ellavate yoga blogI’ve been observing myself and noticing what thoughts I allow into my mind.  What mental images and stories that go along with my thoughts do I entertain?  Do my mental images line up with my bigger picture of staying in the flow of life?  Am I helping create my future or hindering my own process?  

As I was sitting with these questions and observing myself, I noticed how ridiculous my thoughts can be.  Just this morning, while playing fetch with Anjali in our backyard, I heard an airplane go by—this is pretty normal where I live.  For a moment, I decided that the next thing to annoy me will be airplanes.  In the future, I will be annoyed by the noise of airplanes and therefore I will need to move from this little back house that I currently love so much.  In the future, I have decided that I will be annoyed!  I laughed at how ridiculous this declaration was on this beautiful morning and placed my attention back on the beauty surrounding me.

There’s a story about a student asking Socrates how wisdom might be attained.  Socrates took the student to a fountain and told him to submerge his head in water—whereby Socrates continued to hold the student’s head down until the poor guy was struggling for air.  When the student finally managed to escape, Socrates told him that when his desire for wisdom is equaled his desire to breathe, wisdom would follow. 

The gift and the curse of life is that you have the power to choose.  The power to create.  What thoughts are you entertaining?  

You must observe yourself and become the gatekeeper of your mind.

-Ella

In the summer of 2011, with $187 to my name, I bought a one-way plane ticket from Portland to Los Angeles.  I always dreamed of living in LA and waking up to sunshine every day!

Last week, I half-jokingly texted my family saying I’m ready to buy a one-way ticket back to Portland!  This is not because I feel defeated by Los Angeles. It’s just realizing that the city no longer meets my needs.

I have never lived in one place as long as I have lived in Los Angeles.  This “belly of the beast” as I call it, is a wonderful, tough, and unpredictable son-of-a-bitch that will eat you up, spit you out, and then ask: how badly do you want this?  You would have to live here to understand this city: a weekend bus tour does not count!  But I’m grateful for this beautiful beast because in many ways it has been very good to me and shown me how strong I truly am.  

What has kept me here is my career and the wonderful community I’ve built the past 9 years teaching yoga.  I would like you to think about your environment. Is it meeting your needs?

Continue reading EVERYTHING HAS ITS SEASON

I try to remind students (and myself) that we are much more alike than we are different.  I ask them to breathe together, as you never know how much the reminder of breath is helping the student next to you get through a challenging life moment.  I know what its like to what ifyourself to death, to live in a state of fear and anxiety where it feels like making a decision will leave you paralyzed. But I’ve been grateful lately to also experience pure joy and bliss where the mind is empty and quiet and there is no desire to be anywhere other than the current place and moment.

Continue reading BE IN THE GAME OF LIFE

I recently went to Portland to see my family and in particular, all my nieces and nephews who vary in age, from the youngest currently in the belly to the oldest being 6.  They are the cutest little beings and when we are all together sharing a meal, I like to call it controlled chaos. What I hear the most when the kids start to whine and cry leading to bigger fits, is my sisters’ asking them to “identify their needs” by saying, “Use your

words.”  

Continue reading IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS

Recently I started reading and also doing Julia Camerons book called The Artist Way.  The book kept showing up in my path so I figured I should listen to that message.  From the start of the book, you have to commit to three pages of free flow writing daily which has taken me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  On top of that, you also have to take yourself on an Artist’s Datewhich is another two-hour commitment per week.  My initial enthusiasm quickly got replaced by a sense of dread as I had just added another thing to my ever-growing to-dolist.  Im big on efficiency so I really started questioning if this was the best use of my time before getting started.  Im also extremely curious and curiosity won out.  I was interested to see if a successful book like this with such amazing testimonials, would work on me or perhaps for me.

Continue reading Unlock Your Inner Genius