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Mother's Day

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Mother's Day

There are two things that come to mind when I think of mothers: unconditional love and Mother Nature. There is so much love that goes into raising a child. This love takes shape in the way of sacrifice, attention, allowing and wonder.

A friend of mine once said to me, "I am afraid to have children because you really don't know what you are going to get." That's so true! A big part of unconditional love is accepting the soul that has been brought forth to you and fostering their light. The biggest beauty in humanity is our uniqueness. Each soul, brought through by a mother and Mother Nature, is a very unique spark of divinity to love and behold.

A mother has the daunting task of caring for her child while the child is helpless and completely dependent on her. The mother is shaping that care based on the character and expression of the child, each shaping each other. It is my belief that the moment this union is made an influence and a wonder starts to take place. There is so much beauty in watching love and light being expressed through a new life. There is an equal beauty to the new life being in a state of wonder and drinking up the absolute love of the mother. In this union we learn the law and value of reciprocity.

There is an incredible amount of selflessness that goes into birthing and raising a child. I know my parents chose to put in a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice in order for me to be able to do what I do today. There are many times a mother sets aside her comfort for the moment to secure a better future for her child. Mothering is also a call to create a future and make steps for our future generations.

On Mother's Day we celebrate the sacrifice a mother makes to raise a child and we celebrate uniqueness. We celebrate unconditional love and we celebrate creation. We seek out the soul expression in one another and like a mother to her child, we foster that light. We fully accept that we are all very unique in how we express ourselves. We celebrate what it takes to birth a new life. We celebrate the organic nature of creation and the power of Mother Nature. We celebrate evolution and we celebrate the light. Today Mom, we celebrate you.

Becoming more light; Becoming true you; A gift to the collective

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Becoming true you

We are inching closer to being unified in person! I am starting to get really excited. As I talk with people, I get the overwhelming feeling that we are all on very personal journeys, even though those journeys are influenced and in concert with the collective. I feel such a calling to spread a message of unity and light consciousness at this time.

At the end of the day one of the best things about yoga is that it unifies you with your body. Clearly your mind and body are one unit. When you do yoga, you unlock the messages from your body and you attempt to unify them with your mind. You remove the blockages that allows the body to connect more wholly, giving you a much broader sense of well-being.

You would be surprised by the information your body stores. As yogis we are trained to follow and focus on sensation. We all know the feeling of getting the chills when something feels so right, or our hearts swelling with love until we are involuntarily reduced to tears, and we know the sick feeling we get in our stomach when something just doesn't feel right. Louise Hay started a movement about the messages from your body to the mainstream over 30 years ago and that movement is coming to an apex now. Listening to the language of your body and trusting it like you would the English language is now mainstream.

The cleaner your body is, the more light your body holds, the more accurate these messages become. A part of your mind is like a word processor--information in, information out, but your body is not exactly operating from that standpoint. On one hand it is because we store all sorts of information in our bodies, especially information that is more emotionally charged, and that has a big influence on our thinking. On the other hand we are not what emotionally charges us, we are not the information we take in--we are light beings being expressed by a human body and a human experience. The more light you put into your body through the clearing out of toxic waste, impressed thoughts, and negative emotions, the more the True You will be expressed. This is so key right now!

It is my belief that we are in an ascension process on the planet. Awakening, cleansing, letting go and then rebirth. Many of us are processing, slowing down and paying attention in a whole new way--all really good things for the cleansing process. The more light we express, the better for ourselves and the collective. We at True You want to help you grow in your light one sweat drop at a time.

We are Oneness

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We are Oneness

When I started getting serious about yoga, one of the first things I was taught was the concept of non-separation--not physical separation like we are experiencing now, though I think it can be very unhealthy and healthy at the same time, but separation from others in a spiritual sense. We are oneness. So how does this play out when people's morals, values and ideals do not align with ours? Simply said, we let each person have their experience to the best of our ability without judgement or prejudice.

I think it is safe to say that together we have a collective vision. We all want the world to be a safe, stable, and loving place. World peace is a tall order. :) We are not going to accomplish that by fighting with each other about who is right and who is wrong. That is very clear. We are going to accomplish our common goal with unity. Being unified when someone shares a different view than your own is as simple as allowing someone their belief and their process--not beating them over the head with your ideals. You might be proving a point but damaging the collective in the process.

Our primary focus and our strongest defense is the building of our own energy field and the ability to transmit that without words. We are better when our focus is on what we want. Us for us in unity.

Our collective conscious is extremely powerful. It is my belief that the plethora of influences available to us creates our consciousness and shape our choices. Starting with our family and then the company we keep, the books we read, the schools and churches we attend, the media we consume, the prayers we pray and what we do with our meditation, our motives and our intentions. These are all things we should deeply consider.

I had a hard time in the beginning of my sequestering as I felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath me. Maybe you felt that, too. For me, it was very difficult to enjoy being home, even though it's something I have always craved. Today I thought to myself, "You should enjoy this more. " I finally allowed the moment to possess the future I want.

We are all in this together. We are powerful. Our collective energy is what will move us forward. We got this! Our nation's unity and our ability to operate and possess love for ourselves and each other has never been so important!

Helena's about to get all deep on you…

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Helena's about to get all deep on you

I think I'm about to get all deep on you.

I have always been clear that the True You community is a family and in times like these, that vision is crystal clear. A family has a common goal and an understood system. The system that the True You family has been working with for years is faith and discipline. We've always had faith in the process of yoga and the discipline to act on it and it is times like these where we get to put this into practical practice.

The process of yoga is often slow, barely detectable to the human eye from day to day, but noticeable in moments of clarity. We get the pleasure of feeling relief after a tough class but it's really the accumulation of our practice that is its jewel. As a family we practice discipline. We practice the discipline of showing up regularly, of maintaining a steady breath, and keeping a calm disposition in the midst of something difficult.

When one thinks of discipline they might quickly be brought to a place of restriction, but as yogis we know different. We know that discipline is actually the cornerstone of lightness. In times of uncertainty it is our discipline to act in love, compassion, and good ol' fashioned fun that will keep us tethered to our peace of mind. Discipline actually allows the moment to be very light, simple and innocent.

Our time is now. It is my personal belief that we owe it to our fellow community members to be faithful in a positive future and to remember that in this moment we are creating our future. Each thought we have, each action we take, and every emotion that we feel becomes a derivative of our future. The future lives in the present moment and we are the creators of our future by our present moment awareness and through our ability to choose. Our consciousness has never been so important, so impactful.

There's a golden light at the end of this tunnel so long as we continue to have faith and discipline for the collective. Yoga is union. We are all in this together. We always have been in it together, as a family, at the edge of our seat or in a deep, deep savasana one sweat drop at a time.

How Yoga Helped Me Prepare and Recover from Open Heart Surgery

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I started Bikram Yoga after moving to Stockton in August 2010. But it took me about six months to become completely dedicated to this practice. In January I signed up for the studio's 60 Day Challenge, started attending class at least 6 days a week and gave up running. I haven't look back.

I used to be a fitness instructor, so I've tried a lot of different exercise programs. I have never found anything more effective than Bikram Yoga. The magic of Bikram Yoga is that it's more than just a workout. Not only have I eliminated my minor back pain and gotten definition in my abdominals (which I never thought possible), but I am also a better person. In the studio I sweat, I breathe, I stare at myself in the mirror, and I let go of all my stress, worry and tension.

We all bring baggage to our yoga practice - both physical and emotional. Yoga gives us the opportunity to confront and accept this baggage. When I was six days old, I had a life-saving open-heart operation in which a surgeon repaired one of my heart valves that wasn't allowing blood to flow properly. The surgery was successful and I lived a relatively normal life until April 2011 when I received some bad new from my cardiologist. After 26 years, my valve was now too "leaky"- meaning the valve wasn't properly transporting blood and my right ventricle was severely dilated. Even though I felt fine and was able to do as much yoga as I wanted, the doctor said that I needed a valve transplant surgery in the next three to four months.

My heart defect was major baggage. I felt quite helpless and scared for my life and my future. Nevertheless, I realized that while I couldn't control the fact that I was born with a defective heart valve, I could control how I reacted to facing another open-heart surgery. I continued my yoga practice with a renewed fervor- to become the healthiest and strongest I could possibly be so that the surgeons could operate effectively and so that I could rapidly recover. It was scary to stare at myself in the mirror during yoga class while thinking about the imminent surgery, but at the same time it helped me to accept and prepare for it mentally.

I am thrilled to say the surgeons successfully replaced my tired valve with a fully functional pig valve. Recovery was mentally and physically rough, but not nearly as bad as I expected. I truly believe that all the yoga that I had accrued in my body prior to surgery paid off tenfold. Even though I was still in quite a bit of pain, I was able to return to yoga about 6 weeks after the surgery. It was like coming back to an old friend. I tried to approach my practice from a place of patience - not being attached to what my body was able to do prior to surgery. As a result, I have been amazed and humbled by how quickly my body opened up. The heat and the poses were extremely detoxifying and therapeutic for my pain. After a week of returning to yoga I was virtually pain-free and I felt like I had my body back.

I am unbelievably grateful for my yoga practice and for the Bikram Yoga Stockton instructors that have guided me through and incredibly challenging time in my life. Even though I have only been practicing for about a year, I can't imagine my life without yoga.

My advice to you is that no matter what you may be going through, your strong yoga practice can be an invaluable part of the solution. Rededicate yourself to your practice today in order to ensure that you can face any challenges that lie ahead.

Update: This photo was taken 2-3 months after her surgery. It has now been 6 years since Veronica's open heart surgery. Veronica says she is continually grateful to her practice for getting her through all the ups and downs of life. And she is also grateful for all of the healers in her life including Nicole from New Leaf Ayurveda, Dennis Wong, and Dr. Moore from UCSF. She also can't believe how short her hair was in this picture!

Zesty Arugula Pesto

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Try out this yummy pesto recipe! And check out Trader Joe’s red lentil pasta--perfect if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional pasta. This recipe makes about 8 servings. Consider freezing any remaining pesto in an ice cube tray so that you always have it at the ready.

https://www.banyanbotanicals.c om/info/blog-the-banyan-insigh t/details/pitta-pacifying- recipe-zesty-arugula-pesto? utm_source=Banyan+Botanicals+ Retail&utm_campaign= da783fdd85-Retail_Insight_ Digest_July14th_Seg1&utm_ medium=email&utm_term=0_d3f096 6145-da783fdd85-78647417&mc_ cid=da783fdd85&mc_eid= ad2c4e9ed6

Aloe Juice + Turmeric Tonic

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Aloe juice is fantastic in the summer for its cooling properties. It’s is good for the skin, digestion, and your immune system. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory. Combined together, they create a tonic that is both refreshing and healing. Ayurveda practitioners recommend drinking this daily before bed.

Ingredients:

¼ cup aloe juice
Pinch of turmeric powder

Directions:

Combine the aloe juice and turmeric powder in a small cup and drink.

Veggie Quinoa Salad by Veronica

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A light but nourishing dish, this makes a great lunch or dinner. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients for the quinoa:

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (zucchini, green beans, kale, chard, mushrooms, etc.)
1 cup garbanzo beans
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Chopped avocado (optional)
¼ cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Olive oil
Ingredients for the dressing:
¼ cup of olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
Salt to taste

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package and move to a bowl. Cook the vegetables by sauteing in a little bit of oil and add to the bowl. Next, add the garbanzo beans, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and parsley or cilantro. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until well mixed. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture. Add the optional avocado. Serve and enjoy!

Cucumber Melon Salad by Katlyn

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This cooling salad is a perfect treat on a hot day!

Ingredients:

1/2 English cucumber peeled, cubed small
2 cups watermelon, cubed small
10-12 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Juice from ½ a lime

Directions:

Place the fruit and mint leaves into a bowl, drizzle the olive oil, add a tiny pinch of salt and the juice of 1/2 a lime, stir, and serve cool.

To the courageous and inquisitive: True You Hot Yoga is the healthy commitment that teaches discipline is the pathway to freedom.

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