February 02, 2018
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October 26, 2017
As the wheel of the year continues to roll on, we in the northern hemisphere are nesting and preparing for the darker months. Time to go within, connect with ancestors, and prepare for the coming of a new year. All of these things are much easier to do in a safe and sacred container. In this article Global Groove Life shares how you can incorporate ancient wisdom and herbal healing into your life via the use of incense to create a space of sacredness for yourself and your loved ones.
Sanctuary of Scents
Creating your dream home is totally possible! It’s important to keep in mind your style preferences and how you want to feel in your space. Energetics are just as important as visual aesthetics!
You can maintain your home sanctuary with traditional techniques - like burning incense to keep things just the way you like them. Stay true to your values and enjoy a more peaceful ambiance with all natural herbal incense. Global Groove Life (GGL) has a curated collection of hand crafted Tibetan and Nepalese incense for you to choose from to help you create a clean, conscious vibe in your home or office.
Home For The Holy Days
The months of October and September are noted as being special times of the year around the world. These are times when there is less separation between worlds than usual and when spirit communication is easier to perceive. Many groups celebrate holy days during this time of the year.
All Hallow’s Eve, for example, is the night when the dead can supposedly return to walk the Earth once more. Dia de los Meurtos is a celebration honoring those who have passed on and their return to this world. Samhain is a Pagan Sabbat (holy day) marking the end of the harvest and entrance into the dark time of year. It is a time to honor those who came before us and is recognized as the day when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest.
Across cultures these days are honored with a combination of group celebration and personal ritual. Purification and cleansing are important parts of both collective ceremony and individual practice. Smudging with the smoke of sacred herbs is a powerful way to purify yourself and your space. Sage is commonly used as a smudge or incense for cleansing and protection.
Space For The Sacred
Many cultures have a custom of ritual purification. Smoke from sacred herbs like sage and resins like frankincense cleanses impurities and removes negative energy - both from people and from spaces like your meditation room.
Including incense on your altar is a wonderful aesthetic addition and is also very practical. The incense can be used to purify the space and as a devotional offering to your ancestors and any deities you honor. In several traditions, smoke is believed to carry prayers up to the Divine!
Certain scents are particularly well known and celebrated for their spiritual purity and uplifting abilities. Frankincense releases powerful positive energy and creates space for spiritual growth, wisdom, and meditation. Another popular incense for your spiritual altar is sandalwood. Sandalwood has a rich scent that invites spiritual awareness, development of psychic abilities, and deep meditation.
What scents create a feeling of comfort and purity for you? Share in the comments and remember to order your favorites from GGL!
Amara Evans is a vibrational healer, collective consciousness-raiser, and devotee of the Goddess. She loves to connect with her global community through writing and speaking about important topics like the environment, spirituality, and fair trade.
September 22, 2017
Sustainability is a priority to most people in conscious circles so it makes perfect sense to support the expansion of your consciousness with practices and products that also support our planet and all our relations. Global Groove Life (GGL) is happy to share deeper insights with you about the materials we choose to use in our products - in this case our meditation cushions.
A Seat Above
Let’s face it, if you aren’t comfortable then your meditation practice will not be as focused or as beneficial for you. We’re often shown unrealistic images of people meditating in magazines and online. People are portrayed sitting in lotus or half-lotus position on the ground which is not a comfortable position for the body to be in for extended periods of time.
If you’re naturally very limber or have been practicing yoga for years then maybe these positions will work for you but for most folks these poses can feel uncomfortable or challenging. It’s much better for many bodies to sit with the hips elevated above the knees. Enter the zafu - a traditional seat used for meditation and more. The filler inside these cushions is a perfect combination of strong and malleable to support you in sitting for as long as you’d like to.
Organic, Roasted… Buckwheat
Nope, we’re not talking about coffee! The words organic and roasted are describing the buckwheat filler used in our meditation cushions! This buckwheat is grown without the use of pesticides - yay! - because it is a naturally pest-free crop. Not only is the buckwheat used in GGL’s zafus pesticide-free, it’s also synergistic to its environment. It actually enhances the soil it’s grown in!
After it’s harvested the hulls are roasted which cleans them and ensures the integrity of the husk. This allows for your meditation cushion to maintain its shape for much longer than hulls that have been processed by washing versus roasting - which means your zafu will support your meditation practice for a long time.
Global Groove Life is committed to bringing you high quality products that are sustainably sourced. The zafus we sell are no exception to these standards. Both the buckwheat hulls and kapok fiber used as filler for them are pesticide-free.
Kapok fiber is a durable and mold-resistant material, making it perfect for long term use. It’s a more sustainable filler option that cotton. Did you know that 25% of all pesticides used in the world are used on the cotton crop? Kapok is one of the few sustainable rainforest crops in the world.
Kapok trees produce thousands of seed pods each year. The seeds inside these pods are surrounded by the soft yellow fluff that’s been used for centuries as bedding. This silky material is used as part of the filler for Global Groove Life’s zafus to support you in a comfortable and sustainable meditation practice.
GGL’s goals are to provide our customers with well crafted, eco-friendly apparel and items that support you in living a balanced lifestyle, to support the artists who create our goods, and to create a thriving world for everyone! Offering meditation supplies made from materials that are grown without undue harm to the Earth feels good to us - we hope it feels good to you, too!
Amara Evans is a vibrational healer, collective consciousness-raiser, writer, and devotee of the Goddess. She loves to connect with her global community through writing and speaking about important topics like the environment, spirituality, and fair trade.
August 16, 2017
1: Timing Is Everything
A part of maintaining any practice during travel that can feel particularly challenging is timing. Most of us are creatures of habit in our daily lives. We wake up, go to work, interact with loved ones, eat, and explore our other interests at approximately the same times - give or take a little. And we find the perfect time to fit in our daily practice(s).
Moving between time zones, staying in temporary lodging situations with various check in and check out times, local cultures, and transportation timing can combine to create a varied schedule. Shaking things up is a joy of traveling and doesn’t have to interfere with your practice!
Simply make time every day to meditate. You can choose to commit to meditating at the same time each day (of course it’s always best to be compassionate with yourself if you miss a day) - or - commit to an amount of time that you will meditate each day and plan ahead for the coming week.
2: Get Outside
Many of us travel to experience the Earth in new ways. Each place on our planet has its own unique power and beauty. Taking the time to slow down and be present while in nature allows us to connect more deeply with the Earth.
Of course the type of trip you’re on will determine how far into the wilds you’ll go - or not. If you’re trekking in the Himalayas you’ll have access to a different type of nature experience than you will if you’re cafe hopping through Paris. Both can offer amazing outdoor experiences and you’re guaranteed inner growth if you do an outdoor meditation in a city park or on the side of a mountain.
3: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
Meditation is a wonderful way to replenish ourselves mind, body, and spirit. So it’s a great thing that you can do to recharge your batteries while you’re a passenger on a bus, train, plane, or some other form of transportation.
Let someone else take the wheel for a while so to speak and allow your mind to rest. Meditation is a practice and it’s beneficial to practice in as many circumstances as possible. Meditating while in motion can stimulate deeper stillness within us.
4: Sacred Spaces
No matter where you are in the world or what size village or city you’re in there will usually be at least one religious space. These buildings contain reservoirs of peaceful energy that are very supportive of prayer and meditation.
Even if you aren’t religious or don’t practice the particular religion of that building you will usually be welcome to enter as long as you’re respecting the local etiquette. You’ll most likely have an interesting cultural experience.
You may even gain entirely new insights and perspective after spending time in meditation in new religious spaces!
5: Public Spaces
Sometimes we become set in certain patterns of behavior. We can get used to meditating alone and in quiet spaces if that’s what we normally do. Being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a busy airport can allow us to become like a pebble in the bottom of a stream allowing the rush to flow around our point of stillness.
Experiment with meditating in public - have fun with it! Busy places invite us to include the sounds and smells around us into our practice. We can do this either by focusing our awareness on them or by simply noticing our awareness of them and letting them go.
Remember that however you choose to meditate while traveling will be perfect for you - the important part is deciding to practice! With a little dedication you can maintain or even build a fulfilling meditation practice during your journey.
About the author:
Amara Evans is a holistic healer, collective consciousness-raiser, writer, and devotee of the Goddess. She loves to connect with her global community through writing about important topics like the environment, spirituality, and fair trade.
June 14, 2017 1 Comment
January 22, 2017
Throughout my travels in Asia this past year, I have dedicated my attention to opening the doors to spirituality -- to learn new ways to calm this crazy mind of mine, to finally find peace, to trust the journey and to accept whatever comes my way. Easy, right? Not so much when you’re constantly stuck in the past or the future -- that could-of, should-of mindset. It’s been a long road but every hurdle I’ve had to face has been nothing short of worth it!
One of the best ways I’ve found to calm my “monkey mind” is the use of a mala, a simple yet powerful addition to my life, that has been extremely helpful when I let my mind get the best of me -- more times than I’m happy to admit!!
The first time I saw a mala, which honestly, was probably on the front cover of a yoga magazine, I had a deep desire to have my own. Yes, maybe I wanted to look perfectly spiritual and zen like the woman on the front cover of that magazine, but either way I knew there was something special and meaningful about owning one.
I did some research on malas since I didn’t want to be ‘that girl’ who owned a ‘fashion’ mala and I learned that mala’s are composed of 108 beads strung together. A guru (larger bead) or a tassel is strung to the bottom. A wrist mala has fewer beads but is used for similar purposes. The beads are a combination of sacred seeds and gemstones all encompassing different significance through symbolism. They have been used by Buddhists and Hindus for centuries as a form of prayer and meditation.
After swooning over mala’s for quite some time, I finally got my own mala a few months ago in Bali! Better yet, I met a healer who offered to teach me how to make one, which to my delight, really helped set me apart from one of those fashion girl mala rockers! I’m truly in love with my relationship with my mala and it truly has opened my door to peace of mind. Here are some of the ways I have learned how to use my mala:
A mala is a type of meditation and it’s easy to do anywhere you are. Place the mala over your middle and index fingers. Starting at the guru bead or tassel, use your thumb to pull each bead towards you one at a time. Count all 108 beads until you reach the guru bead. It’s recommended to recite a mantra while counting for deeper concentration.
My mala meditation is my go-to in many situations because it’s so easy, quick and effective. I find myself counting my beads in the airport lobby when my flight has been delayed five hours (that’s a lot of counting), or while I’m people watching while sipping a cup of chai. I use my mala to help calm my nerves before heading into a crowded, chaotic Indian market for fear of having to bargain, only to most likely be ripped off. If all else fails, just keep counting.
Wear the mala during your yoga practice or place it in front of your mat as a reminder of your intentions. My mala reminds me of each personal intention I set before my practice. I also use it as a drishti (point of focus) to maintain my concentration.
The use of a mala also offers positive healing energies, which is another beautiful addition to my practice. I chose specific, meaningful sacred seeds when I created my own mala. For example, the red ginger bead (as seen in the picture) reminds me of my intentions of love and the red color keeps my root chakra balanced and energized. I also use my mala as a meditation before or after my practice to solidify the benefits of yoga and the sacred seeds that compose the mala.
3. Daily Reminder
These can be any personal reminders such as intentions, goals, hopes and dreams. The sacred seeds and gemstones represent these different reminders. For example, I love the sacred bodhi seed, which is the “seed of enlightenment” offering a reminder to maintain my awareness and connection to myself and the external environment. When you can’t find a post-it, find your mala!
A mala is also a special reminder of when and where you got them. My mala will always remind me of Bali which has a special mark in my life -- of the place my door to spirituality decided to open wide and inner peace flooded my soul. I also celebrated one year sober the day that I made my mala -- one of the most special reminders I have when I feel like giving up. It reminds me why I made this huge life change to begin with. It will always remind me of the mental obstacles I was finally able to conquer and the future battles I now know I can tackle.
Not only wearing a mala as jewelry, but as an expression of beauty, meaning and the self. I use my mala for everyday affirmations and I wear the beautiful beads in the form of a necklace and wrist malas. As I mentioned above, a mala holds different energies depending on the sacred seeds and gemstones used. A chakra mala or wrist mala (like in the photo below) for instance, is created with gemstones specific to each of the seven chakras and they offer energies for mental and physical balancing.
Wearing a mala each day cultivates positivity and connection. On my journey I have learned to be aware of the different energies surrounding me and of the connection to myself and others. I am finally at a point where I understand that what I put into the world, I receive back. I love when someone asks me about my mala because it’s a chance for me to express who I am and hopefully inspire them to do the same.
5. As a Gift
Share the beauty of a mala with someone that would appreciate its benefits. It’s a thoughtful gift that keeps on giving and one that can be used anytime and anywhere. This is my favorite kind of gift!
You can purchase a mala or add more meaning by crafting one yourself. Now that I know how to make a mala, I can’t wait to create more and share them with my loved ones. When purchasing or making a mala, carefully choose the sacred seeds that compose it depending on the receiver’s personality and needs. It may also help them to start their own spiritual journey and introduce them to the meaningfulness and energies that a mala offers -- that is always my hope.
I’m incredibly grateful for my experiences abroad and the many different ways of life I have been exposed to. It’s important that I give back and make a difference in the world by giving a fair trade mala or wrist mala. It’s also a great way to start a conversation about the importance of fair trade and contributing to a sustainable economy. Call me crazy, but it’s better than discussing the latest celebrity drama! Or maybe I’m just walking through a different door!
What is your favorite way to use a mala?
About the Author
Amber Johnson is a yoga enthusiast and passionate traveler. She loves cultural connection, a good laugh and exploring her curiosities.
Follow her bucket list adventures at This Tiny Backpack.
October 10, 2016
Daily life seems to go one hundred miles an hour. In between going to work, running errands, spending time with friends, and trying to get to all of those things that have seemed to permanently reside on our never-ending to-do lists, we so quickly get caught up in the juggling act of our routines. We push aside spending time on ourselves, saying that we will get to it later and that there are more important things to take care of. Heck, even making a one hour yoga class once a week seems to earn us a pat on the back. And a yoga retreat for a full weekend? Out of the question. Or so you thought. Here at Global Groove Life, we are going to tell you how to experience a yoga weekend retreat right where you are; no hefty price tag attached and no bags to pack.
1. Identify your intention
When you start planning for your "at home yoga retreat", ask yourself what you are looking to get out of it. What do you hope to accomplish from the retreat? By setting your intention from the very beginning, you are defining your direction for the retreat.
2. Find yourself a space
And not just any space. Identify a space where you feel relaxed, feel like you can unwind, and feel like you can escape the chaos of your life. This should be a place where you will not be distracted by work, friends, etc, and should be a place that simply makes you feel good. This can be your living room, bedroom, back porch, garden, spot in a favorite neighborhood park or wherever you feel most relaxed and at ease. Remember, you want this to be a spot where you retreat from the real world.
3. Zen out your space
Jazz up your space! This is where you can get creative. Remove things that may distract you from your yoga practice...pictures of family and friends, to-do lists, work-related items, whatever it may be that does not fit the purpose of your retreat. Add in items that calm you down....candles, meditation cushions (you can find them here!), incense, or fun string lights. Remember, this is for YOU, so there is no wrong way to zen out your space.
4. Tell your friends and family what you are doing...and then turn off your phone!
Yes, we said it. Turn off that cell phone, close your computer and disappear from any kind of social media for the weekend. Social media will only provide distractions and even possibly evoke FOMO (fear of missing out). The total opposite effect of having an at home yoga retreat. But, make sure you tell mom, dad, your boyfriend/girlfriend and best friend what you are doing, so they know you're off the grid for the weekend.
5. Make a list of things you want to do over the weekend (when not doing yoga)
These should be things that help you get in touch with yourself. This weekend is all about you, so your to do list should be things that encourage self-awareness. This could include, journaling, reading a feel-good book, writing letters to the people that mean the most to you, and maybe even making that delicious quinoa recipe that you've been wanting to try out.
6. Read one quote every morning
We are total suckers for quotes, and what better way to start your retreat than reading a quote before your day begins. The quote will help set the tone for the rest of your day and bring you back to your original intention. Find some inspirational words that resonate with you.
7. Try to be health conscious during your "at home yoga retreat"
Hide the phone number to that local pizza place that you swear by and skip buying the rocky road ice cream. The retreat should be as much a physical cleanse as it will be a spiritual cleanse. While we all love a good piece of pizza, focus on the actual nutrients of what your body needs, and build your weekend menu off of that. Think fruits, veggies, nuts, green smoothies...your body will thank you :)
8. Now, YOGA
You don't have to be a certified yogi or have studied yoga in India to host your own "at home yoga retreat". In fact, you could be brand new to yoga and still host your own retreat. There are numerous yoga videos that can guide you through your poses, we recommend:
Make a realistic daily yoga schedule for yourself, and stick to it! This is the bread and butter of the whole retreat, isn't it? :) We recommend an hour of yoga practice, three times a day, but schedule what you’re most comfortable with.
8. Post DIY Yoga Retreat
You've successfully made it through your at home yoga retreat, and feel like you've been at an Ashram in India! Journal how you feel...how has the retreat helped you, did you like the retreat (be honest with yourself), how do you feel now in comparison to how you felt before the retreat and most importantly, did you achieve your intention. It's important to journal all of this before life begins again, because what you feel immediately after the retreat will be your true, unjaded thoughts.
We are bound to get caught up in life, no one is the exception to that. But for one weekend, we can take back our lives, take back our time, and for once, focus on the most important person in our lives, ourselves.
June 02, 2016
Popular belief tells us that yoga is good for mindfulness, stress relief, and balance. That’s all true, but you might be surprised by what you don’t know about yoga!
1. Yoga is not about stretching yourself beyond your body’s limits.
Sure, yoga can help you become more flexible, but what it really does is encourage a healthy balance between flexibility and strength. You don’t have to contort yourself into a pretzel in order to make it through a class! The more yoga you do, the more you will feel that you’re attaining a stronger sense of flexibility and balance.
2. Yoga doesn’t require chanting or extreme spirituality.
While the practice of yoga is rooted in Hindu, Buddhist and Jainist principles, it doesn’t require you to be! Some people view yoga as a form of exercise, while others view it as a means of connecting with their spiritual selves. The truth is, you can approach yoga any way you want, because...
3. There are dozens of different kinds of yoga.
We can’t say which one is right for you, but we highly encourage you to explore the many varieties and find the best fit for you! Whether it’s an intense bikram (hot) yoga experience, a strengthbuilding Hatha yoga class, or just a few simple poses in the park, we know you’ll find one you enjoy!
4. Yoga can be difficult, and it is exercise.
If you’ve done yoga before, you know this is true. However, there are those out there who think yoga is just a breeze that doesn’t require or build strength and coordination! While these are not required to start, doing yoga regularly will improve the skills required to practice it at higher levels. You’ll be happy to see these benefits of yoga transfer to other areas of your active life as well!
5. One of the main Sutras (tenets) of yoga is Ahimsa nonviolence.
This is why many people think that yoga requires you to be a vegetarian, as these principles are highly related. You do not have to be a vegetarian to practice yoga, but Ahimsa is a beautiful principle that reminds us to appreciate peace, which is helpful to remember when you’re struggling to hold that Peacock pose!
May 26, 2016
Is your life a bit hectic at times?
Have you heard that yoga and other meditative practices can help you relax and feel better?
Do you have trouble finding the time to fit yoga or meditation into your busy schedule?
Does the struggle to find time to relax stress you out even more?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above questions, welcome to the club! If you didn’t...please...teach us your ways!
While the search for a wellbalanced life forges on, here are a few tips on finding little pauses throughout the day to take a deep breath and find your inner peace anywhere!
1. When you wake up
Sleep is precious. A lucky few are able to wake up early and do yoga or some other exercise before getting ready for work, but for those of us clutching to every last second of that REM cycle, it’s just not realistic. No need to despair, however, because you can practice mindfulness in your PJ’s! Take a few moments upon waking to sit up, take some deep breaths, and set some goals for the day. If goal number one is to have a few moments to center yourself at the start of the day, you’ll already feel accomplished when your feet hit the floor! For a more active alternative, get out of bed and do some simple yoga poses, such as planks or sun salutation, to get that blood flowing.
2. When you’re stuck in traffic
Few things are more chaotic and stressinducing than traffic, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. When you’re crawling along at 5mph (or at a complete standstill), instead of panicking, remember your stress is not going to change the situation. Take a moment to appreciate the collective struggle of your fellows, as each of your individual stories have currently intertwined into one. Nothing is a reminder of how small we are, and of how we’re all part of something much larger than ourselves, quite like looking at the car next to you and realizing that the person driving it has an entire world that exists separately from yours...and so do the drivers of all the
other cars around you. Those horns are starting to sound a bit like a symphony, aren’t they?
3. When you hit that mid-afternoon wall at work
You didn’t even have time for a lunch break, so what do you do at 3pm when your brain has completely checked out? Instead of getting sucked into a clickhole on the internet, spend a few minutes stretching in your office. Get that blood flowing! Maybe you took our advice (link to article) and have a yoga ball in your office; now would be a great time to use it. It’s no secret that these short, mindrefreshing breaks will help you feel better and be more productive when you get back to the grind.
4. When you sit down to dinner
Family dinners are coming back into style, as we’ve all started to realize how having a dedicated time together during day brings us together. They may still be a bit rushed as they’re squeezed in before, after, or between dance practice, Spanish club, and all of our (and our children’s) other activities, but this family or friend time is perfect for taking a few minutes to pause and reflect. Go around the table sharing good things that happened during the day, or just take a moment to look around at your loved ones and give silent thanks.
5. Before you go to sleep
It’s all too easy to crash into bed after a long day, but it’s a great opportunity to grab that zafu and meditate. How did you do on your goals for the day? What are you looking forward to or planning for tomorrow? Spending time organizing these thoughts in a dedicated space will make sure they don’t follow you into your bed! Now is also a good time to fit in a few yoga stretches to help release the tension that builds up during the day. Nothing fixes the tightness in your shoulders after a day at the computer quite like child’s pose!
What do you do to fit yoga or other meditative practices into your busy schedule? Share in the comments!
May 05, 2016
At the Chedi Luang temple, a monk told me, “meditation is medicine for the mind.” While research shows that this is unequivocally true, what exactly does this medicine do?
Sources: WebMD, Huffington Post