4 Mindful Ways To Invest In Yourself

When you think of mindfully investing in yourself what do you think of? Why is it important to do this for ourselves? Getting to the "why" does wonders for taking action... give it a try.

Nothing happens until YOU decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward
— Oprah Winfrey

This can look different for all of us depending on what your priorities are and where you are hoping to find growth. Mindful investments in myself mean something a little different than investing in say; getting my hair highlighted because it makes me feel presentable or buying that pair of boots that suit me just right. You catch my drift here? So let's play with four ideas that help me over and over again. 

QUIETING THE MIND

Stopping our minds from the endless chatter of rapid thoughts firing all day long is difficult to do. As we create some awareness around it, think less about needing to stop it and more about slowing it down. Find a place that feels calming for you. Get comfortable and bring your attention to your breath. I have found this to be the most efficient way to unwind the mind. Having a consistent meditation practice is wonderful and while I encourage you to strive for that, there are many suitable forms. Simply taking time out of your day to be present and find stillness is essential to your wellbeing. I find a quiet mind when; I practice yoga or nursing my baby-girl, my dad does mowing the lawn, my mom, reading a book, my fiancé, Erik finds it when he runs. Explore some and trust that whatever you do to get quiet will lead to you doing it more as you discover it's many benefits.

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EAT NUTRITIONALLY

I have a pretty 80/20 rule with this. Once you really get in tune with how the food you eat makes you feel, you are a lot wiser with the choices you make. I love food and I've found so much joy in learning about how to make my own tasty, clean meals. I don't shame myself for indulging in things I really want to enjoy that may not be at the top of my healthy list either. I have found the less rules, restrictions and negative talk I have about my choices, the healthier I am. I'm personally dedicated to choosing organic for myself and our family whenever I can. That lead to removing all processed foods and addictive sugars out that have made it into our food and beverages far more than necessary. We can not rely on anyone but ourselves right now to take action when it comes to what we put into our bodies and our kids need our help. I have concern and care as I learn more about our food industry and all the hidden dangers that are detrimental to our overall health and quality of life. So many of our ailments; joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, stress, etc.... can be transformative and dramatically improved with proper food and balancing what makes the best sense for you. 

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JOURNALING

Isn't journaling wonderful? I implore you to write a little bit everyday. There's a great book called The Five Minute Journal I often gift to friends that is perfect place to start. If you're not a big writer, try an amazing app I've blogged about called Gratitude 365.  My daily journaling of three gratitudes has been consistent for a few years now and made a signifiant impact on my happiness and daily perspective. Meditating and then free writing can be incredibly theraputic and a great way to filter out fear and worry and transform it into positivity. If you happen to be a traveler like me, I love to write about places I've been and what those experiences have brought to my life. I'm newly experimenting with Moleskins Smart Notebook as I love handwriting things down but for blogging I am always wishing some of those ideas and journal entries would magically appear in my notes or documents on my digital devices– and this does that. I'm kind of a journal junky... ton's of creative inspiration and clarity come from writing regularly. Have fun doing it and take note what it does for you. 

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

I love moving my body so this is a natural one for me, but I realize not for everyone. I thank my mom who put me in dance at age three and I grew to love it. I've been actively stretching my entire life so far.  I don't know about you but as I age gracefully I want to maintain a nice range of motion in my body. Let's not confuse healthy stretching with the need to be abnormally flexible, that is not what I'm suggesting. When I see elderly men and women out walking, stretching in a park or showing up consistently in my yoga class, I'm inspired, knowing that's the kind of vibrancy I want to have. Both of my grandmothers were pretty active women and as they stopped moving regularly their quality of life declined significantly too, it pained my heart. Our activity level will naturally slow, muscle mass will weaken but stretching can help us reverse the aging process and improve our agility. I rarely miss a day of stretching but I noticed several things show back up while I was recovering from giving birth. That was a circumstance of slowing down I was going to honor but it was interesting that my joint pain in my knee I haven't felt in years came back, shoulders stiffened and tightness crept in. I started stretching my upper body again first and returned to my yoga practice after six weeks. The decline of mobility occurs when we become inactive. I was able to help my dad with suggesting some stretches I thought he should do daily at 68 years old and he does them everyday now and say's he feels such a difference. I'm a believer that even if you don't get in the fitness routine you'd like to, daily stretching is going to contribute to your overall wellness forever. 

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These four suggestions are not rocket science but sometimes we just need a little nudge to put investing in ourselves into actions... so consider this your nudge and a lovely reminder for myself I may add! Thank you for popping by and your suggestions, comments or perhaps your own experience are always welcome here. Enjoy the last few days of October...we are cruising through fall. 

 

xo Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Younger Self Would Have Greatly Benefited From Mindfulness, How About Your's?

Is there an activity in your life today you would have greatly benefited from in your adolescences? What are some of the most essential things you'd share with your younger self in today's world?

For me that is answer is YES. Especially now that I'm a mom, it's got me thinking about my youth and how I can raise this little person to be a strong, compassionate and loving human.  A desire commonly shared in parenting, I have no doubt.  

If I knew how much yoga and meditation would have impacted my life for the better, you bet I would I have grabbed on to the practices sooner. I didn't get committed to either until my 30's. I was incredibly dedicated to being a dancer and tumbler as a young girl. With that came discipline, hard work, developing a passion, busy schedules, tons of joy... and let's not leave out anxiety, nervousness, failure and thoughts about never being good enough. Although these things help shape us at a young age, isn't it equally important to learn how to cope, manage and understand the more difficult emotions we encounter? It would be incredible to see more effort focused on acquiring self-help tools and practices and less on dramatic labels and prescriptions in my book. There is so much going on in the world today. We are more and more inundated with information coming at us, sharing our lives in a fantastical social-media manner, stripped of the simple things and horrified by devastation time and time again. Mindful practices continue to bring me back to gratitude and compassion and that always provides a shift into something great. 

While I am thankful for great parents who did a tremendous job guiding me, not everyone grows up with such direction and support. And even if you do, sometimes outside sources, pressures and the circles you fall into can have a negative impact. I know yoga and meditation would have only strengthen my mind, body and spirit connection, complimenting my active and competitive lifestyle all through my youth. We only have so much time for our extra circular activities outside school when we are younger, which is why I find it inspiring to see more and more school systems implementing yoga into their curriculum. It's truly more than just a physical practice when guided by skilled, trained, passionate instructors. Children are beginning to learn yoga and mindful practices in pre-school now. Some schools are using meditation during detention and evolving the mindset of troubled kids. Not to mention companies like Google, Apple, Time Warner, YAHOO and AOL offering meditation and wellness programs on-site for employees. How amazing is that? If we are continuously seeing the scientific benefits of mediation, yoga and mindful practices significantly making a difference in the work place, I sure hope we unite as a society and encourage more of this for our youth. The same goes for nutrition, but that's another blog. 

I share my enthusiasm for these things because of the exponential growth and transformation I've experienced from consistently practicing them for years. I am a mom now, I have a responsibility and desire to be a great one who's full of vitality. Helping our baby-girl see how important wellness is; mind, body and spirit is a gift I simply want to pay forward and educate her with early on. I believe that proper nutrition, the power in breath work, regular stretching and being able to sit with ourselves quietly, are a key elements that will encourage awareness of our health, continuous growth and expansion with-in. I'm excited to be a part of a wellness shift I feel happening in the U.S. and pray we as individuals care enough about our wellbeing and that of our families, we learn as much as we can so we can make wise choices.

Sonoma Mom Inspirational Addict Blogger and wellness influencer Andrea Bogart with Daughter and Erik Almas Photography

If any of you are curious about meditation there are wonderful apps out there you can get started with. I personally love Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21Day Meditation Experiences they offer several times a year for free. The next one, Making Every Moment Matter starts Oct. 30th if you want to join me? 

As a fun exercise, try writing a letter to your younger self sharing the lessons that have impacted you the most so far. This can be incredibly therapeutic and give you some clarity about what you really appreciate and serves you well today.

If you have great resources you love, share them with me. I'm all about creating community and helpful tips for one another! Have a beautiful week. 

XO ANDREA 

 

MINDFULLY START YOUR DAY BEFORE YOUR FEET EVEN HIT THE FLOOR

Happy Soulful Sunday... are you ready to start your week off with a bang? I am, I hope you'll join me with some thoughtful intentions leading the way.

Inspirational Addict Mindfully Start Your Day with Intentions

Are you set on auto pilot? How much of the first few minutes of your day are spent going through the motions without much awareness? Do you have multiple alarms set for waking up or reach for your phone and immediately start responding to things or possibly shower and brush your teeth with your eyes half open? All of which are things I've gotten caught up doing at various times in my life. Think of creating awareness as a gift to your soul... rather than inflicting any sort of shame on your behaviors. These are the places from which we grow.

I'm not quite sure where I picked up my actions from, but a while ago, my curiosity about how I started my day inspired me to make some changes. Upon waking, I sit up in bed and take three deep inhales and exhales linking my breath to a seated sun salutation. As I finish the third one with my hands at heart center, I set an intention. This is a way for me to mindfully start my day before my feet even hit the floor. This action rippled into more rituals (morning and night) that even with a newborn, I try to diligently make happen daily. 

Inspirational Addict Mindfully Start Your Day with Awareness with photography by Erik Almas

My introduction to setting intentions came from a consistent yoga practice, which I love and incorporate into my own teachings today. I never had much thought around mindfully starting my day before yoga and it's a big part of why I am always curious about how to better myself. Prayer has been and will always be a part of my life but there is something different about setting intentions that feels purposeful. I can attest that you really don't make changes in your life that stick until you want to make changes and commit. 

To mindfully start your day with a morning routine you absolutely have to make one that's right for you. We all have different lifestyles and commitments. I suggest you doing something you may enjoy or be curious about trying for starters. I tend to stack things into what I'm already doing and find that helps me be consistent. For example, in addition to doing my three breaths which ground me and give me a little stretch as I set an intention, I also use my early morning breastfeeding sessions for meditation and doing my three daily gratitudes. I take down a glass of water first thing, which I set next to my bed the night before.  My man and I make a Vega One protein drink after we stretch for 10-15 minutes. These are all things I enjoy and yes, are challenging at times but have become more habitual now and if I miss doing something... I have that feeling that I didn't do part of what supports my productivity throughout my day. This is me... what's your morning look like for you? Believe me, it was different when I was single. It was even more different before my yoga practice began and with a beautiful, growing baby girl, I'm sure it will take a new shape again soon. Being open to the shifts and changes with your lifestyle is also a dynamic part of you being mindful. Trust in that. 

My talented fiancé, Erik Almas, and I wanted to shoot something together that we created. This was very much inspired by how I make great efforts to mindfully start my day... I hope what ever your morning looks like, you have an awareness around your actions and do at least one thing for yourself that feels, grounding, uplifting and provokes some joy that carries you throughout your day!

At the beginning of your day when you wake up; express your aspiration “May I practice three difficulties, may I see what I do. When it happens, may I do something different, and may that be a way of life for me.”
— Pema Chodron

Thank you for stopping by... I love hearing from you if you've got any fun morning rituals you want to share, let me hear them! 

XO Andrea

 

Essential Insight To Postpartum And Bundles Of Health

Questions about postpartum? Well, let me introduce you to Bundles of Health who had some questions for me...

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

When a smart group of Northwestern University Students launches a platform supporting the holistic health of mom's reaches out and say's we'd like some of your input... I say "how can I help?" Considering I love to write and have so many thoughts on being a new mom I want to share, their questions only helped propel me into getting information out to all of you even quicker. 

Why is health and wellness important to you?

Without health and wellness we have to ask ourselves, “what kind of life are we living if this isn’t important to us as individuals?” I would encourage it to be important to EVERYONE. I could go on forever about this… but in short; As I learn more about how nutritional food plays such a significant role in our mind, body and spirit health I challenge us all to take a serious look at how we care for ourselves. As a society, I wish we had nutrition, yoga & meditation courses throughout our education systems starting in pre-school through master programs that reached even the medical field more significantly. My personal journey has been transformative as a growing interest in the wellness industry had me asking questions about my value in the quality of life I was experiencing. Several years ago I fell into the pool of many, who get caught waiting until something is wrong to make changes. A scare with an auto immune disorder developing gave me great insight to how I could be living a much healthier, happier life. Curiosity and passions have led me to educate myself through literature, documentaries, courses, podcasts and even using social media as a platform to take better care of myself. I then ask, how I can pay it all forward? I want to live a long and vibrant life and I have control over the food I eat, how active I remain and the lifestyle choices I make to support that longevity I'm striving for. I hope to inspire others to do the same. Finding the recipe that’s right for you with things like; organic healthy food, yoga, exercise you enjoy, meditation and sleep are vital to our health and wellness. These important, quality of life elements often are the first thing we neglect and do not prioritize because we are too busy working or taking care of everyone and everything but ourselves. When we are living in a time where we are likely to die from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, I pray we honor the things we have control over and do our very best to live an abundantly healthy life.

 
Photo by Erik Almaa

Photo by Erik Almaa

 

While pregnant, did you think about how you would take care of your health postpartum?

I went into my pregnancy feeling great! I planned to continue on with my mindful lifestyle and listen for any adjustments that this special time might call for. I absolutely thought about maintaining this postpartum, with the addition of allowing myself to fully heal before jumping back into how physically active I usually am. My biggest concern was my emotional health. In my case, two months prior to our due date, I moved after living the past 17 years with a flourishing career and wonderful friendships in Los Angeles to Sonoma, California to settle into a quieter life with my fiancé. Moving in general is challenging not to mention doing it seven months pregnant with your new home under renovations. Leaving friends and my career naturally had me wondering how I would handle it all as I became a new mom. I mentally prepared with mediation practices at the forefront, focusing on all of it being a positive experience and how greatly our family would benefit from this decision. I was equally excited about the change so it made visualizing myself in a wonderful new environment that much easier.  Daily gratitude about it all still serves my mind so well. 

Not knowing what kind of birth experience my story would turn out to be also took some preparation. By about 35 weeks I referred to resources of what types of things would help your recovery period and made sure to have them at home ready. We also hired a doula who was an amazing guide during birth and gave great insight to what kinds of things we could expect and how she’d assist with postpartum. There are plenty of articles you read that can be scary as well so I chose to be aware, but not slip into a place of worry and anxiety. Most importantly I made a commitment that I would be very open about how I'm feeling as bonding with our baby girl and my loving fiancé took over our lives.  I’d continue eating healthy meals and ask for support with all the specific self-care I would need.  As independent as I’ve been, I trust that if there’s ever a time to really ask for help this would be it... and I do. 

It takes a village to raise a kid. How has your village helped you through both pregnancy and as a new mom?

So much support is necessary during pregnancy and as you become a new Mom. Having a village is crucial. I’m blessed with an incredible man who has tremendous communication and has fully supported my ever-changing emotions during everything so far. If I was to itemize the things he’s done since we found out we were having a baby to make this time so joyful and easier on me, this blog would be really lengthy. He’s present and helpful every step of the way. The only thing he can’t do is breastfeed if that gives any indication to everything he does to help out. I know how lucky I am with him. Both sides of our parents have come to visit since our baby girl arrived and been incredible with respecting our time for bonding and taken on house chores, making meals and grocery store runs. They’ve allowed us to be completely hands on with our baby and let us guide them when it’s ok to take her for a walk or hold and play with her. We are so grateful for Emerie’s Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and all they do for us. The support and guidance from girlfriends has been a delight. From paying forward baby registries, sharing lists that helped them and girl talk about the entire process has kept me smiling and pointed in the right direction if I’ve had questions. Two of my very best friends just gave birth right before me and we’ve had a ball sharing stories, tips, photos and the miracle of becoming new moms all together. Erik, my fiancé, and I had decided we wanted to do as much as we could all on our own and that hiring Kate Coletti, our doula would be the only outside help we’d have until we felt we really needed more. Kate is special and having gained our trust and a natural comfort upon meeting her we knew she was aligned with our needs in the birthing process and postpartum. I think the most magical thing about having her expertise is how she helped the bond between Erik and grow even stronger before, during and after we welcomed our baby girl. Her guidance has created an overall wonderful experience for us especially as questions or concerns arrive.     

Photos by Kate Coletti

Photos by Kate Coletti

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 What’s the hardest thing about being a new mom?

For me it’s not so much about being hard, as it’s just full of adjustments. There is joy beyond words in being a mom and holding a tiny life that you created with another human. I always hoped to be a mom and with a partner like Erik, it makes it even more amazing than I knew it could be. Some of the adjustments that are challenging me are things like; the posture my body has taken on breastfeeding 24/7… it’s a terrible slump, I’ve tweaked my neck, my back and shoulders are suffering and since I’m slowly getting back to my yoga and everything I’m used to doing, I feel stiff and tight, not normal for a yogi. As much as I love slowing down and relishing in just holding our baby, I have to remind myself I’m not juggling work like I was and to just enjoy being a mamma. I’m a creative being though so I crave keeping that flowing but it takes blocks of time to focus and that isn’t always possible right now. Learning to trust your instincts and not google search everything you may have doubts about is something that I struggled with right away and thankfully has really settled now. You spend so much time with this little person you do just naturally have all the instincts together that help guide each other. And everyone does say sleep is the hardest… It’s no joke, I could feel myself whimpering like a 5year old some nights not knowing how I could sit up in this terrible posture and breastfeed one more time, but you see their sweet little eyes and face just communicating to you they're hungry and then you do and I can fall back asleep pretty easily so I have that going for me. I’ve felt more rested than I thought I would but I thank Emerie for that, so far she’s been a pretty darn good sleeper for us and we are the queens of naps. 

Photo by Mike Byrne

Photo by Mike Byrne

How could you see Bundles of Health being beneficial to new moms and the people who care about them?

There are not a lot of companies out there that are focused on the postpartum aspect of how to help mamas holistically in these new roles and I love that about Bundles of Health. I can see how a lot of mom's may not care for themselves the way they'd like to or perhaps once did when a baby arrives, as it is incredibly hands on and the hours can just drift by with loosing site of even the simplest things, like drinking enough water. Having a place where healthy, mindful gift packages are put together to send to a mom in need or for a mamma to refer to is so wonderful. I bet most mamma's out there would trade a $75 bouquet of flowers sent to them for an organic salmon dinner or an at home massage or even a snack pack filled with nutrient rich products any day. Offering a virtual doula is another resourceful component that I can see many new moms using. Many like me, don't have family living nearby and that's difficult at times, when you wish they could be closer.  When asked, "what can we do" or "how can we help",  I would love to refer family and friends to a place like Bundles of Health just as I would like to choose things from there to send to the mamma's in my life I can't be with. The convenience of giving mom's the Add To Registry button is handy as well. You have some wonderful items already listed that I have used during my pregnancy and postpartum. I think you're on a roll and have a beautiful business that will flourish. 

Andreas Most Essential Postpartum List

Thank you for stopping by and a special thanks to Bundles Of Health for reaching out to me and having me share some of my story & tips with all of you. Please check out their site and support one of the mamma's in your life. If you have any questions or comments for me, bring it on... I love hearing from you guys! 

xo Andrea

ACCEPTING WHAT IS, HOW DO WE MASTER THIS?

Do you love or loathe the idea of acceptance? Are you attached to outcomes constantly? Questioning, worrying and shaking your crystal ball trying to predict situations before they happen? Does this clutter up your happiness?

When you get still, can you release your resistance to accept things as they are and move into a more mindful place?

These are important questions I ask myself, not just once but consistently and especially during challenging moments. 

Photo By  Erik Almas  | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

As I pack up 17 years of living in LA and head up North to Sonoma to start a new chapter, my emotions seem to be running wild in every direction. I've been catching myself in a place of limiting thoughts & anxiety recently. Although I'd like to chalk it up to having third-trimester-pregnancy hormones mixed with moving to a home that’s in renovations and leaving my close friends and career during it all… it’s time to check-in. I’d prefer not to use these as excuses or be factors that dictate my daily joy or the joy of the people closest to me! 

Who loves a good reminder to check-in with yourself when you have a lot happening and you feel your attitude slipping into glass half empty mode? Take a deep breath… right now and SMILE if you do…we just created some awareness together.  

This a a beautiful time of life for me, I’m really enjoying pregnancy and I’ve always been one to leap into change with my heart open ready to take it on.  I’m surrounded by tons of love and support so it's almost frustrating to sense my negativity internally and then give it more weight by vocalizing it all to anyone who is forced to listen. Do you ever annoy yourself in this way? I hope I'm not totally alone here… the good news is our awareness can propel us into a place of getting still. By doing this we can release the things that no longer serve us with clarity and peak in happiness over and over again as we accept WHAT IS and our judgments dwindle away. Let’s do this.

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

MASTERING ACCEPTANCE TIPS:

  • Where do you go to get quiet, connect with yourself and breathe? Sometimes it’s in a yoga class for me. Often it’s anywhere I can pause for 15-20 minutes. To hear the rumblings of the chatter in my mind to start to dissipate as I use a mantra or phrase to repeat internally and begin a meditation. Challenge yourself to create a consistent practice with a form of meditation that speaks to you. 

  • Try not to forcefully push the negative or limiting thoughts away but see them and say “hi there, I hear you” and as gently as a fluffy cloud passing by in the sky, release them. If using a visual of your choice helps, do it. I love putting them in a balloon that I release or feel a gentle breeze lift them off me and carry them away. Get creative and change it up.

  •  Honor yourself with compassion as distractions and the rumblings most likely find their way back in. Consider the importance of observing your thoughts to be far more effective than emptying your mind out. Make sense? Continue to repeat the process of deeply breathing accompanied by your choice of mantra, visualization or simply getting quiet & still that supports non-judgmental acceptance. 

  • Clarity will start to arrive no matter what form of meditation you create for yourself. The pause from your daily schedule is what will significantly affect your ability to connect to acceptance more gracefully and consistently. Present state of awareness is what we’re going for whether for you; that’s on a hike, in a gym or sitting somewhere quietly. Rejuvenating the mind is how we can let go of the overwhelming feelings & pressures that can get in our way of being more calm on a regular basis.

  • Pay attention and notice how this peaceful state influences your reactive mind and responses to the situations that might ordinarily get you flustered. We all want to be a happy as we can be right? So if there’s a way to use our mindful practices to assist in our moment to moment well being, I ask— why wouldn't we all want to do what it takes to slow down the chatter in the mind we are inundated with from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep? 

The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

May I inspire you to check out the various styles of Mediation at  THE SECRETS OF YOGA for a wonderful & brief breakdown of each to explore. My personal favorite is Vipassana (and I too just learned it's called that.)  

resources I love:

What jumpstarted my practice that lead into a commitment has been guided meditations by Deepak Chopra and Oprah as they offer Free 21-Day Experiences periodically. I love them and often use them at night as well guiding me into a peaceful sleep. Going to the library and choosing one for a family member or friend makes for a great gift too!

Mindsail is a fantastic App that I was more than delighted to do the VOICE for the MoodBoosts component which you can access prior to subscribing. Two of my wonderful yoga clients developed this self-help vault giving you unique insights and tools to make better choices and live a happier more fulfilling life.  Is it strange to listen to my own voice to boost my mood sometimes... cause I do:)

I also have mad love for ZIVA Meditation as I deeply related to Emily Fletcher's lifestyle which lead her to study and create ZivaMind

Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked
— Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

My hiatus from actually publishing blogs recently has not felt great! I love sharing stories, tips and connecting with all of you regularly so these last few weeks I've had to honor that life has offered me priorities that won over some of the other things I was hoping to achieve. I don’t think there is a person out there that can’t relate to that feeling at some point. It's hard to accept isn't it? When you want to be doing something you somehow can't make time for.

I often share that getting on my mat to stretch, breath and connect with deeper sense of self and meditating are my healing resources. They are. The challenge is to maintain a reflective state of mind to that calm, peaceful state when things in life feel the opposite. I’ve been making time to meditate, get on my mat and today I honor that I was able to write on an entire flight! It feels so darn good. 

Thank you for popping by. We're all in this life together, never forget you are not alone. We have the ability to connect, communicate & relate to each other through our experiences... thank you for letting me share mine with you. You know how much I love hearing from you. The comment boxes are yours to share back... sending all my love and happy blessings each and every day! 

xoxo andrea

OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE YET, A LITTLE ONE IS ON THE WAY

What has been your greatest adventure to date? Has it been visiting a place, a crazy experience, a milestone event or ____________ ? You can fill in the blank.

ADVENTURE:

An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.[1] Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger such as traveling, exploring, skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting or participating in extreme sports. The term also broadly refers to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, or other major life undertakings.

Life has certainly been filled with a multitude of great adventures thus far. Each in their own element. Often life changing, empowering, liberating, humbling, powerful...etc. I can't imagine that anything will compare to the adventure of becoming parents! Yes, you heard me correctly. Erik and I are graciously embarking on the adventure of a lifetime as we prepare and step into becoming parents this year.  We feel incredibly blessed and share our excitement with all of you. 

Photo By  Mike Byrne

Photo By Mike Byrne

This news completely rocks your life in the best way possible and suddenly every decision you make is now with thoughtful intentions about becoming a family. All of you who've experienced this know what I mean right? With a glorious, deep breath in and out, I look forward to this journey.  Erik and I are over the moon!

As a mamma-to-be in my late 30's there are a lot of varying circumstances that can add worry and fear to what's suppose to be a blissful time. So far yoga, meditation and mindful eating have helped me every step of the way with staying healthy, vibrant, accepting of all the emotions and changes I'm discovering. Having support from an incredible partner, family and friends makes this process even sweeter than I knew it could be. I'm thankful. 

As I continue to share life's greatest inspirations here, this will be another wonderful way I get to connect with you. For you amazing humans out there considering, trying, already experiencing parenthood... I send you oodles of love and light in your adventure and always know this is a shared space of community supporting each other.  I cherish hearing from you guys, comments and tips, fun stories... you name it, they're always welcome here. 

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body
— Elizabeth Stone

XO ANDREA

A NEW YEAR, A CLEAN SLATE... ARE YOU READY?

First of all... Happy New Year you amazing souls!

Isn't the start of a new year the biggest breath of fresh air?  

Whether you are they type of person who outlines your resolutions and goals for the year or someone who takes it in strides choosing one thing you'd like to focus on out of the gate.... do yourself a favor and keep it simple and clear.  I start with identifying what is going to serve myself and my life best and consider what it will take to make the change or changes. I'm fortunate to be part of a women's group ( www.TheNewHollywood.org ) in LA that provides the members with a guide book. It's a wonderful tool if used effectively that can help you create and manifest what you'd like to achieve and see happen in a year. We break it into quarters with points of focus for each that support our twelve goals or aspirations we've outlined. Although it takes time to sit down and do, it allows for more clarity and you simplify how to get there. I accomplish much more in a year since I joined this supportive group and use the book. There's certainly a plethora of ways to bring more joyful peace & motivation into your world and they don't have to be written down or outlined in a book, that is just a process I'm enjoying. I say do what works for you. Maintain the things that are already working and enjoy the possibilities of discovering something new. As we leap into 2017 together with enthusiasm, can I inspire you to fill it with gratitude and intentions in any form that serves you well? 

 
Hayman Island, Australia

Hayman Island, Australia

 
 
Photos snapped by Erik Almas

Photos snapped by Erik Almas

 

My yoga & meditation practices are other incredible tools that have changed my life.  I'm profoundly more gracious and accepting of all the things I don't get done and take time to reflect on all the things that I do, which is a freeing space to be in. The awareness you create with mindful exercises will expand your life whether you had that intention or not. It's pretty great when it surprises you and suddenly you now know what to shift around to make them a priority for yourself. I trust they've been healing my soul and guiding me to a healthy lifestyle from the inside out for years now. It's an ever-evolving journey that thrills me as I jump on my mat over and over again and embrace the challenges of being able to sit quietly with myself. My passion for writing about it and sharing it with students as an instructor comes from what it's done for me. I will always encourage you to find the physical and mindful activities that make your spirit soar, that shake you up and make you feel alive. You will never be sorry for finding a way to incorporate them into your days regularly. Go get'm! 

Pinterest

Pinterest

I'm wising you all so much love, light and happiness for a beautiful 2017. I love hearing from you guys so don't hesitate to leave a  comment if something you do is working great too, I love the exchange of tips and helpful resources for each other.  I hope Inspirational Addict can continue to be a place you come that lifts you up and makes you smile with our shared vulnerabilities, stories, experiences and adventures of life! I've cherished all the comments and e-mails this year and look forward to the year ahead. 

With Love & Gratitude XO, Andrea

 

 

5 Mindful Tips For Maintaining Your Vibrant Energy This Holiday Season

Hello there, hope you're having a wonderful, Soulful Sunday!  

Photo by Erik Almas in Amsterdam

Photo by Erik Almas in Amsterdam

November and December are often the months that become the most challenging to carve out time for our mindful activities and physical exercise. We are inundated with social gatherings, cooking, travel plans, shopping, wrapping gifts, kids programs, entertaining guests and all the extra holiday prepping.  For many, it's a time of stress and letting go of those mindful choices we've been so diligent with. We can and should allow the holidays to be a time of enjoyment with family and friends but doesn't have to be a time of loosing our health. So let's make a plan for maintaining our vibrant energy this holiday season, are you with me? 

Photo By Erik Almas in Vienna

Photo By Erik Almas in Vienna

Making some commitments to yourself is a great place to start. Decide how you want to feel during the holidays. Set an uplifting, positive intention for yourself and refer to it in those moments of challenge. For example, "I'm thankful for the abundance of love and healthy choices that support me this holiday season". Try these 5 mindful, energizing tips I've found to be helpful.

Tip #1 Hydrate Right: 

Drinking approximately eight, 8-oz glasses of water each day. Proper hydration is beneficial for so many things; glowing skin, digestion, fatigue from dehydration, to name a few. Carry a water bottle with you all day and pay attention to the water you drink. Purified and alkalized can be more replenishing. I also fill up a glass of water before I go to bed and drink it as soon as I wake up, one glass down. Whoop Whoop water is good!

Tip #2 Shop Mindfully For You and Your Family:

You'll reach for healthy snacks and prepare more conscious meals when you have healthy food to choose from. When the cookie jar is out... it's hard for the whole family to keep their paws off. Try having a fruit bowl out instead. In today's market of GMO's and an abundance of sugars put unnecessarily in our food, it's never been more important to read the ingredients. Help you and your family eat healthy and buy organic whenever you can. We the consumer can have a huge impact in the food industry through what we buy and don't buy.  You got this. 

Tip #3 Schedule Your Physical Exercise:

When your calendar reads; go to the store, kids holiday program, dentist appointment... add walk for 30 minutes, stretch my limbs or some physical exercise you know you enjoy to that calendar too. Involve a friend or the family, buddy systems make it even better. Move your body at least 3 days a week. Even more if you are regularly active. Seeing it scheduled in your daily calendar is so helpful. Remember how great you feel after and stay committed. You're awesome.

Tip #4 Delight In Saying No:

The holidays are filled with a lot of offerings which can lead to over-indulging and over-committing. Invitations galore, another glass of wine, desert buffets, spiked eggnog and more. Create some awareness for yourself and try not to be neurotic about it, find the joy in moderation. Say no to the invitations you truly don't mind missing or have time for and use your will-power when the food and drinks are offered repeatedly. You're so gracefully strong!

Tip #5 Get OutDoors: 

There is nothing better than stepping outside to smile at the sun and breathe in some fresh air. No matter where you are, can you be the one who says, "let's go outside, toss the ball around, go for a stroll, play in the leaves, build a snow-man, explore a new area"? Of course you can. You'll also be tapping into that child-like energy that always feels uplifting. Get back into your body with some deep breaths and let nature boost your mood and calm you down all at the same time. How fun are you?

Photo By Erik Almas in Norway

Photo By Erik Almas in Norway

How do you guys feel? I hope some of these tips are things you find manageable and helpful through the holidays. I love hearing from you so reach out anytime. Let me know what's working and what's not, I'm here for you! I wish you a healthy and happy kick-off to the holiday season. 

To enjoy good health, to bring happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him
— Buddha

 

 

 

HOW AWARE ARE WE?

Hi there lovelies, hope you're having a beautiful Sunday.

Photo By Erik Almas in Dubai

Photo By Erik Almas in Dubai

How aware are we I ask?  

We can be aware of the obvious things for sure; emotions we feel, our responsibilities, the routine of how we move through our days, food we eat, amount of exercise we get, what we tune-in to and tune-out, judgments we make on ourselves, energy we put out into the world… you get the idea. Do you ever wonder if you’re just going through the motions of life missing out on that deeper connection to your self-awareness? And even more importantly, how does your answer make you feel?

A few helpful questions to increase your awareness with the examples I listed above:

  1. Do you push away emotions or invited them in? 
  2. Are you enjoying or dreading your responsibilities?
  3. How present are you as you move through your day?
  4. Do you make food choices that support your health and goals?
  5. Is it important to you that you get daily physical exercise?
  6. What kind of environment are you creating for yourself? 
  7. Are you judging the choices you make with compassion or negative self talk?
  8. Would the people in your environment say you are kind, loving and joyful to be around?
Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

I truly believe, through our awareness it as just as easy to create wonderful, life changing habits as it is to fall into bad ones. It’s the desire to be aware that will dictate how much you enrich your life and strive for your greatest potential. We all want this don’t we? Take a moment to smile here and thank yourself for the awareness you have and trust that you are only going to expand and grow from here on out! 

Various circumstances and mainly excuses kept me from committing to a yoga practice many years ago and I wouldn’t have had a clue how to meditate. Sit still and be quiet, oh my... I couldn’t do that, that’s just weird unless I’m sleeping… would have been my inner monologue. When I landed in a yoga practice I loved, I began to lean-in to how I could expand my awareness and that uplifted me. Being a witness to the challenges I faced on my mat revealed the same challenges I had in life and I wanted to look at that. Yoga was becoming an emotional experience filled with vulnerability, happiness, resistance, letting go of ego, challenges, peace and a wonderful sense of increased awareness. Not to mention, keeping me in great shape. I fell deeply in love and made it a commitment I knew I had to share with others. 

There are days I’m extremely proud of my progress with being aware, present and connected and there are days I ignore my significant other as I create a social media post while I juggle car keys, grocery bags and getting the mail
— Andrea Bogart
Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

I love inspiring a mindful lifestyle in general and as a yoga instructor I have a responsibility to my students to encourage them to connect to their awareness.  My hope is that it propels each person to want to live a mindful life filled with happiness. Being an instructor doesn’t make me better, more self-aware or give me super powers but I see it as a beautiful gift that serves my life well and supports my core beliefs in the effort to practice what I share.  

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently
— Anthony Robbins

It's such a pleasure to sit and think and write about things I love and that helped me along the way. If it speaks to you in some way, comment or share something with me.... I love hearing from you guys. Have a blessed day filled with awareness! 

Stepping Away

The work is piled high, deadlines are hanging over our heads, we’re begging for more hours in the day to attend to our priorities, we’re not sleeping enough, we don’t have time for play or nurturing ourselves… does this sound like you? Take a deep breath in and let all the air out please. Feel better?

I love when someone in my tribe says to me, “take some time for yourself Andrea.” So here I am on our Soulful Sunday to pay that forward and remind YOU to celebrate YOURSELF as much as you do your work and daily demands. In fact when relaxing and nurturing yourself becomes part of your daily demands you should feel really darn proud, even if it’s just stepping away from all of your responsibilities for 15 minutes. It’s so important. Pay attention to who your tribe is too, as we are all transmitters and receivers. An environment filled with love, compassion, support and encouragement will serve everyone best when it’s happening in both directions.  

I’m traveling again right now accompanying my man, Erik Almas, at the Xposure International Photo Festival in the UAE and it’s incredible. I’m getting more free time than usual but Erik has had a taxing schedule and work is pouring in more than ever. He is so good to me when I’m slammed and feeling overwhelmed and always reminds me to take time to listen to what I need and honor it. It’s my turn to see if I can inspire him to stick to his mindful rituals and encourage some fun in the mix of the busied days.

Today Erik and I woke up to catch a sunrise and shoot a little together. We cherish the early hours that often are filled with magic and when the alarm goes off 30 min prior to sunrise it's a good time for us to visualize that magic. He has a ton on his plate so I know sleeping in would have been more appealing and yet we made the choice to get up and go. The sunrise was stunning. We laughed as we heard a boat of partiers still going strong and I dropped into my few little stretches so we could start snapping some yoga shots. The morning came with gorgeous colors illuminating the water which carried us blissfully into breakfast. The ocean was so enticing we then had to get paddle boards and take a cruise. All of this by 10AM and man did it feel great. We both could have spent the entire morning working away but we know how important it is to make time for some fun, creativity and quality time together too.

iphone snap by Erik Almas

iphone snap by Erik Almas

Whether you’re married, in a relationship or single, having a give and take with support will only make all your relationships stronger. As you encourage and inspire others, allow others to encourage and inspire you. Get in touch with being receptive and motivating, be open and giving with it all. 

So next time you sense a friend or loved one getting a bit bogged down, can you be the motivator and offer a change up in action for a bit? Suggestions don’t have to be big and elaborate, think small and simple. My goals partner I check-in with for our weekly focus always includes something like; take a walk with hubby and the kids. It can be as easy as that. 

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud
— Maya Angelou

Thanks for popping by you amazing souls. 

 

 

Inspired To Finish The Year Out Strong?

Happy Monday! Are you inspired to finish the year strong & healthy? Last call to join the 4th annual “Get My Body Back” by @TNHWomen. As one of your leaders watch for some INSPIRATION every Sunday right here, to soothe your sassy soul! 

Together, we're going to create more awareness and propel forward... MIND BODY & SPIRIT.

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

You're ready, push through that resistance! Shout it out, write it down, share it with a friend, comment here, I'd love it... what's one thing you want to change in your life that you know you'll benefit from? 

When you get honest with yourself, accept where you are and believe in your undeniable courage & strength to grow... You WILL be a better YOU! 

You're UN-STOP-A-BULL... Yes, you see how I did that? I hope you're smiling, let's have some fun. 

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas