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Lifestyle

4 Ways to Love Yo’ Self on Valentine’s Day

Nothing like the perfect self love recipe on Valentine’s Day!

So, here it is. I promise if you do these four things you will woo yourself silly into having the sweetest day of all… Whether you have a sweetie or not, it’s always best to put yourself first!

*BONUS if you do all these things in a row… one after the other. It will only take you 30 minutes!

1. DANCE

ONE SONG (or more if you want) – put on your favorite song and just DANCE! Dancing is the perfect way to get energy moving in your body and connect to your feelings. Valentine’s Day is all about LOVE, so practice loving your body by moving it in a way that feels good. Sway your hips, shake all around and release anything that is not serving you today.

2. YOGA

Roll out your mat for TEN MINUTES. Connect to your life-giving breath. Don’t worry about what poses show up. Have the courage to let them arise. If it’s Child’s Pose for ten minutes, then so be it. Let your body move however it wants to. There are no rules here! LOVE your own creativity that arises! Let the yoga energize your body and calm your mind.

3. MEDITATE

Set the timer for anywhere from 3-10 minutes (or longer if you’re a seasoned meditator). Sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on breath and body sensation. I’ve got some guided meditations here for you to choose from!

It is scientifically proven that mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation change the structure of our brain over time in a way that brings greater balance to our nervous system and overall health.

4. JOURNAL

Again, set the timer for just five or ten minutes and write whatever comes to mind. They are just words on a page so don’t give them much meaning. Think of it more like an energetic dump to clean your slate for the day.

ABOVE ALL, ENJOY THIS RELEASE OF BODY, MIND & SPIRIT! Take care of you today and love every second of it (and don’t forget to buy yourself some chocolates)!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

xo,

Loren

vulnerabilitty
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

The Heart of Vulnerability

Let’s face it, vulnerability is scary.

And it’s a natural human experience. It’s that lump in your throat. Sweaty palms and a racing heart. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. And life is full of these (often very pivotal) moments where we are met with a choice to be courageous in the face of fear. And when we make it out alive, it feels damn good. We feel proud of ourselves for saying what we needed to say, standing up for ourselves, or taking the leap. It’s clarity. It’s our truth. It’s real and raw. And it’s this beauty on the other side that makes vulnerability the ultimate path to true joy and growth in life.

Being vulnerable is scary because we we live in a culture of scarcity where most of us are wired to think we will never be good enough, perfect enough, thin enough, powerful enough, smart enough, and the list goes on. This “never enough” problem perpetuates us in a vicious cycle of shame, comparison, and disengagement when what we really crave is connection.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She also debunks four myths about what vulnerability isn’t.

Myth #1: Vulnerability is Weakness

Some basic examples of vulnerability are: standing up for yourself, asking for help, saying no, starting your own business, getting fired, falling in love, trying something new, admitting you’re afraid, asking for forgiveness, and having faith. It is getting knocked down seven times and standing up eight. It is choosing to courageously stay open in the face of overwhelming uncertainty.

Do any of the above examples of vulnerability sound like weakness? NO!

Vulnerability means feeling. What is dangerous is when we start to associate feeling with weakness. It is never weak to feel and experience life. It may be extremely uncomfortable, but it is not weakness. Allowing ourselves to feel is one of our basic human needs. It goes right along with our need for belonging and safety. Willingness to show up and be courageous is never weakness.

vulnerability

Myth #2: “I Don’t Do Vulnerability”

Choosing to opt out of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure is just not realistic. Life is vulnerable. Just take a look back at that brief list of examples. If you find yourself operating from the belief that you “don’t do vulnerability,” Brown suggests asking yourself these three questions: 1) What do I do when I feel emotionally exposed? 2) How do I behave when I’m feeling very uncomfortable and uncertain? and 3) How willing am I to take emotional risks? If you truly don’t know the answers, ask someone you are close to.

This process helps because regardless of our willingness to “do vulnerability,” it does us. Attempting to avoid vulnerability causes us to engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be. May as well understand it, accept it, and embrace it.

vulnerability

Myth #3: Vulnerability is Letting it All Hang Out

“Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.” -Brené Brown

Next time you’re about to share something with someone (or a lot of people), take a moment to check your motive. Who are you sharing this with? Have you processed the experience on your own already? Do you have a clear understanding of it? We don’t share our deepest struggle with someone the moment we meet them. Check your motive. Are you craving attention? Are you feeling bad about yourself? Allow yourself time to process your own experiences first. Next, share them with people you trust when you are ready. Then, after even more time has passed, it may be the right time to share them with the world.

vulnerability

Myth #4: We Can Go it Alone

Our culture places high value on individualism. If you’re like me, you tend to think you’re Superwoman and can solve everything by yourself. Reality is, that’s just not realistic. If we want to be vulnerable and experience a life of joy and connection, we have to accept support.

“We need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us. We need a hand to pull us up off the ground when we get kicked down in the arena (and if we live a courageous life, that will happen).” -Brené Brown

Most of us are great at giving help, but we also need to ask for help, too, and practice allowing ourselves to be supported. This all comes back our self-worth. When we know our worth, we take good care of ourselves. This often means asking for help and taking support when needed.

vulnerability

Bottom line: anytime we put ourselves out there, we risk being criticized or feeling hurt. This is the heart of vulnerability.

Back to the scarcity epidemic: it’s important to understand that the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. The answer isn’t to go from “never enough” to “more than enough.” We need to go from “never enough” to simply “enough,” a concept Brené Brown has coined Wholeheartedness, which “at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”

When our self-worth is high, potential criticism and worries of feeling hurt have a lot less power over us. This is the direction we want to go. But, how?

Self care practices strengthen self-worth

The biggest thing we can do to embrace vulnerability is practice self-love. Notice how the scarcity mindset takes form in your own life. Work on your self-worth by taking care of yourself. You belong here. You have a purpose. You are enough. Just the way you are. Know that you were wired into this predicament and it’s going to take practice, patience, and lots of compassion with yourself to learn a new way of being. You are WORTH IT. Don’t give up.

On an energetic level, worthiness and self-love have to do with the root & sacral chakras. Learn ways to balance these chakras in my posts titled “Six Ways to Balance Your Root Chakra” and “All About the Sacral Chakra.” To learn more about the chakra system, check out my post titled “Getting to Know Your Chakras.”

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers – The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and The Courage to Stand Alone. Brown’s TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

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better sleep
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

5 Ways To Get Better Sleep Tonight

Better sleep is just around the corner with these five simple tricks.

We all want to sleep well, and our busy lifestyles these days can make that hard to achieve every night. Here are five simple things you can start doing now to get better sleep tonight from Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley.

1. Regularity is key

Put your best effort in to get eight hours of sleep every night. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday no matter what day of the week it is. Even if you didn’t sleep good, still get up at the same time and allow your body to reset.

better sleep

2. Dim the lights and set the mood for better sleep

We are a dark-deprived society in this era, and we actually need darkness in the evening in order for our bodies to release melatonin, which helps the healthy timing of our sleep. One hour before bed, dim all the lights in your house and avoid bright computer or phone screens. These LED lights actually put the brakes on melatonin production and fool your brain into thinking it’s still daytime when it’s actually nighttime!

better sleep

3. Keep it cool

Many of us keep the room too warm. An optimal temperature is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Your brain and body actually need to drop their core temperature about 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit to get good sleep.

better sleep

4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime

Yep, sorry. Alcohol is so misunderstood. You may think it helps you sleep, but it actually does the opposite. Alcohol is in the class of drugs called the sedatives. This means that by drinking before bed, you are just knocking your brain out – you’re not putting it into good sleep mode. It is also known that alcohol fragments your sleep, causing you to wake up many times throughout the night. It’s also a very potent chemical for blocking your dream sleep, or rapid eye movement. Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant, an alerting chemical. Even if you can have a coffee after dinner and fall asleep fine, the depth of the deep sleep you have is not as deep as it would be if you didn’t have the coffee. You may likely wake up feeling groggy and reach for two or three cups of coffee the next morning, easily creating an addiction cycle.

better sleep

5. Don’t stay in bed awake

If you haven’t fallen asleep within 20 minutes or you wake up in the night and can’t fall back asleep, don’t stay in bed. Your brain quickly learns the association of your bed being a place of being awake vs. being asleep. Instead, get up and go to another room and read a book in dim light (no phones, no food). When you feel sleepy, go back to your bed. An alternative here would also be meditation. Meditation helps quiet the mind and body, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system – the part of you that says it’s ok to relax. If you’re new to meditation, check out my posts titled “Meditation 101” and “Guided Meditation – 10 Minutes.”

Getting better sleep means you have to become aware of what is causing the imbalance, so be curious and experiment on yourself by eliminating certain foods or habits before bed time, or putting some of these new habits in place.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and look at all the parts as a whole. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Sleep time is recovery time, so better sleep means fueling your body well throughout the day so it can use those nutrients to recover over night.

Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley and the author of the book, “Why We Sleep.”

Lifestyle

Less Doing, More Being

Two weeks into 2018, intentions set, and I’ve had a revelation, thanks to a dear friend.

I actually felt that I was given permission to do something this year that I haven’t done in a while. Coast.

Not kill it, crush it, expand to major new levels, but just coast. Sustain. Enjoy. Relax.

I put a lot of pressure on myself. To always be better, always be doing something, always be working toward my next big thing.

Well, this year, for me, is about allowing life to happen, doing what I do best, and keeping it simple.

It’s about feeling all the emotions and letting them move through me. Putting myself and my son first. Loving myself more than ever. And discovering the sweetness of it all with all of my senses.

This does not mean there is not anything I want to accomplish. There are definitely things. And I’m excited about them. But I’m just going to be okay with doing a bit less.

So, here’s your reminder that it’s okay to coast sometimes.

Less doing, more being. Being is where our creativity arises. I’m ready to let these juices simmer. I’m ready to allow new visions to arise while I sit back, relax and sip on a hot cup of confidence. Because I love who I am today. And I’m excited about life.

Whatever your intentions are for the year, I hope you are clear and ready to bring them into your reality.

I’d love to have you at my 2018 Intention Setting Workshop on January 28th. It will be a combination of meditation, journaling, intention setting, and yoga to help you get clear on what you want to happen this year.

Sometimes we all just need a little help from a friend. I’m here for you!

With Love,

Loren

Lifestyle, My Favorite Things

6 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

We’ve arrived at that time of year where it’s time to start a new chapter.

We’re closing the book of 2017 and opening 2018 to a blank page. It can be overwhelming if we put too much pressure on ourselves, so here’s a list of non-stressful new year’s resolutions that you can actually accomplish.

1. Take Better Care of Yourself

Make a point to treat yourself every week. A coffee date. Buy yourself some flowers. Take a hot bubble bath. Make a list of 52 small things you’d like to do for you. Cross one off every week. Make this self care ritual something you look forward to every week. Your self worth and quality of life will skyrocket.

2. Simplify Your Life

Every month, clean up shop: choose a different room or space in your home to declutter. Get out a garbage bag and go to town. Get rid of shit you’re not using or wearing. Your trash is someone else’s treasure. Donate it or toss it, whatever makes you feel better. Having a clean, organized space will make a huge difference in how you feel and operate on a daily basis.

3. Take a Trip

Go on at least one trip this year. It doesn’t have to be to China – it could be a road trip to a nearby city. You’ve got to shake up your routine to keep things fresh. It’s good to be grounded, but we have to pull up our roots on occasion. Nothing great was ever accomplished in a comfort zone.

4. Start Meditating

No clue where to start? Check out my recent posts “Meditation 101” and “Guided Meditation – 10 Minutes.”

5. Give Back

Find a local nonprofit organization in your community and get involved. Being of service to others greatly enhances our self confidence and feeling of purpose in life.

6. Set Your Intentions

This lasts all year long. In order to create the life you want, you have to first be clear on what you want. Spend some time journaling about what you’d like to draw into your life this year, and what you’d like to let go of. I am having a 2018 Intention Setting Workshop on January 28th and I’d love to have you! See my Events page for upcoming workshop information.

Happy New Year, loves! I hope you are feeling rested and charged up for everything this year has in store. This is your year. Take that job. Date that person. Buy that plane ticket. Live as fully and magically as you can!

All The Love,

Loren

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Meditation

Meditation 101

Just like your yoga practice, everything in life is a practice.

IMG_1373Showing up, working hard, loving yourself, forgiveness, compassion, it’s all a practice, except there’s no big show. You’re not rehearsing for anything. The show is right now. Life is the show. We are rehearsing and performing all at once. Isn’t it wild?

Life is just like meditation.

We show up, we practice, but there’s no big event. We do it for the sake of it. Because as our brains re-wire with new awareness from our practices (yoga or whatever else we are doing to help ourselves), we have to let our brains re-program. Think of Tetris… the blocks come down from the sky (your new awareness & information coming in daily), you fit them right in, and then the bottom drops out.

Our brains need time to do this. We have to make time. Meditation is your brain tossing out old concepts that aren’t working for you anymore and activating new ideas to help you expand your consciousness. Give yourself a break and start meditating today. You will feel less confused and more in tune with yourself.

TRY IT!

    1. Set a timer for FIVE minutes, ten if you feel comfortable.
    2. Sit with a tall spine (I love my SAMAYA meditation cushion), close your eyes, and just focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
  1. Practice simply noticing anything that arises – thoughts or physical sensations – without getting attached. You are just compassionately observing without judgment.
  2. Journal for 5-10 minutes afterward.

You can meditate any time of day, but I suggest first thing in the morning before you do anything else. It’s a wonderful way to set the tone for your day before things get busy.

Meditation is simple, don’t over complicate it! There is no goal, you are just allowing your mind to reset. And hopefully grab a few moments of peace!

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, My Favorite Things, Yoga

Work It Out

Most of us are wired to think we aren’t good enough. It’s ok. What is not ok is sitting and whining about it.

The fact is… in the 20 minutes you just spent obsessing over your body YOU COULD HAVE ALREADY WORKED OUT by now! Get off your ass and MOVE! Get outside and run. Pick up some dumbbells. Use your own body weight. No more excuses! It doesn’t take long to blast those thoughts away once you get MOVING!

Lately, people have been asking me how I do it all…

Be a single mom, run three businesses and still have time to take care of myself. Here’s my secret: I put myself first. I schedule my life one week at a time (using my incredible Passion Planner) around my SELF CARE, YOGA & WORKOUTS. I put those things before everything, even my son, because I know that I have to in order for me to be the best mom and best person I can be.

Lately my weekly workout schedule has consisted of five yoga practices, three in-home workouts (done in my living room using a suspension trainer, 8lb dumbbells, and my own body weight – 30 minutes on average) and running twice/week outside for 20 minutes.

FREE YOGA, MEDITATION & WORKOUTS you can do at home:
Yoga Project Podcast Collection
BodyFit by Amy

All you need to do all of the above (click on images to purchase):

bellI admit, I do love to look a certain way. And I’m not ashamed of it. I love being lean, toned and strong. It feels damn sexy. But that’s a side effect of putting in the work. Work that reveals to me how much stronger I am than I realize… time and time again. It grounds me. It’s a daily commitment to my HIGHEST SELF. To raising my vibration. If you aren’t taking it to the next level you’re treading water, or even worse, going backwards. Don’t get me wrong, there are times to slow down and rest, but in order for your fire and passion for life to be ignited, you’ve got to move your body. You’ve got to awaken your energy.

We live in a world that disconnects us from our power by making us feel like we aren’t good enough. It’s time to take action and take your power back. No one else is going to do it for you. So, get up and MOVE! You are worth it.

Come practice with me! View my teaching schedule at Yoga Project Fort Worth.

View upcoming workshops and events here.

Lifestyle, My Favorite Things

The FREE Shit

Finally, a day midweek where I get to completely slow down.

I actually slept in this morning for the first time in a while, and by sleeping in I mean 7:30am. I’ve excitedly prepared myself mentally for a food coma, watching football with my dad, playing outside with my little guy, and turkey dinner at my aunt’s house complete with that lovely tryptophan high.

Yep, it’s Thanksgiving.

So, I felt today was the perfect day to be reminded of the FREE shit (as my mom always calls it).

The “free shit” is stuff that is, well, free, and always available to us. It’s the things we often overlook when life gets busy.

Here’s the free shit I’m grateful for in my life today:

  1. Being born in the USA. We are all so incredibly privileged, y’all.
  2. My breath: saving me from losing my shit daily!
  3. Choosing to forgive people who have hurt my heart.
  4. Cutting toxic people and things out of my life.
  5. Playing with my son and feeling like a kid again.
  6. His tantrums that remind me life is not always rainbows and unicorns.
  7. Being a mom.
  8. The student who comes up to me in tears after yoga and gives me a huge hug.
  9. My flaws that help me stay humble.
  10. The courage to move far away and start over.
  11. The whisper of my spirit that continues to show me the way.
  12. Pain that requires healing.
  13. Healing myself to heal the collective.
  14. Karma, for giving people what they deserve.
  15. The fact that I can honestly say today, “I am beautiful and I love myself.”
  16. The excited feeling in my guts of what the future holds.
  17. Not knowing what the future holds.
  18. Being in love.
  19. Loving myself.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friend… Thank you for being a part of my journey, I am grateful for you! May you see the good in EVERYTHING today!

Cheers,

Loren

Lifestyle

Holy Shift

I’m still coming down off the energy from the full moon in Taurus last weekend.

As an Earth sign, Taurus invites us to flow with the force of gravity and get grounded in the energy of our Mother Earth… which is all too fitting with the holidays quickly approaching. Mixed in with the excitement of the season is always a little (or a lot of) stress, which can be partly soothed by anything pumpkin flavored.

As we move into a bit of a dark spell with the changing of the seasons, cooler temps and shorter days, we are called to go inward.

This is a time of reflection. The end of the year, in all its glory, is the perfect time to take a look back and assess where we are right now so we can create new intentions for the year ahead. The key to moving through this time of year with ease is A LOT of grounding. More than a pumpkin spice latte can handle.

Three ways to stay grounded through the holidays:

1. MOVE YOUR BODY. Everyday! No excuses. Even more important with the cooler temps. Get your heart rate up, keep your stress level to a minimum and keep your circulation & metabolism healthy to ensure you have enough energy to fa-la-la-la-la all day long. Take care of YOU so you can fully enjoy and be present with your loved ones.
2. REFLECT. Get out your journal and take the pen to paper! What were your three favorite things about 2017? What stands out to you most about this year? What are most proud of? What are you least proud of? SET INTENTIONS. A new year is upon us. What are three goals you have for 2018? These can be business, personal, or financial. Just write down three, and write down when you want to achieve them by.
3. BREATHE. Take 5-10 minutes daily to breathe and connect to your body wisdom. This simple act will help you stay connected to your intuition, increase mental clarity, and raise your awareness!

It can be overwhelming doing this deep reflective self work. Remember not to be so hard on yourself. Take a moment to think of how far you’ve come. Of all the obstacles you navigated to be standing where you are right now. You have come this far, and you are going to do big things going forward because you are fucking amazing! Remember that YOU are the creator of your life. No one else is in your shoes. Don’t like something? Change it. Is it time for something radically different? Take the leap. Be brave, fearless and courageous. Set an example for the people you care about.

The only constant is change. Everything is always shifting. Embrace it. Let whatever energy you have within you now be your ally. Be curious about it and learn from it. We spend so much time and energy resisting things that are uncomfortable. What if we did the opposite? Embrace it all because it’s all part of your journey.

Mala beads are a beautiful tool to hold your intentions. I have been a busy bee making tons of jewelry lately! Learn about malas here and see what’s new in The MALA Shop!

Sending you all the love and light this holiday season,

Loren

Lifestyle

Audacious Life Podcast, Creating the Life You Deserve

Loren Ashley on Audacious Life

Audacious Life – The Podcast, with Robin Wilkins Smith.

I recently redesigned Robin’s website and when she asked if she could interview me for Audacious Life – The Podcast, I was so honored, and excited!

Robin is all about empowering women to create the lives we deserve and desire by creating disruption in our stale routines that get us stuck. Be sure to check out her website www.robinwilkinssmith.com, subscribe to her blog and podcast, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook! Below are the show notes… enjoy!

“Today on the Audacious Life Podcast we are joined by Loren Ashley Boyd. Loren is the founder of Loren Ashely Design, a design company that provides authentic web solutions tailored specifically to client needs. Loren has a degree in Journalism and Graphic Design from the University of Washington. She is a passionate yoga instructor, jewelry artist, web designer, blogger, traveler, mother, and lover of life.

She has helped a number of people with logo and website design, creating design expressions through each client that reflect their unique personalities. Loren has a unique eye for design, incredible skill with the written word, and a passion for helping people follow their heart’s desire.

As an avid yoga practitioner and yoga teacher, she desires to help others achieve the fullest expression of themselves in all areas of life. In this episode Loren shares with us her journey of reconnecting with yourself by understanding how you choose to connect with the energy in your life. All this and more inside today’s episode.”

Key Points From This Audacious Life Episode:

  • Loren’s journey and how she was always pulled toward the creative side
  • The time Loren spent as a cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks
  • Why Loren decided to pack her suitcases and head to Costa Rica for six months
  • How yoga helped Loren to open up her intuition more clearly to follow it
  • Understanding the seven main chakras, and the importance of our energy centers
  • Becoming more present in life and increasing awareness with mindfulness practice
  • Learning to hold a space for people to experience healing
  • The why that makes Loren get out of bed every single day
  • Taking responsibility for our own health and awareness, starting with ourselves
  • Loren’s daily routine and how she balances working from home and being a mom
  • The importance of taking time to shift your awareness away from the busyness of life
  • Learning to empower others through accountability and vulnerability
  • Using a website or a blog to create a community and make an impact in the world
  • And much more!

Tweetables:

“I packed two suitcases and I left, and I moved to Costa Rica.” — Loren Ashley Boyd [0:07:44.0]

“Our awareness is like a muscle; we have to train it.” — Loren Ashley Boyd [0:16:00.0]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Loren Ashley Design

Loren Ashley Yoga

Loren Ashley Yoga on Instagram

Loren Ashley Design on Instagram

Meet Loren in person: View yoga teaching schedule. | See upcoming workshops & events.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

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