Demystifying Astrology

Demystifying Astrology

How knowing my star sign taught me to be my Highest Self


I’ve never been much of the “woo-woo” sort. I didn’t get into yoga because I wanted everlasting peace. I was an athlete, a bit of a gym rat, and a physical go-getter. Yoga came to me by accident, and just so happened to completely change my life.

When I stepped foot into my first yoga class, I had no idea what Sanskrit was- or why it was important to chant it at the beginning of every practice. I had no idea what bandhas were, and no idea why everyone was so “peaced-out” after class. I just knew it made me feel good. So I kept on going to class, immersing myself in the experience of each asana, and listening carefully to what my instructors were saying.

At first, the depths of yoga entered my being subconsciously. And it wasn’t until my beloved teacher Dom asked me to sub his class that I had even considered I could teach it.

Teaching my first yoga class was an enlightening experience; in that moment, I felt like I knew why I was created.

Since that day, over 30 years ago, yoga has opened me up to countless realities I had never before considered as real.  It taught me about the power of my thoughts, the wisdom of my true nature, and the infinite possibilities that show themselves when we trust in the mysterious unfolding of life.

Yoga introduced me to a number of other ancient practices which were all rooted in the same understanding that all of life is connected. One of these practices, which came much later in my life, was Astrology.

Now you may be thinking, “Ok, I get Yoga- it’s a physical practice! But… Astrology?”

At first, I thought that too. But when I met Leslie McGuirk of Lucky Stars Astrology at Rancho La Puerta Spa in Mexico, I had the same kind of life changing moment as when I taught my first yoga class.

The way she could describe the meaning of the stars was so new to me. Before I had known astrology only from the single sentence fate-tellers in the daily newspaper— and I wasn’t so convinced. What first changed my mind was hearing Leslie akin astrology to owner’s manual: “Astrology is one of the most useful tools for increasing self awareness and inner peace. Think of it like the owner’s manual in your car’s glove compartment; you have the key to your vehicle and you are the driver.”

“Astrology is one of the most useful tools for increasing self awareness and inner peace. Think of it like the owner’s manual in your car’s glove compartment; you have the key to your vehicle and you are the driver.”

I was intrigued. I was so curious to know what could the stars teach me about myself that I don’t already know. So, I decided to dive in deeper, and booked a private reading with Leslie. What she revealed to me wasn’t anything incredibly new. But it was incredibly transformational… I’ll explain.

What I found out was that I am a double Virgo! Meaning not just my Sun sign is Virgo (my primary characteristics), but my Moon sign is also Virgo (my emotional and intuitive characteristics). Although not super uncommon, most people have different Sun and Moon signs- which usually offers more dynamic and balanced outer and inner worlds. But I am a full-out, full-fledged Virgo…

Subnote: If this is totally new for you (like it was for me) here’s a little more background: Your Signs reveal the unique relationship that the sky, stars and planets had to the Earth at the moment of your birth. For thousands of years, people have been using astrological science as a way to learn about themselves and the workings of the natural world. There’s nothing too “woo-woo” about it once you get past the vague, generic descriptions.

So, as I began learning more about what it meant to be Stacy, the double Virgo, I began to know how to work with -rather fight against- the traits that were an undeniable part of my person. Virgos are typically very careful, methodical, hardworking, resourceful, well spoken, problem solvers who are not afraid to speak their minds. But they’re also typically very shy, overly critical, worrisome, sensitive and fragile.

Before I was equipped with this knowledge, I would unknowingly fight against the traits I thought were weaknesses. I would force myself to be less sensitive, or belittle myself for speaking my mind so fiercely. I didn’t know it was my true nature to be a go-getting business woman with a soft side that also needed tending to. With this awareness, I have been better able to consciously work with and even transform my more challenging traits, while enhancing and using my best traits to their fullest.

In this way, learning my star sign has helped me to grow into my highest self- all “woo-woo” aside.

Not only have I been able to embrace my double-Virgo mind, but I’ve also made a dear friend. Leslie continues to help me foster my best self, and acts as a sort of technician who helps me read my owner’s manual with greater clarity.

I’m a fan and I want everyone to know just how powerful this practice is. You too can be fueled by the awareness of who you are in relationship to the cosmos.

Leslie will be the guest speaker for the next A Day of Namaste (themed Count Your Lucky Stars) on Sunday, April 8, 2018. She will be talking specifically about the planet Mercury and its role in the way we communicate. You won’t wanna miss out!

Follow the link HERE to register for the retreat, and check out Leslie’s website HERE to book your own private reading.

May the stars bless you,

With all my love,

Namaste,

Stacy

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

In a media world – How do we practice yoga authentically?


I have a friend who is just starting his yoga journey. He began practicing yoga to improve his health, but when he looks at yoga on social media he’s left with the impression that yoga is only about touching his toes, twisting into a pretzel, or hand-standing on a perilous cliff… Encouraging, right?

I think he’ll find some solace in this….

The research is valid that a consistent practice of yoga can relieve back pain and lower blood pressure; and the most recent study published in Frontiers in Immunology suggests that yoga and mediation can actually “suppress inflammation-promoting genes and genetic pathways, and can actually undo the physical and mental effects of stress, and reduce the risk of disease, at the genetic level.”

This is the yoga that yogis have practiced for centuries, and is detailed in the second verse of Patanjali’s yoga sutras: Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodha (Yoga ceases the fluctuations of the mind). The ancient practice of yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about liberating your mind from the redundant, recycled, unnecessary thoughts that constantly pass through our heads.

The power of yoga is its ability to connect us to the deepest part of our inner self so that we may finding lasting health and peace. When we heal the mind, we heal the body.

The past decade has seen the packaging of an ancient practice in a way that makes it accessible and attractive to an emerging yoga community. The modern yogi’s challenge, then, is staying faithful to the antiquity and integrity of the teachings, not slipping into commercialism or diluting the practice.

 

So. How can you make sure you’re really practicing yoga, and not just glorified calisthenics?

 

For me, I practice authentically by practicing awareness of mind. If my mind is racing, competing, or judging the person on the mat next to me, I know I’m not doing my practice. If I am going over my to-do list for the day (or for the next three months), I know I’m not doing my practice. If I am still mulling over the guy that cut me off on the way to class, I am definitely not doing my practice.

But when, in the midst of the effort of each pose I am serene, focused, and full of breath, I know am doing my practice. When I choose to love my body, even when I’m tired, achy or injured, I am doing my practice. When I tune in and feel more than I judge and think, I am doing my practice.i

I come back to the teachings. I come back to the Sutras, like Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha.

The real practice of yoga is deeply intimate. Only you, yourself, can truly tell if you’re immersed in the depths of stillness that come from complete surrender to experience. Only you know when your mind is still. And only you can attest to how that makes you feel… But I’d bet it makes you feel pretty darn good. I bet you breathe a little easier, that your heart rate normalizes, that you sleep better at night, that your injuries heal faster…

So, don’t worry about what the social media yogis are doing. They have their practice to do- and you have yours.

Yoga is so much more than handstands, and so much more than a weekend get-away. It’s a lifelong commitment to bettering yourself, a constant inner-looking (Svādhyāya), a daily remembering of the power of your thoughts, and lasting peace that comes from the stillness of the mind.

Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodha. Yoga is stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.

 

How Fast Are You Aging?

Do you remember the first time you realized your body was “aging”?

Maybe it started in your thirties with a few more aches and pains in the morning. A tendency to get tired earlier in the day. The first signs of wrinkles around your eyes. A memory not quite as sharp as it used to be.

As the years have progressed, those little twinges have probably gotten more frequent. And if you’re like most people, you brushed it off as a “normal” part of the aging process… just something that happens when we get older.

The thing is, you don’t have to give in to the frailty, disease, and memory issues associated with aging. These symptoms are not “inevitable.” They are signals that your body needs something.

When it comes to aging, we’ve been fed a load of unsubstantiated assumptions our entire lives. But emerging research from top experts suggests that we can have all the advantages of youth, well into our later years.

That means a lean, strong, flexible body….supple, smooth skin….. a brain that is sharp… energy to last all day… and an immune system that provides powerful protection against illness.

We are a body-oriented culture. We judge ourselves by our appearance and our body’s ability to perform. When our bodies change—as they inevitably do—our self-worth goes with them, for better or for worse.

In Siddhartha, a novel about enlightenment and self-discovery the prince, Siddhartha, ventured out of his palace for the first time, he was shaken by his first glimpses of a person bent with age, a person wracked with illness and the body of a person who had died. Seeing the inevitable path of all our bodies to our final demise caused him to inquire into how he might transcend the suffering he had witnessed. This led him to realize that in order to transcend suffering, he had to transcend his attachment to and identification with the body. He had to look deeper, beyond the pleasures and suffering of the body, for lasting happiness.

This is what our yoga practice teaches us. Any person in a body who is practicing Yoga is living in a yoga body, regardless of age, build, gender or flexibility. And the deeper practices at the heart of Yoga—meditation—require a body simply as an anchor for awareness. 

I think most people when coming upon my age may scour, but I’m truly looking forward to the unfolding lessons, increasing self awareness and growing self love that comes with aging. I’m reminded that this is the start of a brand new year- and that there are still infinite opportunities for growth along my journey. Within every moment lies a miracle. And within every burden lies a blessing. 

Namaste~

How To Start : Living Your Purpose

What does it really take to find your purpose?

You can’t force your purpose… What you’re meant to do will flow through you with ease, grace and abundance. And it absolutely will, if only you allow it to.

It will take deep work, inner-looking, and patience with yourself. It will take pushing through your fears and self-imposed boundaries.

And it will take letting yourself go freely into the flowing process of self-discovery.

You can think of it like this:

Your body and mind are channels which conduct energy. When these channels are clear, embodied energy can flow through you with ease- i.e.: whatever you’re desiring to become or create will manifest naturally.

Creating a clear channel through which energy can flow is the first step to honoring your ability to shine, to do what you love, and to live for your unique purpose. 

But…. how??

By doing your practice. Every. Single. Day.

The bottom line: Do your self-work. Practice loving your body, respecting your mind, and taking time to rest. Practice pushing through discomfort- in asana, in meditation, during your work day. Practice loving fully, practice compassion, practice peace and ease of mind.

It may sound silly, but being there for yourself will allow you to truly listen to what your soul desires.

And from there, you will begin to live for your purpose.

Maybe what you’ll discover isn’t what you thought you wanted when you were younger. Maybe it’s not being a CEO, or an astronaut, or the president.

Maybe you’ll find that your unique purpose is being a supportive spouse, a loving and attentive mother, a team player at work, an inspired entrepreneur, or a better steward of the earth.

No matter your end goal, you can only start from where you are right Here and Now. So, breathe, be here, and trust that you’ll discover your purpose as it unfolds.

How one yogi began living for her purpose…

Betsy’s Story:

Betsy is a dear friend and an alumni of my seasonal day retreat series, A Day of Namaste. After attending the last ADON, Betsy was inspired to ditch her limiting self-view and begin living for the purpose of her higher self! Her story is truly inspiring. In her second trimester of pregnancy, she was let-go from a company which was going through bankruptcy. Some fear, and a bit of an identity crisis took over, but then… something magical happened. In going with the flow, in listening to her soul’s desire, she realized that the job she thought would always support her was actually holding her back. And so she created her own lifestyle blog for Mamas and Mama-To-Be’s, called Beautiful With Baby. Read her story below, and check out her beautiful site!!

Betsy and I recently led a Mamaste Meditation Hike at Beaming Cafe Del Mar. We shared our favorite superfood concoctions for Mamas, and talked about what inspires us to live fully aligned with our purpose. I even shared the McCarthy family creed, which begins with our Family’s Purpose.

Here it is: McCarthy Family Purpose

The purpose of our family is to love and support each family member in achieving the fulfillment that comes from doing their best to fulfill their life purpose. maintaining high levels of integrity, and working to improve themselves each day.

And our: McCarthy Family Creed

  1. Today I give thanks for all that I am and all that I have.
  2. Today I treat everyone I see with love and respect.
  3. Today I focus on staying the paphto fulfilling my life purpose.
  4. Today I do my best in everything I do.
  5. Today I do my best to improve my knowledge, skills, health and attitude.
  6. Today I create abundance for myself and all those around me.

 

Photo courtesy of Beautiful with Baby

“I am so fortunate to have been able to attend one of Stacy’s A Day of Namaste retreats. The minute you are welcomed through the doors at A Day of Namaste, you can automatically sense that by the end of the retreat your mindset and daily routine will be shifted for a greater good. Going into my last retreat I was in a state of uncertainty in my career. At 5 months pregnant I was seeking to grow a side business that would allow my creative side to shine and be compensated for. During the retreat I was given the guidance, tools, and shift in mindset that has now led me to be going full throttle with my lifestyle blog, Beautiful With Baby. I am now being sought out by major beauty and apparel brands for partnership. A year ago I never would’ve put myself out there to welcome this kind abundance with the fear of rejection. This change was directly influenced from attending ADON. The education you receive at A Day of Namaste is full circle. Everything from a healthy diet, movement, and mindset are crucial to living your best life and reaching your goals. I also learned how to karate chop a piece of plywood in half at the last retreat. So cool. Hiiii-ya!” – Betsy B.

DIY Home Retreat Pt. 2 – Mind

Namaste yogis,
Here’s Part 2 of my DIY Home Yoga Retreat Series, tailored specifically to calm the mind and put you in ease and awareness of your mental functions.
If you put Part 1 to practice, you may notice some similarities in this week’s schedule. While it may seem counterintuitive to help the mind by moving the body and eating well, it was no mystery to the ancient Yogis that our minds and bodies are innately connected. What we do physically will affect our psychology, and vice versa.
This week’s retreat will emphasize HOW we do the things we do- as this shines light on the quality of our mental health.
It is said that the quality of your thoughts will shape the quality of your life.
Today, as you engage with your mind on a more intimate level, be present to observe your thoughts. Notice when you feel challenged and when you flow with ease. Notice when you become distracted. Notice when you’re “in it”. Notice all of these things with the intention of just noticing. Write it down as you go, and take time to reflect afterwards in order to implement the changes you wish to see made. Remember that it’s hard to know how the paint will dry when it’s still wet…
Whether you follow the program exactly, or just use this information as a guide to create your own path to successful health, I hope you find this newsletter both useful and inspiring.
Because each of our needs are a little different, the following schedule will be structured around the phases of your day, rather than by an exact time-table. Do your best to wake up early and take the entire day to nurture yourself- as if you were at a secluded resort with nowhere else to be. If any of the following recommendations do not suit you, then kindly skip over them, and do what you need. Remember this is YOUR time to relax, rejuvenate, revitalize and heal your mind.
Happy Retreating!!
Stacy

What I Believe and Why

Horse on beach YNSI discovered my love of movement and healthy living at a young age. Fortunately, when I was growing up, there wasn’t a label placed on kids with high energy. Parents and teachers would just tell me I had “ants in my pants” because I couldn’t sit still. Movement became my refuge. It was a revelation to me, that what we do with our bodies has a profound healing effect on our minds and our hearts. So I made it my mission to share this sense of joy and hope with others.

After more than 30 years in this business, my passion for health living- and my commitment to helping each of you on your own journey – is stronger than ever.

 

  • I promise to empower you by creating products and services that are effective, affordable, practical and fun.
  • I promise to be there for you with a smiling face, especially on those days when you need an extra boost of motivation or stress reduction.
  • I promise to provide an inspiring community of like-minded friends who share your goals, your challenges, and celebrate your victories.

I’m grateful to share this experience with you, and look forward to helping you every step of the way. Now, take a deep breath and let’s make 2016 the best year yet!

By the way, if you would like to read more about what I believe and why, click here.

Sticky: What is Yoga?

To the beginning student of yoga in America it usually starts with getting out of pain in the body, creating strength where the body is weak & flexibility where the body is tight.
There is much more to yoga than twisting your body into a pretzel. Yoga also stretches your mind by asking you to challenge your beliefs about yourself, your body & your consciousness. In doing so yoga creates real and lasting change in the lives of its many practitioners. An added side effect the physical postures produce is shedding unwanted pounds, healing old injuries, detoxifying the body and creating muscular balance. But make no mistake yoga is not an exercise. It is a body awareness technique aimed at liberating your consciousness from old, habitual was of thinking, being and acting. The lean, strong, flexible yoga body is merely a seductive by-product of the work of awakening your consciousness.

Yogi’s have pursued their practice with commitment & devotion for centuries. It’s not a fad or the latest fitness craze. Those who commit themselves to this ancient technique purposefully, intentionally & with passionate devotion know that yoga’s secret & it’s real power doesn’t lie in the youthful vitality & a body free from fear, but in it’s ability to connect to the deepest part of ourselves and create lasting peace.

Yogi Training

Yogi Training

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20 Hours of Comprehensive Yoga Instruction in a small personalized setting taught by Stacy McCarthy & Dennis Dean
Each day includes:
* Daily Asana Practice
* Daily Chanting Practice
* Daily Pranayama Practice
* Daily Meditation Practice
* Yoga Philosophy- 8 Limbs of Yoga
* 3 Techniques of the Krishnamacharya Lineage
* Principles of Sequencing
* Introduction to the Rope Wall
Please contact me with any questions. Click here to register

Cost: $599 for the full week of personalized attention to take your practice to the next level.

Save $100 off your registration if paid in full by Saturday, June 12th.

Mail check to Stacy McCarthy, PO Box 132, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Is Yoga A Religion?

Is Yoga A Religion?


Every so often, I will be at a social event and someone will introduce me to his or her friends as their yoga teacher and the friend will ask, “So do you study Hinduism or Buddhism?” There is an assumption that because of the use of Sanskrit words, chanting, or the study of ancient yogic texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra that yoga has a religious affiliation.

According to T.K.V. Desikachar, a prominent yogi credited with being a driving force behind the resurgence of Hatha yoga in recent decades, “Yoga is not a religion and should not affiliate with any religion”. Yoga has no religious obligations, no singular creed and it has no rituals that profess a faith such as baptism or confirmation.

So, if yoga is not a “religion” is it a hobby, a sport, an exercise routine, or a discipline such as the study of medicine or martial arts? In some ways, yoga represents all these things and more.

Many students come initially to yoga for the many health benefits. Eventually with regular practice, many find the meditative effects on the mind and emotions can become a spiritual experience.

So then, what is spirituality?

Some equate spirituality with praying, meditating or even reading enlightening literature. In its basic form, it’s your level of consciousness. It’s the way you get in synch with yourself, connecting with who you are on a deeper level. It’s the connection to our inner self. If religion could be referred to as the external frame or organizational structure for it’s congregations, then spirituality would be the internal connection and understanding of one’s self and their place in the universe.

Yoga puts us in touch with this inner self, no matter our outer beliefs.