10 Reasons To Practice Yoga

Why practice yoga? I have an abundance of reasons with a pot of gold at the end but let's just ease into this. 

Have you felt the benefits of this practice yet? It's no surprise to me that a Forbes article indicated in a 2016 study that the amount of people practicing yoga in the U.S. nearly doubled from 2012. Bringing it to 37 million, which is estimating that one out of ten people are practicing now. Yoga has been so impactful in my life that it's a bit of a mouth full to describe just how so. Several of my blogs have been inspired by this journey and my first post was about how consistently practicing lead me to becoming a certified instructor. I care deeply about this practice and all of it's tremendous benefits. It's a non negotiable for me... yoga will be in my life for as long as I live. Here's my top ten reasons why.

Sonoma yoga instructor and wellness influencer Andrea Bogart settles with photographer finace, Erik Almas as a new mom and lifestyle blogger and actress 

Connection 

Yoga is the union of the mind, body and spirit. This ability to connect to a deeper sense of self arrives as you drop into your breath, begin to link it with movements and quiet the mind. The hope is that the discoveries you find as you explore the eight limbs of yoga will cultivate a joyful, non judgmental awareness in which you can use as a vehicle for transformation. This connection isn't only enriching for the self but in all your relationships if you want it to be.  It's a journey inward that guides you to connect with the present moment with compassion and acceptance.

Relieve Stress

There is loads of research that supports yoga reducing stress and anxiety in conjunction with elevating your mood and over-all sense of well-being. When we stretch the body, create a fluidity with our breath and movements we release stored toxins and calm the mind quite beautifully. Stress wears differently on all of us so my suggestion is to simply see for yourself.  As you begin to practice consistently you will start to see the benefits show up in your daily life. A heaviness you may have often felt before becomes lighter. As relaxation is practiced, a  calm nervous system encourages more balance in dealing with life's upsets and disappointments as you navigate toward joy and healing more readily. 

Ease Joint Pain

You gotta love when Doctors and Chiropractors are prescribing yoga for pain, which I'm delightfully hearing more and more. I'm a prime example with having had severe knee pain from being a former dancer/ gymnast and using yoga as rehab instead of surgery. It was pretty miraculous for me. This is not the case for everyone but worth a shot in my book. Combined with anti-inflammatory foods you may save yourself in a multitude of ways; Ie., medical bills, painful procedures with recovery times, being on prescription drugs. Increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles that support our joints are key components when practicing various styles of yoga.

Gain Strength

Many of the yoga postures are strengthening poses that tone your entire body. I've had some incredible athletes try yoga for the first time with me and express that it was the hardest thing they ever did. Don't let that scare you... there's a practice for everyone. It's a full body work out physically and spiritually. Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga are three styles I'd recommend for someone wanting to focus on gaining muscle strength. Remember, strength comes in many forms as well.. it's not just about the tight core, killer triceps and buns of steel. As your awareness starts to inspire better life choices, it would be fair to say you've definitely strengthened your mind as well.

Great Workout

There are many styles of yoga with a variety of level's and intensity's and exploring them will help you land in a practice that's right for you. I was in the gym for years pounding the treadmill, using weight machines and not particularly enjoying myself at all. I was introduced to yoga in my late twenties switching gears, using it as my consistent form of exercise. I explored styles and levels and fell in love, quickly becoming addicted to the physical and mental challenges and happiness shift I was experiencing. At large, it seems everyone wants to maximize their time and efforts with quick results. I think of yoga as great work out for everything. With the right combination of style, instructor, level and commitment the benefits go far beyond the time spent on your mat and my top ten reasons.  

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Calming

Pranayama (control of breath) is the driving force of any style of yoga. Practicing this controlled breath connects us to our bodies and the present moment. Meditation (Dyhana) is one of the wonderful eight limbs of yoga I referred to earlier that quiets the mind and has been found to help reduce anxiety. Connecting to these vital elements increases your ability to relax, restore and revive. Day to day activities often leave us restless with mind-chatter and a yearning for a way minimize that. Finding balance and an understanding of your mind, body, spirit connection will invite more calm into your life. With a constant the need and/ or expectations to respond to things, this is one perk of the practice that can be detrimental to communicating positively and effectively. Savasana can be an out-of-body, calming experience... make sure you never miss out on that. 

Increase Flexibility

If I had a dollar for everyone who said "I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible", I'd be treating us all to fancy vacations regularly. My understanding and empathy with this is that, if you feel a lot of tightness or stiff areas in the body, yes postures will feel more challenging in the beginning. Anyone who has practiced at least three times with-in their first week I believe would tell you they felt better in some tight area of their body. I was always decently flexible due to my dance training but I've never felt flexibility combined with strength the way I do now from yoga. I've worked with several clients and watched their progress during a few short months and over the course of several years. There's no need to become gumby and some would advise that being overly flexible isn't smart for the long hall. However, I will cheer you on to consistently and mindfully practice asanas and stretch as it will lead to an increased range of motion and life long vitality.

Inspires Mindfulness

There is a lot of life we live just traveling through on auto pilot. The foundations of yoga teach us how to create more awareness and to be present. Hitting your mat regularly is likely to reveal more that you would expect and shift your ordinary responses into a place of thoughtful perspective and curiosity. I learned what a competitive perfectionist I was even in my yoga practice and how humbling it's been to let go of that. It's sort of like holding up a mirror to yourself and learning how to compassionately embrace every morsel of what you see and grow from it. Setting intentions, feeling gratitude, exploring the senses and taking in whatever arrives creates mindfulness that is transformative. 

Sleep Better 

Often reasons we don't sleep well are due to the worries, anxieties and constant information coming at us that is overstimulating. Exhaling is a release in the nervous system and postures relieve tension in the body thus often acting as a natural sleep remedy. Different styles of yoga, like Restorative or Hatha are slower paced and support better sleep than say an energizing power flow or hot yoga. If you suffer from insomnia you'd want to pay more attention to that and perhaps the time of day you practice. An evening gentle practice just might be the recipe for you to get your proper zzz's.

Brilliant for the Mind

It makes sense that yoga can sharpen the mind. With so much emphasis on the nine reasons above how could it not? Strengthening the immune system, central nervous system and deepening your focus are all tangible, physical health benefits. Neuroscience studies are reporting that our happy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine levels are increased in our logical and emotional brain when we practice sustained discipline in our mind/body (like hatha or vinyasa yoga). Yay for more feelings of relaxation and contentment. We all need more of that right?

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I'm a hopeful Inspirational Addict here and wishfully thinking, one of these reasons may be enough for you to give yoga a try or lock down that commitment to consistently practice. For the first time, I am discovering how difficult it can be to carve out space for self-care since having a baby so I get that it may take some strategy. Lucky for us with 37 million practicing we have several outlets to try to do it. Just like the various styles, there is something for everyone that could be your cup of tea; be it physically making a class, having a private instructor come to your home or lead you on-line, find an event near you or going on an amazing retreat.  I'm always here for you guys with questions or comments! Big hugs and thanks for popping by. 

xoxo 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

 

 

Evolving From A Multitasker to A Singletasker... You Ready?

Hello wonderful humans! I'm coming right out to ask... are you constantly tempted to multitask?

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According to the Author of The One Thing "Since the 1920’s the word multitasking has existed but it was’t until the 1960’s that it was being used to describe computers, not something the human race did."

A girlfriend calls: “Hi Dre what are you doing?” 

Me: “I’m multitasking a million things like champ, getting stuff done… you?”

I admit it, that’s actually come out of my mouth for years now. I wore that phrase like a badge of honor, truly believing I was efficient in doing many things at once. Thankfully several resources including meditation, yoga and helpful literature have all inspired me to see how ineffective multitasking actually is. I'm challenged continuously and catch myself over and over again having to stop, realize I'm doing it and change my patterns. 

For example; I can memorize lines for an audition as I listen to upbeat music with lyrics, I can be on the phone and attentively listen as I unload groceries, I can read articles and pay bills on line switching from tab to tab while also creating Spotify playlists for my yoga sessions. These are are just a few of the things I thought I could do at the same time and do well. It really wasn't until I began consistently going to yoga that more awareness of myself & distracting habits surfaced and meditation helped me understand how to practice changing it. Get connected to the word practice, I use it a lot and find so much comfort knowing my growth lies in my commitment to practice... EVERYTHING. 

Snap By Erik Almas at the Taj Mahal in Agra, INDIA

Snap By Erik Almas at the Taj Mahal in Agra, INDIA

In the middle of writing an important email you stop and switch tabs to your on-line banking to pay some bills, then you decide to hop up and make a snack then back to the computer, someone texts you and you start engaging and before you know it you’ve just wasted two hours and not completed one thing. This is embarrassingly sometimes my day. I don’t want to pull anyone down here with me… but tell me I’m not alone? 

When I look at my todo list, I know I’m notorious for making long one’s. I even put the lists into categories and it’s still daunting. It's quite aggressive to think I could get it all done in a month let alone a few days. Do you do this too? It’s my attention span that often has to be redirected. How disrupted are you by your own thoughts? It's apparent that distractions surround us constantly and we will drive ourselves nuts if we don’t create a unique, personalized system that releases our ideal of doing several things at once. Let's start there. Deep breath in and out... and release the need. 

We want to actually complete tasks, we want to feel amazing about getting multiple things done... but in order of importance not scrambling them together like your best breakfast omelette, right? So how do we redirect our energy into doing one thing at a time? I love the juggler analogy The One Thing uses, "even a juggler, catches one ball at a time." 

TIP #1: IDENTIFY WHEN YOU'RE MULTITASKING

Catch yourself and pause. Reflect for a beat about it bringing awareness around it. Re-direct your actions into what's most important and follow through on one single task. Then move onto the next. Have a chuckle about it. 

TIP #2: ENJOY THE PRESENT MOMENT

Challenge yourself to be completely present in doing one thing at a time. Notice how different you feel. Enjoy and appreciate how wonderful it is. 

TIP #3: ENGAGE IN A MEDITATION PRACTICE

For me, this is it. Meditation is what calms the mind and creates a rich connection to the self and your ability to be still. Try 5 minute MOODBOOSTS with me as I talk you through various ways to quiet the mind with the Mindsail App. Sit with your beautiful self and love it. 

Snap by Erik Almas in Sarnath, INDIA

Snap by Erik Almas in Sarnath, INDIA

I have no doubt without yoga and meditations I’d be a total basket case still trying to master the art of multitasking, determined to be the best at it. No matter what your fitness routine or mindful practice is... can I inspire you to capture the essence of slowing down and taking one thing at a time?  With how fast things come at us these days, connecting to your ability to enjoy something moment by moment will enrich your capacity to be present with yourself, the tasks you want to achieve and others who are graced with your presence more and more. I'm with you on this journey, I love the challenge it presents and look forward to doing less with more focus as a singletasker. 

Thank you for stopping by. If you have any great tips about being a better singletasker... send them my way! Let me know if you find any of these tips helpful... share your progress! I'm so proud of all of you. 

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! 

To Malibu With Gratitude

A Sunday morning drive down PCH, sipping on a smoothie with some mood music and my man-squeeze next to me is a great way to start the day...

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Something about the ocean-side drive always deeply connects me to my sense of gratitude. The quick breeze almost takes my hipster hat. Erik and I share a laugh that's worthy of the windows remaining down. There's a whisper in the air that breathes, it's going to be a great Sunday. I love this feeling– are you with me?

The Malibu Yoga Shala is our destination, a private event hosted by the gracious Leah Marsh and Ed Freedman. We stroll into a beautiful space with the excitement of meeting new people and claim a spot as yoga mats are being rolled out. A stunning beach-front flow accompanied by live acoustic music is such a gorgeous way to bring people together... I'm inspired and honored to be here. Glimpsing into the kitchen, I can see a small crew hard at work preparing an array of fresh foods and the sweetest chocolate lab is brushing by with a tennis ball in-mouth, ready to play. There are hugs and handshakes with some friendly faces I know and introductions with those whom are new. I'm in my element of bliss and soaking up the experience of participating as a guest before I get to guide this radical tribe. 

The smell of the salty air, sounds of waves crashing and the light strumming of a guitar is grounding and I feel alive. My rhythmic ujjayi breath is a graceful ballroom-waltz dancing in and out... in and out... in and out. I'm relishing in the last bit of shade as the sun beams its' rays onto half of my face. I am present, I am grateful, I am happy. 

For seventy-five minutes Kat McGee has us gently flowing, threading in the word simplicity and I sink deeper into letting go and release my worried demeanor about getting everything done on my to-do list.  Jenna Maranga's angelic voice flutters like a beautiful butterfly over my movements.It's calming to practice being present & the art of acceptance. The time spend on my mat and meditating gives me the freedom to enjoy the process.  As we lay in Savasana and I surrender letting thanks wash over my sun-kissed, dewy body I cherish the calm, quiet connection to the earth supporting me– Namaste. 

We are invited to stick around and enjoy breakfast prepared by the talented Chef Oren. The presentation is something a food blogger would go nuts over. YUM! Everything is delicious... my pallet is satisfied with flavorful & clean local ingredients that he's passionate about serving. This was such a special addition to the already wonderful morning we were having. 

Photo by Me

Photo by Me

Photo: Chef Oren - Lavender Dragon fruit Chia pudding

Photo: Chef Oren -Lavender Dragon fruit Chia pudding

Photo: Chef Oren -  Mini healthy tostadas w/ Brown quinoa, spinach, Chili's, black beans, fire roasted tomato salsa and hard-boiled egg

Photo: Chef Oren -Mini healthy tostadas w/ Brown quinoa, spinach, Chili's, black beans, fire roasted tomato salsa and hard-boiled egg

Photo: Chef Oren -  Acai coconut bowl

Photo: Chef Oren -Acai coconut bowl

Of course we couldn't leave with out getting our toes in the sand and me asking my talented guy, Erik Almas to snap some beach yoga photos. The beautiful connection nature triggers spiritually for me is a reminder, I'm the most comfortable outdoors and surrounded by it. Beyond getting a great shot, it feels nice to have the sea splashing up on me as I try to find balance on a rock. 

Special Thanks to  Body Language Sports Wear  for my summer floral leggings and  LuLu Lemon  for my favorite black bra top.

Special Thanks to Body Language Sports Wear for my summer floral leggings and LuLu Lemon for my favorite black bra top.

We mingled for a bit and as I thanked Leah and Ed for their loving, generosity and hospitality, I realized how special this is and what a privilege it will be to flow with these yogi's as I lead this private event on Aug. 7th.  Another bucket list will be checked off and it will be something new for my 31 day class pass challenge I'm doing this month with my friends, Jake Ferree and Namastamy. I've been wanting to teach a flow accompanied with live music; our featured musician is Peter Chung.  I spoke with Peter and he mentioned he's always wanted to play live with a yoga flow... SYNCHRONICITY is so grand! A special thanks to Chris Pan founder of MyIntent for connecting me to this group of wonderful humans. Stay tuned for a follow up blog with more on the Aug. 7th Malibu Yoga Shala Event. 

Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.
— Mark Twain

Thank you for popping by! Can I inspire you to try some new things for the rest of August with me and include #InspirationalAddict in your hashtag when you photograph it? XOXO