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ParkoLife | 25/01/2017 We Move On!

Why we relocate is always a personal story impacted by age, race, ethnicity, family and other factors.

It turns out that choosing a location is a lot like choosing a mate. What you decide to overlook ends up being the most important part of your decision. You know what is going to be hard about the life you are choosing and you know that you are deciding to ignore it and go ahead with the choice anyway.

We never really know if we are making a good decision or if we'll have to get over it.

Anyway we did it!

Now you can find ParkoLife shining under the Kithirian sky, in Greece.

"You just keep moving forward and doing what you do and hope that it resonates with people. And if it doesn't, you just keep moving on until you find a project that does"


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ParkoLife | Why you don't need a guru to practice Yoga

For many years the practice of yoga was learned by dedicated students taught by their guru. Students learned yoga from one teacher or lineage and then either taught those same teachings or continued to study and live life.

Today, when we read texts about how to learn yoga, you will always find a statement about the importance of finding a teacher. Presented as fact, this statement leads aspiring yoga practitioners to believe they indeed need to find their “guru.” An ideal of the guru is romanticized and categorized in the minds of many as an “if-then” statement — if I find a guru, then I will become enlightened. The problem with this dichotomy is that the student becomes disempowered by the notion that she can never find success on her own. Students are unable to progress in the true practice of yoga when this idea of the guru guiding practice becomes all-encompassing.

At one time, following different lineages meant the equivalent of believing in completely different religions. Today the many lineages of yoga are based on the same, or similar, foundations. How the teaching is delivered has become disputed and controversial, resulting in “gurus” and their students insisting that there is only one RIGHT way to do a posture or a practice. This way of teaching leads to confusion for the students.

The context, history, culture, and life experience of person will drastically affect what and how they teach. All of those variables mix together to create a certain kind of resonance that either jives with your understanding of the world or not. This is why we can have so many yoga teachers in the world AND we can all prosper. What we have to offer is uniquely our own even though we’re all teaching pretty much the same thing. That does not mean that there is only one RIGHT way to teach or learn. There is only one right way for you, which may or may not match the right way for me.

A true guru or teacher empowers students to find their own right way. Often times that means finding a new teacher or doing something completely different. Really good yoga teachers are in the business of constantly putting themselves out of business. For this reason, yoga and business aren’t great matches. A teacher that creates dependency is not doing his or her students any favors.

Experience lots of styles of yoga, lots of ways of teaching, lots of teachers, and find someone who really speaks to you. When they no longer excite you, find someone else. It’s the greatest complement to a teacher when a student strikes out on her own. That means you really get it.

Study many perspectives. Experiment. Contemplate. Synthesize. And then go out in the world and be unapologetically you. Keep changing, smiling, thinking, and being.


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ParkoLife | Cultivate your focus

Hello world!!! This week-end intention assignment is all about cultivating focus and discipline. Is there something that you have been wanting to do for a long time, but has been procrastinating or putting it aside simply because it’s not the “right time” for it yet? By honing your discipline and focus, you become just one more step closer to making your goals into reality. Here are some tips to help you get started in cultivating a little bit more focus and discipline both on and off the mat.

1. Start small

Taking that first step does not have to be a well thought-out, elaborated grand scheme of plans that will span for the entire week, month, or year. Often times we are too caught up in planning that when it comes to execution, we no longer have the time nor energy to make them happen. Taking the first step, however small or insignificant it may seem, is always half the battle won. As you take your first step, you will often find your next step becoming a little clearer. Whenever you let your intuition take over in this case, knowing that you set out to improve yourself both physically and mentally in a mindful and healthful manner, you often find that one step leads to another.

Starting the journey with little to no expectations and planning can be a lot less disastrous than you envision it to be. It also allows you to enjoy the process a lot better without having to worry about reaching the end goal within a certain time frame.

2. Avoid creating excuses

Whenever the going gets tough, we often find that our minds are wired to find excuses to skip that workout or to sleep in just a little bit more, even though that particular action or activity does not really serve us. Sometimes sleeping in makes us even more lethargic, and we just want to laze around for no particular reason, causing us to fall into the vicious cycle of procrastination, laziness, and lethargy.

It is important to catch ourselves whenever we find ourselves making excuses to skip the yoga practice, or to cancel that particular activity on the eleventh hour. Try not to entertain such thoughts and think about how you often feel after the yoga practice or the particular activity. We often do not regret waking up an extra hour early to get that work out in. Similarly, when we focus on how we feel after the activity (happier, more relaxed, increased productivity), we entertain less of the excuses we make for ourselves. Rewiring the brain to think of more constructive, positive, and productive thoughts can go a long way in eliminating procrastination that we often struggle with in our daily lives.

3. Concentrate on your locus of control

Focus on the things that you can make a difference on, rather than the things that you often cannot control. This allows you to become a more empowered person who is able to make little changes to your lives according to the goals that you want to achieve. For instance, you may not be able to control the time you knock off from work because of circumstances beyond your control, but you are able to make full use of your mornings before work, and evenings / nights after work. Too tired to do an asana practice? Just a simple pranayama exercise before bed can help you sleep better and prepare you for next day’s work. This allows you to approach your goals and habit changes in a more constructive manner, preventing you from beating yourself up over it whenever you fall out of your routine or when unexpected changes happen.

I hope that this Friday evening intention assignment has provided you with a direction in your yoga practice both on and off the mat. Tips to share? Feel free to share them with me via the comments below. Have a great Week-End! x


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ParkoLife | The Art of Surrender

It's Friday. A brand new Week-End has started! I My soul will keep you good company while cultivating the art of surrender – in our asana practice, and in our own mental and spiritual practice off the mat.

Creatures of control

Humans are creatures of control. We are often unable to find comfort in the presence of uncertainty, and seeking control in every single aspect of our lives is akin to looking for that elusive target that will never present itself. The journey to seeking control thus becomes stressful and discouraging.

Whenever we start to covet over control and answers in every single situation, we unknowingly build an obsession over outcomes. We become dominated and controlled by our worries, fears, and disappointments. Life becomes a little more draining and tiring whenever we feel that control is slipping out of our hands.

However, what we do not often realise is that there is a limit in terms of what we can control in our lives. We may be able to make decisions and exert control over our decisions, actions, intentions, emotions, but a huge chunk of our lives also rely on other people’s decisions, actions, intentions, and emotions that are entirely out of our control. Attempting to seek control over something that we have no influence over is just like trudging in thick mud – you exhaust your energy but you don’t really get anywhere.

Letting go

From this evening, let's start seeking surrender on the mat by finding physical relaxation and surrender in poses that you often find a lot of tightness in. In a deep hamstring stretch or hip opener, such as seated forward fold or pigeon pose, tap deep into your body’s physiological awareness and find that space where you can ease your body into. We often hold tightness in parts of our body without actually realising it, even in our asana practice. When we are able to tap into that and find release and space within our bodies, we can more easily able to extrapolate the physical release to our mental, or spiritual release – is there something deep in your consciousness that you are holding on to, unwilling to let go?

Finding motivation in surrender

Finding surrender is not synonymous to letting go of motivation, letting things come and go as they wish. The art of surrender entails working hard, doing your best, doing what is right, but at the same time, letting go of any attachments of the outcome there may be. Understanding that you have tapped into your potential and have done your best, and the process and journey matters more than the outcome itself. Most of the time, we often find that the outcome is always for the better – we are often able to derive valuable life’s lessons and learning points when we stay present in the experience, no matter whether it is a positive or negative outcome.

Surrender is not passivity. It is knowing when and where to put in your best effort, and understanding that at the end of the day, every single thought and action that you take will manifest into greater personal growth no matter what the outcome may be.

I hope this Week-End intention assignment has sparked some inspiration for you both on and off the mat in this coming week. Have a great evening everybody!


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ParkoLife | The art of Self-Love

Happy Monday to you! This is Chiara! Finally I am coming up, leaving some space from motherhood every-day-challenge to reconnect to my Yoga world.

I've decided to keep you good company by creating a small post selection called Weekly Intentions.

This week’s intention is all about cultivating the beautiful habit of self-love, in approaching both your asana practice, as well as the practice of the mind.

The power of self-love.

Self-love has been a concept that is constantly talked about especially in the recent years, but yet at the same time, it is something that many of us struggle to practice.

Harnessing the power of self-love will not only transform the relationship with yourself, and also the relationship that you share with other people as well as practicing detachment from the material. Fully believing in your fullest potential, cultivating better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and taking mindful and healthful steps to eventually achieve your potential – be it physical, mental, spiritual – can also help you become better versions of yourself.

Here are some ways in which you can get started to cultivating greater self love in your daily lives:

1. Reframe negative self talk.

We often find ourselves engaging in negative self-talk, be it consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes we have the tendency to talk down to ourselves whenever we experience obstacles in our lives, no matter on or off the mat. It is important to reframe the way we speak to ourselves and understand that these negative self-talk go a long way in reducing self-esteem, confidence, and provides a higher tendency for us to give up whenever we are met with difficulties.

Instead of saying, “I am weak, I can’t do this at all”, say “If I continue to work hard, I will be able to achieve this one day”.

Or, instead of saying, “I will never be like him/her”, say “I am inspired by him/her to stay disciplined and one day I will achieve my target.”

That way, reframing negative self talk can help us seek out productive and sustainable ways for us to continue to find self-improvement, without constantly putting ourselves down.

2. Practice acceptance in your life.

While it is easy to practice acceptance whenever life seems fine and dandy, it is often difficult to find acceptance whenever the going gets tough. Being aware that impermanence of both the ups and downs allow us to stay a lot more present in life and stop constantly seeking and living in the future. Accepting that ‘this too, shall pass’ helps us to find contentment even when presented with challenges in life, and allow us to cope even with obstacles in the way.

Instead of constantly wishing that “I could have done this”, or “This would’ve been better”, trust that the path that you have set upon is the path that you are meant to undertake, and the challenges that you are presented with are life’s lessons that you are meant to learn as you grow as an individual.

3. Understand the power of choice in your emotions.

Whenever we are presented with negative situations or people in life, no matter in personal or professional life, we almost always react immediately to the situation and we often find ourselves getting consumed in anger, stress, and negativity. As we cultivate a habit to constantly take a step back and look at the situation in a more rational and less emotional way, we are often able to convince ourselves that our immediate reaction is not always the most healthy one – to our personal well-being at least. Especially in the case of negative situations, whenever we are able to understand that we have the power of choice to react (or not), and how we can react, we are able to stay calmer, more grounded, and a lot less high-strung.

We often create our reality through our own thoughts and emotions, and as a result, we also give out the energy that we have within us to the people around us.

I hope that this week’s intention assignment will provide you greater guidance in setting your intention both on and off the mat, helping you to create a more mindful yoga practice. Do share with me how your week went, and I will be more than happy to hear your thoughts and experiences. Have a beautiful week ahead! x

Photo credit: Leonardo Wong/ Unplash


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ParkoLife | Calories and the Casino experience

Do you really know what are you putting in your body and how it translates in weight changes? Be honest in your answer.

Let’s start from the very beginning, to make things clear and easy to understand.

There are 3 macronutrients:

Proteins

• Fats

• Carbohydrates (CHO)


For sure you have heard them before. Each food contains them either in singularity or in combination.

Each macronutrient provides energy to your organism in order to function.

Then, each macronutrient contains a number of calories, distribute in this way:

1 gram of Protein has 4 calories

• 1 gram of Fat has 9 calories

• 1 gram of CHO has 4 calories

• 1 gram of Alcohol has 7 calories
Now,

think that calories are like chips in your Casino experience and everyday life-in order to function- you need some of them. You must insert calories in your body in order to breath, to sit, to move, to exercise, to et, to talk, to have sex…even sleeping require an expenditure of calories.

So what’s a calorie?

It is a unit of energy. More specifically, a unit of food energy. And they are very much connected with your body weight. Whether you’re going to put on, lose or maintain your weight depends by their intake.

1. So, where you get these calories in the first place? Macronutrients.

2. Where do you find the macronutrients? Food.

3. And what is your goal when you play in the life casino? Depends.

Instead of analyzing the first law of thermodynamics, I’m going to give you another way to remember how you lose, maintain or put on weight, and I’m going to relate it to a Casino-that place were you go to become rich or poor in one night…

So ready? Let’s go!

Imagine you enter the Casino (your daily life) and the big boss (the metabolism) gives you 2000 worth chips to play with (your daily calorie requirements – the food you eat). Here the three possible outcome of the game;

1. If you spend all 2000, your body weight is in maintenance mode.

2. If you spend less than 2000, and go home with some money in the pocket, you re gaining weight.

3. If you spend all 2000 and you need to borrow some more from your savings, you are losing weight.

So, think that the 2000 worth chips you spend in the Casino are all the activities you do throughout the day. If you eat 2000 calories every day and you spend 1500, obviously the rest 500 are going to be stored. Guess where?

-Hips (they become Love Handle)

-Stomach (it becomes a Fat Loose Belly)

-Ass (...depends, somebody likes it big...)

-Arm (now you have fantastic Bingo Wings!!!!!))

Basically, all around your muscles.

Does it matter when you eat those 2000 calories? No.

You can eat all of them at once or in 20 different meals. The result is the same, you store them.

Does it matter where you get those 2000 calories from? No.

You can drink 2000 calories of vodka or eat 2000 calories of protein. The result is the same.

Apparently, if you want to become rich, the Casino requires you to be a consistent player .And for that, after a short period of time it rewards you. Either with a higher, a lower or the same number on the scale.

This means that if you eat consistently less calories from you daily requirements, your weight will go down. The same if you eat more.

But wait a sec!!!!

How do you calculate your daily calorie requirements and How do you know how many calories you eat?


Fancy an answer? Stay tune with the next post blog.


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"Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it " Michael Jordan