Don't worry, be happy.


Summer fun

Summer feels like it is flying by! Have you been able to enjoy the beautiful sunny and hot days? What do you wish you could do to celebrate summer?! Mid-afternoon BBQ? Weekend at the beach? Rooftop parties? Whatever it is, make time for it! Before you know it the season will change and you will wish you had taken the time to enjoy the wonderful warmth of summer.

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Freedom from harm

Ahimsa is a sanskrit term that means non-violence or not causing pain. This term is one of the ethical practices that someone on the path of yoga begins to practice even before the asanas (postures). Ahimsa refers not only to not harming of yourself and others physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Even your thoughts and words can cause pain.

Practicing the intention of non-harming can be extremely helpful in creating a healthier mental and emotional outlook. Once we recognize the thoughts that are painful to us we are able to reduce the amount of them. As we begin to learn non-harming for ourselves we can then translate that to how we interact with others.

The softening of our thoughts allows for a softening in our hearts. We are able to become compassionate, and open ourselves to love. An ease-fulness flows from our hearts and out into the world. Freedom from harm comes when we being to set clear intentions of not causing pain.

The Upanishads is an ancient sacred text. Within this text there is a passage that I feel helps to show why the practice of non-violence is important.

“Watch your thoughts: They become your words.
Watch your words: They become your actions.
Watch your actions: They become your habits.
Watch your habits: They become your character.
Watch your character: It becomes your destiny.“
~ Upanishads

So take a moment to to become aware of your thoughts, notice what thoughts are coming into your head at this moment? Are they harmful, judgmental or caring and compassionate? Can you see how your thoughts become your words, then become your actions, habits, character, and ultimately your destiny?

The practice of ahimsa is just that, a daily practice of being very present to your thoughts and actions. One small step to take is on your yoga mat. Become aware of when you are judgmental or pushing yourself past your limit. How can you soften around the edges in your asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), and dhyana (meditation)?




Villa of Wonders

On my recent trip to Italy I discovered an enchanting garden about an hour outside of Rome, the Park of Monsters of Bomarzo or it is also known as the Villa of the Wonders or Sacred Forest. No matter the name it is an untouched fantasy land where adults and children alike can play in a world of sleeping beauties, giants, ogres, tilted homes, sphinxes and more.

The park was created in 1552 as the “Villa of Wonders”, and is the only one of it’s kind in the world. Prince Pier Francesco Orsini (1523-1585), called Vicino, is the creative mind behind this bewitching garden. At the time he was madly in love and inspired by that love he created this tremendous park. Twenty years later his wife passed away and he dedicated the Temple to her.

Sadly once he passed away there were no heirs to claim it and keep it alive. So it sat alone, growing moss and weeds over the sculptures until 1954 when the Bettini family purchased the property and took over the loving care of the Villa of Wonders. Thankfully for this family we can now enjoy this beautiful place today.

Moving through the gardens you discover 24 pieces of art ranging from Greek mythology to fantasy. When I was there I felt as if it was a combination of Disneyland and Alice in wonderland. This sacred forest invites the imagination to run wild, and where nothing is as it seems.

It is so exciting and unexpected to see what comes next in the garden. Each sculpture is more detailed than the next. I felt like I could have wandered in the park for days and still found it enticing. There is a dragon sculpture and his expression is so detailed, cartoon like, and real. The Ogre is also an intriguing piece of art in the garden. Ogre, is another name for Orcus, one of the names of the king of the underworld. This sculpture symbolizes the entrance to the underworld, and on the lip of the Ogre above the entrance are Dante’s words engraved ‘every thought flies away’. Inside of the Ogre’s mouth you find a stone table and bench, and although it is the entrance to the underworld inside the mouth feels like a tavern.

While trying to respect the art, and allow my playful self to come out I enjoyed handstands and headstands in front of some of the sculptures and on some others. Posing like a sphinx or making the same expressions as the elephants. It was a wonderful grounding and childlike experience.

If you are in Italy and near Rome I highly recommend a visit to the Park of Monsters. Or if you are not nearing there anytime soon find a park or a sculpture garden near you and take a day to enjoy a picnic there, bring a journal, and maybe a camera. Enjoy the pleasure of walking and stumbling on a beautiful piece of art. Being in nature can be extremely grounding and allowing the freedom of the day, the fluidity of no schedule, simply enjoy the art and frolic in the grass, take a nap under a tree, and reflect on your time in your journal.