by Awilda Rivera
originally published in Aquarius Magazine in 2016
For the last 12 months, we have explored questions around the practice, purpose and benefits of Yoga Asana. We have taken time to explore some of the philosophical underpinnings of this historically rich tradition; and we have also discussed how to identify & begin a physical yoga practice that resonates with your soul. Yet, we have only begun to scatch the surface. All we have discussed relate primarily to the physical practice of Yoga Asana and all that comes with it.
The question remains: Can Yoga exist off the Mat, with out Asana being involved?
Yes! There are several types of Yoga that exist. As westerners we are most commonly acquainted with Hatha & Raja Yoga. Hatha & Raja Yoga contain an essential element of physicality that is very attractive to busy people in the west who are looking to exercise their body in an intentional. It is through this intentional exercise that they hope to achieve balance, increased self-awareness, and ideally inner peace – also know as enlightenment.
Bahkti Yoga exists devoid of required physicality. It is known as: The Yoga of Love, The Yoga of Devotion, The Yoga of Devotion To God. Ultimately, this is the Yoga of Surrender to the Divine. There is neither a Diety in particular to whom you must devote yourself, nor one idea; however, in order to surrender completely you must devote yourself to something greater than yourself. The devotion to something greater need not take a shape or personage, but it can be simply embracing the Divine Love and connection we all share OR the Beauty of Nature all around us in every living thing.
In a modern western world, it is understandable that we modify the application of the ancient principles of Bahkti Yoga to fit our realistic needs. Therefore you many not feel called to sing Kirtan, chant mantras every morning, or set an altar with deities to whom you pray directly… and that’s OK! There are may ways you can tap into the spirit of Bahkti Yoga such as: volunteering, giving food to the homeless, dedicating the energy your physical Yoga practice to someone who is in need, interacting with all around you from a place of unconditional love & non-judgment, or immersing yourself in nature so that you can appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
Bahkti Yoga is not a RELIGION. It is just another avenue available to those who are looking to connect with the Divine through a unity with the world around them. While I would certainly encourage you all to experience a Kirtan performance and research mantras, I understand that for some of you that will not resonate. The great news is that in this brave new world, we have the opportunity to take the powerful ideas of Bahkti Yoga: Love – Devotion – Connection with the Divine, and find ways in our everyday lives to organically engage in this fulfilling and empowering practice. How will you bring a little Bhakti Yoga into your life?
Until next time…. Namaste!!
 You may be unfamiliar with Raja Yoga, however it is the Original Form of classical Yoga from which 90% of yoga lineages found in west were derived. It is also known as the ‘8 limbed path’ of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is more commonly known as ‘Sun Moon’ Yoga as is focused on using the body as a vehicle to transform the conscious of an individual.
by Awilda Rivera
A deeper dive into one of the most fundamental Success Tips. These tips are shared regularly in the Success Suite - a 100% free closed facebook group lead by me. Interested in more tips and advice around how to use them? Join the Success Suite today!
Whats does “Success” mean to you? Are you already successful? Are there things you still wish to achieve? More importantly, are you clear on your Vision of Success – not only long-term but in the immediate future?
The thought of all the work associated with getting clear on your vision may scare you, it may even make you uncomfortable. However, having Clarity of Vision is essential to your success.
Let me be clear. I don’t mean that your vision is static or etched in stone. Your Vision can be flexible, it will change and evolve over time. The clarity I am referring to relates to your definition, direction, desire & intent.
Success is a big idea. It is very easy to confuse success with the practice of relentlessly striving for more. In order for you to strive for success you must define success for yourself. However, you must be willingly to bravely ask yourself the hard questions:
The answers you get to these questions will help to inform your definition of Success. Once you have an idea of what Success means to you, you can then start to clarify what the reality of Success would look like for you in the short & long term.
It may be easier for you to envision the longterm Success – a reality comfortably divorced from your present because so much must be done before you can get there. While it is good to dream big, you must also ground yourself in what the reality of now. The Big Dream (long term vision) helps you get clear on your intention:
Ex 1: I want to run a 7 figure business with international distribution and 5-7 employees by 2019.
In the example above, the intent to is run a profitable business that reaches 7 figures by 2019, and concurrently expand the company to 5-7 employees in an effort to meet the potential growing needs of that business.
The short term vision of Success is critically important. It helps you to begin to identify the little wins that are necessary to achieve your Big Dream. Understanding the Little Wins (short term vision) help you to find the direction that will lead you more easily to your BIG DREAM (long term vision) :
Ex. 2: I want to become a trusted expert in my industry, building relationships with influences and brands
that can grow my exposure. As I build credibility, I want to release content that support my expert status
and draws more people to my brand who wish to engage with brand at a high level through product and
In example 2, The Little Wins (short term) direction would be to tackle projects that would increase exposure, build brand credibility and position you as an expert. Direction is critical because in order to be able to adjust you have to know where you were originally headed. One of the biggest challenges for Entrepreneurs and Professionals focused on growth is a lack of focused effort. When you are trying so many different approaches at once, it will be difficult for any one approach to gain any meaningful traction.
Therefore having a long term vision is good, taking the time to develop your short term vision is essential. Each plays a necessary role in helping you to get clear on your intent & direction.
The final factor in establishing a clear Vision is your Desire. You have taken the time to define success, assess what will be required to achieve it , now its time for you to decide if you are willing to commit to it. DESIRE is everything! With out the desire to do whatever it takes, overcome the inevitable obstacles that await, remain enthusiastic, be disciplined and follow through Success will continuously elude you. YOU HAVE TO WANT TO TAKE ACTION! If Desire is missing then the probability of success is significantly decreased, if not completely cancelled out. Think I am being dramatic?
Consider this, when was the last time you succeeded at a task or project you had no desire to complete? You may have completed it because you had to for work or school, but was it a success? Did you do your best work? Was it a positive experience? I bet that the answer to at least 1 of these questions is NO.
Ultimately, in order to set our selves up to experience Success in a way that satisfies your spirit one must:
Are ready to dive in & get clear? TAKE THE PLUNGE. You have everything to gain and only fear to lose. Feel like you need help with this? Contact me!
by Awilda Rivera
originally published in Aquarius Magazine in 2016
There are a million Yoga Magazines, Websites and Home resources these days. The availability of DIY Yoga has provided many with a low cost introduction to Yoga Asana & Philosophy. The prevalence of these resources has created a false sense of security for those who avoid Yoga Studios like the plague. Many ask: “Why pay for a class at a Yoga Studio when I can get a Yoga YouTube video for Free?”
The truth is Yoga Asana can cause injury if not done properly. Over the last 10 years there has been considerable debate and discussion about the dangers of Yoga. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, one thing is undeniable: One can get hurt practicing Yoga incorrectly.
Any activity where you are engaging in physical movement can cause injury. Although Yoga is low impact, the risk of injury is still present. Even the most basic Asana can injure you, if done improperly. Learning the safest way to move into & hold a Downward Dog is something that is difficult to learn from a video or magazine. One may look at a picture of a person in Downward Dog and think, “Oh that’s easy! All I have to do is put my self in a Upside Down ’V’ shape.” However, incorrectly holding Downward dog over time can cause serious rotator cuff, elbow, wrist and shoulder problems. I am not suggesting that one must execute the pose perfectly to avoid injury, but rather that an awareness of proper alignment is essesential to a safe & sustainable Yoga Asana practice.
Many of you are thinking, “For $20 a class I’ll take my chances and move slowly through a FREE Yoga video.” I will admit initially I, too, let my opinion about how much Yoga Studio classes cost dictate how I felt about learning from a real person. I was completely opposed to paying any money to practice Yoga so I began to explore Youtube. Quickly, it became apparent that there was a wide variety of teachers & teaching styles available on the Web.
Left to my own devices, I risked it all as I dove into various styles. Determined to get the most out of the free internet resources I chose the most seemingly reputable teacher and practiced with the video. Lacking the guidance of a trained teacher, I forced myself into shapes, attempting to watch the computer and mimic the instructor. I was attempting to run with out knowing how to walk. Not only was I failing to get the most out of the free videos, but I also wasn’t learning anything. Ultimately, I was left with a sore wrist, achy lower back & more questions than answers about the appropriate way to practice Yoga Asana.
It was not until I attended my first studio classes that I became acquainted with the fundamental Yoga alignment principals through demonstration. It was invaluable to be able to watch a knowledgeable instructor perform the Asana and then have that instructor provide me with feedback about modifications that can help me achieve the posture more safely in my body. Additionally, the instructor’s reminders to “find your edge and pull back” were critical to the process of developing physical, muscular and sensory awareness in my body. “The most important reason a person should attend a studio class, is to learn what they should and should not be feeling in their body,” says Physical Therapist Kara Strauss. She adds, “having an experienced teacher look at your body & provide modifications can be the difference between a safe practice and getting hurt. The cost of rehabbing an injury is exponentially greater than the cost of attending a few yoga classes to learn the basics.”
There is nothing wrong with saving a few bucks and cultivating an Asana home practice. One must simply take the time to learn the basics from a knowledgeable, certified, professional so you have a strong foundation. If you lack an understanding of the fundamentals of Yoga alignment principals, and venture into the world of DIY Yoga, what you are risking could be worth more than the money you save by avoiding the studio. Spend the money & practice safe. Your body is worth it.
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**All blogs written by Awilda Rivera, unless otherwise indicated therein.