Bonphilosophia is a digital website dedicated to featuring work by emerging and established artists and cultural influencers. 

Big Yoga + 40 Days from Ms. IsWade

happy days everyone! most of you all are aware of my time at Big Yoga, my lovely weekend job at the studio's unstoppable Juice Bar: Big & Juicy, and how I have been apart of Big's 40 Days program. I have been brainstorming on how I was going to discuss my 40 days here on my blog and it wasn't until today where I realized I can reach out and show how others have been affected by my new yoga community as well. I am on the Empowered team! I talk about myself all the time here on this blog but I felt like it would be special if I let someone else's precious voice be heard. here is a picture of my friend in Houston: Kristyn (who wrote the email about her 40 Days) & me at Baba Yega. The following email is Kristyn Wade's stages of the 40 Days, oh by the way it is based off the "40 Days to Personal Revolution" text by Yoga guru Baron Baptiste. 

""Hello Family,

I hope right now you're smiling and loving life. Embracing everything around you in a positive light that everything is supposed to be as it is. I wanted to email you all about this incredible journey I've been on in Houston here and indirectly so have you. The Yoga studio I go to, Big Yoga, has a 40 day Program. It's free and all you have to do is pay for your classes. It includes weekly meetings, group support, book readings, doing yoga 6 days a week, and meditation twice a day.

For the meditation portion you start out at 5 minutes for morning and evening and by week six meditation is at 30 minutes for both sessions. This is done in my room. I set up a mediation space so I can just go there right after I wake up. The book mom gave me, How God Changes Your Brain, has been a great aid in this. Because I know scientifically what is happening to the different parts of my brain while meditating. At first it was hard because I was fidgeting and I notcied my mind racing alot. But thats actually the first step. Simply noticing something is awareness in the moment. You can me present to thoughts, both positive and negative and can choose to let them pass. Essentially, you're not your thoughts because they can come and go. As you sit with your feet grounded, feeling the soundtrack to the breath, your mind is not your body and you can travel to whatever place you desire. There is research with stroke patience that simply meditating for twelve minutes a day, can connect neurons in the brain that have been damaged to increase social awareness and compassion. 

The book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution by Baron Baptiste, has been our resource and mental guide through this process. It is broken up into 6 weeks. With one theme and two laws every week to meditate and think about through yoga and beyond the mat. It breaks down so far as followed, in my perspective:

Week 1: Presence
What am I present in that brings me joy? That fills me with energy? For me this includes nutrition, discipline, design, networking, and dancing. Someone once asked the Buddha "Are You God?" 
"No." He Replied...
"Then what are you" They asked. 
I think with everything we're experiencing with the family and beyond it's so easy to get caught up in emotions, stress and worry about the future. And perhaps we've become so used to it all our lives that it is subconciously engrained in us to just assume thats all we can be.  I've felt controlled by fear, jealousy, and not caring enough in the past because of my own insecurities and never wanted to think about it long enough to make any changes. I think the first thing thats important to me and hopefully you all is healing yourself and waking up to right now. What are our behaviors masking underneath? 

Law 1: Seek the truth.
"Seek the truth and the truth shall set you free." When we gain insight into our behaviors that drain our energy and focus, we are becoming more awake and more present. For me I realized I had a lot of judgement, self-criticism, and fear. I wasn't loving myself, my temple. And most of all, I haven't communicated as much as I could with you guys. We're family and for the longest time I've never really thought about it or appreciated it but I'm hopeful for the future.

Law2: Be Willing to Come Apart.

"One must lose one's life in order to find it" (Lindbergh)
This one was very tricky for me at first. Like " do I really have to pull everything out of myself? It's so nicely placed in there already!" But thats the process in becoming present with myself. I can assume that everything is okay but then I remain stagnant in my growth. How else can I come apart? What else in my life can I make better? An obvious example is yoga. When I'm on the mat, sweating profusely, and thinking how painful a pose is...I can come apart right there. I can figure out where the sensation is and think about it, think about what comes into my head and visualize it passing. And if you think about it, we're all made up of cells...little mustard seeds of we do have the ability to break things down into different forms. Something tangible. It's human nature to want to control everything which is why letting go is do difficult. Why fight against what nature made us of? This dis-ease causes sickness in our mental health and in turn our organs, etc. Stress puts strain on our organs and releases chemicals to our brain for negative, anger, and fearful reactions. When I'm willing to come apart, I am allowing things to happen in my life...and it hasn't been completely easy. I've been without a car for two weeks while it's in the shop getting repaired. But I've replaced the negative thought with an acceptance and way to get around that. So I'm biking everywhere now and you know what? I've never felt more alive as soon as I start peddling. I think the greatest things to learn from in life are very painful and humbling but it allows us to be present in ourselves and our higher purpose.

Week 2: Vitality

This was a huge leap for me in my progress. The book talks about how we're supposed to go to an exotic place or somewhere far from HERE to experience vitality and growth. I get that, I went to Europe because thats what I assumed had to happen. Of course I did experience incredible passionate vitality within myself. But the book talks about how vitality can occur RIGHT HERE. It simply means living a life of enlightened knowledge and action. So much of me has wanted to escape Houston because I thought I had to experience the world to fall in love with myself. But it turns out, my enlightened self has been here all along, waiting to be unleashed. Granted, I always hope to travel and see different areas of the world. But my ego always told me I couldn't experience it where I was. Crazy, right?

Our group meeting to discuss this occurred the night Grandpa went to the hospital. So my intention for the night was given completely to him. We were asked some questions: What drains us? If I dwell on it, where do I feel sensations in my body and what are they like? What is vitality? What gives me energy when i just think about it? We have tapes in our brain from past experiences that lead us to believe new occurrences will end the same way. For me I have tapes of past rejection from relationships, self judgement, and critical of my body. But now is the time to allow those tapes to be trained to be turned off. This can happen through meditation and being present. 

Law 3: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Right away I think about sitting at home, watching a movie or sleeping when I know there is something greater I could be doing. You know that feeling we get when we work out or go for a run? What if we could feel that way all the time? Getting out of my comfort zone means opening up to others, giving advice and owning it, and making of list of things to do and actually doing it. We think of our comfort zone as this safe and warm place where nothing can get us. But we get stuck or become numb to spiritual awakening because we're not staying present. We just turn on the TV and shut down ourself. It brings out the negative sides of being not being present with myself: Procrastination, self-doubt, worry,etc. But when I tune into what makes me feel alive and worth: dancing, art, yoga, etc, thats when I step out of my comfort zone and become alive. I want you guys to remember that what has shaped us in the past can be dropped right now! That is not who we ARE presently. With every new breathe we can choose to rise to the occasion and be who we want. So who do you want to be? What can you drop right now that is not helping your spiritual growth? The journey begins by looking inward.

Law 4: Growth "He turns not back who is bound to a star." (Da Vinci)

We essentially have two forces bound within us: preservation or growth. In moments where are true nature shines, what is it that we linger to? Do we stay and become present with ourself or do we listen to anxiousness and fear? I've learned alot from staying on the mat when 90 minutes of yoga seem unbearable. When my poses turn into lead weight and I can't become grounded anymore. And I think for the longest time I've lacked growth within myself because that means I am commiting to something or someone versus trying some new. But if I stay on life's mat...what can our relationship become? What cravings do you experience? What feelings does it bring up? What if you stayed a few breaths longer with it?

Week 3: Equanimity 

"God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the thhings that cannot be changed, and courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to disintiguish the one from the other." (Serentiy Prayer)

Equanimity is the art of meeting life as it meets you- calmy, wihtout drama or fuss. Remember it all goes back to being willing to come apart, to let go of control. Thats where inner revolution starts. So in the middle of conflict, a rude sales person, or traffic, there actually is peace.We've been conditioned to always assume unchanging pleasure, gain, praise of fame. But there is balance and with that comes : pain, loss, blame, and disrepute.These are just states of being. It doesn't mean that what is happening to you is YOU. It just is. 

Law 5: Shift Your Vision

If you're not aware of Tiebetan belief, the third eye is our spiritual connection to our higher self and God. It is located between our two eyes in the pineal gland. This is where our spiritual energy comes from. Which is why in meditation, prayer, etc, shifting your gaze and focus to your third eye is essential, Through vitality, presence and eqanimity, we can come a part in a safe place to disover who we are. Perhaps in conflict we find ourself in a war within ourself. We can lose intution and succumb to fear. The greatest thing is that  what is in front of us is an illusion. There is something beyond to gaze upon.So maybe shifting your vision to a positive intention or thought is the key. Reaction versus response. And thats where knowing what makes you present becomes so important.

Law 6: Drop What You Know

This has been one of the more challenging aspects for me. Especially because I have so much theory in business that I worry I have to somehow retain it all to be successful. Education is wonderful but knowing myself is more important. Living by faith essentially. And I believe education is a tool to create discipline in the brain but it shouldn't be replied on always by itself. When I talk to people about my business plans and updates, I become aware of my fear in telling them things I may not know, trying to use marketing words, or not being present in the moment. My heart knows what it needs to do and say. And when it comes from a place of pure intention, thats when true enlightenment occurs. I think sometimes we base our identity on our knowledge, career, or status. But...drop what you know...what can you learn?

So this is what I've learned so far. I have three more weeks to go and am currently on a 3 day cleanse for week 4 of "Restoration." Nothing crazy and out of my diet but I am putting more awareness and love)7 into what I eat rather than being consumed by it. Lots of tea, fruit, veggies, and waters. 

And you know whats wonderful? In the past two weeks I've had three seperate people approach me to discuss going on board with their business. Basically organizing and managing the business. I'll be honest, I don't know what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing but I'm dropping what I know and leading with my heart. People see something in me enough to ask for my help. This means I am POWERFUL and wonderful at driven business management. I'm so happy because has given me goals to occupy my time while the new coffeeshop is being built still. (Siphon Coffee - opens March 1) And also, on February 25th, I am launching a kick starter campaign online to raise funds to get my Yoga license in April. My philsophy is that if I get free training, I can give free yoga to anyone who is willing to come to the mat and discover something about themselves. I'll be sending out emails to everyone when it launches so you can stay updated on my goal to $4,000! Woo!

I love you and Thank You,

We still have days left of this journey and I'm so excited to see where I go with this. 

Big Yoga Houston:
Big & Juicy Juice Bar: 

this weather: the winter bright

me and the modern