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Category Archives: Spirituality

gratitude

Gratitude: The How & Why

By | Blog, Lifestyle, Spirituality | 4 Comments
It’s the happiest time of the year! Family, friends, food, love… there are so many great things about the holiday season. And what better way to celebrate them than to show gratitude for all of these wonderful parts of your life?
gratitude

Besides making others happy, according to Instructor Chidimma Ozor, showing gratitude relieves stress. She said:

“When I’m stressed, I take a quick moment to get into gratitude. Gratitude is an action word so even verbally recounting or writing down the things for which I’m grateful helps me stop stress in its tracks.”

Recognizing how fortunate you are is also an instant mood booster. Instructor Alexa Maytorena said:

“Between work, the pressure of trying to find the perfect gifts, and at times feeling spread too thin, sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are actually pretty lucky. Find time in your day to think about what you are thankful for. Whether it’s your warm bed, or running vehicle, or the hot lunch you just enjoyed; once you get into the habit of practicing gratitude, the easier it is to count your many blessings!

Here are a few ways to show gratitude this holiday season.

Do something little but thoughtful…

like help your mother bake cookies. Better yet, offer to help them with something they don’t enjoy like washing the dishes from dinner or hanging Christmas lights.

Volunteer your time or your resources.

Alexa said, “To help others, you can find local food banks to donate to, collect blankets and warm clothing to give those in need, or even be a Secret Santa to a stranger! By helping those who are less fortunate than we are, we are reminded what the holiday season is all about.”

Give a larger tip than usual to your server.

If they’ve provided really exceptional service, let them know by leaving a generous tip. They’ll appreciate the little extra cash to get presents for their loved ones. If there’s a tip jar, do one even better and leave a thoughtful note to really let them know what you appreciated.

Don’t give a gift they need.

Get them a gift they want (or maybe don’t even know they want). Many people ask for presents that they need, but getting a gift for someone that they really want or deserve is a much better way to show appreciation. Anyone can buy themselves a shampoo and conditioner, but giving them a vintage necklace or a book you know they’ll love really shows how well you know them or how much you know they deserve a nice gift.

Give compliments the moment you’re feeling grateful.

If someone helps you with a task or gives you great advice, telling them right in that moment that you appreciate their help or wisdom is quick, easy, and flattering. You don’t have to make a big deal out of your gratitude to show someone you care. Just be sure to make sure the compliment is genuine.

Write a nice holiday card…

thanking someone you truly appreciate for all they have done for you. We are all extremely busy, so taking time out of your life to list out reasons why you appreciate someone is a sure-fire way to show gratitude.

Pay full attention to your friends and relatives when they talk.

Listen with the intent of understanding and not just with the intent of responding. Truly listening to someone is one of the best and easiest ways to show him or her that you really care about and appreciate what they have to say.

SOURCE

How do you show gratitude? Let us know in a comment!

MESSAGE TO OUR TRUTRIBE

From us to you, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to every member of our TruTribe. Every single day you inspire us and each other to push the limits, to find your edge. You are our motivation. Our wisdom. The reason we do love what we do every single day. Thank you TruTribe. We wish you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays.

stress relief

Instructor Tips to Relieve Stress

By | Spirituality | No Comments
As we all know, the holidays can be a little stressful sometimes. No matter how hard you try—just like your greedy cousin—stress will show up on your doorstep at least once this season.

Never fear, four of our incredible instructors are here to give you some tips on how to manage that stress when it inevitably comes a-knockin’. Shout-out to instructors Whitney Owens, Psy.D., Chidimma Ozor, Jimmy Russo, and Alexa Maytorena for their great advice!

stress relief
Remember to breathe

Whitney said, “Take time each day to connect with your breath. On your way to work, a holiday party, or just sitting in your home, work on taking intentional deep inhales and exhales to release stress in the body. Sitting in meditation is also very helpful. You don’t have to meditate for long, 5 minutes of peace and practicing letting thoughts go can be incredibly rejuvenating.”

Chidimma said, “Remember your breath. The breath needs to proceed the movement…all movement..especially speech! Take a deep breath in and let it out and then proceed.”

Want more meditation tips? Take a look at our Meditation for Beginners blog post.

Check in with your support system

Sometimes being able to vent for a few minutes is all you really need. Chidimma said, “I check in with my support system: my faith, my family and/or my friends.” Find that person you trust and take a few minutes to get some things off your chest. When venting isn’t enough, ask for help and then implement solutions.

Take a step back

Jimmy said:

“When you feel that stressful moment affecting you, take a step back. Excuse yourself from the situation and take a quick walk outside if you can to get some fresh air. Ask yourself ‘does the event that’s creating stress really change you?’ Interlock your fingers behind your back, press them towards the floor and inhale as you open your chest and shoulders towards the ceiling. You should feel some relief bringing you back to what really matters.”

Strike a pose

“If you can squeeze in time for some light yoga before you start your day and a few poses before bed, you will notice how refreshed you feel in the morning and even sleep better at night,” said Alexa.

Whitney said, “Select a simple yoga pose daily to ground yourself down and become centered again.” Her suggested poses included:

Blow off steam

“We are all aware of the benefits of physical activity, and during the holidays we are constantly tempted to indulge on all those goodies. Make time for your workout to blow off any excess steam,” said Alexa.

Take a look at a few of our other posts for ideas on how to blow off steam.

Stop it before it starts

Although we can’t fully avoid stress, we can make choices to help lessen the amount we experience. Be selective about where you focus your energy. Whitney said, “Make choices that are rejuvenating and energizing, rather than depleting and exhausting.”

How do you destress during the holidays? Let us know in a comment!
Stay sane

7 Secrets to Stay Sane this Holiday Season

By | Lifestyle, Spirituality | No Comments
stay calm
Crowds. Family. Travel. They can all make you go a little mad during the holidays. But with these seven simple tricks, you can easily stay sane this season.
Sleep better with 5-HTP

Health.com recommends this plant extract because it “is thought to increase serotonin, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep.” It can be found in most drugstores, but be safe! The recommended dose is 150 milligrams daily and talk to your doctor before trying it if you take antidepressants.

Drop expectations

Sure the ham may be a little dry, or your niece didn’t react how you thought she would to the present you got her. But if you have too high of expectations, you’re putting pressure where it shouldn’t exist. Try letting go of the reins and enjoy the moment with no ideas in your head of what “should” be.

Kick it up a notch

According to health.com, spicy foods release endorphins that “trigger feelings of euphoria and well-being.” Hot sauce lovers, rejoice!

Take a whiff

Researchers say that some citrus fragrances can leave you feeling a little more sunny. Certain citruses like orange and lemon lower stress and boost overall mood by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. Dab or spray some orange or lemon mist on your wrist, an article of clothing, or your yoga mat to keep you calm.

Eat mango

We’ve always been taught that stress-eating is bad, but researchers in Japan say to reach for this sweet treat when things are getting a little. They say that chemicals in mangos “may alter your blood chemistry and send a wave of calm over your body.”

Upwrap yourself

Getting wrapped up is for gifts, not for you. We know it can be all too easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget to appreciate the reason for the season. When things are getting a little too hectic, take a step back, breathe, and remember that love and joy are what the holidays are all about. If you’re spending the holidays with even one great friend or family member, that’s all you really need, right?

Say yes to sex

Lowering stress levels, boosting self-esteem, and releasing endorphins are only a few of the reasons sex keeps you calm and sane. Sex also “raises oxytocin levels, which promotes sound sleep.” So go ahead and have a little fun in the hay. It’s good for you!

What are your tricks to staying sane? Tweet us at @TruFusionYoga!
giving healthy

How Giving Makes You Healthy

By | Blog, Charity, Lifestyle, Spirituality | No Comments
healthy giving
According to the book The Paradox of Generosity, it pays in health to be generous.

Authors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson surveyed 2,000 people over a five-year period during which they tracked 40 different family’s lifestyles. They found that the families who donated more time and money to others experienced better health than those who did not donate.

But how?

Research suggests that one of the reasons generosity improves physical health is because it “shift[s] focus to alleviate others’ problems instead of fixating on one’s own.” Here are some of the direct physiological benefits of giving:

Less Depression

Depression leads to many physical symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, pain, and even weight changes. Luckily, even thinking about giving increases happiness. Thinking about helping others releases dopamine and serotonin, the happiness hormones. Christian said, “It gives people more pleasure chemistry in their brain, a sense of reward for having done something good.”

Reduced Stress

Like depression, stress can make people physically sick. Stress can foster low energy, headaches, upset stomachs, tense muscles, and chest pain. Social psychologist Liz Dunn studied the stress levels of people who either kept their money for themselves or gave money away. She found that the people who kept their money felt more ashamed and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Lower Blood Pressure

A 2006 John Hopkins University and University of Tennessee study revealed that “people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t.” Untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, and memory loss.

Less Anxiety

“A long-term Cornell University found that people who volunteered were not only less anxious than those who did not, but they stayed that way for decades.” Lowered anxiety brings reduced odds for developing several chronic illnesses such as heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions.

A Longer Life

“Researchers from the University of Buffalo found a link between giving and unselfishness and having a lower risk of early death.” This is likely due to reduced stress levels and increased overall happiness. “Volunteering not only improves well-being and life satisfaction, but it’s also linked with decreased depression and a lower risk of dying early.”

How can TruFusion help you become happier and healthier through giving?

Check out some of our events, offers, and gift ideas to keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy.

Happy and healthy giving, TruTribe!
Yogi-Books

4 Must-Read Books For Every Yogi

By | Blog, Lifestyle, Spirituality, Yoga | No Comments
Book Blog
Once you find out that “yoga” in Sanskrit means “union,” it comes as no surprise that the ancient practice is all about the yin and the yang– the union of two opposites.

We believe that to have a truly fulfilling practice, this means physical and mental unity. Not only must you practice the physical poses, but you must strengthen your mind as well.

We know all of you are doing a great job working on your physical practices, so we went straight to the experts (our instructors!) to give us a little help with some mental exercise. We’ve asked them what books every yogi should read to help strengthen his or her practice and we got some incredible results. Check them out below!

1. Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff

Yoga Anatomy is the yogi’s guide to fully understanding each pose and its relationship to your body. Learn how everything is linked and how slight alterations can enhance or reduce effectiveness. “Yoga Anatomy will be an invaluable resource—one that allows you to see each movement in an entirely new light.”

“The Yoga Anatomy says ‘See each movement from the inside out.’ It’s a great tool to learn how the spine, breathing and body position are all linked.” – Jimmy Russo

2. Journey Into Power by Baron Baptiste

Looking for the ultimate transformation? Baron Baptiste can show you the way. In Journey into Power, Baptiste proves that the “key to true power is not to chase an ideal version of ourselves but to reveal the perfect self already within.” This book “heals, detoxifies, and electrifies body and mind at their deepest levels.”

Baron writes, ‘It’s all yoga. On or off the mat, it’s yoga.’ Journey Into Power takes the reader from understanding the physicality of yoga to understanding the power of living yoga off of your mat. It’s great for understanding the physical postures and the possibility they create in both your body and your life.” – Whitney Koch Owens

3. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satchidananda

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the manual of Raja Yoga, the spiritual path of self-discipline and meditation. At least 4,000 years old, the teachings discuss the ethics, postures, concentration and dealing with everyday life. The book is said to be “a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is great because it is like the yogi bible. It’s essentially a ‘how to’ for how to be a good person. It’s about learning how to unlearn all of the things that take us away from our true form of love, selflessness and peace.” -Whitney Koch Owens

Told in the voice of a shaman, The Four Agreements holds the code of personal conduct to “become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.” Transform your life with these four simple lessons.

“For me The Four Agreements is a must read because it is so applicable to life. All four agreements encompass characteristics many of us seek to have, but not only to have, but to really live. Working on these four can keep me busy for the rest of my life!” – Chidimma Ozor

Honorable-Mention Books

There were so many great suggestions that we couldn’t leave out, so we created an honorable mention list!

SOURCES: TruFusion instructors and Amazon.com

P.S. – Don’t know what to get your yogi friends this holiday season? Gift one of these must-reads!

Which one do you want added to your bookshelf?

TruFusion-Meditation

Meditation for Beginners

By | Blog, Lifestyle, Spirituality | 2 Comments

The world we live in today tends to get a little hectic, and even when we have a few moments of downtime, we scroll through Facebook or check e-mails. By doing this, our brains continue to process information for the majority of our waking hours, hardly allowing any time to sift through the information to keep what serves us and rid of what no longer does.

So how do we turn this off? Why is meditation important to “reset” our minds?

WHY MEDITATE?

TruFusion instructor Amy Raven says that meditating is like cleaning the hard drive of your computer. By allowing thoughts to arise naturally and fade away just as easily, we determine what is important to us and what we can let go.

Besides helping clear our minds, meditation relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and lowers anxiety. It also helps to eliminate the stress hormone cortisol and creates serotonin and oxytocin, the happiness and love hormones.

WHAT DO I DO?

While there are different levels of meditation, the goal of meditation is enhanced consciousness. The idea is to become aware of your thoughts and to learn to be present in the moment. You want to surrender to the flow of your mind, letting your thoughts arise naturally and drift away just as easily. Try not to focus on any one idea, but rather notice what comes into your mind and then let it pass. Learn to become aware of when you concentrate too long on one idea and shift your attention back to your breath or how your body feels in that moment.

For those who have never attempted to meditate before, it can be tough getting started. Raven suggests saying “let” during a six second inhale and “go” during a six to eight second exhale. Alternatively, say “so” while inhaling and “hum” during exhalation. Meaning “I am” in Sanskrit, this is the more traditional phrase. Focusing on either of these expressions, whether out loud or in your head, helps to clear the mind and create peace.

WHEN SHOULD I MEDITATE?

It is important to note that you do not need to be in a seated position to meditate, and it does not have to be for an extended period of time. Try meditating for five minutes first thing in the morning before reaching for your phone. Simply lie in bed paying attention to thoughts that arise, recounting the dreams you had the night before, or setting intentions for your day. Doing this in the morning helps foster peace and focus for your entire day. At night, turn off the TV a few minutes early to lie peacefully, quieting the mind before falling asleep.

Because your body and mind are already relaxed, right after a yoga session is another great time to meditate. If you do not have enough time for an entire session, simply holding child’s pose for a few moments allows the body and mind to relax before beginning meditation.

But do not feel limited to any one time of day. Anytime you feel the need, set aside even just a few moments to pay attention to your breath, dissipating stress and bringing focus and serenity to the moment.

While meditation can seem intimidating, just like any sport or talent, it gets easier with practice. If you are having difficulty on your own, try guided meditations on YouTube or with an instructor. As you become more comfortable, try an extended period of time or a different setting. It comes down to what serves you best; remember that your practice is your practice.

Raven said about meditation, “It’s important to remember that it is not a goal; it is a being… to discover that you are perfect just as you are. You are made with everything you need. You are made completely divine.”