guilt or addictions, or excesses in food, sex and drugs. Circumstances that cause deficiency in this chakra include being raised in an environment where emotions were repressed, pleasure denied, or one where constant need for pleasurable stimulation (entertainment, partying) or frequent emotional drama were present. Any issue regarding fear of pleasure, being out of touch with feelings, or resisting change.

Find Balance

When this chakra is in balance we feel healthy, open, friendly, imaginative, intuitive, energized, creative & successful. We are able to focus on our objectives and react more positively to all people and situations in our path. We have healthy concern, tolerance, & patience for others.

What can you do? Wear orange. Eat orange – carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges. Use essential oils like bergamont, cardamom, clary sage, neroli, orange, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang. Meditate using this chakra’s vibrational sound, “VAM,” as your mantra. But of course, my favorite way to balance this chakra is to practice the following poses:

YOGA FOR THE SACRAL CHAKRA

When we relax our hips, we relax our resistance to life. We release tension in and restore our reproductive organs. We become open to our creativity, sensuality, & sexuality.

Physically root your pelvic floor and base of your spine into the Earth. As a result, you plug yourself into the vibrational current of the Universe. All hip & groin openers provide freedom of movement in the pelvis. Don’t force it. Ease into these postures and invite creativity to arise as you play with different modifications. Find what works for you.

– EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA  (half pigeon pose)

– AGNISTAMBHASANA (double pigeon pose, pictured above)

– TARASANA (star pose)

– MANDUKASANA (frog pose)

You can heal yourself with yoga, meditation & healthy eating. Believe it! Try some of the above suggestions and see if you can tap into the energy of your sacral chakra.

Namaste.

Learn about the first chakra in my blog Six Ways to Balance your Root Chakra.

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