2018 Strong In Mind, Body & Spirit

Happy New Year from NORWAY! Isn't the start of a new year the biggest breath of fresh air?  I hope you've all relaxed, reflected and thought about what 2018 is going to look like for you; mind, body and spirit.

Inspirational Addict Lifestyle blogger Andrea Bogart, Yoga Instructor, new mom with Erik Almas

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 out of LA that provides the members with a guide book and I believe, soon to be publicly available. 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 joy, 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 2018 together with enthusiasm, can I inspire you to fill it with gratitude and intentions in any form that serve you well? 

Sonoma Yoga Instructor, Inspirational Addict Lifestyle Blogger Andrea Bogart, new mom, health and wellness with Erik Almas in Norway   

My yoga & meditation practices are other incredible tools that have changed my life. They have looked a little different since I've become a new Mom but I've not lost site of their importance or my commitment. My baby-girl is seemingly growing fond of being on her play yard while watching mamma stretch and meditating while I breastfeed is sometimes just the best I can do. 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! 

Norway Travels with Yoga instructor Andrea Bogart lifestyle blogger health and wellness love with Erik Almas

I'm wising you all so much love, light and happiness for a beautiful 2018. 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.

XOXO 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

YOGA AROUND THE WORLD, READY TO WANDER WITH ME?

Does your yoga practice go with you when you travel? My Instagram feed may give the impression I just stop and do yoga photos in some pretty magical places… but behind the feed there is a commitment to the time I spend on my mat no matter where I am in the world. I often seek out a studio in the city I’m in to take a class and experience something new.  What I continue to connect with over and over again is that uplifted feeling I have after I meditate and create space to practice, stretch & breathe; mindfulness is something you can practice anywhere. When I do land in those magical places, often mesmerized by nature, I find that familiar connection to something divine and indulge in the present moment. It's a feeling I want more of. How about you? 

A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

I have to pinch myself when I scroll through the photos of places I’ve traveled to in my life. It’s more than just a blessing to get to see parts of the world you’ve not been to. There are experiences that stay with you, teach you new things and expand your heart in ways you never imagined. It evolves my capacity to love and appreciate people and different cultures in a beautiful way. Are you with me on this?

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions
— Peter Hoeg

Together, my soon-to-be hubby, Erik Almas and I are creating a body of work we hope to publish in a book someday. Our travels provide such diverse landscapes that inspire us to dance between looking for the right place and letting the image find us.  We both are beyond grateful for what adventures can do for our souls.  Embracing the moment is what it's all about. As we take in our surroundings and I float into a yoga posture, my talented man is behind the lens capturing something we both have found to be a special place or eyeopening point in time for us. 

Are you ready to take a trip around the world with me?

Big Sur, California

The sun glistened across the mountain tops. Oceanside serenity washed over wave after wave. The majestic trees of the cavernous forest told stories hundreds of years old. 

Santa Theresa, Costa Rica 

Warmth caresses my skin. The rain falls tenderly. Then blue skies and powder puff clouds swirl into shapes floating by. The sun kisses the moon goodnight and silhouettes emerge from the earth. 

Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

Every shade of fall illuminates this city. Before it is awakened by sounds of foot traffic and children's laughter, the streets are quiet and the canals whisper your name. Alone but not lonely. Beauty lies at every corner of your eye. Energy incapsulates your being.  

Barcelona, SPAIN

Historical monuments lay forth and draw you in to something old world. Pastel colors waltz together in the skyline. Very early in the morning as the street lamps are still lit and the cobblestone alleyways have been swept clean the ambience is full of hidden surprises revealing themselves moment by moment. 

TRONDHEIM & RØROS, NORWAY

Traveling to Erik's home town of Trondheim, Norway was undeniably special. We had a winter wonderland adventure to Røros and each storybook moment engaged my inner child influencing me to play. 

LONDON, ENGLAND

Leaving no cobblestone un-walked upon, London has the capacity to massage your heart and surprise your instincts. Treasures can be found in the nooks and crannies of the streets lined with history even beyond those familiar landmarks subtly grabbing your attention. Walk everywhere and let the city guide you. 

INDIA: OLD DELHI, NEW DELHI, COCHIN, KOVOLAM, AGRA, VARANASI, SARNATH, JAIPUR

Nothing prepared me for the adventures I had in India. We landed in Delhi and for the next 20 days explored from the North to the South and back to the North by plane, bus, train, boat, rickshaw and tuk-tuk. The people, places, stories & culture filled our senses and cracked us open in ways we’ll always cherish & appreciate. The opposing emotions one faces in India grounds you in finding comfort in your discomforts. 

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA

Between the lush, green rolling hills and acres of vineyards harvesting some of the best grapes for wine making in the world,  Sonoma's quiet charm and easy breezy, kick-back style is a calming escape and adventurers delight. Surrendering in nature and all it's wonder and some dangerously good vino. 

DUBAI, U.A.E.

I'd never felt such warmth & softness in thousands of tiny grains of sand laid like the rippling ocean waves beneath my feet as the red dunes of Dubai. A gracious breeze danced & mesmerized my soul. Soaking up the early morning rays is an exhilarating way to indulge in the sun putting a spectacular glow over the city. 

All photos shot by Erik Almas

Thank you to my generous man who lends his talents in our travels to shoot photos together where we get to create something that has intention and purpose, making our adventures that much more special. My parents always took my brother and I places... even if they weren't far away or exotic they sparked a sense that going places meant exploring and having stories to share was fun. That has carried with me and I relish in every blessed opportunity I get to go somewhere new. May my wanderlust ways inspire yours and visa versa. Go places and do more... you will never be sorry for it. 

I have so much more to share so stay tuned and I hope we all get to say that for the rest of our lives. Where are you off to next? Do you have a great adventure bucket list? I love hearing from you guys, leave comments, ask questions, share your favorite travel spot with me... all is welcome!

XO ANDREA