Are you living excessively?

We live in a world of excess.

We eat too much. We drink too much.

We shop too much. Buy too much. Own too much.

We work too much. Work out too much. (Perhaps to compensate for eating too much.)

It’s the American way:

Work yourself to death so you can buy all the things, eat all the things (but let’s be real, it’s mostly Cheetos and fast food because we’re too busy for anything else), do all the things … and what … be happy because you’ve finally “made it”?

Hold on, something’s not adding up here. Well, there’s a lot adding up but what’s it adding up to?

Brachmacharya, the fourth yama in the Yoga Sutras, addresses moderation.

The third stall from the left

*Trigger warning: This post contains some content that could be sensitive to sexual assault victims.

I found myself in the bathroom of the Kauffman Center. There for the same reason as the women in the stalls around me — to relieve myself, of course.

But as soon as I closed the door on the third stall from the left I found myself alone with my mind. It started, strong and unannounced. I was sobbing. Tears streaming down my face uncontrollably. I was a hose that had been stopped up by the public's foot and once it lifted I released.

It was Friday night at the Kauffman Center. Rupi Kaur just spoke.

There are a couple of things that built up to this moment in the bathroom stall.

4 ways to start practicing Ahimsa every day

Simply put, Ahimsa means non-violence or non-harm. It's the reason many yogis are vegan (non-harming of animals) and why you don't often see yogis in the middle of a bar fight.

Ahimsa isn't just a yoga thing. In Christianity it's "Love your neighbor as yourself" or "Thou shalt not kill." It's a pretty good guideline and you might think it sounds easy enough. I mean, I hope you don't go around hurting and killing others. But Ahimsa goes deeper than that, and it can actually be challenging to practice. 

Here are four ways to practice Ahimsa in your daily life, starting now.

Are you too busy for enlightenment?

If we just push through it and keep working hard, success will follow.

That’s what we’ve learned. It’s why the 40-hour work week has turned into 50, 60 or even 70+.

It’s why we juggle day jobs and side gigs and become president of the PTA. We jam our schedules full and plow through it with determination and coffee. And with the little space we have in between all our juggling balls we might as well catch a few Pokemon.

But why?

I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. Asking a lot of whys.

Through these whys I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been telling myself a story that’s a lie.

Answer these 4 questions to be happy right now

It’s easy to blame circumstances for our unhappiness. But according to studies, circumstances of our lives only account for about 10% of our long-term happiness. (Source)

But we get stuck on what psychologists call the hedonic treadmills. Treadmills are kind of the worst, but this one is especially terrible. It’s a treadmill that takes us through a never-ending desire for more.

More money, more house, more lean body, more, more, MORE. There’s always more to be had and there’s no end to this journey unless you step off the treadmill.

So how do you get off the treadmill?

Want a flat stomach? Add this to your routine

Exercise can strengthen your abdominals. And as they say, abs are made in the kitchen — your diet does have a great deal to do with it. But I believe that we can get so wrapped up in our intense workouts that we forget a key ingredient to reaching those goals — ab goals and soul goals.

Creating your own sacred space

As yogis, we are students. Not just students of the asanas but also students of the mind, of the body, of the spirit, of the Universe.

We are students of ourselves. We explore what our external bodies are capable of. As we advance, we explore the darkest corners of our souls — the stuff we’ve buried to survive or to conform. Because we believed vulnerability was weakness and anger and sadness were its ugly step sisters.

Great students don’t need any more than their will, their mind, and a great teacher. But a nice classroom sure doesn’t hurt.

You deserve space. We all deserve to have a sacred space that is only ours — where we can retreat to go within as we study the depths of our soul.

So let’s talk about this space you’re creating. It’s yours, and the rules are yours to make. However, here are some “rules” that I keep when it comes to my space for inspiration.

How to survive an elimination diet

I’m on week three of this 30 day elimination diet … which I quickly discovered much like the popular Whole30 diet.

I didn’t know a lot about Whole30. I just figured it was "another trendy diet” that I would want nothing to do with. But after doing some research I gather it's basically a paleo-style elimination diet that's pretty darn similar to what I’m doing.

The items I’m eliminating are a little different, more along the lines of a classical elimination diet that doctors often recommend. It's not paleo-based but a lot of the food I’m eating is Whole30-friendly. So if you’re into that, you might find this post helpful.