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2019 TOUR STOPS

This Meditation Helps You Overcome an Overactive Mind

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Learn how to discern your thoughts through this mantra and mudra practice.

The Live Be Yoga ambassadors visited Priya Jain, founder of Seventh Chakra Yoga in Huntington Beach, California, who shared a mantra and mudra meditation practice to help discern your thoughts, so you can calm (and avoid fueling) an overactive mind.

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. 

Ancient yogic texts said that we have one thousand thoughts for every blink of the eye. Many of these thoughts are unconscious, meaning we are completely unaware of them. However, many of the ideas that flicker through our minds certainly stick out and linger. Which ones will we attach to or identify with? Which ones serve our expansion and evolution? Which ones are self-sabotaging and distracting?

These are all questions that help us build awareness so we can make well-rounded decisions about what to pay attention to—decisions that can benefit our own lives as well as our collective humanity.

When we can make decisions from a place of empowerment, stability, authenticity, and compassion, we begin to do our part in co-creating a more harmonious world. It may sound too good to be true, but all necessary change starts with this simple process—evaluating the thoughts that come and go.

That’s what we learned while visiting Priya Jain, owner of Seventh Chakra Yoga, a studio in Huntington Beach, California. Jain, a Kundalini Yoga teacher and my mentor, said that when your mind can learn to discern the difference in thoughts, you can actually say “thank you, but no thank you.” Or you can welcome certain thoughts with more awareness and presence.

Watch also Why Your Spirituality Shouldn’t Define You

In order to cultivate this discernment, Jain shared with us a beginner’s meditation for yogis who are just learning how to be a witness to their own thoughts, rather than getting carried away by them. But truly, the following meditation is a wonderful check-in for practitioners of all levels. There is never a time when we should cease to contemplate the thoughts that come and go.

Though this meditation is simple, it has a powerful effect on the brain. Jain said that the mantra brings you into the present moment and influences you to sort out thoughts that are empowering versus ones that are distracting. In combination with the mudra, it allows the frontal lobe of the brain to begin to discern every single thought detected by the mind. It also allows you to sort out which thoughts are coming from your authentic identity and which thoughts are taking you away from your authentic self.

The mantra you’ll repeat is simple: “I am, all is.”

Read also So You Found Peace Through Yoga—Here’s Why the Practice Doesn’t Stop There

Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.



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2019 TOUR STOPS

New York City

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Join Yoga Journal in New York City. 

JOIN US AT DHARMA YOGA CENTER AUGUST 3-9

61 West 23 St, 6 Floor, New York, NY 10010

8/3 @ 10:00am + 11:30am | Dharma Beginner + Dharma Wheel

8/5 @ 11:00am | DYCW Yoga Wheel

8/7 @ 12:00pm | Master Sadhana + Kirtan



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2019 TOUR STOPS

Making Ashtanga Yoga Accessible

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Kino MacGregor, Ashtanga Yoga teacher and co-founder of Miami Life Center discusses how to make this notoriously difficult practice more approachable.

Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt recently caught up with Ashtanga Yoga instructor Kino MacGreggor at her Miami studio to talk about making this practice, famous for its difficult poses, more inclusive. Find out what one of the youngest certified Ashtanga Yoga teachers and co-founder of Miami Life Center had to say. 

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.



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2019 TOUR STOPS

How to Create a Morning Practice that Works for You

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Live Be Yoga ambassador Lauren Cohen shares her tips for maintaining a personal practice even when living out of a suitcase.

Lauren Cohen says that her constant travel schedule as an ambassador for Live Be Yoga has informed and inspired her daily morning practice. 

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. 

Touring the United States as an ambassador for Live Be Yoga has been a whirlwind, filled with the full spectrum of feelings – from joy to exhaustion and beyond. Brandon and I are driving across the country, landing in a new city every week, living out of our suitcases and doing everything we can to create a sense of home in each new place.

At this point, we have established a rhythm and know the things we need to do individually to ground ourselves throughout this journey. I am continually reminded of my own humanity and the ways I occasionally react too quickly to less-than-ideal situations.

See also 3 Tips to Bounce Back from Burnout. 

One of the main conversations we keep hearing on the road is this idea of taking our yoga “off the mat. We heard this in our very first meeting with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, and it has continued to be an anchor throughout the tour thus far. When I initially agreed to the tour, I knew it would test me and my practice. It’s important to remember that we can only live our practice if we actually do our practice. This is a fundamental teaching shared in The Yoga Sutras: to reap the undeniable benefits of the practice, we must stay committed and consistent with our practice every day

My yoga mat has always been a place of refuge. I sometimes think of my mat as my mirror, reflecting the truth of who I am, what matters most, and what I’m here to do. While I have always stayed committed to my personal practice, I’ve never had a consistent morning practice that genuinely worked for me, day in and day out.

Often, I find myself caught in stories of what my morning practice “should” look like, based on what my teachers have suggested or what friends and colleagues are doing. So much of this practice is about releasing our attachments, and this is no exception. Since embarking on this tour, I’ve found that I have to cultivate a morning ritual that truly works for me – one that grounds and nourishes me, rather than one that feels forced or is coming from all of the “shoulds” wrapped around my ego.

My practice is different every morning, but I now feel inspired to wake up and make myself a priority. Being on the road has actually enhanced my personal practice because I am making it more of a priority than ever before. I ask myself when I wake up: what do I need to do this morning? Sit still and to drop into meditation? Asana and/or pranayama? Do I need to go for a walk or put my legs up the wall? There is one non-negotiable: I make the time to sit for at least 15 minutes in meditation, no matter what. I give myself enough time to ease into my day, quietly and gently.

As part of this journey, we take several yoga classes every week, and, in a literal sense, we “practice” yoga all the time. Yet, cultivating a regular and committed personal practice offers us a beautiful opportunity to tune into the intuitive wisdom of our bodies. It teaches us to pay attention to subtleties that, more often than not, will not be cued by another teacher. It sets the tone for the day and helps us remember our worth and our value. It helps us remember why we actually practice and how to share the practice with others.

Integrate your practice into your day, wherever you are. 

5 Ways to Create an Inspiring Morning Practice 

1. Set up an inviting, warm space. 

Whether your space includes an altar, candles, gentle music, or dim lighting, create an environment that makes you feel comfortable and at ease. When I arrive in a new city, I do whatever I can to set up my practice space – to make it feel like home. I set up my personal altar in a new bedroom each week, but it always carries the same energy regardless of location. 

2. Check in with yourself upon waking up.

How is your body feeling? Where is your mind wandering? Do you need movement, stillness, or a combination of both? Ask yourself: what do I need right here, right now?

3. Hold yourself accountable.

For example, I know that my meditations are much more powerful after I’ve moved through an asana practice. I also know that I feel and function better when I meditate, so I commit to at least 12 minutes of meditation in the morning, no matter what.

4. Turn your phone off or set to “do not disturb.” 

It’s very easy to jump right into work mode upon waking. This one can be a struggle for me. But, when I do this, I am able to show up much more intentionally both in work and relationships.

5. Remember that your practice doesn’t have to “look” a certain way. 

So much about yoga is learning about ourselves and our needs. There is no “right” way to do this. There is only what feels right for you. The work is to honor those needs, and stay consistent in your efforts to nurture them.

Child’s Pose is a comforting way to start your day. 

Suggestions for a Morning Sequence 

  1. Take a few grounding breaths in Child’s Pose before making your way to hands and knees.
  2. Begin to link simple movements with the breath, moving through 5-10 rounds of cat/cow. If it feels desirable, add in some hip and neck circles before pressing back into Downward Dog.
  3. Explore down dog by peddling out the legs and shifting the gaze from side to side.
  4. Walk your hands to the back of the mat and take an easy Ragdoll Pose to release any tension in the neck.
  5. Slowly make your way back to the top of the mat to prepare for 3-5 rounds of Sun Salutations (choice of half salutations and full salutations).
  6. After moving through any variation of salutations make your way onto your back for Happy baby.
  7. Take a variation of a Spinal Twist in both directions, preparing for Savasana.
  8. Spend 5-20 minutes in seated meditation.

See also Top Yoga Teachers Share Their Favorite Morning Stretches. 



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