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 

 

SETTING AN INTENTION

How do you set an intention for yourself?

Photo by  Erik Almas  on the Ganges River in Varanasi, India with a  Sadhu  (Baba)

Photo by Erik Almas on the Ganges River in Varanasi, India with a Sadhu (Baba)

I am reminded through Oprah and Deepak meditations, how the power of setting intentions drives our personal reality. Aligned with your beliefs and values, intentions create wander and put positive energy into your mind and out into the world. Why not give yourself such freedom to be creative and enjoy how it can uplift you as you believe what you see?

Before I started practicing yoga and meditating, I believe the only intentions I set were through prayer as I grew up going to church with my family, which to this day, I have such appreciation for. I didn’t have awareness around consciously setting intentions until I started hearing it in the yoga classes I would take and responding happily to it. As a competitive dancer and tumbler in my youth I definitely remember those crucial moments right before performances or competitions as I hit my mark, found my beginning post and suddenly a rant of thoughts went through my head; I'm scaredjust breathe, don't mess up, do your best, don't forget to smile, just have fun Andrea, stick your landing, use facial expressions, don't bite your lip, I hope I don't fall... you get the idea. I had no idea how to control this mindless chatter with fear often highjacking the positive.  

When I shifted into being an actress in my twenties, audition filled days caused a free-flowing stream of these types of rants in my head all over again. Thoughts would hang on me as I entered rooms causing me to feel in limbo between having fun and doing my best or flopping and leaving frustrated. I've always had my things I do to prepare but as I grow, I dig bringing awareness into simplifying thoughts which leads to more clarity when I need it. 

As "intention" setting in yoga class migrated its way into audition rooms, my morning rituals and meditations, I knew it would be an important thing to share in the yoga classes I instruct.  Encouraging others to take the moment to get still, feel right where you are, take a deep breath in and out and let an intention come to mind is a moment worthy of exploring. 

After recently spending time with my nieces I realized sharing the importance of how to set an intention could inspire them as they prepared for their dance recital. When I asked them if they were excited about their show, they reminded me of myself when I was young.  All the same fears and worries overpowered them being able to relax and say positive things to themselves. What a perfect time to share with them my past similarities and what I've learned that can be calming in these nerve racking situations.  I reminded them that it's ok to feel nervous and that sometimes it's just excitement brewing too, which can be the little adrenaline rush you use to give it your all! 

There are several ways to get to intention setting, here are a few tips to the process I often use:

  • Close your eyes, get still and connect with your inhale and exhale.
  • Ask yourself where you would like support?
  • Think short term and in the moment.
  • Invite in clarity with-in your thoughts.
  • From that thought grab a positive word or phrase that inspires where you want that support.
  • Your intention is set, say it to yourself as you breathe in and out a few times and let it uplift you!

Example of mine today: I will nurture myself with compassion and be proud of my accomplishments today. 

I decided to have some more fun with my nieces in sharing this "intention" setting process through a company I love, called MyIntent. I met founder, Chris Pan about 2 years ago at a sunset rooftop yoga I was leading and immediately connected with him. As Chris has grown MyIntent into something authentic with purpose behind it, I get excited to share the goodness that he’s paying forward, spreading light into the world. 

The girls and I sat together at the kitchen table. They all wrote on their cards what their word was and why they chose it and I took to my craftsmanship to make them their bracelets with the MyIntent maker kit. To sit and have these moments with them is priceless and better than any post I could share. I'm a fan of creating an open dialogue with our youth which gives us all permission to share what we are feeling and bring light to what we'd like our intentions to be. I'm proud of my nieces for the inspiration they give me and are putting out there for themselves. 

I'm on my third word and bracelet since meeting Chris.  As we shift and grow our intentions can change. I'd love to share mine because they've greatly reflected what I've brought into my life. My why included was written during the time of choosing that word. 

  1.  2014 was Let it Happen: I often worry about the future in many aspects and even as I feel like a motivated, genuinely happy person, I create unnecessary stress by seeking results or needing to "know" how things will turn out too often. I aspire to be more present and let things organically happen. Embrace what IS here and now. Let It Happen.
  2. 2015 was Perspective: I catch myself easily slipping into thoughts of self doubt, frustration, and having my opinions about the way I feel about things that can be judgmental. I will challenge myself in these moments to be open and shift my perspective in a positive way, respecting all beings and inspiring a stronger sense of self acceptance. Perspective.
  3. 2016 is Compassion: This one was chosen for me by my guy, Erik Almas, whom also made it for me. Erik encouraged me to have better "self talk". I will be aware of the things say aloud in front of others and in my own inner dialogue. I will acknowledge the way I look at myself and see things with tenderness and compassion rather than be so critical. Compassion. 
Photo by Chris Pan at roof top yoga

Photo by Chris Pan at roof top yoga

Photo by Erik Almas at  Rise Nation  

Photo by Erik Almas at Rise Nation 

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If you've done some intention setting for yourself, let me hear about it?  Or perhaps you're sporting a MyIntent bracelet... what's your word? I'd love to hear from you. Have your intentions helped? Keep this circle of light swirling! Thank you guys. 

Namastamy featured in photos.