Author: nadjalalvani

Mindful Monday: Receive 


Happy Monday, lovely ones! Another spectacular week and weekend in the books! I hope your week was as lovely as you. 

I celebrated another trip around the sun last week — my birthday is always a time for reflection for me. Another year older and wiser. And a perfect time to check in with myself and to own ALL of my stuff. It’s super easy for me to own the seemingly “bad” and “negative” parts. I tend to dismiss the “good” and “positive.” But I’m practicing owning it all without labels or judgements. Soaking everything in as an opportunity for continued awareness and growth – therefore it’s all good! Painful things help me grow. Amazing blessings soften me with gratitude. 

This year, I worked very hard to practice receiving. A dear friend of mine challenged me to only RECEIVE on my birthday. Wow! That’s a tough gauntlet thrown down!

I realized that so often people try to “give” me a compliment, and it’s so difficult for me to receive it that I end up rejecting the compliment and often times unintentionally offending the giver! How insane is that?! But isn’t it so hard to just smile sincerely, receive the offering and intention, and simply say, “Thank you?”

I had to remind myself that  giving and receiving  is a dynamic universal exchange. It’s part of the yin (receive) and yang (give) of life. You can’t give without someone to receive. And you can’t receive if nothing is offered. We need both. 

So how could I practice truly receiving the tremendous outpouring of love that flooded my life on that day? 

Yes, yes, yes gratitude for sure! But even with gratefulness in my heart, was I truly receiving the offering?

The art of receiving demands some serious yoga discipline. First, we must have the awareness to recognize that something is been offered. Someone is trying to give you something. In my case, each happy birthday greeting and gift was an offering of love and appreciation.  Secondly, we must practice being open to truly hear and see and feel the offering — this requires STILLNESS. Third, we cultivate gratitude for the intention behind the offering. So… you’re all with me so far, right? Seems simple and straightforward. 

The fourth step is the most challenging for me. It’s to actually fully absorb and assimilate and accept what I’m being offered. And that means that I have to feel deserving of love and appreciation. To feel truly worthy to receive the remarkable gifts offered. 

The word “receive” comes from the Latin word recipere, which means “to take back.” This implies that what we receive is already ours in the sense that we do, indeed, deserve it, that it completes something within us, or simply that we’ve attracted it by the nature of our being.

In the picture above, I’m practicing the art of receiving from my dear friend Sarah P. The benefit of being able to receive in this pose is that physically my body can fold more deeply. But Sarah is offering so much more with this adjustment– she’s offering her love and support for my well-being and my practice. The more I opened and received, the more relaxed and truly nourished and fulfilled I felt. 

Receiving is a yoga practice in itself! The more we cultivate the art of receiving, we become more in tuned with the abundance the universe offers us each moment, each day. 

Have a great week, Yogi friends! 

Mindful Monday: Mother Nature 

Good morning, Mindful ones! Since the spectacular total solar eclipse last month, Mother Nature has been quite busy! 

A string of hurricanes, wildfires and even an earthquake has dominated our news feeds, our minds and hearts the past few weeks. Many of us have family, friends and other relations who have been affected by this onslaught of natural disasters in various parts of our country and even beyond our national borders. 

It is heartbreaking to see the chaos and terror so many people experienced or are currently experiencing trying to anticipate how and if these storms will ravage their homes and businesses. And the aftermath – picking up the pieces; surviving without power and shortages of the basic necessities. 

Scary and uncertain times for sure. It leaves us feeling helpless. The weather is beyond human control. So what can we do? We just clutch our loved ones a little tighter. We find so much more gratitude for what we do have. 

We find ways to connect with humanity – perhaps you’ve already made a donation online or have participated in a food or clothing drive led by your school or church or even a place you shop. You’ve reached out to loved ones to monitor their safety and well-being. 

In times like these, we also tend to renew our faith – whatever higher power you believe. God, Universe, Spirit, Nature. The acknowledgment that we as human beings cannot control or predict this powerful force called Life. 

But we have infinite power in how we choose to act and react to any given situation. And as humans, we all deal with threats and fear so differently. 

My brother lived in Miami for many years, and they would actually have hurricane parties during times like these! 


And this image of golfers continuing their golf game with wildfires raging behind them gives me goosebumps! 

During times like this, we witness the rise of the human spirit. Endless stories of folks opening their homes to strangers. Sharing what little they have with those in need.

 Nature is the great equalizer: rich or poor; male or female; gay or straight; Asian or white; evil or good; none of this matters to the storms that are descending upon us. And perhaps that’s the point?

Let’s continue to offer our thoughts and prayers for the safety and well-being of all life – human and otherwise. And of course getting on your mat a few times this week will always help to put things in perspective.  

Mindful Monday: Labor Day

Happy Labor Day, friends! Yikes! This three day weekend got me confused. Lol. So this is coming a wee bit later than normal. 

These long weekends are hopefully filled with good times. And that means different things for different people. 

Some of us may enjoy being surrounded by family and friends at the lake or in someone’s backyard. Others may enjoy the downtime to simply get re-grounded and relax. For me, the best is a balance between both. 

Labor Day is meant to honor the laborers, the backbone of our country. The hard working men and women and their contributions to the strength, success and prosperity of our nation. 

The word Labor is also applied to any hard work, especially that requiring physical exertion. Like childbirth. Or teaching yoga. 😜

I think of Labor as an expression of love. Anything that we undertake that challenges us, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally takes focus and dedication. It IS work. But within that work carries the seeds of  growth and transformation. 

We get to witness the fruits of our own Labor. And we experience the pure joy of time spent doing, feeling, contributing, giving and just being alive. 

However you have chosen to spend this weekend, perhaps you even worked today, I hope it is something that feeds your soul, honors your spirit and makes your heart happy. 

In case you’re wondering why the image of the Rock was selected for Labor Day … the pic should speak for itself. ❤️

 

Mindful Monday: Keep Your Head Up 


Good morning, my lovely mindful ones! Happiest of Mondays to you. I hope you had a lovely week and weekend. 

Last Monday I shared with you the erratic emotional swings I experienced leading up to the eclipse. This past week was filled with moments of pure sublime joy and happiness. I had such moments of clarity and peace that I was truly present for. 

That’s not to say that each and every moment was like that. On the contrary, I had the usual “ups and downs.” Whatever I’m feeling, I feel it so very deeply! Heartbreak is a physical pain in my chest. Happiness makes my heart want to leap out through my sternum. I literally lose my vision when I’m angry! I can’t see straight. And sadness, it overwhelms me to my core. When I miss someone (and there is someone in my life I miss terribly) my entire body weeps. But then life will send me something to laugh about and my body will vibrate with it. And when I feel love …. ahhhhhh. My heart belts out an opera solo. 


Last week, I was somehow able to pull myself back and stay a little more connected to this underlying current of endless peace and happiness.  It’s so different than the roller coaster of moment to moment emotions. It’s steady. It’s always there. Just beneath the surface. It’s your soul. 

It’s why we love yoga so much.  Yoga gives us a taste of our authentic state of being. Even while we struggle to hold a challenging pose, we connect to sense of beauty in the struggle. We feel without a doubt that we can endure anything for five breaths. 

In my my moments of sadness and despair last week, I reminded myself that I could only feel the depth of such sadness because I know the incredible highs of happiness. My despair was because of my extreme optimism. My loneliness was because of my deep connections in my relationships. We simply cannot have one without the other, can we?

Whatever you’re suffering through my friend, you can always use the tools of our yoga practice to find stability. Just keep your head up. 

Or. This. 

What does a nosy pepper do?

Get jalapeño business! 

Have a great week!! See you on your mat!

Mindful Monday: the American eclipse

Good morning, mindful ones! Wow!  Today’s the big day! Total solar eclipse! This is such a significant event astrologically, astronomically, scientifically and spiritually. On all levels of our human existence. 

This is an electrically charged time in our lives. Perhaps you’ve been feeling it over the past week building up to today?

I certainly had an interesting week. I was super edgy and agitated all of last week. I spent a lot of time trying to stay grounded and rooted. Even with my calming practices, I was supersensitive to a sense of chaos surrounding me. Many things came into my life to “trigger” some of my deep-seated and outdated mental and emotional patterns. 

Emotionally I vacillated between old patterns of anger and hostility to overwhelming sadness and despair. Many times last week I was caught off guard with straight up sobbing and ugly crying every time I went into a forward fold on my mat. I practiced being gentle  and being so compassionate with myself. And I also felt overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love and support surrounding and enfolding me. 

Which makes so much sense! This total  solar eclipse is comparable to the beginning of a new year. The energy of change and transformation is so abundant right now! We must feel and experience stale patterns in order to facilitate letting them go. 

Here are a few things you can do to take full advantage of this rare phenomenon. 

This is the time to write down new intentions and goals. Harness  this energy for self-transformation. 

If you have malas, let them sit outside and soak in this powerful energy. You can do the same thing with water and any healing stones you have.  I have mine all set to go today!

Meditate during this powerful time.  Get synced within yourself. And then sync up with the universe. 

Be safe! Only look at the sun with protective glasses on, please!

Connect with others. Truly meaningfully connect  with those around you. 

Take great care of yourself today. Stay hydrated. Protect yourself from stressful situations and people. Get a massage. Make sure you have enough downtime. Definitely take a yoga class!

Practice forgiveness. This is a fresh start for you. Release any resentments you’re harboring. This is for YOU to feel light and happy and free. That other person will deal with his or her own karma. It’s not for you to administer karma, right? 

Get grounded. Spend some time with your butt directly on the earth. Walk barefoot in the grass. 


I would love to hear from you about any rituals you performed during this auspicious time! 

Here’s to a fresh new start for us all!

Anicca! Anicca! Anicca! Be happy! Be happy! Be happy!

Mindful Monday: Yoga is the Answer


Happy Monday, oh mindful ones! Summer is certainly marching right along. It’s so crazy that my son starts his junior year on Wednesday! And even crazier is this total solar eclipse coming next week! This is such an emotionally and energetically charged time for us. 

I have found throughout my dozen years of practicing yoga that it has been the most stabilizing and therapeutic answer to any life question. 

Each time I unroll my mat, the familiarity of that simple action resonates to the core of my heart! How many thousands of times have I performed that simple action in my life? And in how many dozens of studios throughout the world – from Miami and NYC to LA and Santa Monica. On a rooftop in New Delhi at dawn. In a studio in Ho Chi Min taught entirely in Vietnamese! And so many other corners of our beautiful Earth.

Yet that initial action, and all that follow it, exists in a sacred space, an entire universe, on my beloved mat. When the madness of the world has invaded my lovely precious bubble, and I have allowed others’ negativity and self-loathing and misery to permeate my equanimity, I can ALWAYS roll out my mat and let it all go. 

My mat has supported me through heartbreak, total sublime happiness, guilt, anger, bliss, excitement, fear and self-doubt. The one thing that is consistent is the impermanence of each emotion…whether the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, nothing endures! 

That simple reminder of the nature of life – it goes on! – grounds me firmly back in ‘yathabhuta’ reality ‘as it is’ not how I wish it to be! And the ultimate universal truth: All I need for true happiness can be found ONLY WITHIN and ONLY BY ME.

So whatever your question or  current struggle, go get on your mat, where you will receive all of life’s answers. 

Yoga is the answer. Question is irrelevant. 

Mindful Monday: Yoga off your mat


Good morning, mindful ones! I have a question for you … do you practice yoga off of your mat?  And I don’t mean doing yoga poses in public and taking pictures- though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Our practice isn’t confined to the mat or to the poses we create with our bodies. It’s designed to spill over into our daily lives. 

As we learn kindness, tolerance, compassion and love towards ourselves, naturally these attributes overflow from our hearts and encompass all of those around us.  

As you go about your day today, can you see all the ways yoga has profoundly impacted your life? It’s easy to get focused on the physical practice; I was personally stuck there for many years. When we start to see our  yoga off of our mats, we know that the practice is working. 

Just for today, take interest in everything around you. Observe the sunset. Be a spectator of today’s’ lunar eclipse. Be kind to strangers. Be patient with annoying people. Let that aggressive driver merge front of you. Basically don’t be a jerk. 


Have a great week, friend! See you on your mat. You still have almost 2 weeks to finish the summer challenge!

Namaste 🙏🏾 

Mindful Monday: How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

Good morning, mindful ones! 

Have you ever noticed that how you do anything is how you do everything? Notice how you eat, breathe, move, speak, listen, kiss;  how you walk and move your body. How you greet each morning. 

It’s fascinating to get to know yourself in detail. 

From this space of observation, you will discover your deepest thought patterns. You will uncover and uproot unhealthy habits and patterns from deep within and reconnect with the newness of life. 

You will remember how beautiful and strong and worthy you are. Worthy to love and be loved. Worthy of every single compliment you receive. Worthy of success and hard work. Worthy of your practice. Worthy of each breath you take. 

So give yourself some space to watch yourself. You already know the way; as you pause and notice each breath, each bird chirping outside, each single moment of your life. Here is where all of the answers lie. 

How you change anything is how you change everything. One single breath, one day, one yoga practice at a time. 

Your mat is the perfect place to get to know yourself! The real you. 

Mindful Monday: Storms 

Good morning, Yogi friends! Happy Mindful Monday 🙏🏾

Wow – we witnessed some powerful storms this past weekend! I was driving through what felt like a tornado on Sunday. Visibility was zero; the rain was coming down in huge moving sheets; trees were dancing erratically and shedding huge branches in the middle of the street; the wind was formidable; streets were beginning to flood. 

I was pretty frightened to be honest. I was unsure about whether to keep driving slowly or to turn around and head back. This patch of weather seemed endless, but I really wanted to get home. So I slowly and steadily continued on my path home. I turned on AM radio try to get some guidance from the weather report,  but it proved unhelpful. 

It took forever to travel a few miles, but the weather started to ease up a bit. Now I could see the damage done but this violent storm. Trees uprooted and branches flung everywhere. I felt a sense of calmness and relief that the storm had passed through. 

Sometimes life gives us these types of  huge thunderstorms – sudden onslaughts that darken the sky and threaten our stability and confidence. They come in many forms: betrayals, financial challenges, losing a loved one, depression, sadness. 

 We absolutely cannot stop or calm these storms that appear.  This is where we learn to calm ourselves, because we know the storm will pass. 

There are so many things we will only learn during the stormy times. And sometimes we need the energy and force of a storm to rip unnecessary things from their roots and carry them away. And the subsequent rains provide such a cleansing effect. And we emerge stronger, wiser and more peaceful. 

The sun is shining brightly as I write this! I definitely appreciate its beauty and warmth so profoundly in this moment. Have a great week, yogis!

Mindful Monday: Yoga is the Answer

Yoga is like the surface of water. When our minds are calm and still, our practice reflects back to us life exactly as it is

Happy mindful Monday, y’all! We are starting week two of our summer challenge – those stickers are looking good on those boards! 

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 12 years now.   As I look back on my practice, I can see that it has always met me exactly where I happened to be in my life. Yoga has only one expectation: show up on your mat. Exactly as you are. 

In the beginning, I was a newly divorced mother of a young boy in a high pressure career trying to piece my life back together. Yoga offered me space to build strength and confidence. 
Through the subsequent ups and downs of life, yoga always provided exactly what I needed for myself. During “good” times, my practice was pure joy and lightness. During challenging times, a place of safety and solace. 

No matter what’s going on in my life at any given moment, yoga is always the answer. It is an opportunity to connect deeply within and anchor yourself through the daily fluctuations of life. 

It’s important to remember that yoga is a tree with deep roots and tall branches. We must measure our growth as a whole – our asanas (poses) comprise only 12.5% of our complete practice! 

Whatever you are experiencing in your life, let yoga be your answer. Consistent practice of all eight limbs provides the sweetest fruits and flowers of life. 

Have a great week, yogis! See you on your mat!