The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines health as “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially: freedom from physical disease or pain”. How progressive this statement seems in a quick-fix physical world of flash diets and high intensity workout programs. This description truly captures the essence of health- soundness in mind, body and spirit.
This way of thinking of health, while radical and progressive compared to the mainstream approach, is actually rooted in ancient traditions. The sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda have sought to bring balance to mind, body and spirit since their inception into the human experience. The practice was built to inspire and restore the practitioner into healthful balance, by offering deep insight into imbalances through earnest deep-looking, dedicated physical routine and sincere effort to move past Self.
Though this method of gaining and keeping good health is ancient, it is invariably relevant to our lives today. We are busy as ever, high on stress and buried by duties, making it so easy to fall into imbalance. The practice of Yoga offers us the tools for us to use to feel good- for immediate and lasting health. As the great Yogi B.K.S. Iyengar so eloquently said, “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
Whether you consider yourself a Yogi or not, a regular yoga practice can teach us all a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. From the food we eat, to our work schedules, to how we handle our relationships and even to the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, Yoga promotes health and balance in all areas of our lives.
Inspired by the ancient practice and shaped for the present, this is my creed to living a healthy, thriving and Beaming life:
Take excellent care of your body.
It is the only place you have to live! Your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and spirit. If you take excellent care of it, your body will take you wherever you want to go, with the power, strength, energy and vitality you will need to get there. Make your movement mindful and meaningful so you get the most from it. Buy the best quality food possible that includes organic, superfoods that will keep your engine running smooth. Give yourself time to rest.
Create healthy rituals.
A daily Yoga Asana practice is a great way to keep your body and mind in balance and available for use when you really need it. Not only does this practice create a strong and lean body, but it conditions our breathing to take in more oxygen, which we need for all vital functions. A great morning ritual is to break your overnight fast, with a low glycemic, high protein drink. I love combining Beaming’s Pure Green Juice with fresh almond milk which makes it both cleansing and protein rich. If you find you easily fall off track from a daily practice, try inviting a seasonal ritual into your schedule to help you reset. Whether it’s practicing 108 Sun Salutations at the change of the seasons or participating in a Seasonal Cleanse, sometimes all you need is a reminder to get back on track.
Research and Study YOU.
Studying ancient traditions and methods of introspection (Yoga, Astrology, Ayurveda) or more modern Personal Development methods can help the mind to cultivate and maintain deep awareness. The greater your personal awareness grows, the more likely you are to do things that are of benefit to yourself.
You have to have a life that has more meaning than just making money or running your business. Giving back, paying it forward, and contributing beyond yourself reminds you of what life is truly about- building others up and growing healthful communities. The act of giving transforms your self identity into one of compassion, love and gratitude. The latest research from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that people who give more are actually happier.
Let your light shine.
We all have a responsibility in life to be something more than ourselves, to achieve a higher purpose. Never stop trying to make yourself the BEST version of you. You deserve to be great- let it empower you to grow your light and shine! Share it with the world.
Find your tribe.
You become like those whom you surround yourself with, so choose the company you keep wisely. The people around you should offer support and encouragement, and delight in everything about you.
Magnify your meditation.
If sitting still is challenging, choose to focus on powerful thoughts and emotions as your meditation. Some of my favorites are, “My body is perfect, whole and healed”, “All I need is within me now”, and “I love my life. I am so blessed”.
Local Residents co-hosting Bali yoga retreat as fundraiser
By Kristina Houck
Two local yoga instructors are teaming up to rase more than hope for City of Hope.
With City of Hope’s fifth annual Yoga for Hope set for June 13 at Petco Park, yoga instructors Stacy McCarty and Heidi Shurtz are planning a unique fundraiser to raise awareness about the benefits of yoga, as well as funds for research, treatment and education programs: For one week in July, the pair will be hosting a yoga retreat to Bali.
Bali yoga retreat“It really goes hand in-hand,” said McCarthy, who has liven in Rancho Santa Fe for 17 years. “Yoga for Hope and City of Hope connects, renews, inspires and cures. That’s much of what we’re doing on a retreat.”
Every year, McCarthy co-leads the master yoga class during Yoga for Hope. Having participated in the event since it first launched, she has helped make it the success it is today.
Last year’s event raised more than $80,000 for City of Hope, one of the nations leading centers for canter treatment and research, through more than 70 donation-based yoga classes and the fundraising efforts of participants.
“It’s so rewarding,” McCarthy said. “It’s Southern California’s largest yoga event. It’s a phenomenal thing.”
Scheduled to co-lead the class again this year, McCarthy has looked for new ways to raise funds for the event. In previous years, she has hosted donation-given yoga classes. This year, she and fellow yoga instructor Heidi Shurtz are traveling to Bali with a group of yogis July 12-18. A portion of the proceeds from the retreat will benefit City of Hope.
“We want to give back to our retreat members, but we also want to give back to the community and help raise awareness,” Shurtz said.
This is Shurtz’ third time hosting a yoga retreat to Bali. She and her husband, Jason Shurtz, lead retreats through their local business Yoga Retreats Bali.
A Carmel Valley native and Torrey Pines High School alumna, Shurtz has been a yoga instructor for more than four years. After college in 2010, Shurtz traveled to Bali, where she and her now-husband trained as yoga instructors for about three months.
“I was not expecting to come out of it wanting to change my career path,” said Shurtz, who has a degree in Landscape Architecture. “But I fell in love with teaching yoga.”
Now a Carlsbad resident, she returned to the island in 2011 and hosted her first Bali retreat in 2012, with another one the following year.
“I wanted to find a way to bring people to Bali,” she said. “It’s just such an amazing place. The impact that it had on my life was so profound [and I wanted others to be able to experience that].”
Although McCarthy has never been to Bali, she has traveled around the world and has more than 20 years of teaching experience. In 1991, she helped launch the original Frog’s Athletic Club in Solana Beach, bringing yoga classes to the health club the next year. She began teaching in 1994.
McCarthy and Shurtz met years ago at the Pacific Athletic Club, now Bay Club Carmel Valley, where McCarthy is an instructor and Shurtz is a member.
“We wanted to have an experience where people who practiced yoga with us have more time, so we can really deepen our connection,” said McCarthy, who holds private classes and wellness retreats through her business, Yoga Namastacy, which launched in 1999. She is also a yoga teacher and faculty member at Mira Costa College and offers classes on SpiroFit, a live, on demand, online fitness network.
“It’s a very bonding and very spiritual area, where they will get away from their everyday life and also deepen their connection with their inner selves. We’re their to foster and cultivate that.”
The one week retreat features daily yoga classes, and cultural excursions. Up to 20 spots are available.
“Being in a place like Bali lends itself to a transformative, deep and emotional experience,” Shurtz said.
“It’s also a place to reconnect and refocus,” said McCarthy, noting that husbands and wives, as well as mothers and daughters, have signed up for the retreat. “Yoga does that.”
Single occupancy rates are $3400 and double occupancy rates are $2600 per person. Group discounts are available for 3 or more people.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit City of Hope. The last day to book is June 1.
“Time for yourself,” Shurtz said. “It’s important to take care of yourself.”
If you really want to go, make it happen. You won’t regret it.
For more information or to register for the retreat visit www.yogaretreats-bali.com.
We are also offering an additional discount to help raise money for Yoga for Hope. The promotion is DONATE AND SAVE! Donate to Yoga for Hope under the yoga retreats-bali team and get additional discounts for the retreat:
Donate $50 for $100 off – Donate $100 for $200 off – Donate $150 for $300 off
Click HERE to register for the retreat today!