“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde

Awareness

Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to the state of being mentally and spiritually tranquil no matter what storms come your way. It is not that there will be absence of conflict in your life, it is just that you will better be able to cope with the ups and downs and embrace the spirals. Coming to a peaceful state takes practice, patience, trust and acceptance. When you unravel conditioned thought patterns and allow yourself to be who you are and let others see the true you too- this is the basis for peace.

Explore: Spiraling in Peace Meditation


Movement

On our mats, santosa (a niyama- one of the eight limbs of yoga), we are no longer at war with ourselves; rather we are content with what is, right now. We are in the center of our spirals, in the center of our lives. Taking our lesson from trees, let’s connect with our roots as we grow and extend our arms into branches- feeling peace at its truest sense.

Vrksasana (vrik-SHAHS-anna)- Tree Pose

Tree pose is all about grounding down in order to lift up to grow your branches. Within the balance between rooting down and lifting up, you will find peace within your breath and intentions.

 Directions:

  1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
  2. Shift your weight onto your left leg and start to pick up your right foot placing it on the inside of the standing leg as you open your right knee to the side.
  3. Bring your hands together in front of your heart center.
  4. On your next inhale lift your palms straight up overhead.
  5. Stay here for a few inhales and exhales before you release and shift to lifting your left leg.

Variations:

  • Try with a partner- stand next to each other taking the outside leg to lift into tree and the inside arm to hold on to each others waists. 
  • To go deeper, take your inside arm and extend it straight up connecting inside palm to palm as you continue to grow together.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
  • Stretches the groin and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
  • Improves sense of balance
  • Relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet
    • Benefits from Yoga Journal

Nutrition

Read Labels

Reading labels is so important, I cannot emphasize this enough: when you are eating packaged food (and it happens), know what you are eating. Make sure you can pronounce all the ingredients and know why they are added, and if possible, choose products that have less than 5 ingredients.  

What kind of foods to look for:

  • Organic
  • Unprocessed
  • Unrefined
  • Cold Pressed
  • Unsulfured
  • Non-GMO
  • rBGH free (recombinant bovine growth hormone- a genetically engineered artificial hormone injected into dairy cows to produce more milk)

A little bit on Organic:

By law and according to the United States Department of Agriculture (as of date of publishing this page, these 8 ingredients are not allowed in Organic Foods:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Artificial Colors and Dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5
  • Aspartame
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial Growth Hormones
  • Genetically Modified Ingredients
  • Exceeding levels of Pesticides
  • Finely Textured Lean Beef Trimmings (“Pink slime”)

What kind of foods to stay away from:

  • Enriched
  • Trans-fat
  • Hydrogenated
  • Bleached
  • No Sugar Added
  • Low Fat (in certain cases)
  • GMO Foods (though foods are not required to be labeled as such as of date of publishing this journal)

Mantra(s):

My nature state is peaceful

+ Spiraling Tools

Playlist: NS Peace

Recommended Books:

True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart – Tara Brach

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times – Pema Chodron

Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace – Kim Phuc Phan Thi