1 comment on “Practicing Gratifood: Five Steps to Eating Mindfully”

Practicing Gratifood: Five Steps to Eating Mindfully

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Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” -Denis Waitley

What people usually mean when they say “gratifood” is the process of applying gratitude to food. Infusing appreciation into what we eat, being mindful every step of the way, and practicing awareness that food is something to be thankful for.

Step 1: Get connected to each step of the process.

Gratifood begins before you start cooking. It begins before you decide what’s for dinner. It begins in your mind as a mental checklist of all the things that have to happen for you to be able to eat.

If you think for a moment about all the steps food takes before it ends up on your plate, you will instantly feel more connected to the process. Taking it a step further, if you specifically think about each step your food has taken to get to you, the more and more and more you will feelappreciation.

AJ Jacobs, author of “Thanks a Thousand,” realized how much he took for granted his morning cup of coffee. So, he set out on a journey to thank all the people that make his morning ritual possible. What he quickly realized is that the amount of people to thank is infinite: every person he thanked would not have been able to do what they do without the help of countless other people. Everyone from the cashier that rings him up at the grocery store, to the roaster, to the farmer, to the truck driver, to the workers who maintain the roads. He thanks a thousand people in the book, and the ultimate moral of the story is that there are far more people to thank than he possibly could in one lifetime. And that’s just for one small daily ritual–coffee.

Getting connected to the process starts by asking, “If I trace this food—say it’s peanut butter—back to where it began, where does that take me?” As AJ found out, there is an infinite number of components to thank, and there’s no need to do this process of thankfulness ad-nauseum. At some point during the process of cooking, remember to bring to mind the fact that it’s a series of small miracles that you have the variety and quality of food that you do.

When you become aware of the infinite level of thanks you can give for any given food item, and you begin to apply that level of gratitude to the many ingredients you use in any given meal, you can begin to feel an appropriate level of appreciation for the food you’re about to eat.

Step 2: Pour your heart’s loving energy into the food.

Even if it means taking longer to cook, allowing your day’s pent-up positive energy to overflow into the process of cooking can transform the way you make food. Cooking can be a structured outlet into which you can process those positive emotions. And yes, positive emotions need to be processed too! By creating a meal this way, you can transfer your positive emotions into a new form–food–and experience them all over again! One of the most powerful positive emotions you can use to enhance this effect is gratitude. It’s not necessarily about what you eat as much as it is about how you eat. Eating starts before you take the first bite. We all know this and if we need proof, all we have to do is conjure up the image of a brimming mug of hot chocolate and imagine touching it to our lips for the first foamy sip, tasting the sweet cocoa powder and cinnamon.

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Step 3: Curate your dining environment.

At this point we’ve learned to put appreciation, love and thanks into the different steps of cooking in order to create a meal that’s infused with gratifood. Now it’s time to set the stage. It’s encouraged to create a space in which you feel comfortable eating. A place where you can complete the act of eating with full presence and little distraction. It’s important to consider everything from ambiance, lighting and decor to the types of utensils you eat with.

Did you ever consider you might appreciate your meal more simply by changing the dishware you’re using? It makes sense that you would enjoy your morning beverage more if you are drinking it from a mug that you bought specifically because looking at it brings you joy! You should be able to tell the story of everything you own, and especially the items you use to eat with. Because unlike a baseball glove or pair of pants, you are ingesting the energy of that plate or bowl every time you eat.

And just because the word energy is used, that doesn’t it make it woo-woo. Extending your mindfulness about eating to what you cook with and eat off of can have measurable health benefits. Did you know that changing the type of pan you cook with can help oxygenate your blood? Every time you cook with a cast iron pan you’re boosting your iron intake. Since iron is an essential nutrient that every cell in the body needs to transport oxygen in the blood and myoglobin in muscles, it’s safe to say that the type of pan you cook with has the power to make you a healthier person.

Step 4: Eat with others and if you are eating alone, eat alone.

Now that the meal is ready and the stage is set, it’s a good time to customize the gratifood experience based around who you are eating with.

If you are eating alone, make sure to commit fully to eating alone. Understand that you can experience gratifood just as much alone as you can at a communal meal. Make sure to eliminate distractions. There’s some gray area here and use your good judgment. If you are going to consume content while eating, make sure whatever music you are playing or podcast you are listening to contributes to the feelings of gratitude and appreciation you’ve cultivated thus far.

Remember, digestion starts before taking the first bite. Having content playing in the background, especially video can change your focus in way that inhibits proper digestion. Think about it. Ever watched a suspenseful movie and actually felt it in your body? You’re hanging on the edge of your seat with a pit in your stomach and breathing shallowly. You’ve experienced how the type of content you’re consuming can have real effects on your physiology. And if the content puts you in a fight or flight physiological response, you can see how it would disrupt digestion, which occurs optimally when the body is in a rest and relaxation state.

If you have nothing to distract yourself with, your food becomes your company. You will chew your food well, enjoy every bite to the maximum, and significantly slow the rate at which you eat. You will get to know your food like a close friend.

Did you know it can take up to twenty minutes for the body to send signals of satiety? Most people’s meals don’t even last that long! If you eat slowly, you will probably end up eating less, which in most cases is a good thing. Mindful eating allows you to more appropriately gauge when you should stop eating based off the body’s satiety versus the default gauge people usually use, which is stomach fullness.

Step 5: Dedicate the first 10 bites you take.

I’m going to step in to the first person here for a moment and tell you a little story. It takes place in a rural county in Virginia, at an off-the-beaten-path retreat center called Yogaville. I stayed there for one month during the summer of 2015. Everyone living at the facility and doing the work trade program ate communal meals together. The big meals would be served in a dining hall, and prior to taking the first bite, we would usually go around in a circle and everyone would dedicate the first bite of their meal. This was our version of gratifood. Sometimes we would go around in the circle and we’d do several of these very slow, grateful bites before we started eating at a normal pace. This allowed us to thoroughly infuse each bite with appreciation.

Know that if you take nothing else from this article, if you remember the 10 bites rule, you will be practicing gratitude. Before beginning to eat at your normal pace, eat ten bites mindfully and slowly. Between each bite, bring to mind someone or something you are grateful for and dedicate that bite accordingly.

The five steps to practicing gratifood are your friend. Start small, but make sure to start somewhere. A great place to start is by choosing one of the five steps that resonate most with you and apply it to one of your meals this week. When done on a regular basis, mindful eating has the power to change your thoughts, emotional state, and physical health.

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BioPicEditor’s note: This is a guest post by Tim Brogan. Tim is currently an Ithaca-based yogi and traveler whose motto is “step into your purpose and share it with clarity.”

Subscribe to his Living is Learning Podcast and YouTube channel: @timbrogan. Website: topselfdevelopment.com

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7 comments on “3 Ways to Be Happy Now”

3 Ways to Be Happy Now

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Happiness is a continuous state of quiet joy that exists in the moment from the inside out. Happiness is what love looks like. It is the manifestation of what it means to love ourselves, love our day, love our lives. The timing of happiness is right now.

As seekers of happiness it is important to understand how much of it depends on internal versus external factors. Based on her research, in her 2007 book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky concluded that roughly 50 percent of happiness is determined by our genes and 10 percent by our life circumstance, but 40 percent depends on our daily activities.

This 50% is what is commonly known as our Happiness Set Point. The great news is that we have the power to influence 40% of our happiness. The yogic philosophy of Santosha, often translated to mean contentment, is about living into your choices and  loving what life is offering us moment to moment.

Happiness depends on ourselves.”  – Aristotle.

Here are 3 Ways to Be Happy Now

  1. Take Responsibility

Happiness Now starts with taking immediate responsibility for the quality of your life.When we are willing to accept accountability, it gets easier to authentically describe what we want our happiest life to feel like. From there, the experience of the now expands the joy that was waiting for us to realize is already happening.

Happy people avoid blame in all its incarnations. They don’t blame other people, they don’t blame circumstances, and they don’t blame themselves. To happy people, blame serves no purpose. It doesn’t ever get us what we truly desire. In fact happy people not only avoid blame but they also avoid its family members envy, greed and jealousy – which are among the key indicators of unhappiness.” -The Choices Happy People Make

  1. Choose Now

The act of waiting for happiness to be happy, or “happiness procrastination” as I refer to it, can be paralyzing. If we have a prerequisite of a certain condition taking place to facilitate happiness then we’ll always be waiting as opposed to being happy in the moment. If we fool ourselves into believing that we have to understand the reasons why we’re unhappy, the result will be getting stuck in that state of unhappiness. Instead choose those activities that spark joy, stop over intellectualizing your choices, and live in the present.

What’s so important about being in the moment? Spiritual practice teaches us that the present moment is the source of healing, love, inspiration, and happiness. In fact, the purest form of happiness is found in the present moment. The yogis call this power of presence shaktiBut to reap these benefits, we can’t just have fleeting moments of presence. We have to stay long enough in the present moment to really soak in the happiness.

Apply this Happiness Prescription:

  • Each week take a day off of social media for a digital detox. Instead of being caught up in looking at what other people have done in the past, focus your attention on your present moment.
  • Each month plan a nature trip, whether it’s hiking in the mountains or walking the beach or enjoying the local forest preserve. Notice how nature only knows how to be in the now.
  • Take a long weekend each year to attend a personal development workshop for a happiness reset. Get back in touch with the Now of your happiness.
  • Each year go on retreat where you can unplug from your business life for a week.
  • At the end of the year, take a business “savasana” where you celebrate all that you attempted and accomplished and find pleasure in resting in that knowledge. Be present in the Now instead of trying to achieve more.
  1. Stoke Your Passion!

Happiness is a direct experience of enthusiasm. Remember, it is not how or when we accomplish something that matters most, it is the sense of enthusiasm during the process that demonstrates our quality of life. Enthusiasm gives us the chance to go beyond our happiness set point. The foundational teachings of yoga tell us that joy is our birthright. That doesn’t mean it comes easy: It takes real effort. However, this exertion is well worth it and we should never let a day go by without putting forth our best effort to live with passion.

Seek daily activities that inspire enthusiasm. Do something that keeps you engaged in the joy of the present moment.

Apply these three ways to be happy now and watch your happiness set point rise up. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

happiness quote

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_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday

3 comments on “Spiritual Adulting (Means Taking Time Out for Spiritual Maintenance)”

Spiritual Adulting (Means Taking Time Out for Spiritual Maintenance)

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Do you invest more time and money taking care of your car than you do for yourself?

Every year your car minimally requires:

  • Oil change every 5,000-7,000 miles
  • Rotate your tires every 7,500 miles
  • Break pads changed every 25,000 miles

These are just a few things responsible adults do to keep their car running smoothly. Can you imagine if you made even half this investment into your personal well-being?

Honestly, is it time for some spiritual maintenance? Here are some ideas for stepping up to the challenge of spiritual adulting.

Maintenance means upkeep, preservation, and care. The opposite of this means neglect. We’ve all ignored the warning signs until we reach that point where we don’t sleep well, feel out of sorts, live with physical aches and pains and get impatient with those around us. Just like the system of warning lights in our cars, advising us to pay attention, our spiritual warning system can send out alarms as well.

Remember, just like we don’t want to run out of gas on the road or blow a head gasket, we shouldn’t let our bodies wear down or our minds wear out either.

All we have to do is notice. Pay attention. Or better yet, before something happens, schedule time for yourself to recharge so you don’t slip backwards, which is one of the nine kinds of obstacles encountered on the Spiritual path of happiness according to Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra Chapter 1 Verse 30.

Slipping Backwards is known as “anavasthitatva.”

Often after we have worked hard to attain a goal, like losing 10 pounds, getting stronger, sleeping longer, working less, being less distracted, eating healthy, it is often our inability to maintain the progress we’ve achieved that becomes our bigger obstacle. When we stop making time for regular maintenance we can slip backwards into unhealthy patterns like not getting enough sleep, eating unhealthy, or working all weekend.

Other ways to describe this include: Slipping down, backsliding, regressing, relapsing.

It is not enough to achieve our intentions through diligent self-work. Spiritual adulting means to continue to remain focused and maintain progress once achieved. In other words, to keep it going because it is important to our personal development and core integrity. No excuses.

No one can do this for us. It’s up to us to keep our commitment to living our best lives. Even at times when we might “slip backwards” we can renew our commitment and again promise to stay the course to keep going for our good and the good of our contributions to the world.

Game on. Today is an opportunity to make deposits into your health and happiness. What are you going to do to destress, unplug, get strong, quiet your mind, and get your emotions, thoughts, and body back in alignment? What does your ultimate tune-up look like? Am you ready for spiritual adulting?  You bet you are.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

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_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday

2 comments on “3 Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage”

3 Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage

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Don’t you just love all the positive “SELF” compound words: Self-Love, Self-Confidence, Self-Awareness, Self-Esteem, Self-Acceptance, Self-Worth, Self-Care and so on. I appreciate these because of the experience I’ve had with that other self-word. Self-Sabotage.

New York Times #1 best selling author Debbie Ford writes,“Overcoming self-sabotage…is one of the most important conversations you’ll ever have with yourself. Honor it and know that it will change your life.”  The question is, are you ready to overcome self-sabotage once and for all?

Doing this one thing will change your life and grow your happy.

Living as the best person you can be means understanding that in spite of your highest intentions, each of us will sometimes sabotage ourselves. When this happens, it is important to remember that growth is not always orderly and even: Sometimes you take a couple steps back before taking three forward.

Do you have an upper limit problem? This phrase created by Gay Hendricks, author of the book, The Big Leap, discusses how we each have a lifetime of stories, habits, and fears based in self-limiting belief that hold us back in subtle and not so subtle ways.

We have a familiar internal success setting that feels comfortable. This self-regulated meter measures how we are doing towards our goals. When we are living into our highest potential there may come a point where we get uncomfortable, outside of the normal zone. This can trigger us to hold back from the fullest expression of our abilities, thereby causing us to self-sabotage.

Time in self-inquiry through meditation and yoga opens our eyes to see the mental, emotional and physical ways that hold us back. Here are 3 Ways to overcome self-sabotage:

1.  Know Your Unhealthy Habits

Only once you acknowledge the old pattern can you change that paradigm and create something more life affirming. Yoga is cognitive behavioral therapy. You get immediate feedback on where you hold tension in your body and how you speak to yourself. These patterns (samskaras) become ingrained into our psyche. The first step is awareness. Then you can do something about it. You can release unhealthy habits that no longer serve your spiritual happiness. That’s part one. Believe it or not Part 2 is harder. That’s where you know what you want for your life and you have to stand up for what your intentions are. You’ve recognized you do have an upper limit problem and can do something about it.

Gaining mastery over our destructive propensities, through the exercise of awareness and self-discipline with regard to our body, speech, and mind, frees us from the inner turmoil that naturally arises when our behavior is at odds with our ideals. In place of this turmoil come confidence, integrity, and dignity – heroic qualities all human beings naturally aspire to.” ~ The Dalai Lama

2.  Are you living as a Victim?

Letting go of the mind’s identity as victim clears the space necessary to see that we are accountable for our own happiness.

In yoga we know this as sadhana, and it means we work daily as a practice on our own inner evolution. This anti-victim evolution is where we take responsibility moment by moment for what we say, how we act, how we breath, what we think. Being accountable for one’s life takes work. Yoga’s strength lies in its ability to empower you from the inside out to accept the challenge.

Time on the mat allows you to stop identifying as a victim. You stop blaming others. You no longer require constant validation and attention, but instead take responsibility for your own happiness. Today, break the blame cycle. Stop being a victim and stop self-sabotage.

3.  Change Your Self-Talk

If you change the way you talk to yourself, your perspective will change, and you will transform your life.

Allowing critical talk to sabotage you is a deadly pattern. In the Yoga Sutras 1.30, Pantanjali outlines self-doubt (samsaya) as one of nine obstacles to our happiness. It is fed by negative self-talk and thrives on self-sabotage. On the mat—pose by pose—we get stronger and begin to believe we are capable in new ways. This confidence travels with us off the mat. We drop negative reactions and respond to life’s challenges with more positivity. It takes practice to achieve this, which is why we come back to the mat—and also why we call it yoga practice.

Today, embrace the positive self-words in your life. Say to yourself for five minutes of breathing or for the duration of an entire yoga class the positive self-word you need the most in your life right now. Repeating the mantra strengthens its energy and that conversation with yourself gets louder until you are living your best life ever, no holding back.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

—————–

_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday