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MARANDA PLEASANTS

MANTRA
YOGA + HEALTH

TRUE BEAUTY. LABELS. DIVORCE. VEGAN RECIPES. CANCER. RECOVERY. YOGA MEN.

Bring it om
for the holidays
Warrior II
Wheel

upward goat

Upward
Warrior II

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Namaste

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mantra

CONTENTS

14

SIDE ONE

38

SIDE ONE

26

SIDE ONE

10

SIDE ONE

31

SIDE two

I wish I was
full of tacos,
instead of
emotions.
Rose Pepper

54

SIDE ONE

44

SIDE two

16

SIDE two

MANTRAMAG.COM

12

SIDE two

CONTENTS
SIDE ONE

SIDE TWO

10

Sianna Sherman

Lyndelle Palmer Clarke

14

Kia Miller

CHRISTEN PRESS

20

Coby Kozlowski

34

Goldie Graham

Going through divorce: Support tools for the transition,


and the pain of transformation.

Messy relationships, masks, projections, couples


counseling, and always choosing to see the best in
one another.

Softening, surrendering, slowing down, and realizing


not everyone is going to love you.

Yoga teachers unite: Stop the bullshit. Band together.


Support each other.

50

Sophie Jaffe

Discovering my husband was a sex addict: Recovery,


healing, and growth.

52

Jennifer Banks

From a meth addict to her yoga habit. One woman in


Wyoming is transforming lives through drug court yoga.

Journaling: Giving a voice to emotions that yoga awakens


in your body.

The standout forward: 2015 World Cup Champion, the


U.S. Womens National Soccer team, and star of the
Chicago Red Stars.

16

photographer Amy Goalen

22

Anne-Marie Berte

31

MANTRA INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION

33

winter essentials

44

chef Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram

Capturing strong yoga men.

Health tips for glowing skin, a radiant spirit, and a clear mind.

Editors picks for the new year.

Impacting a million people a day through social media,


inspiring health through a raw, plant-based diet.

58
SIDE two

Words. Labels. To Make Us Shrink.


Comments Meant to Diminish. To
Make Us Small. To Make Us Feel
Shame. To Disable Us.
We ask these strong, inspiring women:
What have you been called?

Labels
MANTRAMAG.COM

mantra
yoga + health

mantra TEAM
PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Maranda Pleasant
Twitter: @marandapleasant

EDITORS LETTER

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Melody Tarver
COPY EDITOR
Dana Kimmelman

Love From Paris!

Not another clich new year/new beginnings, Pollyanna editors


letter. Many of us dealt with real pain and extreme loss this
year. Weve all faced heartbreaking issues, and my hope is to
help transform our pain into healing and growth.
I am in Paris, finishing up our art projects for the recent climate
summit. We projected our statement of climate action on the
Eiffel Tower, a message for world leaders. I am still in France for
a while. I feel as if I lost the part of me that was most alive and
creative these last few years. Im committed to bringing that
energy back. You can give so much that there is little left for
yourself. Do you know the feeling?
We did an important piece on emotional violence against
women this issue. Its offensive that no one seems to talk about
how women are diminished with labels. Our Strong Women
series addresses the names that so many of us have been
called, and we are taking the power away from those words.
Notes for 2016
1. Dont Behave
We are strong with wild, creative, pulsing hearts. Dont fall in
line. Dont behave. Live your most full, colorful, vibrant life this
year. Shatter your confinement and any walls you have built
around yourself. Dont do vanilla. Break boundaries. Lets focus
on what we want our lives to look like, not just our bodies.
2. Leave Relationships That Are Not Supportive
Notice how you feel in your relationships. Conscious women
tend to get into some really messed up relationships. I see patterns where women are paying for everything,
overgiving and feel unsupported, affecting their feeling of self worth. Cut that shit out. You deserve more and
you know it. This year, no barnacles or vampires sucking our energy or resources.
3. Love Deeply. Do Yoga. Take No Crap
Lets drink our green juice. Do our yoga. Meditate so we dont hurt people. Clear out the chemicals and toxic
products from our lives. Consume less crap. Eat organic. Open your heart, but dont take any shit. Tough
love is still love; it establishes boundaries that support us. Teach people how to treat you. No more making
yourself small to keep the peace or fit in!
4. Lets Get Weird
We finally did it! Mark your calendars for May 2022, our first Mantra weekend gathering everin the beautiful
Berkshires, at Kripalu. Well laugh, heal, burn things, dance, and celebrate our big asses and beautiful lives
with top teachers and musicians.

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY
side ONE
Top Middle: HK Visuals
Top Right: Catherine Just
Middle: Sofa van der Dys
Middle Right: Tashi Palmer
Bottom Left: Amy Goalen
side TWO
Top Left: Bethany O Photography
Middle Left: Catherine Just
Middle: Ali Kaukas

Contact uS
Head Ninja
editor@mantramag.com
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Join Our Team
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Twitter: @mantrayogamag

5. Pretty Gets Boring


We need pioneers. Trailblazers. Risk takers. Badass makers. We need some real change, and were going to
have to take our yoga off the mat to get it done. Lead with your heart, your brilliance, and your interesting,
creative mind. Take back the joy of your body. Im not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore. Media and men telling
us what beauty is. We get to tell our story. We define our own sexiness and worth. Stop feeling bad about
your body. Your life is too precious to put on hold.
6. Dont Let Yourself Get Too Lonely and Make Bad Mistakes
Nurture yourself, and dont fall back into some unhealthy treadmill relationship for Valentines Day.
Stay strong. Make space. Heal your crazy, and find a love that feels like a full meal, instead of crumbs.

ORIGIN MAGAZINE
editor@originmagazine.com
Twitter: @originmagazine
thrive magazine
editor@mythrivemag.com
Twitter: @readthrive

Maranda Pleasant
Mantra Yoga + Health ORIGIN Magazine THRIVE Magazine REAL Magazine
Founder / Editor-in-Chief
photo: LECHON KIRB

MANTRAMAG.COM

T
H
E

FInding Balance with Family and Work,


L e a r nin g t o S lo w D o w n ,

MANTRA
SERIES

and

Not Taking Life For Granted


Robin Martin
Instagram: @robinmartinyoga

Q: Whats been one of your greatest


struggles, and how did you deal?

A:

Ive had my fair share of challenges. One


of my biggest struggles has been finding
balance between family life and working;
pursuing dreams that take me to faraway
places, yet staying grounded for my girls
at the same time. Dealing with it on a
continual basis. Always working to put
family first, and grateful for technology
that allows communication even in those
far-off places.

Q: One truth you know for sure?


A: Life is shorttoo short. Dont take the

ability to breathe for granted.

Q: Best lesson youve learned or advice


received?

A:

Life isnt a sprint; its a marathon. Slow


down. Dont rush. Take your time to enjoy
the process, and dont focus on the finish
line. And, for the procrastinator in me, the
best advice is get on with it. If youve got
time to think about it, youve got time to
do it.

A certified Yoga Medicine teacher and SUP yoga


teacher through Paddle Board Bliss, Robin loves
to share her passion for yoga both on land and
at sea.

robinmartinyoga.com

MANTRAMAG.COM

PHOTOS: Tate Englund

MANTRA MASTER TEACHER SERIES

Sianna
Sherman
Going Through Divorce

Support Tools for the Transition, and


the Pain of Transformation is Real.

Q: What has been one of your greatest struggles?


A: My greatest struggle is happening right now as I go through divorce
with a man I truly love. My heart is in the trenches, and Im dissolving
like a caterpillar in its chrysalis. Its messy. I feel like Im being digested.
Im encountering a spinning wheel of emotions with many nights; as
Mirabai says, in the heat of midnight tears. This is a time of utter
surrender and humility. Im recognizing parts of me that are living in
exile and how Ive made choices from my woundedness. Im attempting
to be accountable for my mistakes and to grow my soul in this
dark night.
Im in a sacred rearrangement from within.

These are the tools Im using right now:

Prayer and invoking my guides and guardians, especially the angels.

Mantra. My two life supports right now are the Sri Durga Ashtotram,
(108 names of the goddess Durga) and the Lunar Mantras by Govind
Das and Radha.

Shadow Work. This is essential for me, and I cant imagine going
through this process without skillful Shadow Work as I navigate this
dark terrain and become increasingly intimate with my emotions. Im
tracking my shadow more than ever before. Im especially dealing with
shame, blame, regret, and a fierce inner critic. I wish to see the hidden
places in my psyche and all the ways Ive cast out parts of my own
self. I want to wake up my innermost vision and learn how to see in
the dark.
Being in nature, especially the ocean, and grieving with the
Great Mother.
Journaling and dancing to give voice and expression to the raging
storm of feelings.
siannasherman.com

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MANTRAMAG.COM

Lots of sleep, acupuncture, nourishing foods, and being quiet and


very still.
Underworld priestess journeys with two main myths: (1) Persephones
abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, and her loss of innocence
as she transforms into a true sovereign queen of her inner domain and
(2) Inannas descent into the underworld to meet her sister, Ereshkigal,
queen of death, who hangs the queen of heaven on a meat hook as
a rotting corpse until her transmutation emerges from within. Both
myths are helping me to descend more willingly in my psyche and see
the truth versus any facade that my ego might attach itself to.
And, perhaps most of all, holding kindness for myself and for my
husband as we move through this gateway of tremendous change and
trusting in the Great Mystery.

Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: The only truth I know at this time is this: when its all stripped away,
and we are in the nakedness of death, what really matters most is love
and that we give our very best effort to open our hearts into life.

Q: Best lesson learned or advice received?
A: At the moment, this is my refuge teaching and Im hanging in there
for the pearl of wisdom to shine within me.

The pain of transformation is real, physically and psychically, but
only the intensity of the fire can unite the body and soul. This is a
soul-making process. The body is the grit that produces the pearl,
as one of my greatest heroines, Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst
and mythopoetic author, puts it.


Sianna Sherman is an internationally renowned yoga teacher, visionary spirit,
and founder of Rasa Yoga, Mythic Yoga Flow, and the Goddess Yoga Project.
PHOTO: KiraGrace + Claire Sheprow

transformation

is real,
physically and
psychically,
but only the

intensity

of the
fire can

unite

the body
and soul.

transformation

The pain of

MANTRAMAG.COM

11

T
H
E

Yogi, Dancer, and Adventurer

MANTRA
SERIES

Angela Jean Weber, Santa Monica, California

Defining True Beauty,


R e f l e c t i n g o n N e w B e g i n n i n g s, a n d

Writing a New Story for

Our Lives in the coming Year

Q. What is true beauty to you?

Q. What does a new year represent to you?

A. This question brought up a lot for me. When you love yourself, all
of yourself, even the parts that arent seemingly beautiful or pleasant,
your true beauty shines through in the confidence, self-love, and
acceptance that you radiate to others. True beauty isnt about being
perfect or flawless; its about embracing our darkness and our light,
knowing that without one, the other cant shine as bright.

A. A new year is a beautiful opportunity to reflect quietly on all the


moments that brought us to where we are now. To look at all the pieces
of our lives and observe how they have come together to create our
personal story. Every story has its twists and turns, its ups and downs
that give it color and make it interesting and unique. When it comes
to our lifes story, the pen is always in our hands. If choices made
leading up to this new year steered the story off track in any way, we
can always steer it right back on. By taking the time to reflect, observe,
and put the pieces together, we can make wise choices in how we
decide to move forward with our story.

True beauty comes in the form of unbridled, unbounded, unconditional


love. The kind of love that can heal anything. The kind of love that
doesnt ask for anything in return and that can never run dry. Theres
no need for greed, no need to protect it, because theres an unlimited
supply. When we live from this space of unconditional, boundless
love, regardless of whether well get it in return and in spite of what
happened to us in the past, no matter how hard or traumatic, we are
practicing our own, human superpowers. This infinite source of love
exists at the core of each and every one of us, and when we tap into
it, miracles happen.
angelajeanyoga.com

12

MANTRAMAG.COM

Angela Jean Weber is a yogi, dancer, and adventure enthusiast teaching yoga
and living the beach life with her husband and son in Santa Monica, California.

MANTRA MASTER TEACHER FEATURE

Interview with Our Kundalini teacher,

Kia Miller
Messy Relationships, Masks, Projections,
Couples Counseling, and Always Choosing
to See the Best in One Another.

kiamiller.com

14

MANTRAMAG.COM

When challenge
turns into struggle,
it is usually WHEN I
am not getting the
lesson that is being
presented.

Q: Whats been one of your greatest


struggles, and how did you deal?
A: Life has posed a series of challenges and
struggles that have been extraordinary
opportunities for growth, although they have
not always appeared that way! When
challenge turns into struggle, it is usually
when I am not getting the lesson that is
being presented. I think of a couple of
relationships that I had in my late twenties.
They were replete with illusion, projection,
and underlying that a crippling codependency.
My teacher, Guru Singh, has a wonderful
analogy, of showing up to a date with a
series of masks. We put up one mask and
try it on for a moment (Do you like this?),
and then another (How about this?); If it
gets the results that we want, we keep going,
and maybe it becomes one of the prominent
masks we wear through the honeymoon
period, until it gets all too exhausting, and
we let it slip. Oh, horror! Now they can see
who I really am, but all the while I am trying
to be what I think they want me to be. Couple
this with equal projection from their side, and
pretty soon you are in a complete mess, feeling
terribly let down. But of course . . . when we are
not seeing the lesson being presented, we
think that it is just that they are not the right
person.
There is nothing about this relationship that

is authentic. How could one possibly judge


whether it is working out or not until we
see through our game and the great illusion
it produces?
Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: I have to delve into the yogic teachings
for this answer! In Kundalini yoga there is a
great mantra that underlies my belief when it
comes to what is actually truth:
Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru; There is
only one truth, one creator thread through all
creation and inseparable from it. Knowing this
is indescribable bliss. How do any of us know
this? Guru Nanak, who first spoke that mantra,
experienced the truth; which was beyond
the drama of the mind, the pull of the senses,
our appetites and material possessions. This
is the level of truth I am seeking in my life, as
everything else seems to pale in comparison.
So what is one truth I know for sure? I am not
this body, I am not this mind, I am not all my
preferences, attachments, and aversions; I
am the indwelling soul. Relating to this one
truth on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment
level is my highest assignment in this life.
Q: Best lesson youve learned or advice
received?
A: The best lessons I have learned from others

have been practical ones. My husband and


I see a very special couples counselor. He
has shared some real nuggets with us over
the years. One of my favorites is the idea of
continuously consciously choosing to see
the best in your partner, no matter what the
circumstances. This concept can be seen in
all of life. Are we seeing the crack in the
pavement or the flower growing through it?
Are we focusing on all the little things
our partner does that we do not prefer, or
are we able to relate to the essence of them
that we love and appreciate? We can program
ourselves on a daily basis to be either in
love or in irritation with our partner and all
those we are close to. The more we enhance
the aspects of their being that we love, the
happier we are, and the more we contribute
to a positive co-relating. This does not mean
avoiding the tough conversations when they
come up, but do we really need to focus on the
way they squeeze the toothpaste, or load the
dishwasher, or leave a wet towel on the floor?
Sometimes, all it takes to create more peace
in life is a small shift in perception or a simple
tool we can apply to all areas of our life that
helps to bring more awareness to our actions
and speech.

One of the most well-known Kundalini teachers in


the West, Kia Miller leads workshops, retreats
and teacher trainings throughout the world.

MANTRAMAG.COM

15

T
H
E
MANTRA
SERIES

Dancer

Marlo
Fisken
Q: Whats been one of your greatest struggles,
and how did you deal?

A:

Not clinging to stuff. All my life I have had


tons of clothes, extras of everything . . . stuff, stuff,
stuff. Once I began my adult life, I knew I wanted
less. I would read books on decluttering, but I
couldnt actually minimize. I was too attached to
my excess. Then I started traveling the world to
teach ten-plus months a year. I realized how little
I actually need and what a burden excess is. It
steals your energy, literally, as you laboriously
haul it up and down stairs. Now, every time I come
home, I have a field day disposing of things that
no longer bring me joy.

Q: One truth you know for sure?


A: I believe there is immense freedom and

knowledge (sometimes trapped) inside each of


our bodieswe just have to move in the right
way to release it. Like a key and a tricky lock,
sometimes it takes some wiggling or even another
set of hands to get parts of the body to open or
align. When it clicks, voil!, you are greeted with
new possibilities, new freedoms, and new
perspectives. This, to me, is one of the greatest
joys of movement exploration.

Q: What inspires you and makes you come alive?


A: Music, in particular new music. I can go
from completely uninspired to unstoppable
after hearing a few bars of something that stirs
my soul. Having been a dancer all my life, my
movement is guided by rhythm and sound. I have
a particular affinity for breathy, deep, enigmatic
electronica, hauntingly beautiful contemporary
classical, worldly and Afro-inspired dance music,
and hip-hop/trap sans negativity.

Marlo Fisken teaches the the the art of flow movement


all over the world. She is known for her detailed eye
and kickin playlists.

flowmovement.net

16

MANTRAMAG.COM

PHOTOs: HK Visuals

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MANTRA TEACHER Interview

The

Seane
Corn
Series

PHOTOgraphy: Gerald Slota

Real Yoga,

True Friendship,
and What Yoga
has Taught Her
the Most.
Q: How do we yoga correctly?
A: Get it out of your head that your legs need to be
straight or that it should look a certain way. If youre
breathing, and youre not compromising your body,
then youre doing yoga brilliantly, beautifully.
Q: Tell us about true friendship.
A: Throughout our lifetime, if we are blessed, there
will be beings that cross our path, reach out a hand,
and stroke tenderly, fiercely, our soul. Their embrace,
their guidance, will awaken in us a deep sense of
connection, a safe haven of belonging, that will ease
our aching, uplift our spirit, and bring us to know the
wondrous and eternal peace of true intimacy. Their
grace has taught us well and stirred our awakening
so as to honor all as one in loves light.
Q: What has yoga taught you?
A: Twenty-four years of practicing yoga have taught me
that God is truth and love and exists in every moment,
both dark and light. This essence is in each experience

seanecorn.com

18

MANTRAMAG.COM

and in all beings equally. Yoga has taught me that you


are in a conscious body to learn what love isnot
romantic love, although that may be part of your
learning, but God-love, which is inclusive and infinite.
Yoga teaches you that everything that happens to you
in this life happens perfectly and synergistically in
order for the soul to transform and understand this
level of God-love. Everyone has karma to burn, lessons
to learn, and each one of you will walk some challenging
and funky paths at times, but these moments will also
be the divine catalysts, providing great insight, healing,
and wisdom.

PHOTO: Gerald Slota

LIFE

CHANGER

To heal the world, we


must first heal ourselves.
Seane Corn

Seane Corn, Celebrated yoga teacher, activist,


& co-founder of Off the Mat into the World

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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER SERIES

Our L ove

Softening, Surrendering,
Slowing Down, and Realizing

Coby
Kozlowski

Q: Whats been one of your greatest


struggles, and how did you deal?
A: Let go, soften, and surrender. I had become
an expert at doing and taking action. I wasnt
valuing moving slowly, observing, taking in
the magic of a warm breeze, or just walking
consciously and feeling my feet on the
earth. At one point, I went through a period
of great loss, where my world seemed to
crumble, and I woke up, with the support of
my dearest friends, to the fact that I simply
needed to let go, to rest, and to not do.
Rather than my normal, vigorous practice,
my practice became about softening, slowing
down, and relaxing. I made a commitment
to a softening sadhana, where I would
take baths, do the most gentle yoga, go for
slow walks, learn how to grow a garden, start
painting again, and, maybe most importantly,
remember to ask for help. I dedicated a year
to this practice to bring myself back into
balance and remembered that when I slow
down, I am allowing myself to taste the
sweetness and to savor all that life has to
offer. It was critical for me to learn to soften
and how every exhale was teaching me
about death and the ultimate letting go. This
practice of softening, letting go, and surrender
reminded me to trust the current, allow
myself to be held, and admit that I cant
and dont want to do it all.
cobyk.com

20

MANTRAMAG.COM

Not Everyone is Going to


Love You

Softening reminded me to take time out to


simply enjoynothing to learn, nothing to
share. Yes, we can do better as a species,
and we have many problems that need to be
addressed, yet it was and is vital for me to
remember that we dont have to take on the
whole world and its problems all the time.
For many years, I didnt have TV or watch
TV. And [as] another part of the softening
sadhana, I was challenged to buy a TVgive
myself a break from thinking about evolution,
potential, possibility, philosophyand to do
less work and learn to watch The Office, I
realized that everything doesnt have to be
your calling or purpose, and taking time to
be simply entertained is just as valuable
as fully engaging with the potential of the
planet! Thank you, Michael Scott, you are
my teacher.
Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: The one thing that is in our own hands
always is our own integrity and accountability.
Unfortunately, not everybody is going to love
me, not everybody is going to like me, and
there is nothing I can do about that, but I can
take responsibility for the ways in which I
am out of alignment. Accountability and
integrity comes down to the practice of
tolerating the consequences of being
ourselves. Yes, you get to be you. Yes,

you are a free being. Yes, you get to have


preferences. Yes, you get to push back and
have boundaries. And, yes, you need to be
accountable for how you being you has an
impact on the world. When you are deeply
called in this lifetime and want to contribute
in a way that is life affirming, it is vital to
step into the dynamic relationship between
authenticity and accountability. Its a beautiful
dance in which you celebrate being you and
take responsibility for what you put out, and
be willing to clean up any messes along the
way. And, one other truth: my mom totally
loves me.

You need to be accountable


for how you being you has
an impact on the world.

Q: Best lesson youve learned or advice


received?
A: Live in wonder.

Coby Kozlowski, MA, is a speaker, expert in


transformative leadership, Kripalu faculty
member, and founder of Karma Yoga Leadership
Intensive and Quarter-Life Calling: Creating
an Extraordinary Life in Your 20s.

PHOTO: monika broz

Unfortunately, not
everybody is going to
love me, and there is
nothing I can do about
that, but I can take
responsibility for the
ways in which I am out
of alignment.

MANTRAMAG.COM

21

O ur Y o ga H er o ine

T
H
E

Heidi Williams

MANTRA
SERIES

Instagram: @heidiwilliams89

Survivor of

PTSD, Anxiety,
Depression, and
Rape. Now an
Advocate and
Coach for
Healing,
Spreading
Love and
Awareness
Through
Yoga.

Q: Your greatest struggle?


A: My greatest struggle? When my baby was
6 months old, he died. His body somehow
just stopped working. I watched in terror
as he slowly took his last breath, turned
grey, and fell limp in my husbands arms.
Something happens to you when you accept
the horrifying truth that someone you love
more than life itself, is gone. And I felt it. It
was the feeling of that heart I had grown
specifically for him, dying. By miraculous
divine intervention and CPR, he was brought
back to life. But my heart wasnt brought
back. That traumatic event changed me
forever and it was the beginning of severe
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder episodes,
massive depression, suicide attempts, and
constant anxiety.
It was in this place of mental illness hell that
I found yoga and grace. Yoga brought me to
a safe place again. A place of peace and
self-acceptance. Grace carried me through
and gave me strength to be able to identify
and remove the massive emotional blocks
that had derailed my life two years earlier.
I was able to heal from my mental illnesses
and have now dedicated my life and career
to helping others through the self-healing
process. I plan to do my yoga teacher training
next spring and create therapeutic yoga
classes and retreats specifically designed
for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
hdwilliams.co

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MANTRAMAG.COM

Q: One truth you know for sure?


A: There is no amount of self-discipline, hard
work, or even sheer brute force that can heal
a sick mind. Only grace, self-forgiveness, and
unconditional love can do that.
Q: Best lesson youve learned?
A: There is an inherent goodness inside every
single human being. Buddhists call it bodhichitta.
Christians call it the light of Christ. Atheists
call it their conscience. It doesnt matter what
you call it. Everybody has it. Its that melting
feeling you get when your ego gives way and
your heart softens. Its that second you drop
your judgement and you see the pure beauty
someone elses soul. Its what makes your
eyes sting when you read about terrorist
attacks happening. Its what makes you
want to spread your arms wide enough to
fit the entire human race. And just hold them.
Because you can feel. There are no bad people.
Only bad choices. We all have this beautiful
life energy inside us. You can cover it, dam it
up, build walls around it to seal it in as best
you can. But it will always be there. Love will
always be there.

The Day the


World Stopped:
{

My Cervical Cancer
Diagnosis and the
Healing Powers of
Costa Rica
Stacy Seebart

The town of Nosara, Costa Rica has since


become a second home to me, and I spend
time annually on its beaches and within its
jungles. Ive dedicated myself to the people
and culture of Nosara for the past ten years,
training in various yogic modalities of healing
and self-inquiry. Little did I know that this
work and this environment would become so
instrumental to me when going face-to-face
with my biggest challenge in life yet: My
own health.

flat tone to her voice. She left her cell phone


number, and she said to call her back at
any time of the day. Panic. I knew something
was wrong, but I never ever in my wildest
dreams thought of what I was about to hear
her say. I called her cell phone back and she
answered right away. Within moments she
had said the tests of the biopsy came back as
cervical cancer. I was immediately having an
out-of-body experience. No, she did not just
say that to me. There was a mistake.

The environment of Nosara is heavenly. The


life force, prana, of its beaches and jungles
have had a palpable effect on my practice and
in turn my well-being. The language of energy
is omnipresent and most tangible each time
I step off the mat following a long, sweaty
practice. Everything feels plugged into a very
high vibration. The power of the ocean puts
the journey of life into perspective for me.
Ride the wave.

Writing down what she was telling me,


adenocarcinoma, glandular, only 25% of cervical
cancers are this form, cone biopsy, hysterectomy,
treatments, chemotherapy, radiation, trials.
I was writing down her notes as if I was taking
someones food order. This isnt about me.
This isnt real. This isnt happening. In shock I
stumbled through some questions, took some
deep breaths, and I think I even tried to make
a joke to make her feel better as I could tell
she had that tone in her voice that she felt
very, very sorry for me. That actually made
me feel worse, like I had an immediate death
sentence. Holy shit, I have cancer.

In 2014, I received news that would require


me to tap into the wellspring of healing
potential revealed to me by the teachings of
yoga and the Nicoya Peninsula.
On April 14, 2014, I received a voicemail
from my doctor. I saw it sitting there on my
phone screen earlier in the day and ignored
it. Around 4pm, I listened. She had such a

stacyseebart.com

24

MANTRAMAG.COM

The wave of the next five months of my world


was very high and low. My practice of yoga
came into play when I was in need of healing,
clarity, perspective, and self-discovery. The
resonance within the jungle of Costa Rica

gave me support, a feeling that there were


powers greater than my own in action, and
that I always had a choice to connect to them.
I could choose to open up to a new level of
existence or to shut down. Every day I was
faced with thousands of choices, which
doctor, which treatment, which tests, which
surgeries to do or not do. I would sit, breathe,
stretch and meditate and then answer one by
one trusting that I was on the right path.
I am proud to say that I am now one year cancerfree. I went through a fast and furious fight
in 2014. My determination to seek within
myself, to find the best medical care around
and literally change my chemical makeup on
a cellular level from the inside out, could not
have been possible had my body, mind, and
soul not received the tools of self-inquiry
and healing through yoga and the innate
wisdom of the Costa Rica environment. I
knew I was in the right hands when I was
speaking with my surgeon about what I needed
to do before my last surgery. His answer?
Do more yoga. Thank you Dr. Sean Dowdy.
Thank you Yoga. Thank you Costa Rica.

Stacy Seebart is a yoga educator for Blooma in


Minnesota as well as the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort
in Nosara, Costa Rica.

mantra

Elizabeth Gilbert

BIG FREAKIN

Magic

{ Elizabeth Gilbert }
Writing to Solve the Mysteries of Her Own Life,
the Handiest Tool in Her Arsenal, and How the Most
Interesting Game in Town Is Being Alive.

Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: I adore your approach to life.


Elizabeth Gilbert: Oh, well, thank you!
RP: Theres a certain sensitivity to life and
the human condition that shows up in your
writing. Can you explain how that sensitivity
towards life has influenced your life?
EG: Oh gosh, first of all, thank you, and Im
happy to hear that you enjoy it. I dont know.
Im just excited to be here. I think its the most
interesting game in town, being alive.
Its not necessarily easy and its not necessarily
always fun and its not certainly always fair,
but its damned interesting. I think thats
probably what informs my work and my life.
Its just following that thread of interest, that
thread of constant curiosity. When you follow
that, then you become knowledgeable.
I think there are some periods in my life where
I passed the stage, lost the trail of that information,
and I think its your obligation to keep that high,
keep that trail blazed as much as you can.
RP: Throughout your life, youve collected a
vast amount of different experiences, from
your travels to your different jobs, to the people
youve written about. Why a novel at this point?
EG: Well, its a homecoming for me. I guess
every writer reaches a point where they do
books, where they write works of fiction, and
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26

MANTRAMAG.COM

my whole youthall I wanted to do when I


grew up was to write fiction. I was on a path
for that, and then I really sharply veered away
from that around the age of 30 because I had
to use my writing for another purpose.
Up until that point, I did my writing in a power
ranger to invent the world that I wanted to
discover or discover the world that I wanted
for this.
I needed to use the handiest tool that I had in
my arsenal, which was my writing, to help me
solve major questions in my own life. I didnt
think when I was in my 30s that Id be writing
for that purpose, and obviously, I dont regret
having done it.
It was great to have, both personally and actually,
that [it] turned out well. What happened is that
I woke up and 12 years had passed, and I hadnt
written any fiction, and I had lost some really
essential part of myself in the process because
its really who I am.
I needed to go back to it and to go back to it
in as big of a way as I possibly could, like the
bigger girl went home. I was like, Im not just
going to write a novel, Im going to write a giant
novel. It was such a pleasure to let myself
tumble/free-fall back into that routine again.
It was really wonderful.

EG: Just the way it transforms everyone. The


thing about suffering is that it can be a
tremendous transformation of bitterness, but
only if you make it that. Suffering does not
automatically bring transcendence. It does not
automatically deepen your compassion. Thats
your admission to it, if that makes sense. I had
a friend that died that I wrote about in this
book, and she has a friend who lost his leg in
a car accident, and then years later had another
car accident, unbelievably, and became paraplegic,
and he had been through more suffering than
almost anybody I had ever known and was
really stubborn and missed what life was about,
using it, using it to build something out it.
He gave me this line where he said, You dont
make your suffering into your catharsis. Its
just wasted pain. Weve all known instances
where people felt their pain and they dont
make anything out it, and then its just wasted.
Its just pain for no gain. For me, Ive just tried
really hard to formulate some sort of intimate
response to it that will better me and even me
out. I havent always been able to do that, but
Ive certainly tried really hard because I dont
want the pain in my life to be wasted. It doesnt
benefit anyone personally to use everything.
RP: Thats great.
EG: Aw, thanks.

RP: Can you explain how suffering has transformed


your life?
PHOTO: Jennifer Schatten

Im just excited
to be here. I think
its the most
interesting
game in town,
being alive.

MANTRAMAG.COM

27

T
H
E
MANTRA
SERIES

Calming a
Racing Mind,
Staying Present,

Never

Regretting
a Yoga Class,
and Learning

Not to Be
Reactive.
Melissa Lee

Instagram: @pocketdwarf
Q: One of your biggest struggles so far?
A: One of my biggest struggles is my ability to be present.
My mind is constantly racing and always thinking about
what needs to happen next. I have a very restless personality
and struggle to enjoy the present moment. I have found that
doing yoga daily has helped slow down my thoughts and
allow me to feel more relaxed. Its a work in progress though.
Q: A truth you know for sure?
A: I have never regretted going to that yoga class I didnt
really feel like going to.
Q: Best advice that youve received?
A: Wait twenty-four hours after getting mad and reacting
to a situation. If it doesnt bother you in twenty-four hours
time, it probably isnt important enough to get mad over.

Melissa Lee is a wife, mother of two, and yogi from Canada.


When she isnt practicing yoga, she can be found making
custom sandals on the side.

TOP Photo: Eliisa Tennant Photography

28

MANTRAMAG.COM

visit irest.us

T
H
E
MANTRA
SERIES

Yogi We Love:

Rita Jamijian, aka Yoga Rita


Instagram Guru: @yoga.rita
Q: What inspires you and makes you feel alive?
A: This BREATH that keeps on coming. The
first thing that we did when we were born was
INHALE, the last thing we do before we leave our
body is EXHALE, and what we do in between is
what matters the most. Either we fill that gap with
harmony, love, and compassion, or with hatred,
jealousy, or any other low-frequency emotions.The
choice is ours, each morning we are born again,
either to make a living or live fully!
Q: One of your greatest struggles?
A: To learn how to LET GO, and surrender to G.O.D:
the Generator, The Operator, The Destroyer. I
learned that whatever we do by force, it will hit
back, it is a law like any other law. Whether we
believe in gravity or not, whether we are a saint
or not a saint it will be working on us anyways! If
we jump from the 10th floor, we will all have the
same result and that is physical destruction.
Like the law of gravity we have the law of letting

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30

MANTRAMAG.COM

go and surrendering and trusting that God, the


universe, the big bang, whatever we want to call
it, it is working to bring the best results for us
in this lifetime experience. Like everyone else,
I learned from my own experiences.
Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: The One is All, the All is One. We all come
from one source, whatever that source is. If we
judge others, we are judging ourselves, if we help
others, we are helping ourselves. We are We, just
change the M with W, from Me to We.

Yoga is a self-discipline practice. The majority of the


work happens off the mat. This is how Rita describes
Yoga. Rita began practicing Yoga and Meditation at
the age of 16. Her mission is to inspire people through
the practice, bring balance and joy into their daily life,
and let them connect with their own personal wisdom
and expansive potential that resides within.

The

WORLD'S
COMFIEST
HAREM YOGA PANTS
bohemianisland.com
@bohemian_island

T
H
E
MANTRA
SERIES

Overcoming Fear, Perfect Timing and


It Is Never Too Late to Follow Your Passion
Impacting More Than

Instagram Yogis Everyday

Laura Kasperzak
[ I n s ta g r a m : @ l a u r a s y k o r a ]

Q: Whats been one of your greatest struggles


and how did you deal?
A: One of my greatest struggles has been
overcoming my fear of public speaking. I
have a slight lisp that I have always been
extremely self-conscious about. Becoming a
yoga teacher was something I never thought
I could do. Not because I didnt think I was
good enough or didnt have knowledge
to share, but because speaking in front of
people scared me to death. What if they
heard it? Would they make fun of me?
Laugh at me? This was the main reason I
stayed safely in the confines of a cubicle
for years.
Instagram was what brought me to life and
prompted me to follow my dharma. In 2012,
my niece asked me to follow her on the
little square app that ended up changing
my life. Initially I started using Instagram
as a personal diary for my yoga practice.
Astavakrasana was the first yoga picture I

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32

MANTRAMAG.COM

ever posted! From then on, I found other yogis


on there and started to find such a supportive
community that it made me start to think I
could actually overcome my fear and become
a certified teacher. With the amazing guidance
of my teacher, Victoria Arvizu, I graduated YTT
in August of 2013.
I still struggle with fear of public speaking,
but it no longer stops me from going out there
and doing what I love: Teaching yoga! With
every class I teach, with every kind comment
from students and fellow Instagram yogis, the
fear gets smaller and smaller.
Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: One thing I know for sure is that things happen
for a reason and when theyre supposed to
happen. Never before and never later. These
events in your life happen to mold you, to
shape you, to help you become a better you.
We are all students for our entire life and
we should never stop learning, growing, and

trying to become our best selves each and


every day.
Q: Best lesson youve learned or best advice
you received?
A: It is NEVER too late to follow your dreams
and to become the person you want to be. It
will be scary, frightening, exhilarating, eye
opening, have its ups and downs, have you
laughing, crying, and frustrated, but in the end,
it will change you and you will never look back.
Q: Favorite Breakfast?
A: Currently, it is multigrain bread with avocado
mixed with lemon and red pepper flakes and
fresh fruit.

Wife, mother of two minis, international yoga


teacher, ACROVINYASA certified teacher, founder
of LauraSykora Yoga and co-founder of Two Fit
Moms, and handstand addict.

Photos: David Tufino

We are all students for our


entire life and that we should
never stop learning, growing
and trying to become our
best selves each and
every day.

MANTRAMAG.COM

33

mantra

Goldie Graham

There are always


people who try
to tear you down
as you rise up.

Article:

Goldie Graham

Yoga Teachers Unite:


Stop the Bullshit. Band together.
Support Each Other.

here has always been, and unfortunately will always be,


shit-talking among yoga teachers. The lack of support so
many instructors have in their community from their own
like-minded peers and teachers is awful. I started teaching
yoga full time in Boston in 2009, and within a year I couldnt
believe the competition my supposed friends and colleagues
displayed. If youre not closely associated with the yoga
community, you probably think being a yoga teacher has the least
amount of drama associated within the walls of the work space. You
probably think we all Om in unison, speak in low tones, and drink
chai tea together. Wrong. Ill never forget my moms advice while I
unloaded what I witnessed going on behind the scenes. Mom said,
that it doesnt matter how old you are or what career path youve
chosen, there are always people who try to tear you down as you rise
up. It didnt matter that youre not in grade school anymore, there will
always be bullies. From that moment on, I became hyper-aware of the
conversations I contributed to and the people I wanted to associate with.

you like it. Dont be typical. We as teachers are all doing our best to create,
educate, and give back to every class we stand in front of. The vulnerability
it takes to put our teachings, our physical selves, our thoughts and words
on display as a contribution to others lives is magical.

With all of the devastating violence in the world and most recently
in Europe, we all now more than ever need to unite. Its so easy to get
caught up in contributing to the gossip. Its so typical to leave a class
and rip apart the teachers sequence because it wasnt taught the way

Goldie Graham, based in San Diego, is a traveling yoga instructor who leads
workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats globally. Goldie is known for her
ability and creativity to combine playfulness with precision and alignment.

GOLDIEYOGA.COM

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MANTRAMAG.COM

If youre a yoga teacher reading this and wonder what you can do,
remember that actions speak louder than words. Lets band together as
yoga instructors and instead of thinking our way is the only way, lets
take each others classes more. Didnt love your experience in a teachers
class last year? Just like the asana, teachers are constantly evolving. Go
try it again! Notice yourself getting involved in mudslinging? Disassociate
yourself from that situation or, better yet, take a stand, be different, and
drop positive affirmations all over their trash talk. Lets remind ourselves
that we are all doing the best we can, and if there was ever a place for
drama and bad-mouthing to be absent, its from inside the walls of what
is supposed to be a sacred practice place, our yoga studios.

PHOTO: Nick Isabella

We do the leg work.


Sourcing the amazing and delivering the goods to yoga studios everywhere.

ashabrands.com 888-294-8822

Yoga Teacher feature

Healing From an Eating Disorder,


D e p r e s s i o n , A n x i e t y , a n d Y o ga a s a
Part of Recovery
Leslie Ann
Ellingburg
RYT-200. Yoga by Leslie

K n o x v i ll e , T e n n e s s e e

I am a dancer and a registered yoga teacher based out of


East Tennessee. I have been dancing since I was a little girl
and took up yoga when I was 16 when I went on hiatus from
ballet. In college I pursued dance, exercise science, and dived
deeper into my yoga practice. Towards the end of my college
career, I went into recovery for an eating disorder and to seek
help with my depression and anxiety. Yoga was a major part
of my recovery, which fueled my desire to teach and reach out
to others. My goal is to one day become a yoga therapist and
work with those in recovery. Let us find inner peace through
the play and practice of yoga.

PHOTO: Katie Norrell (Silver Highway)

36

MANTRAMAG.COM

MANTRA MASTER TEACHER SERIES

Ana Forrest

Interview:

Fondly known as the first lady of modern yoga,

40 years

Ana Forrest celebrates


of teaching AND evolving Forrest Yoga.
We caught up with her at the helm of this
global yoga movement.

Q: Ana, this year marks 40 years of you


teaching yoga and evolving Forrest Yoga.
What are your most memorable yoga
moments?
A: One of the exciting moments was starting
to teach people the things that were breakthroughs for me. For example, designing my
own ethics, which include becoming vegan,
no longer adding to or ingesting animal
suffering, becoming accountable to my own
Spirit, and then teaching that.
Another one is using Forrest Yoga Ceremonies
to do the impossible on a regular basis.
Thats so fucking fun! Creating changes that
were believed unchangeable in myself and
others, like healing my own epilepsy, which
I was told was incurable, was incredible.
Hunting and tracking love was a huge evolution
for me. So is being brave enough to open up
and teach from love.
My yoga demos are deeply significant. They
are the dance of my Spirit. They are my
call to inspiration and hope, because if this
suicidal, alcoholic cripple can come so far,

forrestyogA.COM

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MANTRAMAG.COM

anything is possible. The yoga demos are


literally demonstrating how I connect to Spirit.
Q: There has been a Forrest Yoga explosion
over the past few years. Why is that?
A: I think our people are hungry for something
that is real, raw, primal, and authentic. Forrest
Yoga taps them into where they are real and
raw and primal and authentic. That is so
exhilarating!
Q: You often mention that your Spirit Pledge is
to mend and heal the Hoop of the People. Tell
us a little about that.
A: The Lakota Medicine Man Black Elk lived
through the shattering of the spine of his
people. Describing the desperate spiritual
bereftness he saw around him, he said, The
Rainbow Hoop of the People has been broken.
The Rainbow Hoop refers to people living
harmoniously just as the colors of the rainbow
lie side by side. The people he speaks of
include the other inhabitants of the earth,
including the animals. I created Forrest Yoga to
do my part in mending the hoop of the people.
This is my lifes calling, my Spirit Pledge.

Q: What would you like readers to understand


about you, your life journey, and about
Forrest Yoga?
A: Life has taught me that I can make a difference
by teaching the people how to heal and quest
for their own spirit.
We are giving our people tools and skills to
transmute craziness and anguish in their life.
By walking this Good Medicine road we learn
to respect ourselves and others. We are
gleaning wisdom from our experiences and
that brings healing and a broader experience
of the truth. As we heal, we build our life
force and we get more generous of heart.
I encourage you, dear reader, to care enough
to nourish your own spirit. Then quest for
your part in making a difference in our world.
Join us!

Anas tour dates for 2016 have just been released:


Visit forrestyoga.com/events

PHOTO: Sofia Van der Dys


Because if
this suicidal,
alcoholic
cripple can
come so far,
anything
is possible.
MANTRAMAG.COM

39

MANTRA TEACHER FEATURE

Interview: Susanna Harwood Rubin

Digging Deeper

& Growing Community


with

Sue Elkind

Susanna Harwood Rubin: So many yoga teachers feel


torn between family, work, and their own personal
practices. Whenever Ive stayed with you, no matter how
busy you are, you consistently make time to meditate
and practice each day. How do you do it?
Sue Elkind: Yoga is the promise you make to yourself.
As hard as it is to be a householder and juggle life, you
learn to prioritize. For me, meditation is non-negotiable.
I always make the time because I know I am better for
everyone when I refuel. Even when my two boys were
young, Id sit in their bed and meditate while they were
falling asleep.
SHR: What advice do you have for new teachers who
are trying to figure out where their future resides?
SE: Hone your craft! The best way to stand out is to
be exceptional at what you do. This requires digging
deeper and getting clear about who you are and what
you love so you can offer your teaching and message
in the most authentic way. I also think more yoga
teachers need to study biomechanics and therapeutics.
There are way too many students getting hurt
throwing themselves into poses without alignment.
Lastly, I always recommend that new teachers do not
quit their day jobs! It doesnt mean dont teach a lot!
It just means that trying to get experience and making
a living at the same time can lead to burnout quickly.
Yoga teaching can be a lifelong pursuit; building a
strong foundation will help tremendously.
SHR: What words of advice do you have for people
wanting to establish a yoga studio or community?
SE: I started my first yoga studio in 1995 in the garage
of a small private fitness gym in Hollywood, California.
We shared our space with boxers, and even a boxing
ring! It was hilarious when I think about how I would
go into the gym and ask someone to take down the
punching bags so I could teach my yoga class. Amazingly,
even with the bags and stink, people came. Two
years later I outgrew the space and opened a truly
spectacular studio. My advice for those wanting to
build community is to start out in a manageable way.
Dont invest so deeply into your space and rent that
you lose sleep every night wondering how to fill it. Be
prepared to work hard. The first fourteen months are
really about getting the wheels to turn. It may take two
to three years to feel like youve shifted gears. During
this time, focus on building your reputation. Word of
mouth is your best form of advertising. Ask your loyal
students to help you spread the love.
SHR: Ive known you for almost fourteen years now.
The thing that has always struck me is how you manage
to create strong, vibrant community wherever you go.
How do you manage to create and sustain community?
SE: Creating and sustaining community requires both
intention and attention. For me, this arises from a deep
irrepressible urge to infuse my environment with more
SHRIvalue, beauty, abundance, light, healing. Intention
helps me navigate my outer direction from the inner
compass of my truest heart. My husband, Naime
Jezzeny, and I set the bar high for ourselves both at
home and at our studio DIG YOGA. I think people can
sense that level of commitment and appreciate our
authenticity. We live what we teach. Misalignments

digyoga.com | digpregnancy.com

40

MANTRAMAG.COM

have a way of taking care of themselves, either by moving on or


transforming into stepping stones for growth. Sustaining community
requires paying attention and watering all your relationships. People
want to feel appreciated, seen, respected, and heard.
SHR: You are known as a teachers teacher, having trained approximately
1000 teachers in a very personal, hands-on way over the past fifteen
years. Some of your students have established their own communities,
while others are featured at prominent yoga festivals. What is it
like to see so many of your students out there creating lives for
themselves?
SE: Ive had the incredible privilege of working with so many bright
lights over the years, some totally unaware of their potential and not
planning to teach, others obviously talented right out of the gate.
I definitely feel like mama hen, excited and proud when I watch
teachers really come into their own. Im not interested in laying claim
to my students, and simply offer my best teachings authentically,
with the goal to inspire and empower.

Sue Elkind is recognized internationally in the yoga community as a


teachers teacher. Sue is an expert in prenatal and postnatal yoga and
skilled in meditation. As an activist, Sue is dedicated to empowering
women through yoga in all stages of life. Sue is co-owner of Dig Yoga
and director of Dig Deeper Yoga Studies (DDYS) 200 and 500 hour
Teacher Training programs.

For me, meditation is


non-negotiable. I always
make the time because I
know I am better for
everyone when I refuel.

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Always Artisan Made
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YOGA MAT BAGS & SLINGS
Shop the collection
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How do you live in #thebeautyofhandmade ?

Article:
Coral Brown

The Search for MEaning

Depression,
Sexuality, Searching,
and Taking on Personas

feel confident in who I am and I am


aware of my strengths and my areas
of growth. At age 43, I can finally and
humbly say that I am confident. This
is a fairly new revelation for me. I
remember being a little girl and
looking sideways into my own eyes
in the bathroom mirror and wondering
who I really was. I had this pervasive sense that
I was missing something; that there was more
to me than what I saw in the mirror. I searched
for purpose and searched for meaning in nature,
books, and my surroundings. I was fanatical
about symbology and Greek mythology and not
so interested in the Catholic church culture
in which I was immersed. However, I had a
culture that predated my time with the church.
My father opened the first head shop in Alaska
in 1969. It was around then that my mom
walked into the Aquarian Age, as it was called,
and met my dad. The two, along with a few
other couples, purchased twenty acres of land
abutting the Chugach National Forest, thirty
miles south of Anchorage. Cabins and outhouses
were built, gardens were planted, and the
community of Bird Creek was born. This selfsustained, off-the-grid commune had no
electricity, running water, or plumbing. What it
did have was a lot of love, hope, and idealism.
It was the 70s after all!

My mom and I eventually left Alaska for her


home state of Rhode Island, but I traveled back
and forth to Alaska to visit my dad. Starting at
age 7 I would fly to Alaska by myself and have
grand adventures on the way! I realized that for
the duration of the trip from RI to AK I could be
whoever I wanted to be. It may sound fun and
foolish, but thats what kids do and, when we
think about it, isnt that what we do as adults?
We take on the persona of that which we think
we are, that which we think we should be,
or we take on the characteristics that other
people have assigned to us. None of these
representations offer a clear reflection of who
we actually are. As a mental health professional
who has studied developmental psychology
and how it intertwines with the chakras, I
know that at ages 57 we are developing and
investigating our identity. We are exploring
the different facets of our psyche and persona
through the hallways of our imagination. We
create characters and plays and other realms
of existence. All the worlds a stage in the
imagination of a child. What happens when
these imaginary worlds collide with reality and
a parent or caretaker harshly snaps us back into
the present is when the relationship to creativity
is sabotaged. Shame and fear replace the belief
that you can be anything you want, anything
that you imagine.

Fast forward a few years. My mother, sister and


step-father are living in tents on our wooded
land in Rhode Island. Theres a house, it just
isnt built yet. Every morning I get up and put
on my Catholic school uniform and run down
our half-mile driveway to catch the bus. Once
on board, I become who I think I am supposed
to be, I want to fit in, I want the other kids to like
me and they like people that are like them so I
do my best to be what I am not. Eventually the
other kids figure out there is no house and that
I am a weirdo living in a tent. But I deal with
it, I get through it, I am resilient. I am also
depressed.
The feelings of darkness, hopelessness, and
fear are very familiar to me and always have
been. Depression wrapped me up and tucked
me in to the point where I did not just want
to be in bed or under the bed, I wanted to be
between the mattresses. It took me a long
time to figure out how to live with depression
and still feel alive. High school didnt do me
any favors, as it was the same story as middle
school. However, even though I stuck out like
a little hippie in my class of thirty middle- to
upper-class peers, I found two gems who
would direct me on my path. The first was my
amazingly accepting and wise AP English
teacher. The second was a girl. Yup, a girl.

PHOTO: Bethany O photography

42

MANTRAMAG.COM

that you have


toI learned
take risks to reap the
benefits of being true to
yourself, that you will
disappoint other people
and possibly suffer some
significant but temporary
losses. It is all worth it.

MANTRAMAG.COM

43

Coral Brown

The Search for MEaning

My depression is not
entirely
gone, but it has

definitely dwindled to a
manageable state.

College. Finally, I am in a big enough sea that


I find some similar fish. I skip the dorms and
move into an apartment with my girlfriend.
I feel like I have settled down; I even get a
dog. In school I decide to be a music major.
Not because I have any musical talent but
because I want to have it. The first day that I
had to do a vocal solo, I changed majors.
Theater came nextnot the most practical
degree, but I had loved it in high school.
Since I am awful at math I take a logic class
to satisfy my math requirement. This class
spun my compass right around. I loved it so
much that I started filling my course load
with philosophy classes. Before I knew it, I
had accumulated enough credits for a minor.
I had also stumbled into eastern philosophy
and in doing so stumbled into myself.
Hinduism in particular not only fascinated
but healed me in so many ways. With
philosophy as my new major, I felt filled
with purpose and direction.
Between college and graduate school, I
continued to battle with depression that would
cause me to lose jobs and relationships. I
bartended at a high-paced gay dance club. I
was fast and in my fury was not polite, but
people loved me because I wasnt faking
it. It was the first time I felt like I belonged.
But heres the game changer: My mom told
me that since I loved Eastern philosophy so
much I should try yoga. I quip, Mom, yoga
is a fad, Madonnas doing it. It was the 90s
after all! Moms response: It is a 5,000-year-

old fad and you should try it. Ok, so my mom


was right.
Yoga dragged me in deep, all the way to the
center of myself, right down to the spark. It
challenged me to question my beliefs; were
they mine or were they gifted to me by my
culture, my family of origin, or my peers?
Yoga demanded that I make changes. Yoga
taught me that if I wanted to live up to my
fullest potential I had to embrace all aspects
of myself, the shadow and the light. Yoga
taught me not to shrink but to shine, to be
truthful with myself, to respect and honor
myself and the divine that lives within me.
This didnt happen overnight. There was a
steep learning curve for sure!
I recently received a Facebook message
from an old friend. She reminded me of a
conversation that wed had at the bar where
I bartended. I had told her that I was 28 and
getting old, I didnt want to be a bartender
anymore, I want to start really practicing
yoga. So, I quit the bar, went to Morocco and
did an Iyengar training, came back to RI and
did a 200-hour vinyasa training and then
met my forever teacher, Shiva Rea. I received
a masters degree in holistic counseling and
started a mental health wellness collaborative
with my mom. The last fourteen years have
been about serious self study, svadhyaya. I
have made changes that I was petrified to
make, all in the pursuit of living in alignment
with my authentic self. I thought coming

out in high school was hard. Going back in


was even harder. When I met the man that I
eventually married, I realized that I wasnt gay
and that I had to take action. When I did this
I lost most of my friends and my community.
I learned that you have to take risks to reap
the benefits of being true to yourself, that
you will disappoint other people and possibly
suffer some significant but temporary losses.
It is all worth it. My depression is not entirely
gone but it has definitely dwindled to a
manageable state.
The search for authenticity doesnt come
with a road map, not one that we can read
anyway. Given time, space, and a shift in
perspective, the twisting and turning path
of our lives start to make sense. Each and
every one of those times that I stumbled,
crashed, and recovered I learned something
that would serve as a valuable tool if not
immediately, then eventually. The landmarks
and rights of passage of personal, physical
and spiritual development serve a very
specific outcome: You. Me. We. Heres to
Yoga, love, hope, faith and the idea that
we can change the world.
Coral Brown is a licensed mental health counselor
and draws on her extensive experience in yoga,
philosophy, and holistic counseling to provide
fertile, open space for the processes of healing
and transformation. She is a senior teacher of
Prana Vinyasa Flow and leads teacher trainings,
retreats and workshops worldwide.
PHOTO: Bethany O photography

44

MANTRAMAG.COM

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I have been a yogi for seventeen years,


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meditation. Deep, silent self-awareness
can change you. It frees you. I love
sharing this path with others through
powerful imagery and words that point
at truth.

brandonsmithphotography.com | Instagram: @brandonsmithphotography

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47

photographer feature

Deep, silent
self-awareness
can change you."

Brandon Smith
brandonsmithphotography.com | Instagram: @brandonsmithphotography

48

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w h o l e f o o d s b a r n e s & n o b l e e a r t h fa r e s p r o u t s
4 0 + n at i o n a l r e ta i l e r s

mantra

Sophie Jaffe

Sophie Jaffe, certified raw food chef,


yoga teacher, and the founder of Philosophie

Discovering

My Husband Was a

Sex Addict

+Growth
Recovery, Healing

hen Adi and I first met, I was 20 years old with a fake ID. We met
in an undergraduate neuroscience class, and he was the super
hot, got-it-all-together, grad student in a suit. Up to that point, I
had only slept with one person, my high school sweetheart (a
euphemism for my abusive ex). Now here I was at UCLA with Adi, who
was eight years older, mature, cultured, and kind.
As we hung out more, Adi revealed that he was an ex-meth addict and
used to sell drugs. He had wrecked his motorcycle, and the cops found
a pound of cocaine in his jacket, sending him to jail on thirteen felony
counts. But this story didnt seem real. He was sober for five years
after jail, never took shots, and never touched drugs. As a diehard
optimist, I just thought this part of his past was gone for good, besides
the growth it had given him.
During the first two years of our relationship, I almost always had a
hard time being sexual and fully open, even though I felt genuinely
cared for. On our second date, Adi told me he had been with four
partners. I later learned he had been with closer to forty, and he was
only counting the women that he has been in relationships with. I
thought he just lied to protect me, but I began to think that there was
something wrong with me. Why had I only been with one person? I
felt ashamed. Even though I kept trying to give and try new things,
our sexual life didnt seem to flow.
Then two years down the road, he told me something that would send
me on a long journey of soul-searching. He had met someone at the
gym and after hanging out several times, they slept together. I broke
up with him on the spot and traveled to Guatemala, Cambodia, and
Thailand, where I volunteered and taught English and yoga.
Almost a year later, he wrote me a letter that read, I saw this quote:
What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Even though its

ThePhilosophie.com

50

MANTRAMAG.COM

cheesy, I would do everything in my power to get you back and prove to


you Im the one for you. I love you. Tell me if I should go away forever or
if I have a chance.
While I was enjoying my adventures, Adis letter confirmed that I
missed him. We talked and came to the understanding that if we got
back together, wed go to therapy. When we were engaged, I still didnt
fully trust Adi, so I would check his phone sometimes. One day, I found
text messages to other women where he told them that he wanted to
hook up. When I confronted him, he fell apart. He didnt want to lose
me, and for the first time, he admitted, I think Im a sex addict.
Apparently, each time wed fought, he would text other women to
feel validated.
Adi started attending Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings five days a
week, and we began seeing therapists individually in addition to the
couples therapist. The New Years Day after we got married, I found
out I was pregnant with our first son.
Then, around Valentines Day, I discovered that Adi had an account on
Ashley Madison, a website for married people who want to cheat on
their spouses. He was nearly relieved that all of his secrets were finally
out and swore he wasnt meeting up with anyone for sex, but I took
my ring off.
Adi continued to see his private therapist and also decided to attend
an outpatient rehab program for sex addiction (he would have done
inpatient, but we couldnt afford it). Something about seeing him do
so much to work on himself made me feel like we still had a chance.
We also joined a support group, and I realized I wasnt alone in
this struggle.
And when I began to view Adis addiction as my problem too, everything

transformed. We practiced mindfulness, yoga, couples therapy,


and talk therapy and set boundaries: he couldnt be friends with
girls or drink with his friends. These practices helped us realize
our problems and understand that his addiction was ultimately
an escape from intimacy.
Weve been married for six years now and are more intimate than
ever. I have no fear for the future of our relationship, and every
day, I trust him more. I never look at his phone, and we no longer
need those strict boundaries. I do think hes recovered, but its not
like it never happened. Im not hiding, and neither is he.
Some people ask why I didnt just leave. I probably would have,
but I saw a willingness to change. He went to one of the best Ph.D.
programs for psychology and is now helping the world as an
addiction specialist. I couldnt want anything more from my
partner and the father of my children.

Some people ask why I didnt


just leave. I probably would
have, but I saw a willingness
to change.

Not only did Adi grow, I had to as well. If I didnt work on my own
sexual issues with him, I wouldve had to confront them at some
point...because everywhere you go, there you are. When we
recognized both of our truths, failures, and successes, and actively
worked together to support each other, we came out on the other
side, stronger than ever.

Sophie Jaffe is a certified raw food chef, yoga teacher, and the founder
of Philosophie, a superfood and wellness company that aims to help
everyone attain optimum health and radiant wellness.

MANTRAMAG.COM

51

mantra

Cocaine. Heroin. Pills. Jail Time. Transformation

.
n
i
o
r
e
H
.
e
n
i
a
Coc
.
e
m
i
T
l
i
a
J
Pills. mation
Transfor

Artic le :

Je n n if er Ba n k s

From a Meth Addict to Her Yoga Habit.


One Woman in Wyoming is Transforming Lives
Through Drug Court Yoga

I grew up in Gillette, Wyoming. The biggest


industries are coal, oil, and gas. The population is
transient, the politics are conservative, and
the people are few. You can bet I never did
yoga growing up and that the only exposure
I had to the idea was when my liberal uncle
would visit carrying a mat and performing
asanas behind closed doors in the basement
of our home on Thunder Basin grasslands of
the high plains.

I started shooting up meth when I was seventeen


years old. I would fix the needle before school
to make it through my classes. I took time
with the set-up, savoring the ritual. Let the
crystal meth dissolve in the spoon, draw up
thirty CCs and feel the intense rushthe
reward for the ritual.
I worked at the local diner late at night and
went from school to work every day until

midnight and maybe as late as 3 a.m. on


weekends when I would work the bar shift.
This is where the need for meth started and
I had the same ritual in the bathroom at the
restaurant, finish up, and come back out into
the diner only to see a gentlemen passed out
in his chicken fried steak. The scene glittery
as if in a snow globe.
It got worse and I continued on drugs through
college, shooting up cocaine, pain pills,
heroinanything I could get my hands on.
Anything to disassociate. I got my first DUI
in 2005. Then my father, a coal miner, passed
away in our home. He had been drinking and
he took pain pills and fell twelve feet out
of our home, hit his head on the concrete
pad below, and froze to death. The pain was
unbearable.
Second DUI in December 2008. Third DUI in
January 2009. I was spinning out of control.
And then I ended up in jail. For a while.
Spring. Part of summer. I was recruited into
the local drug court where I would receive
treatment in conjunction with some punitive
measures to help me recover. I continued
to use meth, pills, and avoiding piss tests
became a professional endeavor for me.
I guess this is really where my yoga started.
Yoga is a path to self-love through the physical
body. The turning point in drug court was
when a counselor helped me to see my own
PHOTO: Suzy and Jessie Quinn

52

MANTRAMAG.COM

""We were happy to


be awkward with
one another and
to learn to be
in our own skin
without being
high. Yoga had
given us the gift
of connecting
our minds to
our bodies.

worth. When I started loving myself, I started


being okay in my own skin. For the first
time since I was 15 years old, I was sober
for longer than six months.
The sobriety was the strangest trip of them
all. I had to relearn to deal with emotions,
with bodily sensations, to live with some
anxiety and pain. I started working out again
and found running, then lifting, and then I
entered my first yoga class. Anxiety was high
at that first class at Hot Power Yoga in Laramie,
WY. There were four of us. I was wobbly. I
remember horse pose. And I remember
sobbing in savasana.
After practicing yoga for about eight months,
I came up with the idea of giving yoga away,
of making it mobile. I was maintaining
sobriety, and I had even managed to quit
smoking cigarettes which I hadnt planned
and thought was the true magic of yoga. I
wanted to share this gift with Wyominga
rural state with plenty of substance abuse,
suicide, and not enough people that wanted
to talk about these issues.
I wanted to bring yoga to the people. I thought
of my dad in his Wrangler jeans and pocket
shirt and how his body could use yoga. I
thought of all the times and laid on my
mat and cried because I could not shoot up.
I thought about the blue collar workers, I
thought about the addicts and how we could

all cry and heal. Yoga could help our bodies


and our souls.
I approached the management team for drug
court including the county sheriff, county prosecuting attorney, the bailiff for the county jail,
and coordinator of the drug court treatment
program. I suggested a yoga class designed for
those in recovery to take place on Friday night
when cravings can be excruciating and when
the studio was open. It was the first series of
drug court yoga. It was the first time I could
use words like fuck and talk about probation
officers in yoga class.
I wanted to keep the yoga accessible, keep it
mobile, keep it blue collar, and serve the needs
of the state of Wyoming. I watched addicts
come to class barely able to sit in childs pose.
Folks wore blue jeans and it became the running
joke that you dont have to have special pants
for yoga. Many participants would stand
outside the yoga studio arriving on bikes and
smelling of cigarette smoke.
Seeing dirty socks kick up into the air during
three legged dog, and baggy shirts flop over
sweatpants in warrior II brought the yoga into
a space of humility and gratitude. We were
happy to be awkward with one another and
to learn to be in our own skin without being
high. Yoga had given us the gift of connecting our
minds to our bodies. Yoga had given a us a piece

of freedom in a highly controlled environment.


I began to teach yoga all over southeast Wyoming
in churches, in basements of hospitals, in
classrooms, in living rooms, beside pews, next
to CPR dummieswe made it work. There can
be a lot of anxiety at first because these folks
coming out of addiction were crawling out of
their skin. You could hear it in the breath and
in the sighs. But we kept at the practice, and
we still believe all is coming.
I starting using yoga when I was 29. Sometimes,
yoga and meditation were all I had to get
through work. I took time to roll out my mat
and towel, savoring the ritual. Let my breath
dissolve into space, draw up my pranayama
and feel the contentment. The reward for the
ritual is life. I am finally well.

Jennifer lives in Laramie, Wyoming and teaches in


the community where she has created programs
and classes specific to those in recovery. She
specializes in alternative treatment modalities for
rural and recovering populations and has created
alternatives to yoga delivery outside of a standard
yoga studio, including traveling yoga. Her current
projects include alternatives to the 12 Step Program,
meditation courses guided by the seven spiritual
laws of yoga, and vinyasa yoga classes at the
local community college.

MANTRAMAG.COM

53

mantra

readers' photos from across the globe

Readers Photos
from Across the Globe

Featuring the most awesome photos sent in


by our Mantra Yoga + Health community of

yogis, meditators, and athletes

Elizabeth Rowan Atlanta, GA Photo: Raftermen

Amy Tenney White Sands, NM


Photo: Helene Farland

Katie Krier Colorado photo: Brett Seeley

Send us your pics: photos@mantramag.com


54

MANTRAMAG.COM

Holly Milwaukee, WI

Chelsea Dwyer South Dakota


photo: Allen Dwyer

Whitney Mara New York City Photo: whitney mara photography

MANTRAMAG.COM

55

Readers Photos from Across the Globe


CONTINUED

Alyssa Exposito

Stephanie Diaz Miami, FL

Jess Braccia
photo: Lauren Howland

Kendell Sullivan Chicago, Il


Photo: Lisa Gramlich

Ashley Copertino Lindenhurst, NY


photo: Scott Dengrove

Tommy Housworth Atlanta, Georgia

56

MANTRAMAG.COM

Jess Amendola San Pedro, CA


photo: Steve Simpson

Carmen Curtis AIReal Yoga


Ventura, Ca Photo: Nosim

Margot Strauhull
Portland, OR
photo: Christy
Cassano-Meyer

Kino Photo: Jason H Reinhart

om girls New York, NY

Emma Mammano Brick, NJ


Photo: Find Orion Photography

Brittany Mckay

Amanda Brown Jackson Hole, WY


Photo: Krista Herring

Riva G.
Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Blaine Esty Joshua Tree


photo: Nosim

Alicia Brust Chicago, il


photo: stephen brust

Kindred
Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Ayesha Meriweather

MANTRAMAG.COM

57

Readers Photos from Across the Globe


CONTINUED

The Aerial Studio


Ventura, CA Photo: Nosim

Vivian Lee Bronx, NYC

Rhia Cataldo
Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Courtney Chalfant
photo: Claire Deliman

Dawn Yang
Los Angeles, CA

Lina Ventura, Ca Photo: Nosim

Debs Richards Santa Monica, CA


Photo: Nosim

Sara Stafford Orange, Texas


Photo: Katie Krantz

58

MANTRAMAG.COM

Katie Ashley Charleston, SC


Photo: Anna Ward Photography

Rebekah Johnson Pedricktown, nj

AIReal Yoga Ventura, CA


Photo: Nosim

Myrah Penaloza Playa Diamant,


Dominican Republic
Photo: @nurturingnova

Daniela Peon
Fort Lauderdale Beach

Nihan Hantal Istanbul / Turkey

Caitlin Hickey Kauai, HI

Raven Brown Savannah, Ga


photo: Jonathan Oppenheim

Alice Harris Lithonia, GA

Nina Wilson
Photo: Rachel Kaminski

Brian + Mikki Trowbridge Salem, Or


Photo: Jack Wolberg

Elizabeth Marti
Photo: Jason H Reinhart

Kandis Tagliabue
Coachella Valley, CA

MANTRAMAG.COM

59

Readers Photos from Across the Globe


CONTINUED

Elizabeth Johnson
Harper's Ferry

Joanna Ryan Shippee San Diego, CA

Kuniko Nakamura Mexico


Photo: Mac Erwin

Karla Tafra
Sandy Root Miami Beach, FL

Stacey Vespaziani Bath, UK

Brook Cheatham Dallas,


Texas brookcheatham.com

Kate Vantuccil Rochester, NY

60

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Marissa Sheehan Ashland, VA

Dr. Julio Hernandez


Miami Beach, FL

Melissa McNaughton Montauk, NY


Photo: Renee Choi

Lily Russo

Sizzle Mayfield
Cape Three Points, Ghana
Photo: Justin Humphrey

Brittny Lowe
Photo: Jason H Reinhart

tiger darrow NYC

Morgan McFadyen

Marielle Tordone Great Smoky


Mountains National Park
Photo: Jewels Photography

Lynn Lisella NYC


Photo: Renee Choi

Bianca Mora Accra, Ghana

Maris Degener
Photo: PJ Crame Photography

Grace Millsap Charlotte, NC


photo: Julie Corder Photography

MANTRAMAG.COM

61

Readers Photos from Across the Globe


CONTINUED

MarissA Beauvais

lyndi fowler

Jay Michaels Freetown, Ma

Monica Sevigny
Wilmington, NC

62

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Heather + Joseph Bernstein NYC


photo: Melanie King

Amanda Abella Miami, FL

Aline Marie Sandy Hook, Ct

Jodi Ascherman Photo: GBear

Erin Trentel Erie, PA Photo: Merve Kayan

Leslie Greinstein
Port St. Lucie, Fl

Melissa Buchner
Cape May, NJ

Dana Campbell NYC


Photo: Renee Choi

Micki Freeze Sanford, NC

Gay Mayes + Debra Harrison +


Jessyca Livingston +
Kyle Casserly Nashville, TN

Maelie Burke New Jersey

Carolina Silva
Westchester County, NY

Kyle Casserly + Lauren Gregory


Franklin, TN

Joanna Neher
Albany, NY

Emily Watcher Baltimore, Md

Ashlyn S. Wisconsin
photo: @paleoga_momma

Shannon Wickware Oklahoma

Brigitte Christensen
Port St. Lucie, FL

Liz Floyd Long Beach Island, NJ

Lauren Adelson
Gilbert, AZ

Tara Huff

MANTRAMAG.COM

63

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mantra

Lyndelle Palmer Clarke

Interview:

Lyndelle
Palmer
Clarke

Dailygreatness Founder

Journaling:

Giving a Voice to Emotions That


Yoga Awakens in Your Body

MANTRA: How has personal journaling enhanced your yoga practice,


helping you to stay centered, in a world gone mad?
Lyndelle Palmer Clarke: Journaling was the tool that I used to overcome
severe depression and it saved me at a time in my life when everything
was falling apart. Journaling gave me a way to express my inner
thoughts and to see myself, my inner landscape, and the unconscious
patterns that were playing out in my life, creating the issues and
challenges I was facing.
While I also practiced yoga, journaling was a perfect complement to
my practice, giving voice to the feelings and emotions that yoga was
waking up in my body.
Ive learnt that when you are willing to connect with yourself honestly,
openly, and courageously, listening deeply to your inner voice, you
can finally heal the wounded parts of yourself, free up your energy,
and move into more of your potential. Journaling, like yoga, is a
gateway to our higher consciousness. Its a sanctuary we can retreat
in order to release our thoughts, tap our inner wisdom, uncover
answers to our challenges, hear our intuition, and reveal our deepest
desires. It is an awareness practice, so deceivingly simple, that it is
often overlooked.
However, the real transformation is not in journaling itself, but how
it changes our thinking and behavior over timeuntil we no longer
need to do it every day. Journaling is a perfect starting point for
upgrading our thinking habits. When we upgrade our thinking our
life automatically improves. Instead of needing to journal every
day, we soon notice that our improved thinking has become second
nature. Thats when we know weve transformed.
Journaling is a universal tool available to anyone, anywhere, regardless
of finances, ability, or understanding of self-help conceptsmaking
it a powerful tool for transformation and an idea worth spreading.

MANTRAMAG.COM

If you want to know yourself journal


If you want to heal yourself journal
If you want to empower yourselfjournal
If you want to forgive yourselfjournal
If you want to love yourself journal
If you want to grow yourself journal
Wellness Guru Lyndelle Palmer Clarke is the Founder of the Dailygreatness
Journal series & creator of the 12-week holistic health program Rocking Fit.

However, the real transformation is not in


journaling itself, but how it changes our
thinking and behavior over timeuntil we
no longer need to do it every day.

mantra

Top Athlete Series

V e d ic Medi tati on, Feeli ng


Like Yo u r e Falli ng
S ho rt , H av i ng Bi g G oals
a n d High Standar ds ,
t he P o w e r to C h oos e
Yo u r Re sp ons e, and th e
Life P u rp os e of Ser v i ng
Ot he rs.
Inte r vi ew by C hr i s Lucas

CHRISTEN PRESS

T h e Sta n d out Fo r wa r d : 2015 Wor ld Cu p Ch a m pio n ,


The U.S. Women's Nationa l Socc er T ea m , a n d Sta r o f
the Chi cago Red Star s

Q: Youve had sustained success at a high


level within the soccer world. Has there ever
been a point where you wanted to stop?
A: I never had a moment that I thought I
would stop playing soccer. But I definitely
had a momenta long four-year moment
at Stanfordwhere I really struggled with
my relationship with the game and trying to
understand my identity and what part soccer
played in it. I got wrapped up in that college
sports culture where if you win youre a
winner and if you lose youre a loser. I
have a lot of big goals for myself and I hold
myself to extraordinarily high standards,
so while it might look like success from the
outside, I always felt like I was falling short in
college. It was definitely a moment in my life
that was transformative, but difficult.
Q: But you didnt stop, and now you are
clearly playing at the highest level with even
more pressure to be defined by the wins and
losses. How did you get past that pressure in
college and enable yourself to enjoy the game
in a way thats authentic to you?

MANTRAMAG.COM

A: It was a long journey back to being able to


enjoy soccer from when I graduated. In January
2012, a few things happened simultaneously.
The womens league folded, so I couldnt find
employment playing soccer in this country,
and I moved to Sweden. I left my family and
friends being able to watch all my games, and
was just playing in a completely different
world where I didnt know anyone and no
one cared what I was doing. That was really
freeing for me. I was so present because
I didnt have the opportunity to look forward
or backward because everything was
happening so quickly. It brought me to a present
and conscious kind of living that allowed
me to rediscover my love for soccer. At the
same time, right before I left for Sweden, I
learned Vedic meditation. I absolutely think
that changed my perspective on soccer and
my life.
Q: Can you walk us through Vedic meditation
for those who arent familiar? How do you get
set up for meditation; is there a routine you
go through in order to get ready to meditate?

A: Vedic meditation is one of the oldest and


most widely practiced types of meditation. Its
a twice-daily practice where you sit down for
twenty minutes and they give you a mantra
which is just a word in sanskrit that should
have no connotations for you, its just a sound
and twice a day you go over your sound for
twenty minutes. When you are meditating,
thoughts come in and interrupt and infiltrate
your mantra and your transcendental state.
The lesson is thats OK! Youre gonna have
stressors and thoughts; you could be thinking
about what youre having for dinner or why you
are getting a divorce. It impacts your meditation
differently, but at the end of the day a stressor
is a stressor, and meditation teaches you to take
the power away from it by not giving it any
attention. For these twenty minutes, all youre
doing is repeating your mantra. For me, its
less about the benefits of a transcendental
state than the lesson that I have the power to
control how I react to whatever is happening
in my environment.
In Vedic meditation, its a seated position with

T h e injustice in the
wor ld is s o cr a z y
a nd if e v e ry s ing le
pe r son f ough t
just one injustice
in th e ir lif e , w e
would be a ble to
ge t th e m a ll.

MANTRAMAG.COM

mantra

Top Athlete Series


kickoff and it was just back to chaos! When
you are playing with your instincts, thats
because you are not thinking. And thats what
meditation is about. Its not thinking, its about
playing, its about perceiving, its about being
present, as opposed to being in your head.

When everyone
gets as cl ose
as p oss i bl e t o
t hei r best self,
everyt hi ng i s
frui t ful fr om
t hat p oi nt.

Q: How do you balance that intense focus on


your game with what comes after your soccer
career is over? Whats next?

Christen Press
your back supported and no support for your
head (so you cant be laying in a lounge chair
for example). Sitting up on a seat or a sofa, or
on the ground with your back supported, is
perfect. Your legs and hands can be however
they feel most comfortable; your hands dont
have to be the traditional hand open, thumbfinger touch; use a natural position that allows
you to relax without falling asleep.
Q: You mentioned it gives you the power to
choose your response. How have you seen
that show up on the field?
A: I think there are two main ways that meditation
has impacted my sport and my profession.
The first thing is generally I am happier, I
have less stress, and that just makes me a
better person and better player. When everyone
gets as close as possible to their best self,
everything is fruitful from that point. Actually,
meditation has allowed me to find a new
focus on the pitch. I think back to my college
days. I was a terror on the field, my teammates
will tell you, and I yelled at everyone and was
constantly stressing out about the shots I
missed or why that person passed there
instead of here. I was in my head so much.
Not only did it make me unhappy, it distracted
me. What meditation taught me is that all
those thoughts are completely unnecessary.
Theres nothing constructive about me
worrying about the shot that I missed. The

10

MANTRAMAG.COM

only way that you can let that go is by


refocusing. Thats what meditation is, its
constant refocusing. I kind of made my
mantra about the ball. I just come back to
Wheres the ball on the field? and I think
this loudly. Wheres the ball on the field?
and then, Where should I be? By the time I
fixate on the ball and reposition myself, Im
back in the game. I do this constantly during
the game.

Q: In your goal against Australia in the 2015


World Cup, you lose your defender by stopping
short to lose your defender, and it left you
open to score. It had to take an immense
amount of presence to thing Wheres the ball
instead of I might get the ball, right?
A: Yes. It allowed me to be more ready, more
perceptive. You sense it outside of your
streaming consciousness, and you are only
allowed to do that when you are super focused.
I think about that goal a lot in regards to
meditation because that game was so chaotic,
and I was completely overwhelmed. It was my
first-ever world championship, and Australia
was way better than we thought theyd be,
and it was back and forth. That moment that
I scored was the only bit of calm that there was
in that whole game. I slowed my run down,
refocused, and put the ball where I knew I
could, and there was no distraction and there
was no chaos about it. Then came the next

A: I think thats a new thing for me. I still


dont know if Im making space for whats
next. I think Ive been pretty focused on
soccer in a way that I havent built up other
things I need in my life. It hasnt hurt me
or made me have less of a life, but Ive been
so single-minded in my goals with soccer,
that Im completely unprepared for soccer to
be over. In the upcoming years, you start to
build outside of the gamebuilding a house
or starting a family. What Ive learned is that
people have this fear about a capacity, they
only have so much of a day, or they dont
want to learn a third language because theyll
forget the second one, and I just dont believe in
that at all. I think the brain is endless. You have
the capacity to learn twenty-five languages and
have twenty-five jobs, it just depends on what
you want. Once I start to lay down the foundation for whats next, I think it will only make my
sport and my life much richer.
Im a funny athlete where I get up and go to
practice and Im so happy and love what I do,
and yet I come home every day and I think,
Why is my job soccer? What is my larger
purpose? Who am I helping? How am I contributing
to the world? I constantly want to be helping
people and serving others. No matter what
I do after soccer I will be doing a job that is
directly helping others. I love working with
children, and I volunteer at an elementary
school in Los Angeles for English as a Second
Language (ESL) students, because I speak a
little bit of Spanish.
The injustice in the world is so crazy and if
every single person fought just one injustice
in their life, we would be able to get them all.
My goal and my post-soccer career will one
hundred percent be to fight my bit of injustice
in the world for kids.

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MANTRA MASTER TEACHER FEATURE

Our Most Intimate Interview

SHIVA REA

Her Personal, Private Struggle,

and

C ho osi ng t o L ove ,

I n s t ea d

of

H ar d e n

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting


a battle you know nothing about.
Q: Whats been one of your greatest struggles?
A: One of my greatest struggles is to not be able
to be open about one of my greatest struggles,
out of privacy, and basic respect.
It is simply the kind of struggle that can happen
as part of adult life that will either wear you
down, break or bankrupt you, or crack you open.
It is a struggle that brought me to my knees
physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually,
as it is beyond my control and something very,
very expensive to take on the good fight. It is
a struggle that caused the loss of half my hair
out of the heinous pressure. This long cycle
has taxed every aspect of my stamina beyond
anything I have ever experienced. It is a struggle
that has a long duration, but is almost over. It
is a struggle that is transforming me because
there is no other choice, crumble or rise. There
is a light on the horizon. I give a bow to anyone
who is carrying a private struggle, that for

ShivaRea.com

12

MANTRAMAG.COM

whatever the reasons, needs to remain private.


I feel you. When we are looking tired or haggard
while passing through intense waves, we cant
really tell anyone why. There is humility in that. So
I am sending compassion to all who are in a similar
boat and a YES! we are going to make it. There are
some struggles we must bear in privacy.
Q: How do you deal with that struggle? What
truths did you realize?
A: I could see early on that I had to make a deep
personal pact, either my heart was going to be a
garden or I would have to suck on the bitter thorn
of this experience, which would be the greatest
loss. When we can speak openly of our journey, I
can see now that there is a freedom and lightness that becomes available as we listen to each
others experience. The only difference in the
private struggle is this release has to come
through more personal ritual. The stone thrown
into the ocean, the twig into the fire, the ritual
dives into holy waters.

I give a bow to anyone who is


carrying a private struggle, that
for whatever the reasons, needs
to remain private. I feel you.
When we are looking tired or
haggard while passing through
intense waves, and we cant
really tell anyone why.
There is humility in that.

MANTRAMAG.COM

13

MANTRA MASTER TEACHER FEATURE

SHIVA REA

It is a
struggle that
is transforming
me because
there is no
other choice,
crumble or
rise.

I have been really moved by the response of the father who lost his
wife and mother of his small son in the Paris bombings. He said that
the terrorist cannot have the happiness of his family or the victory of
hatred. We must claim our inherent right to happiness, freedom, and
the power to thrive in the face of any terror, difficulty, or challenge.
My teachers of this rising power have been all over the world from
the streets and shanty towns to simple villages. It is a personal
commitment to the greatest wealth we havethe revivifying power
of love. The Dalai Lamas practice and encouragement for all people,
particularly the Tibetan people in exile, to meet challenges and
challenging people with wisdom and compassion in actionis an
extraordinary practice.
Mantra; prostrations; affection; self-care; openness; honesty; cacaobased superfoods; being on the ocean, in the mountains, in caves;
sunrise yoga to wake up and sunset yoga to let go; loving, loving,
loving my partner, family, and good friends; collective yoga, music,
movement, spontaneous joy, breath, love in all ways, all forms,

14

MANTRAMAG.COM

shapes, tastes, and sizes are the great elixirs that fertilize my heart and
keep a connection to the inextinguishable fire alive. I love my ancestors
from the wild north, and I give thanks for hearty cells!
Somewhere along the journey we realize the power of love that we were
born with, that is given in every breath as the greatest nectar, in an
incredible diversity of formstough love, tender love, sensual love, holy
love, raw primal love, sacred love, love of justice, universal love, love in
action not just in words or ideas. I bow to the lioness of love.

Shiva Rea, M.A, a global yoga teacher, activist, and innovator in the evolution
of vinyasa yoga around the world from large-scale festivals and conferences
to unplugged retreats. She has taught thousands of students, teachers how to
integrate yoga as a way of life. Founder of Prana Vinyasa & Samudra Global
School for Living Yoga, she integrates the roots of vinyasa, yoga, ayurveda, and
tantra in her teachings.

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photographer feature

Capturing

Interview with Photographer Amy Goalen

StronG Yoga Men


Q: What inspired you focus on men in yoga?
A: After I photographed a few of my male yoga teachers here in Santa Monica, I started to
notice how many yoga images were of women and how few were of men. Once I noticed
it, I found that I REALLY noticed it. So it got me thinking, how men out there DO practice
yoga? Not just here in Los Angeles, but even in other smaller cities or other countries. I
mentioned to a friend of mine, who is a male yoga teacher, that I was thinking of focusing
my yoga portrait series on men and he said, Good! Its about time.

amygoalen.com

16

MANTRAMAG.COM

Not long after that decision, I was introduced to Julian DeVoe, who is
a writer as well as yogi, and we discovered we were both working on
similar projects. He was in the process of writing a book about men who
practice yoga and had already started interviewing a long list of men.
We decided to collaborate and our book project, Inside the Warriorthe
Masculine Side of Yoga, was born. Ive been photographing male yogis for
over two years now and its been a fascinating journey to see all these
different yoga practices come to life from behind my lens. I love that I
get so many men wanting to be a part of this project. I enjoy talking to
men about their practice and being able to create stunning images of
their asana practice. My favorite reaction from an older male yogi after
seeing his images is Wow! I cant believe thats a picture of me! How
did you do that? I love that.
Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: For me, one thing I know for sure is that you cant rush anything.
Everything comes to us exactly when its supposed to. This is my
cornerstone truth when Im connecting with yogis all over the country
or even the world. When its time for me to cross paths with a certain
yogi for a portrait, it happens exactly when its supposed to. When
its time, its time.

These are all the shots Amy Goalens 2016 Yoga Men Calendar on sale now. You
can order at amygoalen.com. Goalen is a LA-based photographer, digital artist,
and yogi. She makes strong images of men in yoga, fitness, AcroYoga, intimate
couples, and sometimes the moments in between.

MANTRAMAG.COM

17

photographer feature

For me, one


thing I know
for sure is
that you cant
rush anything.
Everything
comes to us
exactly when
its supposed to.

Photographer Amy Goalen

Capturing
StronG Yoga Men
amygoalen.com

18

MANTRAMAG.COM

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mantra

lewis howes

Living Bigger,

Loving Deeper,
and Choosing

Not to Give Your


Power Away
in Adversity
Lewis Howes
Q: What are the three best pieces of advice
you can give?
A: 1. Adversity serves as a choice point for
each one of us. We can choose to play into a
victim mindset and give our power away or
we can use challenges as opportunities to
learn, grow, and become stronger.
Interview:
Maranda Pleasant

I want everyone I
meet to feel that
they matter, that
they are worth
it, and that they
are capable of
anything they can
dream of.

lewishowes.com

20

MANTRAMAG.COM

Q: Can you share with us some of the


struggles and comebacks that shaped
who you are today?
A: Growing up was tough. I was an awkward
kid, no good at school, and really struggled to
fit in. Then I discovered sports and channeled
all my energy and frustration into those. In
college I got drafted into playing professional
football in the Arena League and I thought I
had it made. Then I smashed my wrist into a
wall during a game my rookie season. I spent
six months in a full arm cast recovering on
my sisters couch, broke, and clueless about
what I was going to do next. My dad had
been in a major car accident that year and
couldnt work anymore, so I was really feeling
the pressure to get my career together. All I
had at that point was hustle and ambition. I
started spending hours everyday on LinkedIn
learning everything I could about how to
use it to connect with people. That led to me
becoming an expert of sorts, which I turned
into a coaching business, and that led to a
multi-million dollar business in online
marketing. I never would have guessed when
I was broke and injured that Id be where I am
today, but I knew I was going to get off
my sisters couch, so thats where I started.

2. If you are going to be great, you have to be


willing to do what average people are unwilling
to do. Hustle means sacrifice, sweat, hard
work, long days, and crazy determination,
but its also worth it.
3. It takes a lot of energy to make decisions
all day long, so the more good habits you can
create, the less energy you have to spend on
deciding what to do for every part of your day.
Q: What would you like people to remember
you for ?
A: I want people to remember me for my
huge heart. I want everyone I meet to feel
that they matter, that they are worth it, and
that they are capable of anything they can
dream of.

Lewis Howes, Lifestyle Entrepreneur and author


of the upcoming book, The School of Greatness:
A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving
Deeper, and Leaving A Legacy. Lewis built
a million-dollar online business before he was
30 and is now a business coach, angel investor,
speaker, and podcast host with nearly one million
downloads per month.

Mantra Health feature

Health Tips for

Glowing Skin, a Radiant Spirit


and

a Clear Mind

Health Coach + Personal Trainer:

Anne-Marie Berte

A: Nourish my mind, body and spirit.

I want a treat I am not going to punish myself


for it, because its about balance, living and
enjoying life and many times, life is celebrated
over food with friends and loved ones.

1.

4.

Q: Your Health Secrets


and Tips?

Dont diet, but consciously choose to


nourish your amazing body with healthy
fuel. Eat more plants, fruits, and vegetables
that pump awesome superfoods with antiinflammatory benefits, into your body. If you
have a farmers market near you, start there!

Work out! Move your body daily and


dont be afraid to sweat. It is so beneficial to do
so! There is no such thing as a bad workout and
you always feel better afterwards!

2.

Hydrate. Water, water, and more water.


Your skin will thank you, your internal organs
will thank you, and so will the nagging headache
you might have midday.

Incorporate healthy fats into your diet


daily. Coconut oil is one of my favorites and
I even use it on my skin! You can lose fat by
eating fatthe right fatsas you fire up your
metabolism and feel more satisfied resulting
in better food decisions throughout the day!

3.

Also make sure to kick-start your


metabolism with a healthy breakfast. This
sets the tone for your day, and when you
provide your body and mind with healthy
fuel, you not only benefit your overall health,
but your mind is sharper and decisions
clearer and you feel more energized. Eating
clean is something I do regularly but I also
dont believe in deprivation or cheat days. If
amfit.guru | Instagram: @amsunshinefit

22

MANTRAMAG.COM

5.

6.

I would say that the older I get, the more


I realize how important it is to my health, to
surround myself with those who truly feel
good to be around, those who inspire me,
push me to be better, do better and love me
for me! Letting go of those who dont is quite
freeing and allows me to be better to myself
and those wonderful loved ones in my life.

7.

Do the things that fire up your soul and


do more of them because when we are happy
and showing ourselves love, we attract that

back into our lives from others.

Q: How do you stay fit? What is


your regimen?
A: I work out every morning to kick-start my
day and I always feel better mentally and
physically. I tend to work out outdoors as much
as possible with my go-to workouts being
running; it clears my mind and feels great to
just lace up the sneakers and go running,
hiking, and cycling, but balance things out
with weight training, three to four days a week
in the gym. I train my entire body and mix
things up to keep my heartrate up with HIIT
training, trx and dumbbells. I incorporate yoga
into my weekly regimen as well to keep me
balanced. It forces me to slow down, disconnect,
and breathe. Yoga also helps my overall fitness
regimen as it has increased my flexibility and
opened up tight muscles so I can continue to
feel stronger in body and mind.

Anne-Marie Berte is a health and nutrition coach


and personal trainer, specializing in optimizing
overall health and wellness, and educating on what
fuel nourishes your mind, body, and spirit to achieve
your best self.

Photo: Robin Nathan

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SERIES

Featured Yogi:

Former NFL Wide Receiver, Personal Trainer


and Yoga Instructor

Derrick DJ
Townsel
Instagram: @dade2shelby

Dade2Shelby.net

24

MANTRAMAG.COM

PHOTO: AMY GOALEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Q: What Inspires You?


A: Connection is what inspires me:

connection to people, the earth, and


a divine power.

Q: Whats been your greatest struggle?


A: The greatest struggle is the illusion of

self. People expected my appearance


or background to define me, but yoga
and meditation have taught me that I am
so much more than my appearance. My
message is to help the world acknowledge
this illusion and start to see each other
as piece to a greater puzzle.

Q: One truth you know for sure?


A: One truth that I know for sure is that

we are all divine light. The journey of life


is to find your light and use it to make
this world a better place for ALL.

Miami native and former NFL wide receiver


(Houston Texans), now Orlando-based personal
trainer & yoga instructor. Started yoga journey
Nov 2012 as a means to prevent injury in
professional football and fell in love with the
spiritual and mental benefits. Inspirational
yoga practice and West-Indian roots, people
know him as the Rasta Yogi.

the Greatest
struggle is
the illusion
of self.

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25

T
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Creating Your Own Reality,

Koya We b b
Instagram: koy aw ebb

Finally Learning to Love Herself,


and Her Best Skincare Secrets

Q: One of your greatest struggles?


A: One of my greatest struggles has been learning to love myself.

Growing up in rural Tennessee, I was the tallest girl in all of my classes.


I would try to shift my weight to one hip to appear shorter and ended
up stunting my growth in one leg because I wanted so desperately to be
shorter. As I got older, being taller than most of the boys made it hard
to date and it didnt help that there were never any cute shoes for girls
with size 10 feet.
If that wasnt enough, I was usually the only minority in the advanced
classes in school so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was always the last
to be picked for projects, and although my complexion is chocolate I
was often called white girl by other minorities.
To fit in Id often study day and night so I would be picked first in my
advanced classes and after school I would hang out with the toughest
girls on the block, and steal and fight just to prove I wasnt a good
girl. I never felt like I truly fit anywhere. It wasnt until I learned to love
and accept myself that I really started to feel good and that happened
through track and field.

Q:

One of the biggest lessons youve learned?

koyawebb.com

26

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A: The best lesson Ive learned is that we are spiritual beings having a
human experience and we create our reality with our thoughts and
emotions. The best advice to go along with that is to practice daily
meditation for at least 10 minutes to connect with spirit and think
and visualize want you want in life more than what you dont want.

Q: Your best skincare recommendations?


A: My best skincare tips:
Consume a low-fat vegan diet of mostly fruits and veggies
Drink a gallon of water a day infused with fresh lemon juice and cayenne
Use witch hazel to tone skin
Wear as little makeup as possible. My favorite is lip gloss and mascara
Smile all the time. Its like a workout for your face. Smiling keeps your
cheeks nice and toned and gives you that glow.

Koya Webb is a holistic health and wellness coach, author, motivational


speaker, and professional fitness model who is helping revolutionize raw/
vegan cuisine, yoga and the holistic living landscape. A transformational
specialist when it comes to helping people reach their goals. Her Get
Loved Up retreats and new online program Healthy Vegan Rx help people
make positive lifestyle changes.

T
H
E

Q: What is true Beauty to you?

MANTRA
SERIES

What Makes Us

Beautiful,

Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle,


Nourishing Ourselves Deeply
with Plant-based Food and
Watching the Company You Keep.
Kristine Kelly
M i a m i B e a ch

A: Beauty is when you really know how to love


yourself. Your body is a temple and it craves to be
nourished with healthy, local food. As a personal
chef specializing in plant-based cuisine, trained
by Matthew Kenney Culinary, I educate others on
how simple it is to use pure ingredients sourced
locally to prepare a plant-based meal with vibrant
flavors. When we nurture our bodies like this way,
it transforms us. It fills us with so much energy
that you feel powerful like a warrior; youre ready
to conquer anything. Some people might say you
have a beautiful glow about you. We glow when
we reflect something special we have inside of
usits Spirit-filled. When you have a beautiful
soul that is nourished with healthy food, it will
radiate. Another dimension of this inner glow is
related to the company that you keep, so surround
yourselves with people you love, admire and want
to grow with. There is no need for competition, we
are here to lift others up and support one another
on this journey of life.
Q: What does a new year represent to you?

Beauty is
when
you really
know how to
love yourself.

PlantBasedDaily.com

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MANTRAMAG.COM

A: A new year represents an opportunity to


create a healthy community wherever we are in
the world. Its a time to give to our community
fully, sharing love through cooking for others and
through a meaningful yoga practice. Finding new
and creative ways to educate others on how they
can live a healthy lifestyle is what its all about.

Kristine Kelly is a Miami and St. Barth Plant-Based


Chef, Yoga and Wellness Retreat Organizer.

mantra

Mantra Instagram Inspiration: @MantraMagazine

Love these Quotes?


Cut these puppies out!
Everyone
deserves

morning
sex and
pancakes.

Surround
yourself
with people
who get it.

I need you
to love me
a little

louder

today.

You can be

messy,

&
afraid.
Show up
complicated

anyway.

If you dont
intend to love her,
leave her alone.

i do yoga
to burn off
the crazy.

Always
be
yourself. Unless

you are an asshole.


Dont be an asshole.

Stop pressing
rewind on things
that should be
deleted in your
life.
Ocean Pleasant

Im a big fan
of people
being exactly
who they are.

MANTRAMAG.COM

31

mantra

Mantra Instagram Inspiration: @MantraMagazine

Love these Quotes?


Cut these puppies out!
Its important
to realize that
you can miss
something,
but not want
it back.
Paulo Coelho

Honesty is
the highest
form of
intimacy.

I wish I was
full of tacos,
instead of
emotions.
Rose Pepper

32

MANTRAMAG.COM

When you complain,


you make yourself a
victim. Leave the
situation, change the
situation, or accept it.
All else it madness.
Eckhart Tolle

You can never


laugh too much
or have too
many orgasms.

You cant be committed


to your own bullshit
and to your growth.
Its one or the other.
Scott Stabile

Its not your


job to love me,
its mine.
Byron Katie

u
o
y
ore
r

ou
y
s, the
n
d
love
o
i
is
nee

The

dec s you to
les thers
m.
o
the

love

Sending love to
all the girls out
there trying to
love themselves
in a world thats
constantly telling
them not to.

EDITORS PICKS for THE NEW YEAR:

WINTER ESSENTIALS
Sauvage Black Active Bra +
Green Capri Pant
Great for performance and support, we like the breathable
Italian perforated fabric and a supportive racerback fit.
Kick it on the trail, studio, or gym with these workout
capri pants, bright and highly functional.
SauvageWear.com

The HighChi
Leadership Mala
Raise your energy with this 108 Bead,
Hand-Knotted Mala made from
turquoise, pearls, lapis lazuli and
Rudraksha beads.
HighChi.com

We love
this mala!

Breathable
Designer
Mali Sabatasso
Our favorite from her latest collection,
the antler necklace made of 24k gold
vermeil.
MaliSabatasso.com

Aura Cacia Body Soaks


A bath isnt an indulgence; its a healthy
practice. These body soaks combine
functional ingredients to bring new
purpose to your bath.
AuraCacia.com

Delicious
treat

Tulsi Turmeric
Ginger Tea
Souli Yoga Bag
Rene creates the most beautiful yoga bags weve ever
seen, made with hand appliqud ribbon. Photos dont
even do it justice. Love it!

Our favorite combo! A delicious


treat that brings the many
benefits of tulsi, turmeric, and
ginger to your day!
OrganicIndiaUSA.com

Rene-Souli.com

MANTRAMAG.COM

33

T
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SERIES

Yogi
Feature

Instagram: @beachyogagirl

Kerri Verna
Q: Whats been one of your greatest
struggles and how did you deal?

A:

The greatest struggle in my life thus far


was the failure of my marriage about eight
years ago. I never thought it was going to
happen to me and I thought I could fix it. I
became completely sick with co-dependency
trying to help my alcoholic husband. After
seven years of a toxic marriage, I finally said
enough and separated from him. I didnt
know it at the time, but this was a pivotal
moment in my life where I decided that I
was going to surrender to a power greater
than myself and let go. Im happy to say
that through God, the 12 steps of recovery,
counseling, and inner healing we were able
to not only restore our marriage, but become
stronger and more in love than ever before.
My husband just celebrated seven years of
sobriety and Im so grateful for the miracle
that was done in not only his life but mine. I
believe that asking for help and realizing that
you dont have the power to change anyone
was key to overcoming the biggest struggle
in my life.

Q: One truth you know for sure?


A: I dont know everything.
Q: Best lesson youve learned or advice
received?

A:

What someone else thinks of me is none


of my business.

Kerri Verna, with close to 900,000 followers on


Instagram, leads monthly yoga challenges that
inspire thousands of people of all ages, all over the
world to practice yoga each month. Based in Lake
Worth, Florida, a wife, mother of two young boys,
speaker and photographer, her life represents the
full integration of everything that she loves.

beachyogagirl.com

34

MANTRAMAG.COM

What someone
else thinks of

me is none of
my business.

MANTRAMAG.COM

35

photographer feature

Sean
Shelton
My photography is inspired by seeing others inspired.
The reward is in the art of stepping behind the lens
and capturing something magical. As a yoga teacher
in the Phoenix area, I have seen firsthand the power
of yoga transform many lives. It is my goal to see my
students grow as people and most of all, to bring a
lasting smile to their face. I often comment that yoga
is the act of building a relationship with the world. Be
it climbing, photography, or my ashtanga practice, I
see all of these things as yoga. I see yoga as anything
that brings great transformation into ones life. Life
should be lived with curiosity, love, and a sense of
play. Through my art and teachings, I know I can help
a few people take on this approach to life.

36

MANTRAMAG.COM

Sean Shelton
capturedconnections.zenfolio.com | Instagram: @capturedconnections

MANTRAMAG.COM

37

Yoga Teacher feature

Stop competing with one another.


The best chance for humanity to
survive and thrive is in cooperation,
between countries, businesses, and
individuals.

Yogi

Ruslan
Kleytman
beings, skilled practitioners, and inspiring teachers
is my contribution to a positive change that
the planet is so in need of at the moment.

Q: What is the one thing you cant live


without?
A: Today it is my Bansuri flute, carrying it
with me everywhere. Ive got to make some
noise.

Q: What are some of the most important


things to you?
A: My relationships with God, my family, my
wife, my son, my Self.

Q:
Q:

What are your biggest passions?

A: My airy nature always moves me from one


thing to another; making pottery, learning to play
the flute, walking the slackline, or making jewelry.
The one thing that is constant in my life is yoga.
When I discovered yoga it was a homecoming, an
instant recognition. It was like remembering that
this is what I have done for many lifetimes. I knew
right away that yoga is my life. I wanted to live it
and breathe it. Studying, practicing and teaching
yoga became a pillar in my life. I developed 200h
and 500h Teacher Training Programs, and I feel
that it is my lifes true calling and Dharmic duty.
Helping students to become more conscious

RuslanKleytman.com

38

MANTRAMAG.COM

What are the things you try to do every day?

A: I spend quality time with my kiddo, and


we build a lot together; woodworking, elaborate
sand castles, giant lego structures. I teach him.
I learn from him, or we just roll on the floor or
make up stories.

Q: If you could say something to everyone on


the planet what would it be?
A: Cooperate. In my opinion, Darwins theory of
survival of the fittest messed up many generations. Stop competing with one another. The
best chance for humanity to survive and thrive
is in cooperation, between countries, businesses,
and individuals.

HOW TO DONATE

My Yoga Exchange starts with you. We


provide a home for the forgotten yoga
pants collecting dust in your closet; your only
job is to dig them up and let them go! We
buy, sell, and donate yoga clothing from
yoga teachers, students, studios and retail
companies.

1 Fill out the contact form on our website and


we will send you a MYEX bag with
instructions, a prepaid return label and a
welcome package.

OUR MISSION
My Yoga Exchange (MYEX) is a
sustainability-driven business that aims to
make the practice of yoga more
accessible and inclusive while doing our
part to protect the environment in the
process. We accomplish this by creating a
marketplace for recycled mens and
womens yoga apparel and accessories,
creating a unique opportunity for yogis to
buy, sell and donate gently loved yoga
gear that is both on trend and up to
industry performance standards.

2 Gather the new, gently loved or never been

worn yoga clothing you would like to donate


with the possibility of receiving credit for
items purchased by MYEX.

3 After you receive the MYEX bag fill out the


donation form, including your current
contact information.

4 Place the items in the MYEX bag with your


completed donation form.

5 Attach the provided prepaid return label,

deliver to the designated mail carrier, and


they will handle the rest.

6 A representative from My Yoga Exchange

will contact you regarding any applicable


credit as soon as the items are processed.

@MYYOGAEXCHANGE
MY YOGA EXCHANGE
@MYYOGAEXCHANGE

www.myyogaexchange.com

T
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MANTRA
SERIES

Q: Whats been one of your greatest


struggles and how did you deal?

A:

One of my greatest struggles has always


been resisting the urge to doubt my physical and
mental abilities. But thats my yoga. Thats
my search for balance. Becoming my own
cheerleader has been the greatest gift of my
yoga practice because it has helped me turn
one of my greatest struggles into one of my
most consistent motivators.

Q: One truth you know for sure?


A: Be true to yourself. No matter what.
Even if you must walk alone, and in
darkness. Value authenticity at all costs.

Q: Best lesson youve learned or advice


received?

A: Dont listen to other people if their

opinions make you feel bad about yourself.


You have nothing to lose by standing on
your own two feet.

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley is a North Carolina-based yoga


teacher and writer. Her blog and Instagram offer
body-positive advice for yoga practitioners and
attract thousands of followers daily.

Turning Struggles Into Motivators, Valuing


Authenticity at All Costs and Not Listening to
People Who Make you Feel Bad About Yourself.
Instagram: @mynameisjessamyn

jessamynstanley.com

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MANTRAMAG.COM

PHOTO: Allie Mullin Photography

Q: What is true beauty to you?


A: True beauty is a vibrational frequency of light

and harmony, radiating out, free of grasping. It is an


effort towards a heartfelt life, and the grace found in
surrendering. The inner peace of a being in continual
remembrance of their light body, this quality transform
any external perceived imperfections, allowing true
attractiveness and beautiful. It is unconditional love.

Q: What does a new year and new beginnings represent


to you?

A:

Rae Indigo
Miami, Florida

True beauty is a vibrational frequency


of light and harmony, radiating out,
free of grasping.

YOGA

ANYWHERE & EVERYWHERE


LIVE ONLINE YOGA
CLASSES with KK

Rae Indigo is yogi, mystic, thirty-year student of yoga, martial


arts, ceo of United Yoga School, sharing love, radiance and
teaching therapeutic yoga, the art and science of healing
with yoga.
PHOTO: VICTOR BRODEN PHOTOGRAPHY
raeindigoyoga.com

KATY KERN, RYT

YogaByKK.com

561.714.5284

Logo: tjlubrano.com | Photos: melissakellyphotography.com

Any new year, or new beginning, is an invitation


and a reminder for us to make choices to move towards a
life that is full of meaning. Discarding outdated habitual
patterns, and returning our attention to inner awareness,
we can make personal commitments towards a life
that is of service to others, like training for a marathon
that is a fundraiser for a cause, instead of just pursuing
limited personal fitness goals. Make it something bigger
than you, and see how much more you are able to stick
with commitments, and feel better not just in your own
body, but in your own skin. Dream bigger and include
others in your vision. Everyone is worth it.

T
H
E
MANTRA
SERIES

North
Carolina
in the
House

Instagram Phenomenon:
Yogi Megan Lawing
Instagram: @northcarolina_yogagirl

42

MANTRAMAG.COM

I was made

Mantra: What inspires you and makes you


come alive?

for a purpose
and I am
loved beyond
comprehension.
Megan Lawing: My family, yoga, photography
and Instagram. I have been following so many
amazing yogis for the past few years, and their
hard work and dedication has led me to strive
for the best in myself as well. It is amazing
what your body can do if you put the hard
work in to get there! I also love that through
Instagram, I can incorporate my love of yoga
and photography into one platform! And last,
but certainly not least, my family. Their love and
support inspires me to keep pressing forward
every single day. Getting to spend time with
them means the world to me, and there is
nothing better than planning an adventurous
day to all hang out together.
Mantra: Whats been one of your greatest
struggles + how did you deal?

ML: Through the Instagram platform, dealing


with the criticism that can come from having
a larger audience of followers. I have learned
that as your numbers get bigger, its important
not to lose sight of who you truly are. You dont
change yourself to fit the crowd, you stay true
to what you believe in and never back down.
Personally, I have always had body image
issues. Since my torso is kind of short, I always
thought that my stomach stuck out too much.
I was always seeking attention and approval
from others to prove that I was beautiful. Now
I no longer need that approval.
Mantra: One truth you know for sure?
ML: I was made for a purpose and I am loved
beyond comprehension. Every single part of
me, inside and out. Once you realize that, and
actually BELIEVE it, you can accomplish and
overcome anything you set your mind to. I
believe that with all certainty.

I was made for a purpose and I am loved beyond comprehension.

MANTRAMAG.COM

43

mantra

FullyRaw Kristina

chef Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, aka FullyRaw Kristina

Impacting

a Million People a Day

through

Social Media,

Inspiring Health through a Raw, Plant-based Diet.


Transforming Trauma, Hitting Rock Bottom

with Her

Health,

Supporting Local, Organic Food Systems.


I n te r v i e w : m a r a n d a p l e a s a n t

Maranda Pleasant: You havent eaten cooked


foods in ten years! Do people think youre
crazy?
Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram: Changing my diet
changed my life. And not just my life, but my
entire world. My body, my mind, my career,
my family, and my community. Does it sound
mundane to say that eating a FullyRaw vegan
diet completely changed me? Does it sound
crazy to say that I havent eaten a cooked
meal in ten years? Am I an extremist because
I havent eaten any meat, dairy, pastas,
breads, rice, etc. in ten years, and I choose to
eat only foods that make me feel good and
alive? The answer is YES to all of those
questions. Yup, it all sounds totally crazy.
But, its true.
MP: Youve changed a lot over the years.
What happened?
KCB: I went from being a little Lebanese
Ecuadorian girl who had just graduated with
three majors in the top of her class striving
to be a potter, an artist, while working night
shifts as a calculus tutor to a woman who
risked it all to run her own produce co-op in
Houston and inspire health. Ive given the
past ten years to my passion. Ive sacrificed
so many opportunities, lost too many loved
ones, dealt with massive betrayals, witnessed
some of my closest friends take advantage of
me/my businesses, healed from two horrible
heartbreaks, said goodbye to people I thought
cared about me, hit puberty at 26 with a
public audience, was left to support my family
fullyraw.com | Instagram: @fullyrawkristina

44

MANTRAMAG.COM

financially, and more. Do the details matter?


No. What does matter is this: All of these challenges
were growth opportunities that finally opened
my heart to experience vulnerability and follow
the inspiration, the light, within my soul. Each
experience has transformed me into a stronger,
more intimate, more passionate woman. I may
be left with a few scars, but ultimately, I am
more beautiful because of them.
MP: Why did you start eating FullyRaw? At
what moment did you decide you could
overcome your illness?
KCB: When I was 18, I went FullyRaw vegan
and I havent turned back since. I am now 28
years old. I run three of my own companies in
Texas, and they are growing and developing
daily. All three of them are sisters and work
together to inspire greater health within our
community, and this world. My story began at
16 when I was diagnosed with hyperglycemia,
the onset of type 2 diabetes. I was 5"6' and 87
pounds at my sickest point. I spent too much
time going in and out of hospitals, and I nearly
didnt graduate from high school because I
had so many sick days. I wasnt alive. I wasnt
living. I didnt know the difference between
depression and pain. Was this a rock bottom
moment in my life? Yes, but now that I see it
in hindsight, it was the greatest gift given to me.
My sickness was my biggest growth opportunity,
and I took it.
MP: You made the change in one night? How
and why? What does it feel like to hit rock bottom,

and what tools can you give our readers to


inspire them towards greater health?
KCB: Hitting rock bottom literally feels like a
moment of life or deathor maybe you feel
dead because the emotions are too mulled
together to notice a difference. When youre
that thin, that frail, that sick, that depressed,
you either try everything you can to try and get
better, or you just give up. To some, it may seem
extreme to switch to eating a raw vegan diet
overnight, but I didnt really feel as if I had a
choice because nothing else had worked for me.
I grew up on my mothers Lebanese food and my
fathers Ecuadorean food, both heavy in meats
and oils. I basically ate fat, salt, and oil growing
up as a child, and the only fruit I ate was in the
Summer when we would cut open a watermelon
and share it. God brought me an angel in a grocery
store named John Rose who randomly approached
me and started talking to me about juicing and
eating raw. I thought he was a rabbit man when
I first met him, but it wasnt until I got out of the
hospital again at my lowest point that I called him
up and said, I am desperate. I have never tried
anything alternative before, but what the doctors
are telling me isnt working. I am willing to do
whatever it takes. We met at a Whole Foods, and
he educated me about REAL health. He told me
to pick my favorite fruit and eat it for two weeks
straight. I told him I couldnt do that because I
had blood sugar issues. He said that the sugar in
fruit is different, and that I could heal myself on a
plant-based diet. I was 87 pounds at the time, and
I walked out of that store with 80 lbs. of peaches
to last me the next 3 days.

I may be left

with a few scars,

but ultimately,
I am more beautiful
because of them.

MANTRAMAG.COM

45

mantra

FullyRaw Kristina

MP: Do you have any grave health issues


today?
KCB: Within three days of eating FullyRaw, or
an abundance of raw, organic, fruits, vegetables,
nuts, and seeds, I noticed a difference in my
health. No migraines, no dizziness, no nausea,
less depression, fewer blood sugar issues. After
a month I knew I was hooked, but I never told
myself that I wasnt going to eat cooked food
ever again. I merely told myself I wanted to eat
what made me FEEL good and happy. After a
year and a half of learning to LOVE the feeling
of health, I was free of my hyperglycemia, and
I have not been back to a hospital for health
issues (or any related issue) since.
MP: How did your story inspire your lifestyle?
How did this lead you to create three successful
businesses, all about raw foods?!
KCB: My health success story of overcoming
hyperglycemia is what inspired me to start
a food co-op. I run an organic produce cooperative in Houston called Rawfully Organic,
and it is now the largest organic/vegan/raw
produce co-operative in the U.S. My intention
was merely to afford feeding my family quality
organic produce. After helping to start up the
Tuesday farmers market on Rice University
campus, I decided I wanted something closer
to home and with more produce options. I
started the co-op with about seven to twelve
people in my living room about nine years
ago. It went from being a small neighbor-toneighbor pick-up in my garage to having three
locations, a home delivery service, and over
52,000 members in the Houston area alone.
Seeing the number of people who needed
access to quality food, seeing the need for
local produce, the need to help local farmers,
and seeing HOW MANY people really needed
help with their health is what truly inspired
me to grow this venture. The mission: to HELP
people and to help change our food system as
we know it. My passion was no longer just to
feed my family, but an entire city.
MP: At what point did you start making
YouTube videos and why?
KCB: Rawfully Organic gave birth to FullyRaw,
which was my mission to educate people on
how to eat healthy raw foods. Families were
going home with their boxes of produce and
LOVING the freshness, but no one knew what
to do with kale, or swiss chard, or arugula,
especially since it didnt look like the produce
they were used to getting in grocery stores. So
I started my YouTube channel. One of my first
videos ever was me coming home from co-op,
setting the box on the counter, and making
a smoothie in just a few minutes with the
ingredients from the box. Thats it. With the
help of our community and the online vegan
community, my channel grew rapidly. Its been
nearly three years that I have had my channel,
and Im almost at 700K subscribers,

46

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and these supportive and health-inspired


friends arent just in Texas, they are all over
the world.
MP: Are you just an Instagram Star?
KCB: The other day someone called me an
Instagram star, and I got upset. I got upset
because thats not who I am. I am not just an
online figure or on YouTube. My main work is in
the community. Thats where my passion started,
thats where I am rooted, and thats where my
heart is: changing our local and organic food
systems to be sustainable and educate our
WORLD on why eating CLEAN, REAL, PLANTBASED, RAW FOODS is the BEST for our bodies.
MP: You always seem so happy in your posts
and videos. Do you ever have bad days?!
KCB: HELL YES, I have super terrible horrible
heart-shattering disappointing shouldnt get out
of bed days...and I have them TOO frequently.
HOWEVER, I made a commitment to myself
LONG ago never to give up. Even my bad days
now are not as bad as my rock bottom points
that I experienced before I found this lifestyle.
Even on the worst days, I still show up and do
the work. I do it because I know that people,
even if just a few, are looking to me as an example.
People underestimate what it takes. My biggest

vice is sleeping four hours a night. Ive done


this for about eight years now just to keep my
businesses and my life thriving and I still run six
to ten miles a day! Its continuing to do what you
love even when shit hits the fan. Thats passion.
The shit list I mentioned above, I choose to call
all of those blessings in my life. The illness, the
heartbreak, the pain, the betrayal, all of it made
me into a stronger woman. To shift my mentality,
I think of the phoenix and how it rose from the
ashes, I think of the things that bring me strength
and joy, I count my blessings, and I spend time
with those whom I love. This love lifts me up.
People dont realize what it takes to heal your
mind and body, and its not a shift that happens
overnight. It takes time, but when you do it right,
you develop the skills to strengthen your soul
and find light in even the darkest of moments.
My social media has become more personal to
me and has become an outlet of expression apart
from my work where people can get to know me,
Kristina, apart from my companies. Ive learned
to be open and vulnerable rather than holding it
all it. It sets me free.
MP: What are your next big thing?
KCB: My most recent baby is my first book called The
FullyRaw Diet coming out in January everywhere. I
am honored and excited to be able to share my
story, my recipes, and more with so many people.

The

FullyRaw

Strawberry

Shortcake
You wont realize
that its FullyRaw
or even vegan

Ingredients for the Crust:


2-3 lbs of pitted, fresh dates
1-2 cups of dried, raw mulberries
1-2 cups of raw, dried figs (white or black)
1 pinky of vanilla bean
1 tbs of cinnamon

the cashews and replace the almond milk with coconut water.

Run all ingredients through a food processor until the mixture reaches
a crust-like consistency. Push the crust into the bottom of a pie pan or a
cake dish, and get ready for the next layer. If you want your cake to slice
smoother, feel free to add wax paper lining on the bottom of the cake.

For your FullyRaw Strawberry Cool Whip, simply use the remaining white
cool whip and blend it with a few strawberries to turn it pink! Spread this
layer on top of your second layer of sliced strawberries and top it with
ANOTHER layer of sliced strawberries!

Add a layer of sliced strawberries onto your crust.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Glaze:


Half to one pound of fresh strawberries
Half a cup of fresh, pitted dates

FullyRaw Cool Whip Ingredients:


2 cups of freshly prepared almond milk
Either 1-2 frozen bananas or a half cup of raw cashews
The meat of 2-3 young coconuts
Note: if you want the cake to be lower in fat, use the bananas instead of

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. Spread this


FullyRaw "Cool Whip" onto your first layer of strawberries. Add a second
layer of sliced strawberries on top and get ready for another layer of
Cool Whip!

Blend the ingredients for the strawberry glaze and spread it on top! Add
your final layer of sliced strawberries! Place your cake into the freezer for
approximately 4 hours to harden it. When ready, take it out, slice it up,
and ENJOY! Share with family and friends!

rawfullyorganic.com

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48

FullyRaw Kristina

MANTRAMAG.COM

FullyRaw

Vegan Pad Thai


More often than not, you want to eat something colorful and
delicious and fun, but you want it to be more than just a salad. If
thats you, this is the dish for you! Its my version of a raw vegan
pad thai, and its amazing! All you need is a Vitamix blender for
this recipe and a good knife.
Ingredients for the Pad Thai:
4-5 cups shredded zucchini
2-3 cups of shredded carrots
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 sliced red bell pepper
1-2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 cup bean sprouts
Half a cup chopped cilantro
1 cup of sliced scallions or green onion
Thumb of ginger, thinly shredded
Juice of one lime
Quarter cup of crushed pistachios as a topping
Fresh mint
Optional: Jalepeo
To cut some of the veggies here, I use a mandolin slicer to help
get the veggies sliced thinly. You can also use a spiralizer.
In a large bowl, add your mandolin sliced zucchini and carrots.
Then, chop or shred your cabbage, bell pepper, mushrooms, and
other ingredients and add them into the bowl as well. When all
of your desired ingredients are chopped and mixed in the bowl,
grab your Vitamix blender and get ready to blend.
FullyRaw Sesame Ginger Dressing:
cup raw, unhulled sesame seeds
cup fresh apple juice
/ cup orange juice
cup crushed pistachios
cup tamarind sauce
1 thumb fresh ginger
Half to 1 lime squeezed
When the dressing becomes creamy, pour it over your salad, grab
some chopsticks, and enjoy!

rawfullyorganic.com

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FullyRaw Kristina

FullyRaw

Fettuccine Alfredo
Raw Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo! Try my twist on this classic recipe!
Its creamy, satisfying, SO delicious, and perfect to share!
For this recipe you will need a high-speed blender like a Vitamix,
a serving bowl, AND a spiralizer. You may have seen me use
this before in my previous videos, and this is one of my favorite
kitchen tools. It makes noodles (or what I like to call zoodles)
out of veggies like zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, beets, and
even apples or cucumbers. It even has 3 different size blades
or noodles that you can create. Zucchini noodles are a much
healthier alternative to eating pasta, wheat, or gluten.
We are going to make this recipe in 2 steps. First, we are going to
make the zucchini noodle pasta for our fettuccine. Then, we will
make the sauce to mix in.
Take your zucchini and peel it. I only peel it so that we get rid of
the green skin so that it looks more like pasta, but the skin has
nutrients too so if you want to keep the skin on there go ahead, it
will only help ya. Then, youre going to cut off a little piece from
each end of the zucchini, place it into the spiralizer, and spin it on
in. I am using the largest blade to give me the largest size noodles
that resemble fettuccine strips. When ready, go ahead and place
these gorgeous babies in your serving dish, then get ready to
make the alfredo sauce!
The reason why I love this alfredo sauce so much is that you dont
have to wait for an hour for it to simmer and set on the stove.
It takes just a few minutes to blend! How cool is that! For the
alfredo sauce, you will need to blend in your Vitamix approximately
1 large zucchini (peeled or not peeled), a half to a quarter cup of
pine nuts, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a sprig of fresh basil, and
a sprig of fresh sage. Once you finish blending, mix the alfredo
sauce into your noodles. And as a special added touch if youre
missing your Parmesan, simply grind up some cauliflower and
sprinkle it on top for that special added flavor and touch!

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The

FullyRaw

Pia Kale-ada
Smoothie
When you dont have time to make a fancy raw meal, you need
a go-to delicious smoothie to make in less than 5 minutes. Save
this recipe and slap it on your refrigerator, because it will quickly
become your favorite! Its raw, its vegan, and its low fat. Enjoy
this delicious sweet drink for a quick get-a-way!
Ingredients for the Green Smoothie:
2-4 cups ripe pineapple, diced
1-2 cups of young coconut water
2 cups kale, destemmed
1 tsp. rose water
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender, pour, and enjoy!
YUM!

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The

FullyRaw Kristina

FullyRaw

Epic Burger
Recipe

Do you love junk food but need a healthier alternative? This FullyRaw
Burger is EPIC. Not only is it stacked with the works, but its healthy for
you, and you can eat the entire burger and not feel guilty! It has a
sunflower seed beet patty and guacamole. Its so rich and flavorful, I
know you will love it!
For this recipe, you will need either a Vitamix blender or a food processor,
but really...neither are necessary if you dont want any of the spreads.

Then, start layering your toppings like lettuce, tomato, cucumbers...whatever


you want on your burger! If you want to make some GUACAMOLE, go ahead
and ADD IT ON IN!
easy and delicious guacamole:
Add ingredients into a bowl.

For the bun of this burger you will need a large portabello mushroom. If
you want to use an eggplant, cut it in half and dehydrate it overnight so
that it takes on a bun-like consistency. If you dont want to wait...just use
a mushroom. This will be the bread of the burger.

1-2 ripe avocados


1 ripe beefsteak tomato or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
Quarter of one red onion
4 sprigs of green onion
The juice of half of a lime or lemon
Optional: a pinch of himalayan salt

We will first make the raw vegan mayonnaise and ketchup to spread on
each side of the portabello mushrooms.

the sunflower seed beet patty:


Use a food processor to mix up.

FullyRaw mayonnaise:
Use a blender.

3-4 large carrots


1 medium sized beet (bulb, excluding the leaves)
3 heaping tablespoons of sunflower seeds
1 cup of soaked and rinsed sun-dried tomatoes
Large handful of basil
Large handful of cilantro
Half of one red bell pepper
1 tablespoon of cumin
Juice of half of one lemon
Optional: 2 large tablespoons of pepita seeds
Optional: 2 stalks of celery

2 large tablespoons of cashews (and keep in mind this will give you more
than you need)
Small teaspoon of lemon juice
Small teaspoon of coconut water
Blend this until it reaches a consistency of a mayonnaise. Then, spread it
on the inner side of one of your portabello mushrooms.
FullyRaw Ketchup:
Use a food processor to mix up.
1 cup of sundried tomatoes
1 large ripe tomato
1 tsp of dried rosemary or a small handful of fresh rosemary
1 tsp of dried oregano or a small handful of fresh oregano
1 tsp of dried basil or a small handful of fresh basil
Process this until it reaches the consistency that you desire. If you want it
to be smoother, you can also use a blender. Spread this on the other inner
half of the bun.
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When ready, roll these into patty shapes and place on a wax sheet and place
into your dehydrator. Dehydrated this overnight until it reaches the perfect
consistency. I have even tried not dehydrating it and eating it like this as
well. Its amazing! If you dont have a dehydrator, dont worry because it will
work either way.
When ready, assemble ALL ingredients and create your EPIC FULLYRAW
BURGER! Enjoy immensely!

Jungle Dwelling Yogini Speaks Out on


The Dark Side of Yoga Teacher Training
an interview with Adi Shakti
by Talamanca Voz Costa Rica

TVCR: What is the dark side of yoga teacher training?

Adi: Making a commitment to something this profound requires support


to succeed. We are all connected, always. When you go away to a Yoga
Adi: Your shadow is revealed as you shine more light into your soul. You have no Teacher Training, you are leaving your old self behind. There is an evolved
version of you waiting at the end of the journey. It is such an incredible
choice but to face your shame and to bring all of the parts of yourself on your
path with you. It is not easy work. You can only offer guidance on what you have blessing to see the passion and potential in the students when they
arrive. It is important to me that our program is accessible to those that
experienced yourself, and the right teacher training serves as an opportunity to
need it, and sometimes we support our students through scholarship to
gain a direct experience in expanding your spirituality and working towards
make
ma this experience possible for them.
un
unconditional self love.

TVCR: What happens to your personal foundations once you begin a committed
yogic path?
Adi: Your foundation may be shattered. We begin to recognize which of our ideas
are borrowed and which ones have come from our own life experience. Yoga is
about connecting to Source through direct experience, and for many of our students, our programs may be the rst time that they are encouraged to feel and
embody Source. Powerful stuff.
TVCR: When you mention the shadow side of ourselves and facing our demons,
what do you mean?

TVCR: You mentioned scholarships. Could you tell us more about these?
Adi: Passion Yoga School trainings take place near the beautiful jungles
and beaches of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. During your teacher training,
you will connect at a soul level with your teachers, your fellow students,
and with yourself. We do deep work at Passion Yoga School. There is a
powerful shift that happens when people come together with a goal of
spiritual transformation.

We do offer scholarships and are currently giving away a free


enrollment to our June 12 - July 2, 2016 training, you can go to
www.passionyogaschool.com/scholarship to apply for the giveaway.
Our next upcoming programs in Costa Rica are June 12 - July 2,
2016 and July 24 - August 12, 2016, and you can get all the details
at www.passionyogaschool.com or you can send questions to
passionyogaschool@gmail.com.

Adi: With deep spiritual inquiry you begin to see through the illusion of duality in
your own life force energy and in existence as a whole. You are forced to face the
question; "Am I using my life energy to promote my deepest purpose?" Examining
our lives and seeing where we fail to fulll our duties is wrenching at times. This
process may lead to a bit of a spiritual crisis, and it is vital to have a support network as move along this journey. Only those ready to begin the work of sacricing
As you turn toward the light, you will begin to integrate spiritual truths.
their own ego and moving towards unconditional love should begin this work.
You will be continuously confronted by these truths, and it can be a
challenge to integrate new levels of awareness into your previous way
TVCR: This sounds like heavy work. You mentioned a support network to help,
of being. You are not alone and signing up for a Yoga Teacher Training
what do you mean by this?
may just be the best thing that you will ever do for yourself. Just be
aware. Once you turn toward the light, there is no going back!

We begin to recognize which of our ideas


are borrowed and which ones have come
from our own life experience.

For more information on Passion Yoga School visit


www.passionyogaschool.com

ADVERTISEMENT

mantra

Kim-Julie Hansen

I n ter v ie w w ith K im-Julie Hansen // aka @ b estofvegan

The Beauty

of an

Unconventional Life,

Growing up an Awkward Outcast,


the Battle Between Pursuing Dreams

Self Sabotage,
Traveling the World
Her Vegan Blog
that Reaches Millions a Week.
and

and

Maranda Pleasant: What motivated you start


sharing your passion online in 2013?
Kim-Julie Hansen: At first, it was just the desire
to show my friends and family what vegans
eat, as well as share my tips and tricks for
being a vegan in Brussels, the city I lived in
when I first became a vegan. I was still rather
shy and very private at the time, so for the
first few weeks, I ran the account practically
anonymously. It took me months to build up
the courage to share a picture of myself. Ive
always been somewhat of an outcast and felt
out of place wherever I went. Surprisingly, having
an online presence allowed me to connect with
so many others who felt the same way. It gave
me a sense of belonging I could have never
anticipated. While it was all about food and
ethical veganism in the beginning, I noticed
that people were also interested in my personal
story and the challenges I had faced over the
years. I went from being someone who has a
hard time showing emotions in front of even
her closest friends, to completely opening
up and sharing some of my rawest, most
vulnerable moments with perfect strangers.
The response was overwhelming. What I
love the most is when I receive emails from
people telling me about their own stories and
how they can relate to what Ive been through.
Just a few months after starting my personal
Instagram: @brusselsvegan @bestofvegan

54

MANTRAMAG.COM

account @brusselsvegan, I started a second one


called @bestofvegan. The idea was simple, to
share and showcase delicious vegan recipes and
beautiful photography. It had over a thousand
followers the first night, a hundred thousand
the first year and now, not even two years into
it, it has a reach of over 300,000 people worldwide. I would say that my main motivation
behind everything I do is to share information
about veganism and to inspire people to go for
what they really want in life instead of settling
for less. Its what drives me every single day.
MP: Can you share some of the challenges you
just mentioned?
KJH: Before making the decision to follow my
dreams a couple of years ago, I was actually
miserable for many years. When I was ten, I
switched schools and the awkwardness that I
now embrace in myself and others, was a problem
for the kids in my class. I was bullied for the
next four years and dealt with it by overeating
and isolating myself even more. When I was
fourteen, I started smoking and drinking just
so I would get accepted. It worked. I was no
longer bullied, but I started losing myself more
and more. Food, alcohol and cigarettes helped
me numb my emotions and deal with my
familys and my own issues. For as long as I can
remember, Ive always had a desire to run away

and escape my reality. I still do that, but now I


call it being a nomad. When I was fifteen, I ran
away from home and moved into a small studio
apartment in Berlin. A year later, shortly after
my sixteenth birthday, I quit school for a year to
move to New Zealand by myself. I had this feeling
inside that I can only describe as the opposite of
being homesick. I started working when I was
fifteen and inherited the rest of the money for
the trip from my paternal grandmother who had
passed away just a few months earlier. After a
year in New Zealand, I wasnt ready to go back
to Europe, so I changed my flight to go to Brazil
instead. I returned to Berlin at age seventeen
as a changed person. Thats when I knew that I
would never want to lead a conventional life. I
finished high school, worked and traveled for a
couple more years and finally moved to Brussels
in 2008 to go to college. Throughout the years, I
continued overeating, drinking and smoking and
at my heaviest, I weighed over 210lbs. The best
words to describe my life at that moment are
unhealthy and unhappy. I got into a few very
toxic relationships and when my dad died from
a heart attack in 2010, I gave up on myself entirely.
I pretended to be fine and never once cried in front
of my friends, but on the inside I saw his death as a
sign that I, too, was doomed. I felt like he and I were
so much alike that it scared me. I didnt see the point
in trying anymore and just accepted that I would end
up destroying myself the way he had.
BOTTOM LEFT Photo: Timothy Pakron

to encourage people
Itowantbe unconventional
and

show them that you dont


have to live according to
plan. Dare to dream bigger
and dont dim your light
just so others wont feel
threatened.

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55

mantra

Kim-Julie Hansen

The other part of my message is equally as close


to my heart. You wouldnt believe the number of
times I've been told that I couldnt do something
in my life. Whether it was because Im a woman,
because Im not good enough according to societys
standards, skinny enough, wealthy enough, the
list goes on.

The first year of grieving his loss was a mix


between feeling like I couldnt breathe when I
was by myself and numbing everything when
I was with people.
About a year after his death, I finally realized
that I had a choice, to be him or to learn from
him. That day, I stopped fearing death and
promised myself that I would do whatever it
took not to become like him. It wasnt easy
and its still a struggle sometimes. My life is a
constant battle between pursuing my dreams
and self sabotage, but Ive learned to be grateful
for every part of it and Im continuously moving

closer to making my dreams my reality.


MP: When and why did you go vegan?
KJH: I went vegan in 2011, coincidentally
around the same time I made the decision to
learn from my dads mistakes. I was what youd
call the opposite of a vegan before that. I had
meat and dairy every day and didnt really care
about animals that much. Mostly, I was just
very misinformed. While doing research for
one of my college classes, I read the book Eating
Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and went
vegetarian instantly. I had no idea how bad

things really were and how much of an impact


animal agriculture had on the environment. Just
five days later, a quote from Gail Eisnitzs book
Slaughterhouse changed my life forever. I became
a vegan in a split second and havent looked
back since. It remains the best decision I ever
made and interestingly, my personality changed
around that time too. I became more extroverted
and also a lot more empathetic, not just towards
animals, but towards people too.
MP: What would you say your main message is?
KJH: I would say that I have two main messages
that go hand in hand. When it comes to veganism,
my message is an inclusive one. I want to get
people excited about the lifestyle, inspire them
to make a change, any change, even if its just
one meal to begin with. I think that veganism still
seems incredibly difficult and unapproachable
to many. Of course Id love for everyone to go
vegan today, but some people just need a little
more time and encouragement to make the
connection. Im also very passionate about
intersectionality, as well as moving away from
the stereotype that veganism is just for rich
white people. I come from a multi ethnic family
myself and therefore find it very noticeable how
underrepresented minorities still are in the
vegan movement. Furthermore, I want to show
that vegan food doesnt have to be expensive, as
long as you have the right kind of information.
The other part of my message is equally as
close to my heart. You wouldnt believe the
number of times Ive been told that I couldnt do
something in my life. Whether it was because
Im a woman, because Im not good enough
according to societys standards, skinny enough,
wealthy enough, the list goes on. I refuse to let
circumstances or other people dictate how I
should live my life and I want to show others
that they can do the same. After high school, I
wanted to travel the world but neither I nor my
parents had money, so I ended up working in
hotels. The hours were crazy long and the pay
very low, but I got to travel for free and the
experience was worth every minute of it. Its
your life, you can do whatever the hell you want.
It may be a little more challenging, but you
can do it. People often tell me that Im lucky
to have lived in seven different countries and
to live the kind of life I live now and sure, I am
lucky, but I also worked my ass off for it and
so can you. I want to encourage people to be
unconventional and show them that you dont
have to live according to plan. Dare to dream
bigger and dont dim your light just so others
wont feel threatened. As Marianne Williamson
says: Your playing small does not serve the
world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people wont feel
insecure around you.

Kim-Julie, 28, is a passionate vegan who runs


the instagram accounts @brusselsvegan and
@bestofvegan, as well as brusselsvegan.com.
She is a blogger, author, artist, yogi and world
traveller.

Photo: Timothy Pakron

56

MANTRAMAG.COM

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TheZenCruise.com

STRONG WOMEN feature

We are taking these words back,


laugh at them, and watch
them lose their power over us.

Too fat. Too old.

Too strong.

Too independent.

Selfish Working Mother.

Too Emotional.
Too Wild. Too Direct.
Too Much. Not Enough.
Bitch.

Too Bossy. Too Confident.

Too Aggressive. Cougar.


Too Passive.

Crazy.

Words. Labels. To Make Us Shrink. Comments


Meant to Diminish. To Make Us Small.
To Make Us Feel Shame. To Disable Us.

We Ask These Strong, Inspiring Women:

What Have You been Called?

If we are going to fulfill our big vision and work in the world, we have to stop caring what people think. We dont need validation
and external approval. Our worth has nothing to do with our appearance or popularity. Its time to shine, not shrink.
#MantraMakers Instagram: @Mantramagazine
Tag us and tell us your story.

58

MANTRAMAG.COM

Diva
Swears
Too Much

Changeable
Too
insensitive

T oo E m o t i o na l
Arrogant

In a
Hurry

D a n i e l l e LaPo r te
Author of The Desire Map
Writes like a valley girl on uppers.
There was this: Well it looks like someone forgot where she came from.
And this gem: I think fat people are always trying to overcompensate, I dont trust her.
And most recently, Privileged.
Heres what I know for sure, with every cell of my being: Im a deeply loving person. And
Im here for three reasons. To be self-expressed, and to be of service to the collectivevery
especially to women. And Im here to be my sons mother. That makes for some intense
and intensely fulfilling focus.
I can be hurt. I can definitely be distracted and annoyed. But darkness, meanness,
myopia, and utter stupidity, its no match for what I know to be trueTHE LIGHT OF
MY HEART.
DanielleLaPorte.com
@daniellelaporte
Photo: Catherine Just

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59

what have you been called?

Overly
Emotional

mantra

Cunt Y
Anorexic
Horse
faced

Thin-skinned
Melody Tarver
Creative Director, Mantra Magazine. ORIGIN Magazine. THRIVE Magazine.
Yoga Instructor
Through yoga and meditation, Ive learned that projection is real and
that I do not own the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of others.
Its taken me many years, but I know how to love myself and no one
will ever take that away from me. I am no longer a victim. I am the
same as anyone else. Now I stand grounded in myself and send love
to those who cant see past their own anger and sadness.
OriginMagazine.com
Photo: Allan Hayslip

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Too
Sensitive

Crazy

Miss
P iggy

Loud

Impulsive

Brown Cow
F lirty
Sara Agah
Jewelry Designer. Nurse.
CoFounder, Do It For The Love Foundation with Michael Franti
These are few of the names that have stung, since childhood. I wish
I could tell you that Ive risen above all of them, but truthfully, Im
still a work in progress. They are still empowering mantras for the
woman I am today. Being called Brown Cow in school for being
Persian, made me want to stand taller and proud of my heritage.
Body shaming sucks and being called Miss Piggy led me to question
my body image. I still have times when I love my curvy body
and times when I dont, but today Im aware of my of my nutrition and
exercise. Perhaps, I am impulsive and over emotional, but if I
didnt follow my passions and wear my heart on my sleeve, I would
not have started my own business or done relief work in Haiti.
As for loud and flirty, Im guilty as charged. Im clear with my
intentions, and if Im flirting with my man, he knows it! I live life to
the fullest. I laugh, play and love hard and Im not ashamed of any
of it. Im grateful that each of these words has given me the chance
to reflect on my true self.
SaraLua.com
DoItForTheLove.org

Overly
Emotional
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61

what have you been called?

Slut

Crazy

mantra

Too
Much
Not
Enough

F*cking Bitch
Cunt

Zo K o r s

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When people call me names, the sting is always accompanied by a


certain satisfaction. It means I am doing a good job of waking them
up. The only reason someone would feel the need to diminish me
is if what I am presenting is powerful enough to threaten their
sleepy complacency. And that is exactly why I do what I do, to shift
paradigms. A wildly-expressed woman cannot be a good girl. The
point is not to be liked, but to serve.
ZoeKors.com
Photo: Danny Kosarin

Kerri Kelly
Founder, CTZNWELL
Ive spent a lot of time in high-stakes spaces, whether it be in the
board room, yoga studio or on the street. And the name that has
stuck to me through it all is Bossy. Not competent or convicted,
but rather too much of the thing I have witnessed men do my whole
life: Lead. And I know Im not alone. Bossy is the equivalent of
bitch leveled against women in leadership. What for men, would
often reference assertiveness, for women is used to imply that we
are not entitled to take charge. Fuck that.

Pushy

I am bossy, when I need to be. But I am also compassionate and


collaborative and courageous. Through my practice I have learned
not to curb my power, but to know it, to harness it, and to use it
to make a difference. It doesnt benefit anyone to play small. This
moment is calling all of us, women and men, to reclaim our power
and potential and collectively direct it towards the wellbeing of
all people. On behalf of all girls everywhere, Im Bossy and youre
welcome.

Bossy

ctznwell.com
Photo: Jennifer Graham

Bitch

Aggressiv e

Too
much
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63

what have you been called?

Drunk

mantra

Crazy Bitch

Freak
Tease

Devil

Amy Putney Koenig


Artist. Yoga Guide
I was once told that if I got a boob job and would grow my hair
out I might be dateable. My mother told me early on that when
people are mean, they are often jealous or afraid. The Four Agreements
says this too and goes on to say that even when people are in our
face raging, it is all about them and has nothing to do with us.
The most abusive person I have ever lived with was my own
damn self. There was a time, when the non-stop ego mind was
always putting me down. I was called a loser, a fake, damaged,
fucked, a waste, and ugly. Then I would treat myself accordingly
and drink to pass out, drug to overdose, cut and burn myself,
and get in unhealthy relationships, etc.
Then I woke up.
It was brought to my attention that whether I think I am the
WORST person or the BEST, it is still ME thinking about ME. I had
to escape my small, scared, self-centered way of being. I realized
my life was not happening to me, I am participating in it! I work
to create love and acceptance for the temple I live in, take care of
and love today. What a gift to be here, to breathe and go through
the beautiful and the difficult, to be present and open to learn
and help others.
It takes effort to find her, but we all have a powerful, strong,
compassionate, brilliant, creative spirit within. Let her shine. The
world needs you to be you. It is not your business what other
people think of you. To quote Marianne Williamson, Our deepest
fear is not that we are inadequate, Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that
most frightens us. Shine on.
AmyPutneyKoenig.com
Photo: Michael Watson

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gypsy
too
independent

unrealistic

dramatic

l i v i n g in a fairytale

high-maintenance
Selfish
b ossy

Egotistical

Traci Wallace
Writer and Conscious Marketing Strategist at Silvr Social
I remember these words being used to describe me since I was
a little girl; mostly in a joking manner, yet always with a slightly
negative connotation. What I have learned is that everything,
including words, contains both light and dark. When you let
others define what these things mean, you risk the opportunity
to let a part of you shine through. Its funny that defending the
fact that we are not something keeps us from seeing what truly
is. My lesson: When you see the light in what could appear to be
something negative, you are one step closer to seeing the light in
yourself.
Photo: Ashley Fierro

MANTRAMAG.COM

65

what have you been called?

Difficult

mantra

Vain
You
Walk
Like
a
Whore

Aggressive

You Work
, for
Me, So I ll F*ck
You If I Want To

B itc h

Founder of ART NOT WAR, director of MEN

Bossy

Thats just a small sample. I used to take this kind of thing to


heart. I used to ask myself, over and over again, what I could have
done differently? Could I dress differently? Not wear makeup?
What was it about ME that invited these kinds of comments?
Street harassment and these kinds of digs, plus more subtle
forms of intimidation, were just a part of my life as a young
woman who has worked across several industries.

T he Mozart
of Pushy

Now, as a successful director and activist in my 40s, I just flat out


dont take it. A young man tried to harass me on the street last
week and I turned on him like a viper. He went from why dont
you suck my d*ck? to apologizing and nearly crying after I was
done with him. I didnt yell. I just let him know that I was a wife
and a mother, and that his behavior was unacceptable. And I will
leave any working situation Im uncomfortable in, or where there
isnt a shared level of personal and professional respect.

Awfully Smart for


Such a Gorgeous Girl

Learning to speak up for myself, learning to advocate for myself


and to set acceptable limits has been one of the most empowering
aspects of aging as a woman. As I raise a young daughter, who
already has men approach her in the street to offer comments on
her looks, and shes TWO, this will be ever present in my mind.
And as an activist and filmmaker, spreading the message that
how we treat women in a society actually affects the health of
the entire society, is one of my top priorities.

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Laura Dawn

Sarah DeAnna
Model and author of the bestselling book, Supermodel YOU
I am way too nice, to a fault! I do not typically elicit a lot
of name-calling or labels other than that people think I
am Being Fake. Which isnt the case. Im honestly just a
nice girl, but no matter how nice you are somebody will
always have a problem with you.
The best part is that the adjectives all came from people
really close to me; people I love. Most of these words
came from family members. In my experience, these
are the people whose words and actions actually have
enough power to hurt you. Hurt me they have, and they
do, but less and less today because I know who I am and
who I am not.
Am I selfish? Sometimes yes. Its important to put
yourself first or you are of no help to anyone.
Ungrateful? Absolutely not. I have seen the worst of
times and the best of all worlds and I am extremely
grateful for having that disparity.
Can I be a bitch? Absolutely! Especially if I dont get
my beauty sleep.
@SupermodelYOU
SarahDeAnna.com

Stuck Up
Nothing But A
Welfare Baby

Righteous
Ungrateful Bitch

Judgmental

Selfish

MANTRAMAG.COM

67

mantra

what have you been called?

Not Smart Enough

A Burden

Too
short

Ri n a J a k u b o w ic z
In high school, a boyfriend told me I was a burden and I carried that
with me for years, until I understood the truth. Every judgment is a
teacher. A teacher of truth. A truth of knowing who I am and who
I am not, objectively. If I am what I am being called, then I reflect,
apologize (if needed) and vow to myself to be more aware next time.
If I am not what I am being called, then I am able to disregard it and
move on with clarity and confidence. Objective reflection is key to
building deep, inner strength.
RinaYoga.com

Good for Nothing

Ugly
Lazy

Yulady Saluti
These are words that rang in my ears many times
over the course of my life. When I was younger,
such invectives would really hurt me. Sometimes
making me feel horrible about myself or how I
looked. I actually questioned whether they were
true, spending time examining my looks or actions
for shreds of validity. I have learned two important
lessons from this name calling. First, the only way
another person can make me feel bad about myself
is if I let them. Second, almost always, the person
that called me the name didnt really believe I was
in fact ugly, lazy, or good for nothing. Generally the
person projected the qualities in me that they least
liked about themselves. Learn to love yourself
unconditionally by loving others unconditionally.
YuladySaluti.com

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MANTRAMAG.COM

Zhena Muzyka

Welfare mom

Author. Publisher of Enliven Books and


Conscious Media Host

Ball
Buster

Being seen as a welfare mom at health clinics and hospitals


exposed me to how our expensive medical system shames the
poor. Because birth defects were considered uninsurable preexisting conditions, I had to enroll in a welfare program to get
my newborn the healthcare needed to save his life. I carried
the blue Medi-Cal card and each time I checked in to a hospital
or doctors office, the receptionists face would drop when I
presented it, shed point to the other hospital. We were sent to
the clinic where the waits were long and the care by volunteer
doctors was rushed.
When I discovered fair trade business practices and began
working in the tea fields as an advocate for workers, one estate
owner told me to go back to America, we dont need your
money, you western white woman. At first, I was devastated,
but then understoodmy money was to him like that blue card
had been to me: a source of shame, or somehow proof of his
inadequacy.

Not
qualified

Unrealistic

Bossy

Unreasonable

Intense

Too independent

This taught me that the shame I felt had been of no service to


my sonthe healthcare he received saved his life. The workers
were hungry, and this mans rejection of funding would force
them to remain so for the time being. I woke up to the fact that
name calling can only shame me when Im stuck in a place of
pride, instead of true service. Why would it matter what people
thought of me with that blue card? What would it matter to that
man to have funding from a westerner if it meant his workers
would be better cared for? So whether Im called welfare mom,
a western white woman, a ball buster or not qualified, holds no
power over me so long as Im attuned to the only thing that
matters: Service to humankind.
Zhena.TV
Photo: Mariana Schulze

Wild

,
Doesn t Follow
The Rules

Dreamer

Too
Direct

Suzanne Bryant
Filmmaker, YOGA IS film and YOGA IS online. Yoga and meditation teacher
As a woman who is independent, almost six feet tall and walks
to the beat of my own drum, many names have tried to break my
spirit, but eventually they made me strong. I used to struggle with
peoples expectations of me, but over time, I stopped listening to
what others thought of me and started on a path to discover who I
was. I learned that others words are their agenda, not mine. Their
perceptions are not me. The names fueled my spirit to learn to love
all the aspects of me.
Be proud of being called strong woman! Respect yourself, let go
of fear of peoples judgments of you. Embrace yourself and that is
where you will find your magic!
yi.yoga
SuzanneBryant.com
Photo: Tashi Palmer

MANTRAMAG.COM

69

what have you been called?

Over-Confident

Michelle
Marchildon
Michelle Marchildon is the Yogimuse.
Award-winning journalist and she won't
apologize for that either.
Im told that I am over-confident. You know
what Im over? Being criticized for having
ambition, strength, and being totally f*cking
capable. You do not hear men being criticized
for confidence. As a woman, it is not a popular
path to be strong. It will cost you a prom date,
or even a marriage. Yoga teachers do not
have to be humble, modest, weak or depressed
to be effective. They simply have to be honest.
Seriously, Im one tough mother. I wont
apologize for it, and I wont play small. I
would rather spend the end of my days being
exactly who I am, than trying to be someone
else. It is so much better to be authentic, than
to try to be popular, and Im mostly okay with
what they say behind my back.

One Tough Mother

Nadia Prescher
Co-Founder and Owner, Madison House, Inc.
These words could easily be complimentary, but in the past when said
to me ill-intentioned, have been pretty off-putting and hurtful. Words
are a tool, and for me, its usually about the intention behind them.
About 15 years ago, a colleague from England whipped out the
room-silencing word cunt at a meeting when telling a story. He
didnt mean the ultimate derogatory word used in the U.S. He meant
it like an American would use the word jerk, and we all took it in
the casual way he meant it, (after we put our eyes back in our sockets
and told him of his ethnic, yet comedic faux pas.) Cultural difference
or not, it was a huge reminder then and today; its all about what
someone is ultimately trying to do when speaking to me. If they are
trying to slight me personally or professionally, regardless of the word
choice, I will stop noticing their attempt and the person all together.
If they are positive, and trying to raise us both up using language and
intention, Im leaning in and contributing. Intentions behind words
are everything.
MadisonHouseinc.com
Photo: Tobin Voggesser

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MANTRAMAG.COM

Emotional

YogiMuse.com
YogaDownload.com
Photo: Shannon Hedlund

Sensitive
Aggressive

Independent

mantra

Female

Environmental Consultant. Yoga Teacher. Animal/Vegan Advocate. Mom


As a gentle soul, being bullied as a schoolgirl and hearing diminishing
words later in life inspired me to strengthen my voice, confidence, and
set healthy boundaries. It was the perfect training for relationships,
motherhood, teaching yoga, and directing my passion to protect
the planet as an environmental professional for over twenty years.
Committed to use my voice to shift outdated paradigms, I also speak
up to educate and illuminate love, compassion and kindness for the
billions of innocent, gentle animals exploited as commodities for
food, clothing and entertainment. I now stand my ground as a graceful
and strong woman.
GoliGabbay.com
Photo: Michel Andreo

Passi v e

Stupid Immigrant
S a r a E l i z a b e t h I v a n h o e Overly
Protective

Yoga Scholar

Was told I used too many big words. This was said to me on a date! Im
not kidding. Judgemental? Try ethical. Neurotic? Im Jewish, what do
you expect? Overly protective? I do lose my temper when people mess
with my friends. Kali? Honest. Pushy and manipulative? Another way
of saying that they didnt get their way from me.
My definition of the word strength has evolved. While I could dismiss
feedback by saying They dont get me, I believe that would be too
easy. True strength questions itself, admits fault, and is open to the
ideas of others. Recently a friend shared how his ex-wife taught him to
not care what other people think. I suggested that instead, one might
strive to be in such truth that there would be no doubt of everyones
support. Valuing community is strength. The word hatha can be
translated many ways, but one of them is force or strength. Hatha yoga
means that we are all channels of that same strength. It is not my
strength. I dont own it. Strength lives inside of me, but lives inside of all
of us. True strength does not alienate others. True strength sees itself in
others. True strength brings us into union. True strength is yoga.
YogaNation.com

Too Serious

Overbearing

Overly Sensitive

Martyr Mom

Goli Gabbay

Manip ulat i ve

Intense

Too Smart
Neurotic
P us h y
MANTRAMAG.COM

71

mantra

what have you been called?

Maranda Pleasant

Cougar

Founder, Mantra Magazine, ORIGIN, THRIVE Magazine. Artist


Worthless
Ive lived my life believing labels, and carrying them like commands, living
them out since I was a child. I was ridiculed for not having a father by
other kids and beaten, leaving scars on my body and deep fear in my
bones, from my caretaker. I carried the worthless label most of my life,
attracting partners that would validate it. The importance of this piece was
recognizing and embracing the words and beliefs that bring us shame, and
taking them back, along with our power. They stopped owning me. This
released me from a lifetime spent in shame.
Bossy Cunt
This was a first. Last month, as I was about to meet a music executive on a
first date. He failed to tell me he was running an hour late, and called me a
bossy cunt when I told him that didnt work for me. Then he proceeded to
call me old, unsuccessful, a whore and attacked my sexuality. Great guy. I
was shocked how people still resort to name calling and violent language
for women. What I didnt do? Internalize it, take it personally or feel
responsible for his anger issues.

F*cking
Bitch

Difficult
If you have boundaries and standards and youre a woman, at some point
you will be called difficult. Every day I get hundreds of emails with people
making offers that barely benefit my company and yet take great expense,
time and resources on my part to only benefit them. Even when I politely
decline, Im labeled as difficult. When people ask more of you than they
want to give, and it does not nourish you, just say no. No explanation or
apology necessary. Women are afraid of hurting peoples feelings, at the
expense of our own and our companies. We are here to make the hard call.
Were the boss. We protect our vision and everything that weve built.

Worthless

Difficult

72

F*cking Bitch
I was walking down the street one evening in New York. A man started
walking next to me and then in front of me, and refused to stop talking to me
and was too close. In my strongest tone, I demanded that he get away from
me immediately. I noticed how it made me feel violated on some level.

Too
Sexua l

Too Direct

Bossy
Cunt

MANTRAMAG.COM

He started yelling obscenities as I kept walking. He didnt stop yelling. So


I turned around and walked toward him and told him that women are
taking back the motherfucking streets. He doesnt have the right to get
in our faces and continue harassing us when we ask him politely to stop.
He yelled. I held my ground. The look on his face was priceless. Imagine if
all women, in a safe environment, would hold their boundaries with men
who belittle us like this. What kind of movement could we start? Stop
worrying about being polite and start speaking up. Wear the badge of bitch,
as in total honor. If we dont stand up for ourselves and other women, who
the hell will? Can you imagine that he would ever do this to another man?
The idea that some men think that it is acceptable to treat women this
way, is outrageous.
Too Sexual. Cougar
I love sex. I mean, I really love sex. I talk about it all the time. I have as
much sex as possible, when it deeply nourishes me. Someone asked me
why I talk about sex so much. I think it represents women taking back
their power and overturning a male-dominated system built on shaming
us and violating us. The narrative of men as the predator and women as
puritanical, really has to go. We really have to own our sexuality. One in
five college age girls will be raped. Read that again. One in five. Millions
of women are violated every year around the globe. Sexuality for me is
claiming my power and calling my own shots. We should love our bodies
and love pleasure. I actually laugh out loud if someone calls me a slut or a
whore. Do we do this to men? If you dont do it to a man, then dont even
think about doing it to me. We call the shots. Wes say if were strong and
sexual. Its our story and we get to write it and define it. No one else. Oh
yeah, and when I date someone eight years younger, I am called a cougar,
but when men date 20 years younger, no one flinches. Nope. Can I get
some equality over here?
Photo: Lechon Kirb

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