What I Learned From My TEDx Talk Experience - Amy Vetter

What I Learned From My TEDx Talk Experience - Amy Vetter

My @tedxcinnati video of my talk: Disconnect to Connect (below) was just released this past weekend on YouTube. This experience was truly life changing for me personally and as a speaker. I thought it may be helpful to share some of what I learned during this year while going through this process of creating a TED Talk, auditioning to make it to the main stage and then performing it.

Summertime! ~Matthew

Summer is here, and with it, some great weather and a barbeque, the occasional vacation, and many pool days under the sun. I mean, who could not like the summertime? Besides the fact that school is out, I always feel like the summer provides me with more time; the days are longer, which motivates me to get up earlier, and go to bed later. In my endeavors to be productive, I am always trying to find something new. A new game, a new activity, a new experience.

And this is why, this summer, I am challenging you. While you are always encouraged to try new and more difficult classes here at Drishtiq, this summer, I want you add to your usual practice by taking it outside. Whether in your backyard, at the park, or on the beach, expanding your horizons will only aid you on your yoga journey.

Get some friends together and meet at the park to greet the rising sun with sun salutations or bring your mat the next time you let the dog out. On vacation? Nothing can beat the calming rush of waves on an evening beach with your mat grounded in the soft, but firm sand. Perhaps you can even try taking your practice to a standing paddle board. All of these experiences provide a great opportunity for you to focus on you and what you need to improve and challenge your practice. This can include working on that really cool armstand you saw the lady next to you do during class, working on that pose you just can’t seem to get right or simply taking time to focus on your breath and meditation; challenging yourself will not only provide you with a great new experience but an increase in confidence as you let loose in the surrounding environment.  

Research has shown that by taking your practice outdoors, the fresh air and the environment can help your nervous system eliminate stress and heighten your energy. Additionally, Yoga Journal notes that practicing outside can help your brain increase its awareness of your breath and of your mind, making it a more mindful experience. But besides all of this, I hope you find this opportunity as a really rewarding experience that expands your practice and challenges the edge of your yoga journey. Let me know if any of you take me up on this trial this summer. I’d love to hear about what you explored and experienced when I see you in the studio next!

~Matthew

Teen Yogi Checks In

With homework starting to increase and college acceptances beginning to roll in, this month I have been trying to focus on self care. For me, that means a number of things (starting with getting more sleep). Instead of letting stress get the best of me, I’ve been making an effort to slow things down and spend more time doing things I enjoy. For me, I’ve been trying to spend  more time getting into the studio. With so many extracurricular activities after school, the morning classes have become a great way for me to start my day on a positive note. Class starts at 5:30, which is about the time I usually wake up for school. Pushing myself to wake up even earlier has helped me reinforce my goal of going to bed earlier. I’m usually a night owl, but I’ve found that shutting my computer down after 10pm has helped me fall asleep faster and feel more refreshed in the morning.

Along with my goal of relaxation, this month I have been trying to push myself to take advantage of opportunities that are outside of my comfort zone. Last week, I decided to join the track team. Now that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me joining track was HUGE. I have pretty severe asthma and I don’t really enjoy running (that was an understatement). But I decided to join track as a senior because I want to rise to the challenge. Right now, I’m one of the slowest girls on the team, and one of the only seniors who will be on JV, but I’m okay with that. For me, it’s not about being the fastest sprinter or the highest jumper. I just want to push myself to be faster than I was when I started.

Lastly, I wanted to share a project I’ve recently been working on.  I’m currently taking AP Macroeconomics, a college level economics course at my high school. As I was sitting in class one day attempting to study all of the graphs, I came up with this random idea to connect yoga to economics. I developed a cool worksheet with pictures of yoga poses, and over top of each pose I drew a graph that we’ve learned in class. I ended up spending a class period teaching the class about yoga while helping them study for the upcoming exam at the end of the year. This project was not for a grade, however I really enjoyed being able to connect what I’m learning in class to something I love. The session went really well, and I invited everyone in the class to join the teen yoga class at DRISHTIQ offers on Wednesdays. Hopefully, I’ve been able to spark someone’s interest!

 

Taking a Break.

We did it. Don’t worry. We all survived 2016! I could not wait to have a break because boy I needed it. With school and exams my brain was fried. Just like all of you, I yearn for the time that I can just fly away from stress and responsibility – an escape. I guess that’s sort of a neat way to describe a break. I know for me at least, after that school bell rang, I ran and never looked back. Over break, I’m that person who doesn’t know what day it is, and frankly, I really don’t want to know. When I know what day it is I’ll just start thinking of how much time is left before I am trapped into the quicksand of routine again. I’ll think about how much farther away the next reward is, the next break.

The past few weeks I got to spend a lot of time with my family. We went up to Michigan after Christmas. There I finally got to see my grandparents because the eleven-hour car trip makes it tough to get up there. We probably only get to see them once a year. My Grandma is starting to show the early signs of dementia and he short-term memory is the worst. We don’t really know if she remembers us being their last week. It makes it so much better when we get to finally see them, but at the same time, so much harder.

Over break I also got to do some more yoga. For instance, Sasha from the front desk and I went to Deb’s yoga flow on Monday. In the class, Deb had us testing our strength, balance and flexibility at a constant and continuous pace; breathing in and out as we flowed from posture to posture. I really enjoyed the class and the whole pacing theme really made me think about how rewarding it was.

In a way, the break was like one big reward. A reward for surviving the first semester of the school year or a reward for the responsibility you have encountered and taken on. But instead of looking for the next big reward, we need to focus on the little ones — the simple things That happen in your life like visiting family and going to a yoga class.  These are all rewards to us! All of these little rewards are what have built up this break as that one massive reward and I’m not ready to let go. But they don’t just happen on a break, they happen single every day even if you don’t realize it. By just coming to yoga and being more mindful of those rewards, we are building up a much better reward than a break, but a reward of a more healthier and happier lifestyle. The small rewards help us pace ourselves between breaks. They don’t simply drag us through our lives to reach get to that big reward, but they happen so we can enjoy the journey. In a way these little rewards are like little breaks every day. A yoga class is an escape just like a trip to paradise is. If we are more mindful of our little rewards, then maybe an escape won’t always mean running from the school and not looking back.

Teen Yoga Scholarship Winner

I am so excited to be the 2017 Teen Yoga Scholarship Winner, and I can’t wait to blog about my journey over the next year.

A little bit about me, I’m a senior at Mason High School and I love to dance, write and (poorly) play the guitar. I started attending yoga classes at DRISHTIQ last winter with one of my friends just to alleviate some of the stress of finals week. I ended up enjoying class so much, that I came back to the studio and took classes during summer vacation.

Now, I’m so excited for the opportunity to continue taking classes at DRISHTIQ over the next year!

One of my favorite things about yoga is that anyone can do it, no matter how old or young you are. I always tell my friends that it’s not about flexibility, it’s about a willingness to learn and accept your body’s strengths and weaknesses. As a former dancer, there are some days when my body is feeling super flexible, and I’m able to stretch my leg up to the ceiling. On the flip side, there are other days when I feel like I can’t even touch my toes. No matter what state your body is in that day, you have to be willing to let it go.

In 2017, I am looking forward to coming into class consistently. I am hoping to stop by at least twice a week (maybe even more). After all, as Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, “exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make people happy”.  With senior year being super stressful, I need to make sure that I take care of my body and set time aside to do the things that make me happy.

I can’t wait to start coming to class and I am excited to see what things 2017 brings!

Pacing Yourself

Exercise has always been a way to balance my busy life – whether when I was a student in school, in a public accounting firm or running my businesses over the years. I love all forms of exercise, but I am most passionate about yoga, spinning and running in my life as a way to release stress and be ready to take on each day. When I was out running one morning, it occurred to me that pacing myself running or in my yoga practice, is much like pacing yourself in your job or business that you run.

When I start out each run, it takes me awhile to feel good, get my breath in line and get a good pace. Even in my yoga practice it is the same thing, I start out getting in touch with my breath, clearing my mind and stretching slowly so I am ready to go. It is the same when you start out in business or a new service you want to offer in your business – you can’t start off too fast. To really achieve success and optimize the opportunity, you need to plan and ground yourself with goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. I know if I start out a run too fast I peter out – it’s the same thing with business, you need to know where you are going to have meaning in what you do each day. Even when it’s really hard, you can set the intention to visualize and focus on your end game.

When I was out running, I noticed a runner on the same path ahead of me getting ready to start her run. That moment of anticipation of whether it’s going to be a good run or not happens right in that split second. Once she started running, I ended up following her along the path for a while until eventually the path split and I went another direction. It was nice having her in front of me to focus on my pacing, but it was ok when she split off and went in her own direction as well. It reminded me of the many mentors along the way that I modeled either different parts of my business after or milestones I wanted to achieve myself that they had paved the way. Not all of them knew I was admiring them from afar, nor did they know me. Some did, because I reached out to them when I wanted to learn something from them and developed relationships that I could call upon for advice along the way. When it’s been time to split off and take my own direction, that part of them have stayed with me. My successes (and failures) are my own and a mix of so many people along the way that I aspired to and learned from. But when each time was right, it was time to split and take my own path.

In running, the most challenging part of a run can be going uphill. But, how do you take the downhill? When you are in the midst of a yoga practice, and its heating up and really challenging, what do you do? To me, it’s at these types of crossroads that test our ability to persevere in business. If you just let the downhill take you with it without doing it with purpose, or if you let your mind take over during a challenging sequence in yoga, instead of coming back to your breath, you aren’t controlling your destiny. In business, when you are going uphill, everything feels hard. But when you are coasting, that’s a testament of the type of entrepreneur you are. Do you coast? Or do you take that time to control the downhill and run it with purpose, set proper goals for the next phase of your business, new customer acquisitions or at least think about what the future looks like. If you coast, will you be caught in the next uphill and stagnate or get behind in your business. Where can you look for opportunities and keep growing your vision for what you want to do? In yoga we learn to breathe through the chaos and clear the chatter from our mind. When things are the toughest, its important we distinguish the noise from reality and clear out what isn’t useful.

When I finish a run, I feel accomplished. I measure myself against my last run or what I had intended for that run when I started out. When I finish a yoga practice, I feel refreshed and open. My mind is clearer and I can move a little more slowly through what comes up next in my day. As each day finishes in your job, try to find a way to identify accomplishments or progress you have made. Even if it was a day of different areas of failures – what have you learned by it and how can you improve the next day? How can you take time and step back from your day and review it and feel more open to take on your evening or your next day at work? Find ways to stay on the path of learning from your business and listening to what your customers or employees are telling you. Taking that time to reflect can help you pace each upcoming day, in addition to the upcoming goals you have for your business.

Getting Back to Our Roots

I had an interesting experience in my yoga class. The instructor was playing random music from Pandora, and chose a classical station to end our practice with. What she didn’t realize when she turned on this station was how it affected me. I immediately went back to being a teenager as soon as I heard the first piece play. Life takes us in so many directions; we sometimes forget where our beginnings were. The pieces that were played were ones I played as a High School student on my viola in a local symphony orchestra. For that moment in time, I wasn’t in that yoga room anymore. I transcended back to my childhood bedroom where I practiced every note of those pieces over and over again. I heard the notes I used to struggle with and was amazed I still remembered the whole piece. I then found myself remembering working on those same pieces with my viola teacher, the things he said, the goals we set, the measures upon measures we worked on over and over again so it would come out sounding right.

As the piece continued…I remembered the feeling I would have on stage. As the music grew louder during the concert, the stage floor vibrating and pounding with the instruments, the conductor waiving his arms furiously with the music and remembering the exhilaration I used to feel that sometimes brought tears of happiness to my eyes when it all came together on stage. All the work that led up to that final concert and how amazing it felt to be a part of an Orchestra at that moment in time.

We all have forks in the road – when it was time to make a decision on college majors – the choice was between music and business for me. I chose business, and packed my viola away. However, just because I no longer spend hours practicing my viola and playing concerts, the experience of playing came into my business life without realizing it. These roots that we have inside us, create the education for us on how to conduct our careers later. I learned through playing viola, the concert was the fun part, practicing was not; but it was necessary to be able to achieve a successful concert. The discipline and redundancy of playing the same notes over and over until you got it right – is the same discipline you need in business. We all are performers, in one way or another. Whether we are presenting in a meeting, pitching a sale to a prospect or speaking at a conference, we have to practice and know our subject matter better than anyone else does.

The way you win in business is to have discipline and to set goals. Making decisions too fast is really hard not to do. Making sure that each decision is in alignment with the goals you have with your business is even harder. Taking your yoga practice in your business can help you with slowing down and making sure the steps are in place. Learn to breathe. Take a deep breath before making a decision and think through the impact. Just like in our yoga practice or playing an instrument, it’s the details that count. No one may actually know what happens behind the scenes before it all comes together, but the time has to be taken to go through the steps and “practice” to achieve the outcome you want. No one may know when you couldn’t touch your toes or you played out of tune, because the end result creates an amazing business that the outside world appreciates.

Take some time to go back to your roots. Let yourself go back to something in your life that had real impact to how you do things today. Was it the right way to do it? Are you following a path because you have always done it that way? Or is it time to step back and assess how to do it differently and set goals that take you into a different direction. Make sure you are achieving the successful outcome that you want. Practicing the wrong note over and over will not translate into a good experience for the audience of a concert. Going into a pose incorrectly over and over will create injuries and frustration that you are not getting it right. Instead aim for the appearance of a seamless orchestral concert where the audience doesn’t understand the mechanics to get there, nor needs to. You did the work and took the necessary steps behind the scenes so they get what they paid for.

Enjoying Being a Beginner

When new students walk into class to practice yoga for the first time or a business opens its doors for the first time, a very similar experience happens. They both look around at what others are doing and want what they have today even though they are just beginning. I see in both cases they can be quickly disappointed if it doesn’t come fast enough. A yoga student may see the flexibility of the person next to them or see another person fly into an arm balance and ask how fast they will be able to do the same thing. An entrepreneur looks around at the success of other businesses that have been working in the same field for years and expect the same revenue and success as them in their first year.

How do we set the right expectations so we don’t disappoint ourselves and are able to enjoy the process of starting something new? Over the years I have seen people take steps through the journey and have intention as they go through the process and achieve success. I have also observed firms and clients alike try to rush through implementations without taking the steps to train, create unrealistic goals and a tremendous amount of stress for themselves and those around them. In yoga, I see students try to muscle through poses rather than understanding their breath and proper alignment first. They miss that if they slow down and learn the poses it will help them into each posture naturally with very little muscle involved.

I did the same thing when I started yoga. I started and stopped yoga a few times thinking I could never do what I saw others doing – whether that be their flexibility or ability of being still in a pose. Then I finally decided to go to a Beginners class and that changed everything for me. I finally understood where to put my feet, hands, gaze and utilize my breath. I also began to understand that I needed to stop focusing on the people next to me, that I may never do what they can do. I learned to be okay with that. I stopped being competitive and starting enjoying the practice. There is no reason that starting a new business line or service shouldn’t be the same. You should enjoy the excitement of starting something new and all the learning ahead of you. The climb is exciting and opportunities open up that you never realized were available.

A practice in presence…teen yoga blog

Usually, I take my phone in with me to yoga class.

The other day, I was in class, in a triangle pose, and I silently started wondering how many people might have liked my new photo on Instagram.  I turned my head to look at my green 5C iPhone at the front of my mat next to my two blocks, mat strap, and water bottle.   I know my phone is safe out in the cubbies, so why did I feel the need to bring it into class with me?

I felt pathetic having wanted to check my Instagram account during class, so I decided to try leaving it outside.  And I felt more pathetic when I realized it felt unusual, uncomfortable even, to be doing yoga without my phone next to me.

So what was it about that phone that made me feel so clingy?

I don’t know about you, but I love taking photos.  I’m artsy and creative, and love taking photos that capture the moment.  Sometimes, however, it is easy to forget that my real life is much more important than my virtual life.  In High School, it doesn’t always feel that way though.

Many people feel the need to post exactly what they are doing all the time, to show everyone else how great their life is.  Everything that really “happens”, happens on social media.  So we stay plugged in, thumbs tapping away to make sure we don’t miss what’s “happening”.

But I quickly came to the realization that I am not my phone.  My phone is a tool, and that’s all it was ever meant to be.  For teenagers, life is quickly becoming a thing that happens while we are looking at our phone screens.

It is imperative that you give everyone the attention they deserve.  On social media we think we somehow get more attention there than anywhere else.  Maybe, this generation needs to turn their minds from, “who in the room is going to give me attention?” to “whom in the room can I give attention to?”.

You are a person that, at times, needs the focus to just be on you.  On your mat is a time to give your body, your spirit, and your mind the attention it deserves, without the distraction of a text message.

This past week, the summer challenge has been to surrender.  Maybe in honor of this challenge, surrender the time you usually spend on your phone for a moment with a friend, a family member, or even for yourself.  Depending on who your are, this may look a little different; maybe you need to spend a couple hours away from your phone, maybe a day, maybe even a few days.  But however you choose to do it, allow your mind and spirit to fully embrace the moment you’re in; allowing yourself to, wherever you are, be ALL there.

Why Athletes LOVE Yoga!

DRISHTIQ Yoga is lucky to have the opportunity to serve the athletes in the surrounding area.  Yoga is a PERFECT accompaniment to any exercise or sport.

From casual runners and golfers to professional athletes, athletes doing yoga benefit from yoga’s ability to increase blood flow throughout the body and to important joints, fascia and ligaments.  Yoga also centers around focus, balance and connection to the body which changes the way any athlete moves, attends to or performs in their given sport.

Two such athletic teams – Mason Girls basketball, Mason Girls Softball have both embraced the benefit of yoga for their athletes.  Don’t take it from us, read the testimonials below!

“Yoga was definitely an asset to our team’s preseason workouts.  The softball players, who had been working out in the form of  weights and cardio conditioning for months, were surprised by the amount of strength and endurance it took to get through a yoga practice.   They all commented about how challenging their classes were but also how great they felt after.  The technique of learning to use their breath through movements is something they use through all types of exercise.  By far their favorite class was the restorative as their bodies were very sore from all the strength training we were doing as a group.  We will definitely incorporate yoga into our pre-season workouts earlier next year and more often!”  – Lian Muff, Varsity Softball Coach, Mason High School

“On a trip to an all-star event with 2 of my players, I asked them whether they thought the yoga experience was beneficial to them and they both said, “without a doubt!” They went on to explain how in the past, their bodies and especially their legs felt worn out at the end of the season but this season, they felt so much more relaxed and refreshed. Yoga, without a doubt, allowed the players to maximize their mind and body and helped us reach the state championship game.” Rob Matula, Varsity Girls Basketball Coach, Mason High School.

DRISHTIQ is ready and willing to host your team for a pre-season workout, or a recovery yoga session full of rest and restoration.  Please let us know if you are interested in learning and experiencing the benefits of yoga in your sport.

Your most troubling yoga questions….answered.

Question #1: How do I learn arm balances and challenging postures?

The answer to this question is two-fold.

First of all, it’s important to realize, yoga is a journey- not a destination. Your postures will constantly evolve and come to realization. Your understanding of yoga and mindfulness in your body will also change and grow.

Secondly, challenging yoga postures and inversions are realized in the body slowly and after much experience. You should come to a lot of yoga classes and learn all the “in-betweens” in your basic yoga practice. Yoga is designed for mindful movement with breath. This “basic” practice allows you to become aware in your body and when done consistently, builds confidence, erases the fear involved in more challenging postures/inversions, and adds strength in the body(even in places normal calisthenics do not strengthen).

Arm balances and challenging postures, do not magically happen. The only arrive after a long period of yoga practice. Especially, when those practices are done with instructor’s guidance on proper alignment and only after muscle memory is established

This is why in your regular yoga flow, the instructor may stop and ask you to become even more mindful of where you feel the pose in your body. They may ask you to find the tiny abdominal muscles that hold you upright or keep your lower back from tilting one way or another.

All of this “practice” moves you into more challenging postures and inversions.

Question #2: How Do I learn the different kinds of breathing used in yoga?

Take a BIG deep inhale and sigh it out. Notice the way the feeling in the body changes when you do so. Yoga teachers and practitioners know, the way you breathe is often indicative of how you are feeling inside. For example, get scared- short quick breath results. Whether you are sleeping or close to sleep, soft shallow breathing occurs.

If you are interested in learning the types of breath used in yoga, LOOK NO FURTHER! DRISHTIQ Yoga has just begin to offer 30 minute Pranayama (breath) and Meditation classes. Your yoga instructor will guide you into your breath and share different types of yogic breathing. From there you will enjoy a meditation session.

No worries if you don’t know how, that’s why we’re here. Come learn about the different types of breath. Get into your body; find union among your body, mind and spirit. Leave refreshed and proud you are able to change the feeling in the body, simply using breath and sitting quietly.

Question #3: How many classes a week should I take to really feel the benefits of practicing yoga?

Anyone who has ever tried a yoga class knows that after just ONE yoga class, a body feels the benefits. The immediate sense of space, calm energy and feel good feeling of a yoga class is what brings the practitioner back again and again.

However, if you have tight hamstrings, tightness in the hips or shoulders, etc., want more strength in the deeper abdominal muscles or increased release in the ligaments and fascia, a regular practice of yoga (2-3 classes at least) a week can really go along way to changing the body in ways that are really unimaginable when you first start taking yoga classes.

DRISHTIQ provides a variety of yoga classes to suit your needs. From Restorative, Yin to Heated Vinyasa Flows, each class is designed to suit a variety of different abilities and needs in the body.

If you can’t make it to the studio, even a short practice at home when you wake up in the morning, or just before bedtime can help you feel even more benefits from yoga in your life.

Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below to let us know how many yoga classes you take a week and whether or not that is enough to meet your body’s needs. Also tell us how yoga has made a difference in your body!

If We’re Honest…

It’s easy to feel like we need to have everything together, all the time, including at a yoga studio. Sometimes we all feel like we need to put on a show when we come to a yoga class.  We all want to feel like the person who has it all together wherever we go, including on our mats.  In short, sometimes, you feel like you need to meet all the “requirements” to do yoga.

This is not what yoga is.

Try not to view yoga as a checklist item.  Yoga is something that invests in all parts of your day.  It affects your mood, your mindset, and it gives you energy and relief.  It’s a detox, a challenge, a healing, an exploration, an acceptance, and an appreciation.

If yoga were about expectations, there would be no point in practicing.  Yoga IS a relief because it allows you to express how you feel.  Every feeling demands to be felt.  Yoga allows you to feel it in a healthy process.

Yoga is a constant journey; a constant change.  Wherever you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually, it’s about thanking yourself in where you are today.  You can’t help your body or mind by judging, or scolding yourself.  And you certainly can’t improve anything without accepting how you feel.  With love and kindness comes acceptance, with acceptance comes change, and with change comes improvement.

I invite you to bring everything you have onto your mat and be honest with yourself.  Take a moment to fully take in what you are feeling through yoga.  Listen to yourself like you would want someone to listen to you; compassionately and without judgment.  Listen to what your body has to say, and choose to let it go.  You are human, and you did the best you could.  So breathe it in, and breathe it out.

If we’re honest, we all know what it’s like to feel ten inches tall compared to everyone else.  Sometimes, we all feel like everyone else is staring.  But just take a deep breath, because it’s more than likely that someone else in the yoga studio feels the exact same way.

It doesn’t matter who you are – we all have brokenness to bring to our mats.  It takes strength and courage to be honest.  Whether you’re feeling content, or frustrated, just thank yourself for being strong enough to step on to your mat.

When you step on your mat ask yourself, “how are you doing?”

Then, let your practice be a reflection of how you are doing.

Why Yoga?

Exercise has always been a way to balance my busy life – whether when I was a student in school, in a public accounting firm or running my businesses over the years. I love all forms of exercise, but I am most passionate about yoga as a way to release stress and be ready to take on each day. Pacing myself in my yoga practice, is much like pacing yourself in your job or business that you run.

For a long time I kept my professional life and yoga life separate. But, what I have found over the years are that the philosophies have more similarities than differences. Many of us know what the “law of diminishing returns” is, but we forget about this once we start a business. For many of us that are entrepreneurs, this occurs often without us even realizing it….if we work one more hour, take one more client call, finish one more project – we believe we are helping our business. This is when we hit diminishing returns. We aren’t as fresh, we aren’t as visionary, and many times can create stress to those around us because of it.

It took me many years to realize that I have to take time out for myself and not compromise personal time in order for my business to be as successful as possible. When I started my business, my minimum day was on average 12-14 hours long. If I allowed it, I could have probably had a day that never ended… but, did that really help? Could it not have waited for the next day so I could be fresher?

Don’t get me wrong, I still work a lot of hours and have a good deal of travel, but I balance it. I do that by blocking out time in my calendar each day that I do not compromise for anything else. It may be really early in the morning, late at night or maybe just 30 minutes, but I commit to it. I actually get some of my best ideas when I step back from what I am doing and completely change gears – for some reason, problems get solved in my head without me planning it or I come up with ideas that I wouldn’t had thought of if I had not taken that time away from work.

We strive in the business world for goals that are not much different than in yoga. We want to find our balance, our equilibrium. Whether that balance be between our work and family life, being in the black versus the red financially, or having a plan that will keep us steady and take our businesses to the next level. In Yoga, we call that our Drishti. The practice of Drishti in yoga is a gazing technique that develops concentration and teaches you to see the world as it really is. It is a point of focus where the gaze rests during a posture. You gaze outward while bringing awareness inward to keep a sense of calmness.

This is what a yoga practice teaches us each time we come to the mat. We are alone with ourselves, our thoughts, our breath and our bodies. The practice of yoga is not really about the challenge of flexibility, it’s the challenge of our mind. We have no choice but to be present. If we aren’t present in what we are doing on the mat, we fall out of a pose. This lesson that yoga teaches us is the work we need to do in order to take that off the mat and into the world. When I finish a yoga practice, I feel refreshed and open. My mind is clearer and I can move a little more slowly through what comes up next in my day.

Finding yoga in my life has provided me time to clear my mind so that I can step back from the business and ensure I am focusing on the right things. There are days when this can be hard to do – really committing to it and taking the time dedicated to do it each day can be challenging. There are days where you block the time and don’t feel like doing it. Do it anyway. Just like you wouldn’t pass up a sales call for your business, you can not cancel the important things that feed you. There are many days I don’t feel like practicing, but I do it anyway, and always happy that I did.

So what does DRISHTIQ mean? I apply it to both my professional and personal life. It really doesn’t mean anything, I made it up….so you can create the definition that suits you! For me, I have defined it as breaking down boundaries to create endless possibilities. DRISHTIQ is constantly striving for more and not setting limits that are perceived or actual. As an entrepreneur in your own business or in a corporation spearheading new initiatives, DRISHTIQ allows you to reimagine a new way for success. Gazing beyond your current situation to create a vision. Creating a team around you that works toward collaboration and innovation.

Finding the right balance and support around you will help take you find your DRISHTIQ. Taking the first step and blocking time on your calendar to get started with yoga will go a long way – from there, it takes on a life of its own. It will benefit you, not only with your business, but with those around you.

Teen Yoga Blog- My Thoughts by Katy Closson

Hello wonderful yogis!

Today I’ve decided to combine my essay for yoga training and my blog together! YAY!

My essay prompt is to write about what resonates with you the most whether it’s the Yama’s, niyamas or the gunas.

I chose to focus on a broader view of what yoga does and what resonates with me.

And that was: How does yoga influence my everyday life in a positive light and how does this give a better output on those around me?

And for me at least at this time is making sure that I am full- Yama 4- and that I am not giving too much of myself away.

Yes, this may sound a bit selfish, however I am constantly being told that an empty vessel cannot give properly. I believe this to be true and struggle with it daily.

The question(s) I often times ask myself (In all 16 years of wisdom) is when is enough, enough? What I mean by this is how can I watch the news, for example, and see people being executed for their religious beliefs? Or how do I help and care for those who are mentally and physically ill? Let alone do my part for the environment? Because of this, some days I become overwhelmed and stressed.

“How can I care for all of this in one lifetime?” And in all honesty (trying to stay as open and honest as I can on this blog) I have to remind myself that I simply can’t take care of everyone and everything. Although this is turning very pessimistic very fast, I promise you it won’t last.

What I have learned from my mom and am still learning is~ I have to focus on what can I do in this day, this moment to help someone or something. This can range from complimenting someone for being creative or picking up a piece of trash in the parking lot. I am not trying to say that you have to do this, it is totally dependent on the situation and the subject. Which I find amazing and unique.

As for right now I believe my way to keep myself full and happy is to do 1 kind thing for MYSELF a day, whether it’s getting my nails done or practicing yoga. Basically whatever keeps me together and able to step into another day, knowing that my face is smiley and bubbly, so I can exude that positivity out into the universe, hopefully making someone’s day a little bit better.

This is what yoga has given me and through my practice, I have learned to accept that in order to care for others I must care for myself.

And honestly, that is a lesson I will keep for my lifetime.

Sincerely,

Katy Closson

P.S- Stay positive my friend’s!

Cherishing the Present Moment

A few years back I went to a colleague’s brother’s funeral to support him in his time of loss.  I had never met his brother before, but after attending his funeral, his life did make an impact on me from that day forward.  His friends and family all had prepared things to say without sharing it with each other in advance.  One after the other each went up to speak and it was soon obvious they had a common theme. As each person spoke they mentioned in their speech that they had been his best friend.  As one after the other said the same thing it started to become a joke – “I thought I was his best friend too” as each laughed and went on with their speech.  So, why did each person think they were his best friend?  It became apparent as more and more of them spoke that the reason for this was because he was completely present when he was with each of them.  One said – “he never wore a watch, but somehow he was never late and he was always on time to everything”.  Another said – “when he was with you he was completely focused on you and didn’t get distracted.”

These statements are lessons for us all and are really profound on how to live a life of intention even as simple it sounds.  Most of us want to achieve this, but based on our busy lives and all the demands we have its hard to be conscious of it on a daily basis.  The message behind these examples were really about being in the present moment all of the time.  Being present with the people you love, with the people you work with and the people that surround you in your everyday life.  It’s so easy to get distracted as we are talking to someone with our phones and computers buzzing with emails, texts and phone calls.  How often do we step back and take stock on how we make people feel around us. Instead, most of us are concerned more about how we feel on an individual basis but not enough about how others are affected by us.  Each of us could be the nicest, most caring, well intentioned person. However; if we aren’t giving the person we are with the undivided attention they deserve, their personal feelings may be that what they had to say or offer was not worthy of our full participation.  I don’t think most of us mean to do this, including myself, there is just too much noise that distracts us and takes us away from being focused.

This is what a yoga practice teaches us each time we come to the mat.  We are alone with ourselves, our thoughts, our breath and our bodies. The practice of yoga is not really about the challenge of flexibility, it’s the challenge of our mind.  We have no choice but to be present.  If we aren’t present in what we are doing on the mat, we fall out of a pose.  We have to stay focused on what we are doing with intention and not get distracted with any other thoughts or what other people are doing beside us.  This lesson that yoga teaches us is the work we need to do in order to take that off the mat and into the world.

How different would our lives be if we were completely focused on each thing we are doing without distraction.  How different would people feel about each other if each person was completely present and focused on the person they were spending time with rather than getting distracted.  If we can learn from how people feel, we would allot the right amount of time to each thing and person we are with. We would also instinctively know the time and when it was the end of that experience time to move onto the next one.  If we take this into our work day, rather than trying to “multi-task”, how much more could we produce and would our decisions be better?

As the year has begun and is in full swing,  stepping back and creating space to be present during your day – with each interaction – should give us all more satisfaction in what we do and how we spend our time.  It’s constant work and not as natural for some of us as it was for this person during his lifetime.  However; if we can take away from the stories of what he left behind of a life well lived and the people around him feeling like they mattered – it’s something that is constant work and that we can never stop setting our minds to do.

For my accountant friends out there that are just starting off their busy season, here is a playlist I created of music to help you during the day when you need to take some time away from the stress, and have the need to shut the door and relax. Hopefully it will be a quick fix to get your head back in the present moment when you need it – Relax & Meditate

Teen Yoga Blog #1 : Yoga Thoughts

Yoga Thoughts:

I am a little worried about this blog that I am beginning on this site, however I believe that this is in my best interest to do so! First things first, I would like to be as honest as I can about going onto this next chapter of my life, as well as keep an open mind and to respect who I am in the present moment. That’s for good or bad so if I happen to be struggling I will try to express that as much as I can and hopefully be able to overcome those struggles. And if I am doing well I will try to explain why I feel I am doing well in that area and try to elaborate on what I think is helping me to advance my yoga practice.

So a little bit about myself and my history: I am 16 years old and have been practicing yoga on and off for around a year now. I was recently granted a scholarship from Drishtiq yoga to support some of my teacher training costs. I understand that it may be naïve of me to think that I am mentally ready for such a commitment however I thought about this decision for a while now and truly, truly believe that this is the next part of my life. For a while I have been talking to a therapist and kept asking the same question: What will help me now? What can I do to heal and rebuild myself?  And I think that yoga has lead me down a new pathway for taking care of myself as well as give back to my community in a positive uplifting way. Thinking towards the future, I hope to get some of my friends and even strangers to become fellow yogis no matter what level you begin with! I would like to write every day but keep posting around once a month, maybe more.

Stay positive friends,

Katy Closson

Believe in Your Vision- Amy Vetter

I remember I was on a trip to Florida with my family in high school driving down a street by the ocean viewing one amazing home after another.  My mom said to me that it must be nice to have a home that beautiful.  My response to her (that I am still not sure where it had come from, but I felt it from the bottom of my heart) was that I believe I will have it one day – and I could picture what it looked like.  She asked why I thought that and I couldn’t explain it, I just believed it.

The house itself really wasn’t what that belief was about – it was about a vision that I believed I was going to do something great one day.  The house just represented the culmination of that achievement.  I keep that vision with me when things go sideways, upside down or right side up.  It helps me keep things in perspective that I am working toward a larger goal – even if I am not sure what that is at times, I just feel it.

Coming into the new year, I thought I would share what I believe it takes when you innovate and work toward something bigger than you based on my own experiences.  Take from it what may resonate with you and leave behind what doesn’t work for your life from this post.  This blog is based on my own self reflection and constant work I do to understand what internally drives me, which may or may not relate to your experiences.

I believe, innovation takes risk and it transitions to many different things over your lifetime.  When you look at history, nothing stays stagnant.  Things are always changing and developing whether it’s music, art, technology, business, etc.  It never stays the same.  It takes people to come along to push for transition to take things to the next step.  I believe each person was put here for a purpose to make those changes and take those risks even if each person hasn’t identified what that purpose is yet.  It’s important to understand what your purpose is and believe in yourself so that we all benefit.  Many times we don’t even notice the changes until they have already occurred and we look back and can’t believe how much has changed in a short period of time.

Part of believing in yourself is allowing space to make transitions for another generation to come through to keep evolving our own creativity.  I read a quote once from a prestigious yoga teacher named Seane Corn where she was asked to mentor a younger instructor that she personally felt had a great yoga practice, in addition to being beautiful.  She answered the request from the younger teacher by saying that she would mentor her if when she encounters the same experience of another teacher just as talented that comes to her in the future by not feeling threatened to help that teacher grow and expand as way of paying it forward.  I read this at a time in my life where I was making a transition in my career and this resonated with me.  You know it’s time to move to your next phase in your gut and make space for new people to grow into the space you were at.  You can’t stay the same or stagnant, everything must grow and change. Sometimes things come to an end to push you to take the next right path – rather than looking at change or endings as a bad thing – instead look at it as your next thing you were meant to be or to do, and not resist it.

Innovation also takes risk.  Unleashing your creativity without listening to other people’s judgement or telling you it’s not possible is really important in achieving your vision.  If you believe in it, do it. When I was younger I was fully into the arts – painting and playing music.  Once it was time for college I was guided into business school even though I had opportunities to major in the arts.  I don’t necessarily think that path was wrong; however, what happened was I began to believe that if I didn’t go to school for painting, I couldn’t paint. What I have found in the past year is I went back to my roots of painting and playing music and found passion for it all over again.  I just read a quote in an article from Katie Holmes talking about growing up in Ohio and wanting to become an actress. Her comment was that she wishes she could tell her young self that acting is just a plane ride away. Everything is achievable, it’s about going after it, having a vision, putting your mind into action and not feeling there is a right way or wrong way to do it.  It’s all a journey.

Creativity doesn’t need to be taught – it’s from within and it resonates with the eye of the beholder. It’s what touches you and may not for someone else.  All you can do is keep putting yourself out there and not let others keep you down because of their own insecurities.  There is plenty of judgement from those around you – even if people don’t know you – it’s amazing how many people have opinions about you that don’t know you or your circumstances.  I have encountered that plenty in my career. Not sure why people take up space in their heads passing judgement, but it’s typically out of their own insecurities of what they have done to limit themselves. Living your life in the way that best fits you is all that matters and learn to shut out the rest of the noise as best you can.

In order to imagine new ideas you need to create space so you can explore what’s next to come.  If there is no space to allow for new ideas, you won’t be able to do it.  I find when I exercise or sometimes even on a plane – when I slow down, something takes over and all the sudden I solve a problem in my head that I couldn’t solve before.  That is because there wasn’t space for it until I allowed for it.  It’s also important to have the strength sometimes to let go of things that aren’t working too.  You try and try and then you realize you keep pushing against the same thing and are not solving the issue.  For instance, there are times when I am painting that I have a vision in my head of what it’s going to look like and no matter how many ways I try to fix it, it doesn’t work.  After all that time and effort, I then have to muster the strength to throw out the painting (which drives my children nuts by the way…they fish them out of the trash and then I have to throw them away again). There are so many things in life that we have to have the wherewith all to scrap an idea or concept and move on or decide to change how we go about accomplishing the same thing in a different way. That’s innovation – but it needs space to breathe and grow so we can learn from it.

There are certain things that take over me, my soul, where time flies by and I lose myself – speaking to a crowd at a conference, teaching yoga, painting and listening to music to name a few. So when things gets tough, that’s why I don’t stop trying or throw in the towel because I put my whole self into what doesn’t feel like work, but what is innate in me.  Rather than resisting what feels right for you, go toward it, rather than holding yourself back. Many times, I don’t have the line of sight of what that next goal to conquer is going to be – but I continue to wade through the darkness toward it until I find it.

Remembering to allow yourself space and grow with what you learn – which is mostly from what fails – will hopefully make each of us stronger and closer to achieving the vision we set out to conquer.  If it wasn’t a journey, it wouldn’t feel so good when we have the wins.  Believing in that feeling in your gut and shutting out the noise will help when things seem to collapse at the seems. When things go dark for me, I step back and try to understand what it is trying to tell me and why so many things are going wrong.  There is usually a message in there if I make the space to listen to it so I can keep innovating and creating.  Going into this next year, believe in yourself, your talents and block the noise.

Stay true to the vision you have for yourself so you can achieve all that you want.

To see more of Amy’s Blogs visit: http://thedrishtiqcpa.blogspot.com/2015/12/believe-in-your-vision.html

Balance

We strive for it on our mats, we sometimes get frustrated when we wobble or fall- much like the frustration that comes from feeling off balance when we step off our mats and into the world. Unfortunately imbalance in our lives most often shows up as frustration, shame or sadness because We don’t always have the same intense focus and due diligence with balance off our mats as we do when we are taking a balance Asana like Warrior III.

We are as ill feeling when we experience an imbalance in our lives as we do when we stand in witness of our balance during a yoga class- we just aren’t always aware it’s truly imbalance we are feeling.

In fact, your balance in yoga class can be a peep hole into what is happening in your life. In this way life shows up on your mat and we become more aware of underlying imbalance in our daily lives.

And just as we take time to establish balance on our mats, take a moment or two in life’s moments to become aware of when you feel a balance or when you don’t.

Awareness is the first step to working toward establishing balance between work and home, between indulgence and moderation. Taking steps towards a more balanced life can require drawing some tough lines in the sand- with your boss at work, your friends and family, workmates or peers- all who also may struggle balancing work with pleasure or distracting themselves by busying their lives leading to exhaustion. Like dominoes we’re in danger of knocking each other down. Meeting a leader with a good sense of balance feels the opposite, their grounded ways and stability makes them better able to support and lift you up. Thus, greater success abounds.

So next time your yoga facilitator invites you into eagle pose. Without judgement, notice your thoughts, your focus, and how the pose arrives in your body. Notice as you breathe and let go of thought and make time for balance, the sensations in the body-as you ground down to reach up for possibility.

Imagine all that is possible when we make time to balance time for friends and loved ones with work. Balance movement with stillness. Alone time and time surrounded in friendship. What happens when we become more aware of in balance in our lives is that we get a chance to ground down and open up to possibility.

Begin with Gratitude…

Close your eyes for a moment (after reading this of course). Take a big breath in and out. Call to mind three entities in your life you are grateful for. Perhaps a person in your family comes to mind? Maybe it’s your job or the fact you can pay your bills? Possibly it’s another aspect of your life you’re really proud of, or even better, maybe you’re thankful for your breath?

Now hold this list in your mind. Be mindful at this moment of these things (people, events), that when you think of it, makes you feel the emotion of gratitude.

And, now notice how gratitude arrives in the body. Is it a feeling of lightness in your chest? Do you feel “butterflies in your belly?” Does a tingling sensation arrive in the tips of the fingertips or toes? Do your shoulder muscles relax a bit? Or do you feel the soft pulse of your heart beating?

Gratitude is a muscle. One we often reserve to strengthen when we gather around the dinner table at Thanksgiving. But, what would happen if we treated EVERYDAY like Thanksgiving? What would happen if we began EVERYDAY with an expression of Gratitude- a moment to tap into what we are grateful for and then give time to FEEL the emotion that accompanies it?

You can try this on your yoga mat. Make your intention to come from a place of gratitude for your body and your individual ability on your mat to practice postures or stillness. Witness how this changes your practice.

Then, try this in your relationships- start conversations with gratitude. Start emails with gratitude. Send texts just to reveal your gratitude. And witness the shift in your relationships and how people respond to you.

Then, sit back and notice, as the muscle of gratitude gets stronger, life seems just a little bit sunnier. You tend to notice more the glass half full. Enjoy.