Years ago, I attended a yoga retreat in Costa Rica that changed my life. Actually, it changed my diet, which changed my life. I learned and loved using the words PURA VIDA every chance I could get. This familiar phrase in their community, used as a greeting, means PURE LIFE. I had been practicing yoga for a while, however, I had not really paid much attention to the part of yoga that calls for PURITY in all things – including every single thing I put in my body.. This concept, called Shaucha, is one of the commandments of the yoga lifestyle and spending two weeks eating only pure, clean foods left me feeling light and focused and even my eyes were brighter. Yoga was always meant to be for the whole of us, our BODY, MIND and SPIRIT.
Yoga works from the inside OUT. The postures are used as a symbol of the purification process. For the BODY, several of the poses involve twists to wring out, massage and strengthen muscles, tissues and organs. Deep breathing, historically, is designed to build heat and burn off toxins. Try sitting still and breathing deeply and audibly in and out of your nose, like you are trying to fog a mirror, for 5 minutes. Make the inhale and exhale even and long, maybe count up 8 and down 8 – notice the heat that is built inside!
Like we clean our exterior, this practice of internal cleansing is up to the yogi on their mat and is truly a limitless practice. Since my body is the house for my soul, it makes sense that I would clean all the closets! Following a clean diet and meditation has helped me feel a clear MIND too. Meditation allows me to slow down enough to see and filter the thoughts I am having and notice what I am allowing in. It can be extremely tricky for me to sit still; I set a timer and sit with my eyes closed, straight posture with an open heart and open hands. As challenging as it is, I have found it to be extremely rewarding to get quiet once a day.
I have heard it said that our prayers are when we talk to God and meditation is when we LISTEN. At any rate, practicing purity has allowed me to feel less clutter and more clarity SPIRITUALLY. One of my favorite scriptures says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” One of the thousand things I love about yoga is its constant evolution and getting to see and define my practice for myself. AND, it is an honor as a teacher to witness the different ways each individual chooses their practice and how they bring it into the community. Whatever yours is, I hope you celebrate it!
Along these lines, I feel fortunate to represent the call to purity in the community as an Ambassador for things I believe in. I LOVE JUICE BAR was an easy decision as I found myself in the store trying everything on the menu from the day they opened. All of the ingredients are pure and a cup of green juice (my favorite is the Ginger Greens) is more energy than a cup of coffee for me. AND, since I love coffee too, they even have a smoothie with cold brewed coffee that is heaven to me! Removing anything fake from my diet has left me feeling more real and awake. Cleaning up your act pays off – more than just being a poser!
Pura Vida and CHEERS!