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Together is more.

The past two months have been crazy to say the least. What started as a calm, well planned out project, quickly became frantic. Some of you know this feeling—the feeling that no matter how much you plan, there's often a wrench. You also know, that everything does workout. But not as you may see it.

After opening the doors to the studio, we've received numerous compliments. Many individuals have approached me with words of acknowledgement, as well as encouragement to acknowledge myself.

"you should be proud."

"you've done an amazing job."

"be proud of what you've done."

These words are greatly appreciated, but I can't say that "proud" is something I feel, at least not in this instance. From day one, Metta Yoga/Ignite Yoga has been an act of watching, listening, and simply following "the path." From the outside looking in, I can see where you might perceive this growth as the work of one person, but I personally don't feel that one person has that kind of power. So taking full responsibility of our new, albeit beautiful space, does not feel authentic. However, when I step back, there is something I'm super proud of, and that's the silent people—the ones that make everything happen.

Together is more.

These people are everywhere. Whether you're a CEO, mom of five, single and loving it, or small business owner, you can't do anything alone. You may like to think you can, but it's actually impossible. You can't feed a family of five without the help of a grocer or farmer, you can't watch TV without people on the other side of the screen, you can't create a fortune 500 company without employees, and you certainly can't grow a small business without an awesome team and faithful tribe.

So as we start to close the chapter of "grand openness," (we can't milk it forever), the people that stand out in my heart and mind are the ones who:

  • volunteered countless hours

  • stayed up late

  • sacrificed their routine

  • had patience when schedules changed

  • gave grace when communication was missed

  • did "the things" without being asked

  • shared our social media posts

  • invited new people to the studio

  • happily greeted new faces

  • and all the other things

You are who I am most proud of.

Take a moment to acknowledge those who go unnoticed, those who don't even cross your mind as a contribution to your life. Ultimately, everyone plays a part. You can't do anything alone. Together is more.

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Problem to solution

Our 200-hour teacher training kicks off soon and one of the principles that applies to all participants is "move the program forward." Now, I personally think this is a good life principle as well, not just one for teacher training. It's also a concept that is easier said than done.

Our brain, or ego rather, loves problems. It loves to think about how something is hard, or how someone has done you wrong, or how you can't do something. It loves even more to get emotional about these problems via frustration, irritation, or apathy. It will stay in this state of problem endlessly until you stop the cycle of thought and consciously choose to change your thought to something that moves you forward.

The most difficult part is to stop the cycle of thought and choose to move forward.

This is a powerful moment. One that could change your life in fact. Consider this: your brain operates on neural pathways that get embedded over time. You don't have to think about how you think anymore. But maybe there are blindspots in your thinking? Maybe there's a better way to think that will make you feelbetter? In order to assess it, you have to 1. Observe it 2. Stop it 3. Change it 4. Go through the discomfort of the change. REPEAT. It will take multiple applications of thought interruption to actually see and experience change. Over time, your pattern change will be your new way of thinking.

So to move something forward, you first have to see where you're stuck. It's tough, but we're here to help. Practice the above and see the slow progression of thought from problem to solution. You'll think better and feel better.

Justina and the Ignite Yoga Team

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Grow with it

Have you ever been told to "go with it?"

This phrase is often used when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. Our internal sirens are buzzing and we see no way out. Then someone whispers those words "go with it," and rather than feel empowered, you feel defeated and left with no choice.

You always have choice.

Just because there are things in life that may be out of your control, you always have choice about how you're going to mentally handle a situation. For instance, let's say you're carrying a handful of groceries and someone bumps into you, knocking them all to the ground—spilled milk everywhere. The bumping and dropping are out of your control, but here are a few examples of how you may mentally react:

  • anger: you yell at the person

  • embarrassment: you panic and scamper to get it cleaned up, hoping no one sees

  • victim: you outwardly (or inwardly) say "this kind of stuff always happens to me"

  • blame: you fume all day about how they ruined your shopping experience

  • empathy: you let the person know that it's okay, no harm done, as they apologize profusely

  • responsibility: you apologize as well for not paying attention to your surroundings

You can imagine that each of these will create a different experience for you and the person that bumped into you. Most often the reaction is by default, but it could happen by choice. And that's the most empowering experience you can have—the one that you choose.

If I can be candid here, I'm anticipating some of the aforementioned sirens as we begin the transition into our new location. Some are easily overcomeable, such as where to put your things and how to check-in to class. Some will be more difficult, such as being flexible with where you place your mat, seeing new faces sit down beside you on a daily basis, or having to fill out some paperwork (ugh). Perhaps these aren't things you've thought about yet, but we have. And in true Ignite fashion, the solution is always more powerful when we work together. All change is more impactful in numbers. Just as in the example above, each mental reaction you have will create an experience for you and for those around you.

This expansion is greater than that of just physical location. Each one of you matter as we welcome new individuals into our community to experience the powerful benefits of yoga. Discomfort will arise, sirens will go off. So we invite you to continue the work of yoga and rise to the most powerful experience of all—the one you choose. What a beautiful thing it will be if we call can "grow with it!"

Justina and the Ignite Team

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Will Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Let’s begin with a brief history lesson. There are references of yoga existing as far out as 10,000 years ago—long before anyone was concerned about their weight, muscle mass, appearance, or general body shape. It was a stressful time and their big concern was doing the work to get basic needs met, such as food, water, and shelter. They also spent time resting and connecting to spirit because most of what they needed perceivably depended on mother nature or higher power. So they sat and dedicated their time to purity of thought and reciprocation of the gifts (crops, water) they had received from her/him.

Fast forward to today. Our circumstances have changed and so have our concerns. Now we spend time assessing how to solve all of our problems with one solution. That one solution tends to be sought after in either finances (make more money), acknowledgement (get noticed), or physical appearance (be thin and pretty).  

We have very different problems and we’re constantly seeking answers to these problems, which leads us to the question at hand.

Will yoga help you lose weight?

Naturally, you want a clear cut answer. Don’t we all? But of all places to find a straight answer, you won’t find it in yoga. You will, most likely, find the answer

Our body weight, is simply just that—weight. It doesn’t become anything more until we decide that it means something. Something like we’re ugly, unpretty, unathletic, not enough, or *insert self loathing reason here.* Our weight fluctuates for a number of reasons, all of which are most often not due by the reason you think—your food intake.

We often begin our weight loss journey by focusing solely on what goes in the body.  We cut calories, eliminate certain foods like gluten or dairy, or increase things like protein and fiber. We seek out the solution via the foods we eat. However, here’s the cold, hard truth—NO ONE is successful solely by changing their diet.

NO ONE.

Let’s look back to ancient times for a moment. Think of those yogis, just trying to sow their crops and haul their water. Their fear was not getting to eat. Most of us don’t have that fear nowadays, but we are still inclined to think that way. Their brain is your brain, just a little more evolved. It’s also the same brain that sends energy to your legs for running or freezes your body when you need to hunker down on a tight timeline. So imagine what your brain thinks when you deprive yourself of food or begin to stress about your diet—It thinks it needs to survive, so it holds on.  

Now, you know that you’re life is not at risk from being a little hungry or from changing up your diet. You also know that who you are is not at stake if you don’t lose the weight. But that part is easily forgotten, so I’d like to repeat that one:

Who you are is not at stake if you don’t lose the weight.

This is the biggest misconception about weight loss. That when you lose the weight, your other 100 problems will go away. That is not true.

This is where yoga comes in.

Yoga can be an effective practice for weight loss for a number of reasons, but probably not the reasons you’ve considered. Here’s why it’s effective:

  1. You start to feel your body. When you feel your body moving, you become aware of it in other ways too. You may notice the subtle difference between “no longer hungry” and “full.” Or you may notice how you feel after you eat certain foods. Learning these subtle cues can have a huge impact on your weight loss journey.

  2. You relax. When you are stressed or freaking out, your body holds on. When you learn tools to relax, it lets go. Weight loss happens most effectively when you are in a relaxed state.

  3. You slow down. Many believe slowing down is detrimental to productivity. But on the contrary, slowing down plays a significant role in weight loss. First, digestion begins in your mouth. This is where your food, especially carbohydrates, is broken down. So you need to chew-a lot. Second, it takes 20-minutes for your brain to register that you’ve put food in your stomach. So eating slowly helps to reduce the amount that you actually eat.

  4. You become comfortable with discomfort. We mostly want immediate gratification and as little discomfort as possible. The mental benefits of yoga help you to distinguish when you’re actually hungry vs when you’re trying to soothe discomfort such as boredom, stress, or fatigue. When you can distinguish the difference, you can either strengthen your endurance for discomfort or find other ways to soothe your discomfort that are in line with your goals.

  5. Yes, the movement helps. If you haven’t been moving much, any yoga practice may help you toward your weight loss goals. Any style of yoga that increases your heart rate, stresses your muscles (aka strength), and improves respiration will provide a larger calorie burn than slower styles or no movement at all. So don’t hesitate to step into a more rigorous practice to assist with your weight loss goals!
    PS - try Power or our Awaken class.

Always remember, anything that lasts takes time, consistency, and a willingness to shift from old habits to new ways. You’ve got this.

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Advice Detox

It was New Year’s Day. January 1, 2019. A new year lies before me which means contemplation on the prior year. Keep what worked, drop what didn’t and create space for a fresh perspective and new intentions. I had a life-map to organize and a whole year to navigate the journey. I talked with my husband about what I wanted in 2019. Goals. Intentions. Workshops. Travel. I was seeking his advice and opinions on what sounded best for me. Should I do this? How about that? Is this really making me happy? As always, he was willing to listen, and even more eager to help find the “right” solutions. I felt supported and validated. I had a vision for 2019 that was all mine. Or was it?

After sitting with my shiny, new vision, this life-map as I call it. I realized I wasn’t so sure his advice totally resonated with me. Did it serve my higher purpose? Did he really know or have the answers to what I want? Well, the answer is both “yes” and “no.” “Yes,” because he knows me better than anyone and I totally respect him and value his opinions. But, at the same time, “no,” because there is one person who knows me the absolute best. ME! I began to realize I was allowing him, and quite honestly, everyone else, to map out my life for me. I really relied heavily on the advice of others to the detriment of listening to my inner wisdom.

Why was I constantly looking outside of myself for the answers that reside within? I was habitually reaching out to other people for advice and answers on how I should proceed in my life. Why was it so difficult to trust myself when deep in my bones, I believe, we have all the answers we seek. I realized, it felt safer to put the decision on someone else. That way, if anything were to go awry, there is no way in hell I could be at fault. I wouldn’t be wrong. I could point a finger “out there” and not take responsibility for any missteps in my own life. This my friends, is a sad revelation. A sad, and life-changing revelation.

And there it was. My true mission for the new year. Advice detox. I want to stop the incessant advice seeking and break the habit of looking outward for the answers. I want to rely on my own intuition and feelings to guide me to that which aligns with who I am, who I want to be and how I live my life. I want to create the life I desire and take ownership for all of it. The good and the bad.

Anybody with me? How many of us have learned, over time, not to trust ourselves with decisions? We’ve forgotten, out of habit or comfort or mistrust, to turn inward. We have lost faith in our own judgment-not just with the seemingly small decisions like where to eat or which movie to watch, but with the BIG questions of life-OUR life. Who am I? What do I want? Why am I here? What are MY goals for the next 5 years? Does this make ME happy? Does that align with who I am?

Now that advice detox is my mission,I have a new approach to life. I have revised my 2019 life-map to reflect what I really want and how I want to feel. I have asked, and will continue to ask, the questions to myself. Every intention and goal will be inspected by my heart. I have quieted, turned inward, become still, and listened. I have learned to be patient and to allow answers to unfold in their time, in their way. I have returned to trust my intuition and know that the answers will come. I know my life will be messy with twists and turns and unexpected detours. I take complete ownership of the journey, MY journey. And to me, that is a  powerful and beautiful thing.

-Joane

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Quiz: What type of yoga is right for me?

So you want to start practicing yoga. Or have at least considered it. You’re curious about mindfulness. You’ve seen some yoga poses. You know of the vast benefits. You realize that there are several different types, each delivering a different experience. But where in the world do you begin?

First, here are some types you may have heard of (click on each one to learn more):

Ashtanga

Yin

Restorative Yoga

Hatha

Bikram

Hot yoga

Vinyasa

Power

With each one, you’re going to get something different. So, which one is right for you? What type is the best fit for you and your lifestyle? If you practice already, what other styles are worth exploring?

Take this quick 5 min quiz to find out:

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You are not ready

April marks the 2-year anniversary of searching for a new location for Ignite Yoga. TWO YEARS—I've looked at, called about, and drove by 20 or more spaces. I've had contractors to at least 5. All of them fell through.

Some of you will immediately think, "well, the time just wasn't right." And, yes, that's partially true. But if we were to remove the blame from time, pretending time has the control, let's look at the more honest answer— "I" wasn't right.

You've heard the story of Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team. Or, less commonly known, that Stephen King's first novel was rejected 30 times. Perhaps, you've had the thought that the basketball coach or publisher must certainly regret their decision. Maybe they do and maybe they don't, but that's not the point. The point is that Michael Jordan, Stephen King, and countless other over-comers simply weren't ready yet. They had to be rejected in order to get to the next level of where theyreally needed to be.

And that was me, and maybe it's you, too.

If you're not getting the promotion you think you deserve or you're getting turned down for the TED talk you've applied to 4xs or you're throwing darts at different careers only to find that each one doesn't suit you—it may be because you're not ready yet. You need to put in a little more work, a little more effort, and have a little more experience to prepare yourself for the thing you want. You may need to get rejected a few more times, so that you can see where you need to grow.

Every time you hear a "no," you can use it to get better or use it to quit.

It's not easy to acknowledge when you're not where you want to be. Maybe it's skill that's missing. Maybe it's how you communicate. Maybe it's how you mentally process things. It's easy to get down on yourself. But the longer you stay stuck on how you're not where you want to be, the longer it will take you to get where you're going. So don't give up. Keep moving forward. Or, as Dori from Finding Nemo says,

"just keep swimming."

Justina and the Ignite Team

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Nothing changes unless you do

WARNING: We're going to get a little deep here.

Let's talk about love. I know, you're thinking we already did that...but not really. We just scratched the surface.

Consider "How you experience and express love is a result of how you've experienced and have been expressed love." Read it a couple of times. Let it sink in.

Take yourself out of the equation for a moment.

Let's consider Julia—a character I made up.
Julia was raised in a home that carried the motto "tough love." Her parents always wanted the best for her and so they continuously raised the bar. As a result, Julia excelled in school but always felt that in order to earn her parents love, she had to do well. She became very successful and has enjoyed many fruits of life that money can bring. Because of her success, she carried this motto into her child-raising and placed high demands on her children.

Now, let's consider Julio—another character I made up.
Julio is Julia's child. With the ever raising bar, Julio feels like he just can't keep up. He feels that he is never good enough for his mother and as a result, begins to rebel against the success mindset. Julio disregards "the norm" of climbing the achievement ladder, and instead chooses a life of wanderlust. His bank account is low but his experience of life is high. He eventually has children of his own and vows to show them overwhelming and unconditional love.

Similar childhood. Different result. Neither is right or wrong. We all just work with what we know.

But, what's important to note here is, you can choose. You do not have to be a default of your own experience.

If you want to be a full-hearted, loving person begin to step out and give compliments and show admiration to those you care for. If you want to hug people, start hugging even though it may feel uncomfortable and awkward. If you want more connection, make eye contact even though you squirm in your skin.

What does love mean to you? Name it. Define it. Whatever it is, it is completely accessible and available to you, but you must start stepping out of the norm. Nothing changes unless you do. And this is an emotion worth changing for :-)

Namaste,
Justina and The Ignite Team

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All you need is love

What a beautiful day to be reminded of love.

As with all things, your opinion of Valentine's Day may have its ebbs and flows. Perhaps one year, when you're head-over-heels in love, you find it the best holiday ever. Perhaps another year, freshly divorced, trying to find your two feet again, you find it appalling and too close for comfort.

One disappointing view of this holiday is that it's solely for significant others and kids. There's a big gap for adults that have many loves in their life. We all have those gal pals (hence Galentine's Day), besties for the resties, your parents, siblings, and the person we tend to think about last—yourself. With the rise of busyness, let's be glad that Valentine's Day has been dedicated to remind us to LOVE. Period.

Love is all you need.

Love, along with many other human emotions, is becoming an emotion that we aren't sure how to express. We tend to get wrapped up in our own world and only expect it from others. But as the age old saying goes, "you can only get what you're willing to give."

Love is a vulnerable thing. I get that. But when you're willing to give and receive it, you become whole. You're reminded that you're enough, because someone (kids, parents, etc) accepts you as you are. You remind others that they are enough, because you accept them as they are. You feel appreciated for the work you do rather than continuously trying to reach an imagined expectation. Others feel appreciated because you said, "It's okay, I'm just happy that you're here." You give without an expectation to receive. You receive and let go of trying to balance the scale.

This, in my opinion, is love. It's not flowers, valentines, and chocolate. It's quality time, words of acceptance, and doing for others (with no expectation of something in return).

So today, take a chance and move into the abundance of love. Let today be the start of getting back to the one thing that will make you whole.

"Love is the ability and willingness to let those you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you."

Justina and The Ignite Team

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Follow your passion. Or not.

Have you seen the movie "Crazy Rich Asians?"

I know, stay with me though.

There's a moment in the movie when the young Chinese-American love-stricken girl is trying to win over the approval of her crazy rich boyfriend's mother. The mother, who has dedicated her life to family, makes a jab at the girl about "following her passion," judging it as selfish and non-family oriented.

So let's talk about following your passion. It's big talk these days and is often proclaimed as the way to experience happiness. I'd say it's gone as far as creating stress in the lives of those that don't know what they are passionate about, let alone, following it as a path to happiness. So let's pause and breathe for a moment. (inhale, exhale).

You already know, just listen.

Passion is something you have, not something you do. To feed the homeless is not your passion. But to believe that everyone on the planet deserves food and a warm meal is something you're passionate about. Feeding the homeless is the best and perhaps most rewarding route you have found to fulfill it. Passion is to have a powerful emotion about something. You can have passion and not do anything with it, but it's when you are simultaneously compelled that you take action.

You can be passionate about anything, just find a way to express it.

Many dive into the career world thinking they need to love what they do. For instance, if you love travel, you may think a road warrior job would be "following your passion." Or living out of an RV and blogging as you travel across the country. Both are viable ways to to fulfill what you're passionate about. OR, you may find a job that compensates well and provides ample time off for leisurely travel, without the stress of finances or working on the road. Again, another viable way to fulfill your passion.

All of us are passionate about multiple things. It can range from connecting with people, playing an instrument, or sharing a message we believe into the world. Often our passions conflict, so we each have to do the best we can to fill ourselves up in a way that makes sense. Let go of the noise of what you need or "should" do. Listen to what you love and then find the most rewarding (and perhaps reasonable) way FOR YOU to fulfill it.

Justina and The Ignite Team

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Head and the heart

Let's talk about the head and the heart.

It's a great band. But furthermore, these are two guiding sources that we all have.

Most think it's "woo-woo" to talk about the heart. So let's start with the head, that being your mind.

Your mind is what takes in and holds information. Everything in your mind is conceptual, having been formed of notions and ideas. It reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, and judges. It decides what you're going to believe to be true and it sets them into place. Your mind decides how you're going to experience the world and how you're going to act in it.

Now, the heart. Your heart is an organ—that's fact. Everything else about the "heart" is conceptual, but you can't deny it's truth. The heart is the innermost essential part of everything. It's spirit, courage, intuition, emotion, and enthusiasm. It's what you feel on a cellular level. Your heart also can decide how you're going to experience the world and how you're going to act in it.

99% of what you hold in your mind has come from outside sources. That being: the conditioning from parents, teachers, and loved ones about what's right or wrong, the amazing commercials that tell you of your need for the perfect coverage make-up, the clearest sound speakers, or the snazzy car that makes you think windy road scenic adventures are in your future, or the every day conversations you have with your family where you hear how you messed up a school project or how great your cooking is. This is everyday life, and it's all information. It's all information that stimulates your mind and produces another thought, and another thought, and another thought until you eventually start seeing the flaws on your skin you didn't see before or how terrible your vehicle is because it's not taking your on scenic windy road adventures, etc. What's amazing about all of this is, your mind can be controlled. Sounds exhausting, which is why most don't take the time to do it. But it definitely also sounds exhausting to not do it—amen?

But do you know what can't be controlled?

Your heart.

Your heart always knows and it always has. It naturally lead you to pick up that instrument you have never put down, it guided you to ask the girl out, and it said "leap!" I've got you." The noise and loudness of everyone and everything else has drowned out the soft voice of your heart, but it hasn't gone away—and it never will. It will never steer you wrong. And the more you resist it, the more it will tap at you.

So get a little quiet, and begin to listen to what it has to say. It'll take some time at first to swim through your thoughts, but eventually you'll hear it, and it will guide you to EXACTLY where you need to be.

Justina and the Ignite Yoga Team

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It is Finished.

It's funny how you can read the same book, watch the same movie, or seemingly live the same moment in life and walk away with a fresh take. A new perspective. Your mental state at the time has a lot to do with the message you hear amidst all of the clatter, and it is typically a big old flashing neon arrow pointing to where you need to concentrate.

We recently recognized the Good Friday holiday, a day dedicated to remembering Jesus's final hours. Don't go running for the hills just yet. This isn't a preach of religion, but rather the use of a well-known story to reflect on the Power of Completion and the healing that accompanies it. Throughout the years, I have been hit by different angles of this story, and been filled with a wide spectrum of emotion- great sadness, anger, confusion. The characters in this plot and the many events leading up to his death have typically overshadowed the rest of the story. But this year, I became fixated on what he spoke before his death. "Tetelestai." Translated, this means, "It is finished."

How many times in our lives have we yearned for completion? True, final closure. When you walk away from an appointment with no follow-up to make. When you click your laptop closed after receiving the confirmation email from a submitted assignment. When you end a conversation with a conviction and no lingering questions. There is something about the feeling of completion- of checking off those to-dos-- that leaves you empowered. Unchained. At-peace. But just as with the Power of Completion can come the Drain of the Unsettled. When we feel unsettled we search for the quickest route to pleasure. We rush what needs unrushed and try to polish what needs left smudgy. Say you went through a truly gut-wrenching experience, one that needs deep healing and time. But, instead of giving it just that, you try to expedite your emotions--- panick to find the next pick-me-up--- and never allow yourself to mend. Superficially, you are all glossy, but the bandages underneath tell the true story. You are left with lingering uncertainties- the quiet ache in your subconscious, the salt in the wound, that little bit of dirt in your eye.  A lot of linger, and no completion.

Closing out phases of life, relationships, careers, and habits often necessitates uncomfortable finalities. Sometimes, a serious sit-down is needed to address those vulnerabilities you feel, or the forgiveness you are hanging onto, or the peace you haven't found. And sometimes this results in hard facts. Emotional good-byes. Awkward hugs. Snotty tears. But in the end, you walk away with a completed picture--no missing puzzle piece, no wondering "what if," no blame, no misunderstanding. You can finally be complete with the situation. Free of that linger and unsettled emotion. Accomplished in being done. And peace.

We all have these uncomfortable finalities awaiting. We all avoid them. We know the avoidance exacerbates the uneasiness. So let's just get to it. Why wait? Get going to face those unresolved grains of salt in your life. To drink the unsweetened truth that life is messy. To close out a semi-open suitcase of emotions. You will find a genuine comfort, a true sweetness, and less baggage in your hands than you ever knew existed. 

Namaste,
Justina

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Ignite Yoga- Dayton, Ohio