Happy Habits

This month we dive deep into our habits. Studies show that our habits are the single biggest predictor of happiness levels. Everything from eating, sleeping, topics of conversation, to even how we think, is a habit of some sort. So if we want a leap forward in life satisfaction, it’s worth while shedding light on the habits and how we can sweeten the deal... Read More


Inner Strength (June Theme)

Inner Strength!

Inner strength grows when you start to believe whole heartedly that absolutely no one or nothing has the power over your happiness but you.

When life feels off balance in some way, it's natural to look at our external circumstances and check to see if any change needs to be made. While it's true, making changes to our external lives can reflect intuitive direction toward continued growth, what happens when you've tried all the changes you could, externally, and something just still feels wrong?
Favorites Gallery-0013

This is the time to dig into your inner strength. Strength comes in many forms. One particular form is the strength to make deep internal shifts of thought and perspective. Look at where you feel unfulfilled and be honest with yourself as to what really needs to shift to attain the sense of "wholeness" you desire. Making changes from the inside will manifest bigger changes on the outside, than any externally driven changes could produce.  

I spent the last few months focusing on a lot of external forces. The things that stress me out, the lack of certain things, the heavy burden of other things I could not control... I kept looking outside and planned for big changes to fix this feeling inside that everything was wrong. 

But the external shifts I was proposing to myself were not helping me to feel more confident, happier or whole. So I started then to look within. I did some deep inner work, as to the nature of what I was looking for, and what was really getting in the way of it. As it turns out, the biggest obstacle wasn't all of these external things I thought they were. They were blocks inside: Doubts of my own power, worth, abilities, and potential.   I got underneath those doubts and held compassion for them, while systematically dissolving these untrue, unfounded thoughts.

Now, as I move forward, these deep inner changes are manifesting on the outside as well. It's really amazing how the way we see the world and ourselves in it, really does define reality. You can change the movie all together from a tragedy to a comedy, but not without being courageous and humble, and conjuring up your deepest inner strength.


Fortunately Fortunate.

In an article called "The Luck Factor" Richard Wiseman writes:
"My research revealed that lucky people generatearticle-2525602-1A2B2A3600000578-553_634x408
their own good fortune via four basic principles.
They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities,
make lucky decisions by listening to
their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via
positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude
that transforms bad luck into good.
Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people
consistently encounter such opportunities
whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a very
simple experiment to discover whether this was due
to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.
I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper,
and asked them to look through it and tell me
how many photographs were inside. On average,
the unlucky people took about two minutes to count
the photographs whereas the lucky people took just
seconds. Why? Because the second page of the
newspaper contained the message “Stop counting –
There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This
message took up half of the page and was written in
type that was over two inches high. It was staring
everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people
tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot
it. Just for fun, I placed a second large message half
way through the newspaper. This one announced:
“Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen
this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people
missed the opportunity because they were still too
busy looking for photographs. 
unlucky people miss chance opportunities
because they are too focused on looking for
something else. They go to parties intent on finding
their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to
make good friends. They look through newspapers
determined to find certain type of job advertisements
and as a result miss other types of jobs.
Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore
see what is there rather than just what they are
looking for.  
Click here for full article



I remember resisting gps navigation when first came out. I was used to taking a moment to looking at a map before I started my route, capturing a picture of it in my mind, plotting the turns and imagining the intersections. Giving myself a "feeling" of how long certain portions of the drive would be, and what landmarks to look out for that would precede turns. intuition
With gps, an external guide, there was something that felt strange about not carrying the bigger picture in my head. Not planning the whole route from beginning to end, mapped out in my mind and plugged into my own memory for guidance. I didn't want to let go of the process and be told what to do in the moment just as a turn was approaching. I wanted to know the next step, anticipate it, and be keenly aware of every moment of the journey.
Gps, felt lazy and out of control, but most importantly, made me feel like I wasn't creating a memory path in my mind. So that I could learn it, and over time rely on my internal computer to guide me with out my conscious mind having to think too much.
I think there's something to be said for exercising the muscle of the mind to create internal maps. There something intelligent that goes on in the process of tightly focusing on the intricate details of your life's journey for periods of time, as you learn the way, and develop a sense of the bigger picture of your world map.

The twists in plots, the dynamics of relating, the powerful moments of self expression, the humble moments of self reflection. All as you manifest your dreams one step at a time.

As learners and shakers on a soulful living path, this process is intentional and sweaty, AND it must eventually fall away. Just as in the driving scenario, where your mind over time of intent focus, learns a map of a city and eventually you could be dropped on any block of it, and find your way to where you want to go; so too, does your muscle of intuition get developed by skillfully witnessing yourself and your balance with the universe.
Watch what seems good, forward moving and on your best path, and learn to recognize the feelings associated with these subtleties. See the times you are in tune or out of tune. Then, and only then, you can let go during the moments of dis-tunement, and trust that though you may be lost, your internal Gps will right you again. You will have worked it enough to let go and be guided from within.

Its nice to be guided by a source greater than ourselves. But that source is not simply an external hand of God. It is a partnership of the world and you in it, learning each other's nuances, and perfecting your dance together. More and more over time, despite big challenges, the mind can step out of the way, and trust in the relationship your highest soulful self has created with the big picture of awesome outcomes.

Let the map and the traveler be one.


Self Care

This month's theme is

With all the sniffles and coughs going around, and the totally insane state of the country, it's time to step up your self care routine big time! It's amazing how our mental state can affect our health, so here's
3 tips for better self care!
1. Get better sleep: install blue light filters on phones and computers, eat your meals earlier in the day so your stomach is empty for sleep, and just plain go to bed earlier. You'd be surprised what an extra hour of rest can do for you!
2. News diet. Seriously people, we have to stay informed but it reaches a limit where watching this level of insanity as it plays out in the media and on our fb pages is just wreaking havoc on our nervous systems. Stay informed, take action where you can, and then take a break from it. It's stressing everyone out, and stress is our biggest health killer.
3. Meditation routine. Steal 10 minutes twice a day for a little "Mind-Cleanse." Simply close your eyes and watch your breath. You can even do this on the subway. To learn more, check out Ella's 4 day course starting next week! Or just drop on on Monday nights 8:30pm.

Be Well!


A New You

Happy New Year everyone...

The first breath: feel the wealth, the warmth and sweetness this life already holds for you...

Favorites Gallery-0029

Second, Third and beyond breaths: Envision all that you want to create this year. Breath life into each and every dream in your soul right now. See it feel it coming to life in the same way you feel the elements what you already have.

Time is circular. Your dreams have already happened in your heart, now your body gets to live them! It will take courage to bring them to life. And you may have to let go of somethings to make room...

Embrace the cool shadows that the warm light ahead of you will create, as some things you formerly cherished, humbly stand aside. A bigger picture is rising up on the horizon. Follow the flow into life's new reality. If you dreamed it it can't be wrong. Release doubt and float down the river. The ocean will catch you, and with its massive abundance, it will whisper in your ear, "thank you for trusting the journey, and welcome to your life."
I Love you. You can do this.


August Theme: Slow


Okay, New Yorkers, admit it: yogi or not, we’ve all had evil thoughts about that unwitting tourist we end up walking behind down the subway stairs. Even if you’re not running to get somewhere on time, New York trains you to have a certain gait that outpaces most all other people on the planet. Yeah, we live in that city.  What’s cool about it is we get more done in a minute than many do in an hour, but that speed catches up with you when you get to the end of your day and you can’t slow down or shut down. So we come to yoga and meditation to balance it all out.

A few weeks ago, an old knee injury started acting up again. I was in a great deal of pain. The only thing that would work to not aggravate it was to not go anywhere (not an option), or walk really really slowly. Slower than even the most relaxed person living in the deep south on the hottest day of the year. Yeah, that slow.

You can imagine what an odd thing it was to slow down that much. As a New Yorker, I was careful to move out of the way as the typical Ferrari-paced person needed to pass. But almost right away, I started to really enjoy myself. As I walked down a street in Brooklyn, I looked up at the sky, took in the breeze, and noticed the colors on the buildings.  Then something else started to happen. My brain waves became smooth. Not slow, or spacey, actually smooth and clear. All of the stuff on my mind stopped rattling around in a disorderly jumble and started to organize itself like rambunctious kids who finally found their place on stage in the school play.  Something else happened. I heard my breath. I was actually breathing all the way down into my lungs the way I do and teach every day in yoga.

Thich Naht Hahn, a world renowned spiritual leader, guides a beautiful meditation called the “Walking Meditation.” I’ve shared it to many students when we go to the ashram and are walking through the fresh green forest. But I’ve never done it in the city. I could feel my pulse slow, I could feel my cortisol (stress hormone) levels dropping, and my eyes began to see the world through a shine as when I’m in yoga class, or out in nature.

For all the philosophical perspectives I’ve learned and taught to buffer our sensitive systems from metropolitan madness, this very odd, accidental practice had more real physical and mental affect than any of them. Once again, I’m shown that our injuries can be wonderful teachers.

Studies show that slowing down, for even just a small period of time, has been correlated with better decision making, higher levels of creativity, and increased problem solving skills. Taking it slow can also increase our attunement to each other, causing a positive effect on our relationships. In their book “How Words Change your Brain” authors Andrew Newberg and  Mark Robert introduce the practice of Slow Speech. In my yoga class this week I had students take a few minutes to tell a partner about a current challenge in their life speaking one word at a time, at a pace of about half as fast as we usually speak. Students reported feeling a sense of ease surrounding a problem that had been causing them stress, and also a greater appreciation and connection to the person they were listening to.

That day on the sidewalk, my friend who was meeting me for dinner had seen me coming from the restaurant window. When I got there she laughed and said she’d knew better than to wonder if I’d taken drugs, but that’s still what it looked like. I laughed too. “No, no drugs," I told, her, "just trying out a little bit of “slow.”

-Ella Luckett


June Theme: Ascending the Summit

With yoga we have to always remember it’s a balancing swing. The release of attachment to results is the medicine to those held in the clutches of misery when they don’t get what they want. But we can’t hover at the front crest of the swing, any more then we can hover at the back end. Meaning, complacency is as much an obstacle to a free and happy life as anything. It’s the attachment to being unattached! Read More


May Theme: Dvesa


Dvesa is an obstacle (klesha) in the way of freedom. It is our avoidance of pain. I noticed during the spring month of April that I had a  lot of internal rules that helped steer me clear of things which even remotely reminded me of past pain or echoed possibility of pain. I'm, at times, too good at learning. Having built up a stockade of "don'ts" I realized this month it was time to tear them down and let myself walk into fires that once burned me. Testing my new layers of unshakable peace and love. You know what? I have learned how much I've grown, how much courage has built up under my scabs, and now I no longer need those thick shells to feel protected. Life is richer, more open, and I am grateful for every new experience, welcoming it in whether it carries potential for pain or not. 

--Ella Luckett


April Theme: Thrive!


Thrive by Ella Luckett

I was sitting near my friend on her wedding day as she was getting her hair done. I looked over at her face and I could see that her body was in the room, but her mind was in a million other places. Behind her eyes was a map of thoughts: did all the relatives get in okay, is the catering going to work out? on and on and on… The details of life, especially surrounding the big things, are endless. I could tell my friend was about to miss her wedding day. Her body was there, but her experience was split in a million directions.

I asked her if she wanted to join me in a five minute meditation after her hair was done. She said yes, absolutely.  We sat in two chairs, chaos all around, and breathed for five little minutes.

In that five minutes she became present to the beauty of the day. Her mind settled and released the unnecessary thoughts that were blocking her experience, and when she opened her eyes, there she was. She was back in her body, suddenly full of life and joy.

To this day, she thanks me for that moment.

The difference between surviving and thriving is almost always in the perspective. It’s in what type of breath you are taking in. Are you gasping in short shallow breaths to serve only the purpose of the moment? Or, can you breathe in big, and ride the moments like a wave – whether tumbling inside it, gliding on it’s crest - always with a laugh  just because you are in the ocean at all!?  

That is what our yoga practice is, friends. We take that daily moment to get inside our experience, instead of hovering all around it.  Sometimes there’s resistance, because most days are not our wedding day. Most days are pulling through the grind to realize the bigger picture. But our practice gives us the touch of that big picture now, in the present moment. Usually it takes a moment to get past the stuff that doesn’t feel so good. We travel deeper inside our body and mind and find that, at our core, we are peaceful. Just below the surface of stress, there’s a well of abundance that encompasses all the good and bad and gives us the gift of presence. So we don’t wait to look back at the end of a particular journey and appreciate it. We get to feel life's sweetness and saltiness more potently in every moment.  

This month notice the times when you are only half there. Gripping on for survival, racing through just to get done, or just dull and bored with the moment. Take a deep breath and loosen the grip, slow the gait, or shine your eyes. This life is made up of unmarked moments that you can either survive through -- or drink in, and thrive on!