Welcome to Days 11 and 12 of #31DaysofMindfulness and the Meatless October Challenge….

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Sometimes it takes leaving home to discover your truth & what you hold dear #Aparigraha letting go of the things that no longer serve you and making space and time for what matters the most! #OM #Shanti  #AllEightLimbs

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“Discover what it means to ‘Land'” ~ @LandYogaNYC

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This past weekend I got to meet  and practice with my potential India tour guide and mentor at her NYC studio! Such an awesome and inspiring soul! Thank you again to all of you who are in support of this yoga journey and my research interest! Namaste!

In exactly 30 days, 1 month from today I will be celebrating 32 years of life, with great new friends in an exciting city, doing all of the awesome fit and fun things I love!

So to countdown to the celebration here is a countdown list of 32 things I have learned and love about my life to date in no particular order, just as they come to mind over the course of the day:

#32 – It’s okay to let go

#31 – Not everyone will understand you,  but those that matter will, and will cherish what you have to offer

#30 – Love yourself first,  it’s not selfish.

#29 – Consciousness is your friend, think before you act

#28 – Fitness is the fountain of youth

#27 – Be present, let people know that you care

#26 – Failure is never an option,  but a choice

#25 – Plan for success and believe in your plan

#24 – Take chances,  put your neck in the noose of life

#23 – Food is for physiological nourishment,  not mental pleasure, practice santosha

#22 – Ask questions,  answer questions,  no thing’s off limits for debate or change

#21 – Be fearless

#20 –  Take the road less traveled

#19 – Be outstanding

#18 – Root to Rise

#17 – Follow your dreams, they know the path to your true happiness

#16 – Dare to dream, and dream BIG!

#15 – Keep growing. Keep living!

#14 – Be transparent,  live out loud

#13 – Live such an fascinating life, that it’s open book worthy

#12 – Reach your goals,  but take time to listen to the goals of others

#11 – Be a light…enlightenment is a gift

#10 – Shock yourself,  then go out and shock the world

#9 – Do any and everything you ever thought about doing

#8 – Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do

#7 – Can’t is not a word in my vocabulary,  it’s meaningless

#6 – Eat breakfast

#5 – Move everyday. Moving heals. Sitting kills.

#4 – Become obsessed with you,  there’s only one,  love it to pieces

#3 – Take the keys and drive into your future, don’t sit back and wait for others to give you permission

#2 – Love people for who and what they are, and don’t be afraid to leave them where you found them,  you only control you, love and protect that!

#1 – Pray every day!

The more I got into writing this list the more I realized how much more I could add, but I’ll save it for year 33….lol! Until next time. … #LoveGod … #LoveYourself in order to #LoveOthers

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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Ustrasana - Camel Pose - Santosha - Contentment

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Reflections in Yin: Dragonfly - side Pose

“When you get the urge to climb, prepare to spread your wings, because child you’re going to fly!” ~ @iamcandicemaria

I stumbled upon this beautiful story today about a #waterbeetle & a #dragonfly! Read and be inspired! – #Shanti!

‘The Dragonfly’

“Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads,
there lived a little water beetle in a community of water
beetles.  They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and
would never be seen again.  They knew when this happened; their
friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge
to climb up that stem.  However, he was determined that he would
not leave forever.  He would come back and tell his friends what
he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so
warm, that he decided he must take a nap.  As he slept, his body
changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful
blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body
designed for flying.

So, fly he did!  And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole
new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never
known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking
by now he was dead.  He wanted to go back to tell them, and
explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been
before.  His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water.  He could
not get back to tell his friends the good news.  Then he
understood that their time would come, when they, too, would
know what he now knew.  So, he raised his wings and flew off
into his joyous new life!”

~Author Unknown~

Until next time. ..Practice Strong. Practice Often. ..Namaste

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~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

Wake up and fall asleep into your practice. Live your practice on and off the mat.

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Yogis in India

Sleep like a yogi, wake up like a yogi,  and live life like a yogi. I find it interesting how connected the ancient yogis seemed to be with the ground,  sitting on the ground,  the floor, etc. was an everyday part of life in Ancient India. This concept has always fascinated me to the point that I had begun pondering a challenging personal experiment of my own. Plus since graduation from my yoga teacher training,  my biggest desire was to have space for a yoga room.

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So after I recently relocated all of my furniture to my “apartment” at my parents home, I blatantly decided, after arranging the furniture in my bedroom, that I wasn’t going to construct my bed. A beautiful robust mahogany wood Ralph Lauren queen sized bed, still sits in pieces unbuilt against the walls of my bedroom. 

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The bed I won't sleep in for now

So where do you sleep you ask?…. I had an epiphany about a month prior to the move that I had an empty bedroom with nothing but my yoga mat in the center of the floor that I slept on and practiced on. So to answer your questions,  I sleep on my yoga mat.

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Sounds crazy I know however,  I sleep great,  it’s like savasana every night.  I added some extra padding and a pillow and favorite stuffed animal from childhood for comfort,  but all and all the experience has been invigorating.  I wake up feeling vibrant,  creative, enlightened,  and ready to journey into my yoga practice, life, and beyond.

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So my yoga nidra lifestyle may come across as a little extreme,  but it’s a test run of a vision I had, and proof that it’s okay to test out the random thoughts in my head, they’re not so scary in real life and truly are attainable!

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I’m definitely not suggesting that you empty your bedroom and sleep on your floor on your yoga mat in order to invigorate and enlighten your life, that’s just my trip at the present moment, but I do dare you to find that awkward habit that hankers in  your inner being yearning to come out, and test it out, and see where it takes you!

Until next time Practice Strong,  Practice Often. Love and Light to all.

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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Preparing for my 8 hour Savasana

Just sharing a quick note about my new evening ritual.  Cardio, yoga, and ab work before bed.

How I plan to fall asleep and wake up every day with tight and toned abs and a lean and fit body!

Cardio of choice – 90 minutes max inclined walk on the treadmill.

Yoga practice of choice,  inversions based. Inversions are yoga secret fat burners. They boost metabolism by helping the heart shunt more blood flow to your endocrine glands that control your hunger and satiety response as well as metabolism and stress relief hormones causing them to produce more of their designated hormones to be available to work throughout the rest of the body.

Ab work can vary. Tonight I chose basic crunches, reverse crunch over head leg raises or half plow pose, and side lying leg raises.

I am not claiming this bedtime ritual to work for everybody,  but it is truly a blissful journey should you choose to embark on it.  If you don’t know yoga, take a few classes,  watch some videos or research a few simple postures before you begin this journey. Find some calming music to listen to and allow your body to dictate each movement and just go with the flow!

Also,  there are no guarantees you’ll wake up after night one with flat abs or a 6 pack, but you will sleep better,  and over time as you eat better and sleep better and increase your practice,  your body will change.

Until next time…Practice Strong,  Practice Often. ..Namaste

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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So continuation of Part 3 and the cultivation of a daily practice of 30 Sun Salutations a day can present to be challenging,  however even if I miss fitting all 30 in each day,  I will always #gettheeffupsidedown! Why? Because it’s rejuvenation for the entire body and mind! Gives the same blissful rush I get after finishing 30 Suraya Namaskar back to back.

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Headstand Up to Wake Up

So if you haven’t quite made the mark at 2 weeks into the start of this journey,  tell your yogic mind to have no worries, just get upside down!

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Upside Down and Tucked in

Another factor that has effected my ability to belt out my 30 Surya Namaskar is my food and training regimen for my upcoming fitness competition,  needless to say the energy isn’t there most days, so I get upside down for as long as this yogi can tolerate to boost my blood pressure,  metabolism,  and energy to go about the rest of my day,  I still warm up with my Sun Sal’s but I just don’t do as many.

Until next time….#PracticeStrong, #PracticeOften #OM #Shanti #Namaste

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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The things that evolve from your practice late at night.  After getting home from work Tuesday evening and hitting my mat after a 30 minutes walk on the treadmill I set a timer: 30 minutes, and simply began working through Surya Namaskara A taking the time just to salute myself for practicing at midnight as the creative energy that evolved was amazing!

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A relaxed mind,  is a creative mind.

~ Yogi Bhajan

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I took my time flowing through my practice,  taking time to stop and ponder, meditate in gratitude,  and decompress my mind and body from pinned up frustrations,  fears, and emotions.  I pondered my future,  where I saw myself going personally,  professionally,  and spiritually. I even played around with a few challenging postures that I am determined to master some day.

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I only managed to complete 10 sun salutations in that short period of time which included a brief savasana but all in all I’ve decided to challenge myself to do 30 sun salutations a day for 30 days! I’ll update you as often as possible on how that’s going,  until then #PracticeStrong #PracticeOften #YogaEveryDamnDay #Namaste

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So, my yoga practice isn’t perfect,  sometimes I fall down.  Just like in real life, when you fall, bumps, bruises, and all what matters most is whether or not you get back up!

The following images depict my journey back up after a nasty spill in my practice back in June! The toe is all healed up, but the significance of this accident was that it occurred just a couple of days before I was scheduled to begin my first official job as a yoga teacher! Determined not to postpone my first day on the job, I bandaged that foot and babied my way back to the mat, continuing to practice for hours each day before my first scheduled day of class, even went to class the day before my scheduled class to practice with one of my soon to be colleagues and favorite yoga teacher. Needless to say I taught that first day with a band-aid on my toe and I’m glad that I did. It showed me just how strong I am and how much I love practicing and teaching yoga.

#PracticeStrong #PracticeOften #yogaeverydamnday! #Namaste!

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