Tag Archives: gaiamtv

MUST-SEE: A Review of the Movie “Happy”

“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

This is the intro line from the movie, Happy.

Happiness and how to achieve it are becoming increasingly popular, interesting, and relevant topics. And for good reason.

Statistical, scientific information and research on happiness, why it matters, and how to attain it are becoming hard to ignore, dismiss, or write off as soft science.

Ask yourself this: Are you happy?

It’s a rhetorical question, so you can answer honestly.

Whether your answer is yes or no, ask yourself, Why? Why are you happy? Why aren’t you happy? There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s just your answer.

This compelling picture is for anyone who thinks they’re happy; anyone who’s ever been depressed; anyone who’s tasted happiness and then watched it slip out of their fingers; anyone who feels like they’ve spent their whole life chasing happiness; and especially for anyone who’s given up on happiness or are feeling like they want to give up.

This movie is for you. For me. For everyone.

It brings full circle a wealth of scientific, empirical, and national research on happiness and delivers it in a documentary-type format so mesmerizing, you’ll be recommending it to friends and family before you get halfway through.

It’s a movie so revealing, inspiring, sobering, and convincing that I personally feel we should watch this movie in groups. As couples, as families, as friends, as coworkers, as companies. It’s that powerful.

The creators translate subjects like Positive Psychology, Dopamine, and Hedonic adaptation into clear, concise, understandable terms for those of us who aren’t doctors or PhDs. They weave technical facts with human behavior so beautifully that it’s hard not to be moved. And not moved by a fiction, big-screen drama scene. Moved by seeing our own human spirit reflected back to us on-screen.

The relationship between happiness and exercise, connection, community, cooperation, and compassion are uniquely explored. A magnifying glass is held up to things we’ve been taught will make us happy, like success, money, and beauty.

Accessing all of this information in one place is invaluable because it gives us the power to turn the concept of “being happy” into a starting point instead of an ending point.

This isn’t a movie that tells you what to do. Just like a good teacher, it shows you what’s possible, even in situations that seem impossible.

The rest is up to you.

 

Want to watch Happy for free? GaiamTV is making the movie available for Intent readers who sign up for a 10-trial. You can stream the film — and get access hundreds of other inspirational documentaries, yoga classes, and lectures — by clicking below:

 

12 Inspiring Stories of 2012 and Beyond (VIDEOS)

Happy Holidays from Go Inspire Go! ‘Tis the season to celebrate, give and inspire those around you as we come to an end of another great year. 2012 has been an eventful year for GIG as we continue to grow, creating three times the amount of original content as last year. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our 30+ volunteers around the globe, the everyday do-gooders we feature, and folks like YOU! To thank you, we wanted to kick off the holidays with 12 Days of Inspiration!

But before we get to the deets, check out our GIG Virtual Holiday Greeting Card to show our gratitude:

Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one our original GIG stories each day, followed by an inspiring action item we want you to do right away.

We’re asking you to share what you were inspired to do via social media.

KIND Snacks has partnered with Go Inspire Go to launch our 12 Days of Inspiration. We kicked off our 12 days of inspiration with a GIG Spark video from across the street from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, giving postcards to strangers and asking them to write a message to soliders who can’t spend the holidays with their family. GaiamTV and Volunteer Match are also joining virtual forces with us to share via their social media platforms each of the 12 days.

Thanks for the love — won’t you join us?

Check GoInspireGo.com. We’ve counting down to Christmas by sharing our inspiring videos for 12 consecutive days on GIG’s website and blog.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:
Our goal is to see how many countries we can get to share our campaign.

1. We need you and your friends/community to download this special 12 days GIG logo and post it as your/their profile pic for 12 days.

2. Share our FB posts/tweets everyday for 12 days.

We want to see how many countries we can reach with our message.

*Day 1* Inspire to write a letter to a soldier:
GIG teams up with Kind Healthy Snacks to wish our soldiers a happy holiday and express appreciation for all that they’ve done for our country.

Call to action: Inspire to create and write a hand-written letter to a solider in the military

(Special thanks to Sirima Sataman, of Ink.Paper.Plate for helping us personalize our KIND GIG cards with her letter press. Loved pressing each
card by hand!)


*Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:
Toan and some GIGSTERS visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Video: GIG SPARK Inspires BAYCAT Youth to Be The Change

Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.


*Day 3* Inspire to create:
Toan sits down to create Thank You cards with founder of InkPaperPlate.com, Sirima Sataman.

Video: The Best Way to Express Gratitude

Call to action: Inspire to DIY – Get crafty and create something hand made and give it to someone: a family member, friend or stranger!


*Day 4* Inspire to smile:
Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”

Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.


*Day 5* Inspire to make a stand:
Psychiatrist Dr. Ron Holt travels around the world to share his inspiring and empowering story to give victims of bullying who contemplated suicide hope and inspire compassion in bullies.

Video: LGBT Bullying and Suicide: It Does Get Better

Call to action: Inspire to stand up for the truth. If you’re being bullied or have thoughts of suicide, there is hope: TheTrevorProject.


*Day 6* Inspire to rescue:
Emelinda Narvaez has spent the last 41 years of her life saving the lives of more than 10,000 dogs.

Video: “Woman saves 10,000 Dogs”

Call to action: Inspire to adopt a pet today and give the gift of friendship.


*Day 7* Inspire to be a Superhero:
With GIG’s help, cancer patient, Nico Castro, 6, uses his superhero powers to help his sick friends celebrate Halloween by collecting more than 200 costumes.

Video: “6-year-old Boy with Brain Cancer Brings Halloween to Sick Kids”

Call to action: Brighten someone’s spirit this Christmas season by volunteering at your local hospital, writing a letter to a cancer patient, contributing to Make-A-Wish or sharing this story.


*Day 8* Inspire to embark on your personal journey:
Jordan Bower walked from Canada to Mexico to create personal connections and inspire people to put down their gadgets and engage in the world around them.

Video: “Make the Connection: Why One Man is Walking from Canada to Mexico”

Call to action: Inspire to start off the new year by making plans to embark in your
personal journey in 2013!


*Day 9* Inspire to help the youth create a change:
Through an aluminum can drive and letter writing campaign, Phoebe Russell, then 5, sparked a movement by inspiring her classmates and her community to raise over $3,000 for the San Francisco Food Bank. She enabled the S.F. Food Bank to dole out more than 17,800 meals! Our GIG video helped her multiply her message many times over. More than 150,000 meals served in her San Francisco community so far!

Video: “Kindergartener Inspires 150K + Meals Pt. 1”

Call to action: Inspire to spread the holiday spirit by donating or volunteering at your local food bank.


*Day 10* Inspire education: Student Video + GIG Video creates movement, sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti
Julian Cohen, then a high school student in New Jersey, wanted to help Rev. Lemaire Alerte reach his goal of building the first high school in the reverend’s hometown of Grande Saline, Haiti. Rev. Alerte was $20,000 short of his $80,000 goal to finish construction.

Little did Cohen know, he would start a movement across the nation. The result: 32 kids would be sent to school in Haiti thanks to his video posted by Go Inspire Go.

Watch how high school students in San Jose, Calif., were inspired to orchestrate goodness and be inspired to do a kind thing for a teacher or organization that aims to educate the community.

Video: “Student Video Sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti. Pt. 3”

Call to action: Inspire to give what you can to support an educational cause. Money is good, but if you don’t have the funds, give your time and volunteer.


*Day 11* Inspire to move and be present:
Nationally-renowned yoga instructor Kim Shand was born with a birth defect. The prognosis was grim. See how yoga saved her life and how she is giving back. It’ll make you rethink yoga and rethink what’s going on in your life.

Video: “Rethink Yoga. Rethink You”

Call to action: Inspire to start the New Year re-energized! Start off physically and
mentally strong, by engaging in activities that allows your body to reach its greatest potential. Kim is giving away as much free yoga as possible on her YouTube channel. More info: RethinkYoga.com


*Day 12* Inspire to give:
GIG’s most popular story so far. Meet Jorge Muñoz, school bus driver by day, and Angel in Queens, N.Y., by night. For more than nine years, Jorge has spent half his salary buying groceries and cooking, packaging and delivering home-cooked meals to 150+ people every night. More than 202,800 viewers watched and shared and many used their power to help. You must watch both videos!

Video: A Real Life “Angel” in Queens, New York Pt. 1

Video: “Surprise” Angel In Queens Follow-Up Pt. 2

Call to action: Inspire to lend a helping hand by helping Jorge provide warm meals this Christmas season. Visit www.anangelinqueens.org to see how you can help.


*Go Inspire Go is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), run entirely by Toan Lam and more than 30 volunteers around the world. For more inspiring stories, please check out our YouTube Channel. Here’s just a glimpse of our IMPACT. It’s because of viewers like you and your generous donations that enable us to bring you these original, authentic stories. If you can, please make a donation or if you cannot, there are other ways to help. Share our message and videos.

Bless you and our every day street corner-style heroes and organizations — the true heroes who are helping elevate humanity.

Happy holidays,
Toan Lam and Go Inspire Go Team

How to Cultivate Gratitude Through Yoga

Architecture of prismsOur yoga practice is a multifaceted gem. It’s like a prism that reflects a different color depending on how the light hits it. Our practice can reflect back to us different emotions, feelings, or thoughts depending on how we approach it.

Yoga can draw out parts of ourselves we know exist but have difficulty accessing at times, such as strength, flexibility, balance, trust, love, and gratitude.

These are often physical traits we tap into on our yoga mat. Interestingly, we often find after practicing that we have access to them on a mental and emotional level as well.

I first noticed this transformative quality of yoga while practicing backbends. The steadiness and strength they require revealed to me the power and the past housed in my back body. The more I allowed this opening process physically, the more I was able to allow myself to open more fully to the people in my life. Seeing this natural evolution, I started adding intention to the mix.

I often bring to my backbend practice people or situations I’m having difficulty “loving.” I visualize them through my practice and try to allow myself to soften and open to them mentally as I soften and open physically.

I’ve been able to transform how I relate to many challenging relationships in this way.

Gratitude is a powerful quality we can develop deeply through yoga. This is especially helpful when we experience times in our lives where we don’t feel so grateful. Maybe our lives or loves just fell apart and we don’t feel grateful for anything.

This is when our yoga practice can help.

Great gratitude comes ultimately from a place of great humility. Replacing expectation with awe, we see the world through childlike eyes. Everything is a gift, everything is alive, everything is thrilling.

We let the quality of life fill us up instead of the quantity.

In yoga poses it’s easy to forget the quality aspect sometimes also. The quality of our breath, the quality of our skin, the quality of our heartbeat.

In poses that require strength, when we simultaneously relax our hearts, minds, and bodies into the muscles that are holding us up, it feels vulnerable. It also feels liberating, delicious, and open.

We now have a fertile space for true gratitude. Gratitude for our bodies, for our minds, for our lives, for the floor that supports us and the air that inspires us.

In that space we can plant seeds of gratitude, love, trust – whatever we need in our lives. We can notice where we are taking things for granted and we can connect with the whole part of ourselves that allows us to give freely.

Developing a quality of gratitude can infuse our lives with deep peace and joy. I like making gratitude lists, especially on occasions like birthdays. Try it on your next birthday. Make a list of the 20 or 35 or 45 things you’re grateful for.

Dig deep for gratitude and you will often find gold. It’s always right in front of us, but we can’t always see it through the dust of daily life that makes it look ordinary and unimportant.

I’ll leave you with this gratitude poem and a sweet gratitude practice by Jeanie Manchester below on the Gaiam TV platform.

I am grateful for my limits
that teach me patience and pace

I am grateful for challenge, defeat, and loss

They teach me hope is not a light at the end of the dark tunnel
It’s the ember burning within me that I forgot to fan

I am grateful to my teachers
for introducing me to myself

I am grateful for my past
that has delivered me to my present

I am grateful for all I have found and all I have lost
Both remind me I can live with and without

I am grateful for silence and for laughter
And for my ears that can hear both

I am grateful to my heart
that beats and breaks and heals

I am grateful for the fullness of my life
For the brief, heartbreaking, heartwarming fullness of life.

I highly recommend Jeanie Manchester’s Gratitude Flow as a practice for cultivating gratitude:

GTV_JeanieManchester_flowGratitude Flow

Did you wake up to gratitude or grumpiness? It’s really your choice, explains Jeanie Manchester. Practice feeling gratitude while moving through this flowing practice. All levels, including beginners.

 

Get the Gratitude Flow video for free by starting a 10-Day trial with GaiamTV:

photo by: _Lev_

12 Days of Inspiration: Inspire to Smile (Day 4)

Today is Day 4 of the GIG 12 Days of Inspiration Campaign. Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one inspiring story each day, followed by an action item you can take to make the world a better place. You can read more about the series here


gig12daysofinspirationlogo-2*Day 4* Inspire to smile:

Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”

Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.

*****

Past Posts in the Campaign: 

Day 1: Write a Letter to a Soldier

Day 2: Inspire Youth

Day 3: The Best Way to Express Gratitude

 

12 Days of Inspiration: Inspire Youth (Day 2)

Today is Day 2 of the GIG 12 Days of Inspiration Campaign. Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one inspiring story each day, followed by an action item you can take to make the world a better place. You can read more about the series here

*gig12daysofinspirationlogo-2Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:

In this video, Toan and some Gigsters visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.

Movie Director Discovers The Meaning Of Life

Movie director Tom Shadyac—best known for zany blockbuster comedies like Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty—inhabited a world many of us would envy, adorned by a lucrative Hollywood career, extravagant 17,000-square-foot mansion and even a private jet.

Then one day, everything changed. Shadyac took a nasty head-banging fall off his bicycle leaving him with debilitating post-concussion syndrome, agonizing symptoms and no guarantee he’d ever recover. As Shadyac says, “After several months of torture, I welcomed death.”

But unexpectedly, Shadyac began to heal and with it came a newfound sense of urgency to share the revelations he discovered during his turmoil: namely that the prizes and wealth he had amassed weren’t all they were cracked up to be. And since it was the world—media, culture, school—that sent young Tom a clear message that winning and getting lots of cool stuff would make him really happy  (newsflash—it didn’t), he was compelled to explore two heavyweight questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do about it?

To figure it all out, Shadyac did what he does best. He grabbed a camera and a film crew to document his conversations with prominent thinkers such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, biologist Elisabet Sahtouris and linguist Noam Chomsky in a search to better understand life. The interviews in I AM are illuminating, thought provoking and ultimately hopeful, with a particularly eloquent Thom Hartmann beautifully articulating the nuance of his ideas.

Yet what struck me most about I AM was Shadyac himself. Through his storytelling, he takes the audience on a journey that is both deeply personal and unabashedly generous. We watch as he emerges from a painful injury and uses it as an opportunity to rediscover who he is and what matters most. Despite his Hollywood credentials, Shadyac comes across as a relatable everyman. Like Tom, how many of us have won the thing we most wanted—whether a job, relationship or possession—only to find its allure wanes over time? Then we feel driven to search for the next big thing that will make us happy again. That search is so common, there’s even a name for it. Psychologists call it the hedonic treadmill.

In I AM, the earnest Shadyac jumps off his shiny hedonic treadmill and makes a stunning decision that is at the heart of this film. As he describes it, “Something happened that forced me to rethink my priorities and take a sharp turn into uncharted territory.”

Often when we’re in “uncharted territory” and creating a completely new paradigm for our lives, as Shadyac is, we need to call in the troops to help us make sense of it all. And I believe that’s what these interviews do for the likeable Shadyac. He’s seeking evidence that he’s on the right track. And as we watch his life unfold in a new direction, I get the feeling he truly is.

The film is superbly photographed by Roko Belic who is seen briefly on camera. Interestingly, Shadyac executive produced Belic’s own documentary Happy, an exploration into the stories and science of human happiness. It appears that Shadyac is on a heartfelt mission to use film as a vehicle to not only entertain, but to stimulate a conversation with a higher purpose, and I applaud him for that.

I AM won’t give you all the answers to life, but it will inspire you with new and fascinating questions to ponder. And I think that’s exactly what Shadyac wants.

Want to watch I AM for free? GaiamTV is making the movie available for Intent readers who sign up for a 10-trial. You can stream the film — and get access hundreds of other inspirational documentaries, yoga classes, and lectures — with a free 10-day trial:

 

How to Overcome Energetic Constipation and Open Your Heart

The GaiamTV interview series features in-depth conversations with some of the nation’s top yoga instructors and wellness experts. GaiamTV is a lifestyle media website that features thousands of online videos and yoga classes designed “to nourish your mind, body, and soul.” Our first interview this week is with Tommy about his video, Heart of Gold Flow.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Tommy.

Of course. Sorry this took so long!

We wanted to speak with you about your video, Heart of Gold Flow, which is focused on opening the space of the heart. Why did you think this area of the body, in particular, would be so important to help people open?

All disease comes from some form of constipation, which we experience in the bowels, in our veins and arteries, in our lungs, in other organ systems, or in energetic channels (nadis) of the body. Constipation in the arteries and veins that lead to and from the heart cause major problems. We want to avoid this.

On a purely physical level, the heart just runs and runs. It is a miracle engine that constantly pumps blood and oxgen to all the cells of our body. Keeping it happy and sailing along smoothly is a good use of time and focus.

Energetically speaking, an open heart means a good clean flow of energy in and out. When the heart can receive and emit communication well, really good things happen.

Emotionally speaking, having an open heart means we can receive and give love, establish healthy and loving relationships, and also experience the fullness of being alive (with everything good and challenging that comes with that).

Also, let’s remember that the heart produces the most powerful emanation from the body — 5000 times more powerful than the energy emitted form our brain. I think of the heart as the center point of our radiance and thus, as responsible for our outward projection into the world.

How has the practice you share in this video been important for your personal journey?

My journey has been one of personal transformation from the darkness of addiction into the light of recovery. Another way of looking at this is to see it as a movement from a mind-centered existence to a heart-centered one.

Yet another way of seeing this is from the perspective of the chakra system. All the energetic centers of the body have importance, and the 4th chakra is the Anahata — or heart energy center. This is where one can make decisions based on the calling of one’s highest self. In active addiction, it is impossible for people to access their highest self. It is as if the pure essence of the self is locked behind a door, and they do not seem to have the key.

I am not certain that yoga or in particular, The Heart of Gold Flow, will liberate someone from addiction. The path of recovery is more complex than that. What I can share though is that once a person has a footing in recovery they can strengthen their position on the path through this practice.

What was your intent in sharing Heart of Gold Flow with a wider community?

We all have heard the phrase, “To Follow One’s Heart.” 

This is how we want to live our life, if only we can access that part of ourself. My hope is that everyone can experience they joy and awesome results of this practice. Physically, it will strengthen you. It will give you mental clarity. And it will open your heart in ways you will deeply appreciate.

The Heart of Gold Flow is for everyone. It is a tool on the path to awareness. I hope people love it!

We recommend:

Heart of Gold Flow with Tommy Rosen

Painful emotions make us round forward to protect our heart. Focus on this important area as you move through slow, precise Sun Salutations, making every movement have a breath and every breath have a movement. All levels, including beginners.


Try Tommy’s Heart of Gold for FREE here:

Check out the other interviews in this series:

The Fire of Transformation with Kia Miller

Rodney Yee on What Makes Yoga Powerful

Jill Miller on Yoga, Weight Loss, & Eating Disorders

Kathryn Budig on Aiming True & The Path of Love

Seane Corn on Detoxing the Mind and Body

How to Cultivate Core Strength with Sadie Nardini

Evolutionary Enlightenment with Andrew Cohen

How Yoga Could Help This Year’s Olympic Athletes

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