All posts by Sasha Stone

About Sasha Stone

Sasha Stone’s intent is to help you shift your life focus from anxiety and overwhelm to joy and gratitude. This happens, as she personally discovered, when self-care becomes a priority in your life. Sasha was born in Canada, grew-up in Egypt, and now lives in Los Angeles, California, where she writes, teaches yoga, and works with clients to help them feel vibrant, body and soul, with private yoga therapy, Thai yoga massage, meditation tutorials, and soul-care sessions. You can learn more about Sasha at sashamariestone.com.

Put Yourself First

shutterstock_105117482-e1360534668287

Why putting yourself first is the best choice for everyone.

We all experience moments when we feel torn between doing what we desire, and doing what we think is in the best interest of another. Sometimes we forget that those that love us also want what is best for us, and the best thing we can do is set the tone by making self-care a priority. Here’s what I mean…

I found myself in an interesting position this morning. I planned on taking a yoga class this morning, which I love and feel is an important component of my self-care on all levels. But last night my boyfriend and I got into an intense discussion, which left me feeling worried for him, wanting to care for him and make it all better. When I woke-up I found myself torn between my desire to go to class, and a thought that I should stay in bed and make sure he felt cared for.

It’s not as though an extra-long cuddle was in any way unappealing to me, yet I projected my mind a couple hours ahead, and could feel a nagging sense of disappointment that I didn’t stick to my plan to go to class. And not because I wanted to adhere to the plan, but because I could feel how badly my body wanted a led yoga session. Yet I still felt torn…and guilty. Continue reading

Allow your Intentions to Manifest By Letting Go

fall-wallpaper-20This may sound counter-intuitive, but in order for your intentions to manifest, you must be willing to let go of form. By form I mean any physical restrictions or parameters in which you are encasing your visions and your dreams. Chances are, you don’t even realize you’re doing it, though often it’s radical letting go that kicks the flow of manifestation into high gear.

At the beginning of the year I set an intent to build a thriving online business to allow for maximum mobility in my life. However, I live in Los Angeles in a beautiful bungalow apartment that I also use for my work. I see clients here for private yoga and Thai yoga massage. I love this space as do my clients, but it’s expensive, and all of my resources go into maintaining my existence here.

Last week I had to face the harsh reality that due to circumstances beyond my control, it is no longer feasible to remain in this apartment. The moment of awareness hit me suddenly, and I knew in my heart that the answer was to let it go and begin working on my mobile life sooner than I anticipated. I could see that my attachment to my apartment was restricting me from taking risks and plowing forward, and the only thing that made sense was to release it, rather than racking my brain and going further into debt to keep it.

This was not an easy decision as the impact is great on me and on many of the people I serve. However, it opens up the opportunity to work with my clients in their homes, meet new clients that would prefer in-home services, and branch out to teach more classes and workshops throughout the city, thus spreading the wealth of what I offer.

As soon as I gave my notice, I felt a flood of relief and a surge of creative inspiration. Though it’s scary, I know it’s the right thing to do. Only a few days later, I was able to confirm an amazing offer from one of my clients to go to Hong Kong for a week and assist him with yoga therapy while he travels. Hello mobile life!

Here are some suggestions for allowing intuitive realizations to speak more loudly in your life:

  • Open yourself to guidance through daily prayer and meditation.
  • Practice surrendering your questions, fears, goals, and visions every day to the Universe through journal writing.
  • For women, make time each week to do things that please you and activities that move your body, such as yoga and dance. Your feminine energy is awakened through pleasure and movement, keeping you connected to grace and inspiration.
  • When answers come, don’t second-guess yourself. If it’s a big decision, talk it out with a trusted friend, someone that really understands you and can listen. Pray about it, surrender it, sleep on it, and do what you feel guided to do the next morning.
  • Know that whatever form it is you’re attached to might be keeping you from something better that is just around the corner. Be willing to release your current reality in order to allow the Universe to fulfill your desires.

***

If you need guidance on meditation, connecting with your intuition, or any of the practices I outlined above, please consider joining me for Soul-Care Sessions. I’m here to listen and help you live a more authentic life.

 

photo by: Hamed Saber

From the Year of Intent: Affirm Your Intent by Saying No

yoga-1_300Do you ever notice when you make a decision to do something, suddenly a million opportunities present themselves to throw you off your game or steer you in a different direction? The first thing that has to happen after you are clear on an intention is to practice saying no to anything that does not serve it. This can come in the form of relationships, business opportunities, how you spend your free time, and more. And it can be extremely difficult!

When you’re making a shift in your life toward a new vision, one of the hardest things to do is discern which opportunities to accept, and which ones to decline. However, if you are clear on your intention and know what you are moving toward, saying “no” is a powerful way to affirm what it is you want and are creating. I see it as a way of sending a clear message to the Universe, propelling you forward in the best direction 

For the past five years I have worked to build a thriving private yoga and Thai yoga massage practice. In the process of building that business I worked part-time in an unrelated field, plus taught many group classes to hone my yoga teaching skills and build my client base. Now, I’m happy to say, I have a full time private practice and can say no to opportunities that get in the way of my time with my clients.

This year though, my intent is to build a thriving online business to allow for maximum mobility in my life. Basically, I’m shifting gears so that in addition to my private clientele, I can reach people throughout the world with a variety of online offerings, including essential oils, meditation, and Soul-Care Sessions (my newest program). I am doing this to allow more opportunity for writing, travel, and spending time with my family who are scattered all over the globe.

Even though I am clear on what I am moving toward, it can still be amazingly difficult to turn down opportunities that show up. Since the start of the New Year, I have turned down 3 business opportunities that I determined would eat up time and attention from where I really want to direct it. Saying no was not easy though! I still have that fearful voice that thinks saying no means I’m ungrateful or entitled. Thankfully, largely through my meditation practice, I’ve learned how to turn the volume down on that voice, and turn the volume up on my intuition that gives me that gut reaction of what’s a good idea and what isn’t.

I don’t think there’s any real formula for this, but this is what I’ve observed about my own response.

Scenario 1: If someone makes an offer or proposal that right away feels good, exciting, and inspiring, I usually accept it. Sometimes fear will kick in after trying to discourage me, at which point I tell myself it’s worth a shot and if in the end I decide it’s not in my best interest, at least I tried.

Scenario 2: If someone proposes something that makes me hesitate, question, and feel uneasy, I usually say no thank you. But, if I don’t know right away it’s a no, I take time to think about it. Often then, that fearful voice will try to convince me that it’s a mistake to turn it down, but if I’m trying too hard to rationalize it into my life, I know it’s not right. Then I say no.

Like with anything worth developing, it’s a practice. Taking a moment to check in with how you feel, on a physical and spiritual plane, is always a good idea. There’s almost no decision that requires an immediate answer, so take the time to feel good about your response. Listen to your intuitive voice, and know that saying no doesn’t mean a stop to opportunities, but more likely an invitation for the right ones to appear.

I would love to have your support in my Year of Intent! You can follow me HERE.

***

Sasha Stone is participating in our Year of Intent campaign. You can support, adopt or comment on her 2014 Intent and all of her updates here, or go to Intent.com to start your own! 

Empower Your New Year’s Intents

NewYearsResolutions-300x199The New Year is an inspiring time for fresh starts and envisioning a happy, healthy, and productive year ahead. From this springs many well-intentioned resolutions that often involve eating habits and exercise routines.  I see no problem with this, except that these ideas often come from feelings of lack and guilt about how the previous year, or perhaps just the moth of December, were characterized by overeating and lack of physical activity.

I am all for setting goals and taking positive action in your life. However I feel there is a key step that is missing in this process, which is taking stock of all you achieved, accomplished, and experienced in the year that’s just gone by. Before you write your New Year’s intents, or perhaps even instead of, sit down and reflect on 2013. Here are some guiding questions to help you along:

–       What are some of the major occurrences and milestones of 2013?

–       How has your life changed, transformed, and evolved?

–       What do you feel you achieved personally and professionally?

–       What new things did you learn, try, and experience?

–       Where did you travel?

–       What new friends and connections did you make?

–       What books did you read?

–       What new insights did you come upon this past year?

We live in very driven society, which is energizing and inspiring. Yet I often felt like no matter what I did and no matter what I had on my plate, I was never doing enough. Then I watched this inspiring video of Vishen Lakhiani that presented the idea of creating a weekly awesomeness report. Now every Friday I take about 15 minutes to reflect on the week that’s passed and all that I accomplished, achieved, and the areas in which I made progress. The result: I feel delighted over all that took place that week, and motivated to have another productive week ahead. The activity feeds me, allows me to feel that I am doing enough, and energizes my endeavors.

I want to bring this idea into the year as a whole. Before looking ahead, I am taking time to look back, reflect, and be grateful for another full and transformative year. Rather than feeling like I am somehow inadequate or not enough, this empowers and uplifts me. As the infamous and wise Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Celebrate all that you do and all that you are. Happy New Year!

You can find more of Sasha’s empowering articles and wellness programs at my website beopenyoga.com

Thanksgiving Recipe: Curried Squash & Apple Soup

43 Final DishThis soup was inspired by a delicious dish my Aunt Joan made of roasted curried squash. I adored it, so recreated it, then decided to make it into a soup. It’s fabulous for chilly fall nights, when you’re looking for something to warm your belly and soul, and it’s super easy! It also makes a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner, especially for your vegan and gluten free guests.

I’m not one for precise measurements as one of my favorite aspects of cooking is experimentation, so I encourage you to play with the flavors and find what works best for you. Feel free to share any magical discoveries in the comments below!

Ingredients

– 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes

– A couple green apples, peeled, cored, and quatered

– 1 small yellow onion and/or shallots

– carton of veggie broth (homemade is great too of course!)

– 2 tsp of Wakaya Perfection Ginger

– grapeseed oil or olive oil

– curry powder (the best kind you can find, which will probably be at an Indian or West Indian store)

– ground cumin or roasted geera

– salt and pepper to taste

These are my favorite brands of roasted geera and curry powder, both purchased from a West Indian store in Toronto. Having delicious and authentic curry powder can make all the difference!

43 Curry Powder

Instructions

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the squash, apples, and onion/shallots, with oil (enough for a light coating) and a decent coating of curry powder (about 1 – 2 Tbsp) and about 1 tsp of the roasted geera/cumin. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

43 Bowl

Place ingredients in a baking dish, and roast in oven for about 40 minutes, removing half way to stir. Squash should be very soft when complete.

Add the roasted veggies to a good quality blender. Add the Wakaya Perfection ginger and about a cup of veggie broth to begin. Begin blending on a low setting and keep adding veggie broth until you reach your desired consistency (it will depend on your preference and how large of a squash you used). Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Have as a starter, or make it meal by serving with a scoop of brown rice and a mixed green salad. Enjoy!

***

This article was originally posted on Sasha’s Empowering Wellness blog.

Are You Playing the Blame game?

Yosemite riverIf you’re listening to the news these days, you’re likely hearing a lot of jabbering on Capitol Hill about the dysfunction of healthcare.gov. Though not surprising, I still find it disheartening to hear grown adults, leaders in their field and leaders in government, pointing fingers and playing the blame game. In politics, whatever is wrong is almost always someone else’s fault, definitely the other party’s fault, and perhaps even another country’s fault.

Imagine, just for one moment, what it would be like to live in a world where, when things are amiss, leaders stood up and said, “I see what’s wrong with this picture, and here is where I am responsible for what’s happening. As a result, here’s what I can do to turn it around. Do you support me on this?” Can you imagine? I believe the support would be mind-boggling.

The chances of this happening any time soon appear dim (though with the announcement of Marianne Williamson running for congress in California, the prospects are looking up!). We can, however, focus on our own sphere of influence.

How often do you play the blame game? When something isn’t going well for you, do you point the finger elsewhere or do you examine where you can take responsibility and step up to the plate?

If something isn’t feeling right in a relationship, whether it’s with a friend, a family member, or a lover, do you look solely at the other person for what they can do to fix it, or do you look within at the part you play? It’s so easy to pick apart how other people are failing you, but perhaps not so enticing to examine how you are failing yourself.

For everything that’s going on in your life, you bear some responsibility, even if it’s only in your perspective and certainly in your response. That may sound harsh, but it’s actually exceptionally empowering as it gives you room to move, change, flow, and evolve.

When I was in my teens, my family went through a rough patch. Honestly, at times it was pretty hellish. Due to the circumstances, I realized I could pretty much do whatever I wanted and blame my behavior on family issues, as though it gave me permission to act crazy and throw my life away. Thankfully, at a young age I knew this was not the answer, and that goofing off would only mess with my own path, no one else’s. Ultimately, regardless of the situation at home, I still had jurisdiction over my actions and reactions. Though I had my ways of rebelling (sorry Mom!), I stayed on top of my academic game and ensured my pathway to University.

The same is true for romantic relationships that haven’t panned out. People always want to know, what happened? Well, I could give the easy answer and say he did this and that, but the truth runs so much deeper than that, and it’s one where we both hold responsibility. How could it be any other way? We were both in the relationship and both contributed to its dissolution. If I can’t look at my participation, how can I expect to grow from the experience and into the healthy relationship I desire?

Pointing fingers and placing blame only serves to disempower you. You’re basically saying it has nothing to do with you and therefore you can’t do anything about it. On the flip side, reflecting on where you can take responsibility creates an empowered stance. This leads to choice and action. This leads to forgiveness and gratitude. Isn’t that preferable to hopelessness, self-pity, and anger?

I’m not saying the answer is to let people off the hook. People do shady things, and sometimes that crosses a boundary that cannot be repaired in the context of the relationship. Yet even knowing when it’s time to walk away from an unhealthy situation is a form of personal empowerment. You are responsible for you, and if you find yourself in a situation where most of your energy is going toward what the other person or people are doing to wrong you, it’s time to focus your attention inward on where your power lies to make change for the better.

Yosemite View

Take action now:

1)    In the comments below, share an experience you are dealing with, or have dealt with, where you can take responsibility for your role.

2)    Share this article far and wide, with your friends, family, and social network. The ripple effect of people taking personal responsibility for themselves is profound!

Namaste,

Sasha

You can find Sasha over at her Empowering Wellness blog.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...