Sunday, November 26, 2017

Adult Coloring with Meaning


Adult coloring became all the rage a couple years ago and I understand why. When I was a teen I worked at TCBY and my favorite things to do were fold menus and stack containers. The repetitive actions became automatic activities that I could do without thinking and which would zone me out enough to zone me in.

The folding, stacking give your mind just enough to do so it doesn't stress you with mindless internal chatter and just little enough to do so that the real deep creative thoughts can flow through. It's a magic that only certain activities can evoke. Coloring is one of them. Just letting the pen stroke side to side, shade the open spaces, clears the mind. It puts you in a meditative state, just you and the lines, and who cares what you are coloring when you are in that.

That's what I thought, until I discovered Coloring Yantras. Coloring Yantras takes adult coloring to the next level by giving us meaning in the pictures we create. Yantras are mystical diagrams. They connect to Hindu astrology and ancient texts and help take us to a meditative state. Different Yantras reveal different parts about ourselves and assist in bringing them out. The shapes and colors leave us feeling the energy we need. With Coloring Yantras we meditate not just when coloring but after, on the symbol we've colored in.

Man’s ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate. - Paul Tillich

Symbols have deep importance to human kind. Different cultures use different symbols to express ideas and represent meaning. They hold archetypes which remain even as we evolve and feed us whole systems of information so that we can capture a concept without the words to describe it. As we begin to understand and use symbols we begin to think differently. Coloring Yantras is an entry into this practice of opening our minds.



That is why I decided to invite Yantra expert Sarah Tomlinson to Land Yoga to launch her Coloring Yantras book and teach us about this ancient practice. Join us December 5th 7p-9p for a workshop which will help you connect form with meaning, symbol with sound, art with meditation. All ages welcome. Link to register HERE

Monday, November 13, 2017

Can vs. Should

"I'm not flexible" is the number one excuse I receive from people as to why they can't do yoga. First of all, yoga is not something you do. It's something that happens when the breath, mind, and body come to oneness. Being flexible is not important. In fact, being too flexible can be a hinderance.

Can vs. Should is about flexibility to stability equivalence radar. Just because a student is flexible, doesn't mean they should go into the deepest most bendy expression of each pose. When arching and contorting compromise strength and stability, alignment, breath, and equanimity, the student has gone too far.



I often see new students looking around at longer practicing ones and whispering that they will never be able to do whatever it is they are doing, or giving a nod to affirm that the visual example they see is one they will start moving toward. This is such a dangerous and unhealthy approach. Each expression of a posture will be unique to the make-up and the needs of the student. Let the teacher be your eyes. Let your feeling body be your guide to repeating your teacher's adjustments.

We are so eye-centric, leading with the visual in almost all things. Yoga time is a chance to quiet our gaze and awaken the nervous system. Instead of looking with the eyes, try to inspire an awareness of your whole being. Ask your body where it is in space and what it feels inside. If you hear nothing, don't worry, just keep asking. Over time your body will start to build awareness you never knew it had.

This field of awareness is the start of yoga. It will inform all you do and all you are on and off the mat. Play with this new superpower and let me know what you discover by commenting at @laralandyoga on IG or twitter or on my facebook page.


See the FULL article at www.laraland.us.



Monday, April 10, 2017

5 Reasons to go to a Yoga Festival by Mel Lotz



Yoga festivals are a special and sometimes life changing experience. I cannot wait to check out the numerous yoga festivals of North America: In summertime there is a yoga festival happening almost every weekend in the United States and Canada. These events can be pricey, yes. But they don’t have to be: Almost every festival offers selected classes and side-events for free. Most of them have spots open for volunteers that donate their time to support the festival team in exchange for attending classes for free. So, money considerations shouldn’t necessarily stand in the way.

If you are still not sure about whether a day-long yoga celebration is the right jam for you, here my top 5 reasons to at least give it a try.

Melanie Lotz
As teacher and student, Melanie is dedicated to the fluid and creative yoga practice of Laughing Lotus NYC. With a background in Modern and Contemporary Dance, somatic education like the Alexander Technique and Traditional Thai Massage, in her yoga classes the German native combines her love for healthy alignment with her passion to inspire a life full of expression, truth and love. Melanie wants to watch you become the most radiant and happy version of yourself. 

You can follow Melanie on 
www.melanielotz.com
www.facebook.com/melanielotzyoga/
www.instagram.com/melanielotzyoga/

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Three Steps to Receiving Love Now!



Most people think of Parvati or Radha when they think of love Gods, not Lord Ganesha. Me? I think of the elephant headed boy come to dissolve all obstacles. I think of Him because I know the truth, that love isn't lost and in need of finding. Love is everywhere and in everything, seemingly lacking often due to our own interference.

Rumi said it best: "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

Ganesha is great for this! If you are troubling in love I encourage you to make this one change and see what happens. Instead of asking for God or Goddess to send your match or find your mate, ask Ganesha to help you relax your worries, remove your limitations and quiet your objections so that you can allow the love that is there in front of you to be seen, felt, and accepted within.

Limiting beliefs and deep seeded feelings of unworthiness are common in most of us and keep us from the love we deserve. Use these techniques to overcome those hinderances and get all the love you deserve. Check out the rest of the blog here to find the three easy steps to receiving love! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recharge in the land of fairies, geysers and volcanoes by Thimo Wittich





Imagine 3280 foot high glaciers, volcanoes, wide land, black beaches, fairies and trolls. Standing there, you are surrounded by gush springs impressing you with their shooting water fountains, healing hot springs and fascinating polar lights. Iceland is less than 6 hours from New York, but there you find a whole different world with incredible nature, myths and such a rare energy.

Made of lava, ice, wind and water - Iceland offers you an unique experience which passes its origin and power onto you. Everyone who has been there knows that Iceland is enchanting.


A few highlights:


  • Biggest volcano-island (Sorry Big Island!)
  • Glaciers with Europe’s biggest ice volume
  • Europe’s most powerful waterfall


Forces of nature and energy describe Iceland most accurately. Thanks to its special geographic position - it’s on the american and on the eurasian tectonic plate - it is connected to hot rock mass from the earth’s core. And this is exactly what you can feel!




If that has not convinced you (yet!) to visit this extraordinary island, maybe the following reasons will! Look and see:


Iceland will seduce you with it’s breathtaking scenery and many surprises.


1. Volcanoes and glaciers


The pairing of volcanoes and glaciers is a rare wonder of nature. Nowhere else will you get to witness such an impressive connection of opposites. Fire and ice aren't just the elements of the nordic myths, they are still impressing us to this day.


2. Old legends and spirituality


Iceland is a mystical place and its residents believe in fairies, trolls and goblins. Their legends and tales are important and deeply rooted in the everyday life of Icelandic people.


3. Healing thermal springs


Iceland’s thermal springs have several benefits. Whether you jump right into a healing hot spring or bake your bread in the hot powerful earth, you will surely recharge your energy reserves here.


4. A place of confident women who follow their own ideal of beauty


“I wanted to use this opportunity to stand up for myself and the women on this planet, for young women”, said Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir Miss Island 2015 who rejected her attendance on the election of Miss Grand International. The host asked her to eat less. “It is okay to be yourself. If you like yourself, you should just say it.” We totally agree!
5. Stunning scenery you know from movies and tv-shows


Game of Thrones and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are just two of many international movie and tv-show productions that know and use the beauty of the island.
6. Europe fell head over heels in love with Iceland in the summer of 2016


During the European Championship in 2016 it was Iceland who surprised us all. Their passionate spirit and win over England made the audience fall in love and the legendary chant gave goosebumps to every soccer-fan.  




Vacation in Iceland is a combination of sustainability and regeneration.


7. Iceland stands for alternative energies and green tourism.


Iceland is one big role-model when it comes down to renewable energy and decrease of Co2. The energy supply is made by geothermic and hydrothermic energy by 81 percent and provides for electricity, heat and transportation. Starting in the year 2050 Reykjavik wants to stop using fossil fuels.


Geothermic energy is not just supplying all buildings in the city, it is also responsible for heat in the houses and the many greenhouses, as well as street lightning. And of course the thermic heat provides for all the popular outdoor pools. You won’t find a better place to enjoy eco-tourism.


8.  On the trail of Jules Verne


“The journey to the center of the earth” begins with the entrance to Iceland’s volcano Snæfellsjökull. This is a story we all know of since childhood and it will clearly be the travel-read when you start the adventure of visiting Snæfellsjökull volcano yourself.


9. Wales, Iceland horses and puffins


Another fascinating aspect about Iceland is its animal kingdom. You get the chance to be with and ride on Icelandic horses, explore beautiful puffins and observe fascinating mink whales, porpoises, dolphins, finbacks, blue- and humpback whales. And maybe even the black and white marked grampus.  


If you are thinking about visiting Iceland and experiencing its amazing landscape and archaic original power - 2017 is the perfect time to do it!


Because the numbers of tourists, media attention, and word of mouth are striking, Iceland is getting more and more popular which means the time is limited to explore its raw uniqueness free of mass tourism.

The best time for an extraordinary journey is NOW!
FIND YOURSELF IN THE LAND OF CONTRASTS: ICELAND RETREAT WITH LARA LAND

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Resolutions are for losers. How I learned to WIN at life.



Success begets success. Confidence builds upon itself and guides a person toward her dreams which grow bigger and badder and braver until a fierce woman appears one day who we call grown. We wonder how she got there and may even try to follow her path, but it's not her path we need, it's her strategy and attitude. Those are the aspects we are never taught.  All we see is the win and perhaps some steps on the ladder, so we set goals and resolve to meet them, hoping to reach the big day when we feel we too have "made it". Inevitably we miss the mark, not able to keep our good intentioned resolutions and when that happens we punish ourselves or worse blame others. Then the cycle begins again, with a New Year or a birthday and our promise to do better at keeping those changes we've resolved to make permanent.


Many people are great at keeping their word when it comes to others, but fail horribly with the stories they tell themselves. The time has come to acknowledge where you have been letting yourself down and make a full stop. No resolutions please. Before you resolve to do a thing this year, you must ask yourself some real questions. One of those is going to be if the thing you are resolving to do is really something you believe in at all. I know your immediate reaction is that ‘of course it is’, but if you have resolved at this change before and failed, you may not be as sure of your reasons as you think you are. This is dangerous territory. Know for sure, that any doubts (even subconscious) (even teeny tiny small) will show up as excuses to quit later. 

The next question you'll have to ask yourself is if the changes you are trying to make aren’t because of outside influence. This is more difficult to discern then it seems. Societal and familial pressures are strong and start early and have the tendency to naw at us making us think fulfillment comes in one size fits all packages which often include two and a half babies, one house, and one secure career choice. As much as we may think those are the things we deeply and truly desire, there may be something deeper we really want which is being drowned out by those ingrained messages and sending mixed signals to our internal guiding, true north manifestation system.

Instead of trusting what others say, know that to appreciate that some aspect of your life isn’t working, you need to feel it in all its uncomfortableness deeply and fully. You need to sit in the icky awkward stench of your own messy choices before trying to change anything. Until you fully realize how much they've not been working for you, those choices will repeat.

For example, instead of resolving to start yet another diet this January, just eat as you eat, but more consciously. Notice the way you really feel when you overeat. Refuse to run away from it, sleep through it, or cover it up. Recognize without shame the way your body and clothing feel when you’ve not taken care of yourself. Be real. This practice of adding consciousness can transform any negative behavior. We don’t need punishments, we just need recognition of what is present. Do I like this feeling?
We don’t need rewards either, especially those "treats" that are really “cheats” and not in line with our goals. Those are not rewards. Let the feeling of accomplishment be the reward itself. Bask in the glory of your success. Tell people. Brag. Feel how good it feels to be a person who knows herself and honors herself by being truthful and accountable. When you are secure in this, then, and only then, set the bar a little higher, still totally reachable, and repeat. 

Only make deals you can win. It's that simple. Otherwise we teach ourselves that we don’t do the things we resolve to and create a habit of failure we call “trying”. This kind of attempt steeps into our subconscious the story that we lie to ourselves, don’t complete our actions, fail. The more this is repeated, the easier it becomes to accept and the harder to turn around.

For these reasons it is of maximum importance that we only make promises that we are guaranteed to keep, especially those we make to ourselves. Start small and build as your confidence builds. 


Wins rewarded spiral and repeat just like failures punished. Soon you will have taught yourself the habit of success and you will be able to set the bar to heights you never imagined. I know, because I did it and I won. I beat eating poorly, financial woes, built a home, traveled the world, and continue to set the bar higher and higher because I know now, fully and truly by actual provable examples that I can do whatever I put my mind to and that it is the knowing that makes it all possible. You have to build believability in self. 


Do mistakes come? Sure. It’s how we handle them that makes all the difference. They are to be brushed off quickly as a part of life and never ever used as an excuse to dump the whole resolve. The better you get at this, the better you’ll get at winning and that's the goal, not a resolution, winning at life!

*Want to learn more about strategies for keeping goals? Attend my Train Your Brain Vision Board course this January! Register at this link.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

You Can Ask For Travel!



As many of you know, I've been off the grid for awhile, enjoying my 11th trip to India, and 10th to study specifically with my teacher, Ashtanga Yoga Guru Sharathji. It was an eye-opening experience, as it always is, to be with him and to immerse myself in Indian culture. What I didn't expect, were the ways it would open my eyes to the whole world and to help me see myself more clearly as a woman raised in the American system. It was the European students especially this trip that gave me my greatest lessons and helped me to truly feel world perspective as I went through the American presidential election from abroad.

World perspective is invaluable and deeply difficult to achieve wrapped as we are in our life-long cultures. It is the gift of open-hearted, regular travel. It is a present I realize now more than ever is essential and one which trumps any material item tucked under festive bush or tree.

It was with that spirit fresh in my bones that sat down to write my latest piece, published yetserday in Elephant Journal about how to ask for travel as your gift this holiday season. I hope you will take a look and that it will inspire you to join me in Iceland this August or travel anywhere you gravitate to in 2017!

Full Elephant Journal article :http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/11/why-im-not-giving-gifts-this-holiday-season-what-im-doing-instead/

Iceland Retreat travel details: http://landlaraland.com/retreats/iceland-retreat/