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Have you heard of Bug Net Clothing? This is my Mozzie Style Gear Review

This is a gear review of my personal experience using the Mozzie Style mesh hoodie in the field, on multiple retreats, with multiple clients. Mozzie Style is not paying me for this review, but they did send me this hoodie for free. All of my thoughts and comments are unbiased.

 Mozzie Style is creating bug proof clothing designed by women for women. I had the opportunity to actually try out three of their products, plus have clients try them out as well :) This is my official gear review the Mozzie Style mesh hoodie.

If you are driven crazy buy mosquitos and black flies I highly recommend checking them out! http://mozziestyle.com/

Every purchase through the links below supports Backcountry Yoga!

Size Small:
https://amzn.to/2AItvSF
Size Medium:
https://amzn.to/2OOZYtw
Size Large:
https://amzn.to/2nio8QE
Size Extra Large:
https://amzn.to/2AXMOHV

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Meditation By Caitlin Lassy

Meditation By Caitlin Lassy

For a while now I have been what I would consider a “regular meditator”, meaning, I would typically practice a guided or silent meditation for about 10-15 minutes, a couple of times each week. As some of you may know, I’m currently in the midst of a 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training program, to receive a certificate and hold the title of 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Part of the training has been to establish a daily (not regular, but daily) 30 minute silent meditation practice, and oh boy, what an interesting experience that has been! My meditation practice, and my relationship with meditation have certainly blossomed to a new level. Before I share some of the nitty gritty of what my personal experience with this meditation practice has been like, I would like to share what I have learned about meditation so far, and debunk a common meditation myth. 

I think most people think of meditation as a practice that’s all about becoming present by clearing your mind. There’s some sort of funky misconception that in order to be present, you can’t have any thoughts floating around in your mind to distract you. If you do, well then, you’re doing meditation wrong. I am here to tell you, you can take that pressure off of yourself. That sort of meditation philosophy isn’t exactly true, because, if thoughts ARE happening, wouldn’t becoming aware of your thoughts connect you to the true reality of the present moment? If thoughts are naturally occurring, trying to shove them to the side, and pretending that they’re not there is not real. Instead of clearing your mind of any and all thoughts, meditation is more about bringing attention to the thoughts that you ARE thinking. In meditation, it is so much more important to notice your thoughts and your thought patterns than to try and tell them to go away. 

The key to the “becoming present” part is, though, to not get sucked down the rabbit hole of thoughts. If you allowed your mind to carry you away on a magical journey to all the thoughts you can possibly think, well, then, you wouldn’t really be present anymore. Instead, become aware of just one single thought, let it go, and then bring your awareness back to your breath. Breath, is truly what connects you to the present moment. Think about it - you cannot possibly bring all of your attention to each inhale and exhale, one at a time, and still have other thoughts arise. 

Another key to this form of meditation, is to be gentle with yourself for whatever arises, or however it arises. It’s totally counterproductive to be hard on yourself for thinking, because, we are human, after all, and isn’t one of the greatest aspects of humanity our minds? 

So, with meditation, a true practice of awareness, self-love, and non-attachment is really what we’re talking about.

We can learn so much about ourselves if we practice meditation in this way. For example, I’ve noticed a particular thought pattern of mine is to think about the future. In meditation, I’m constantly thinking about sequencing my classes, creating playlists, emails and messages that I need to send, chores that need to get done around the house, etc. This tells me many things, but mainly it tells me, that if I really do want to get all of these things done, I must take some time to re-ground myself into the present moment. If I allow all of these thoughts about what I “need to” and “should” do to continue to swirl around my head, I’ll continue to feel overwhelmed, and nothing will ever actually get done. 

You know how that works, right? The more and more you say to yourself, “Ah, I REALLY need to do this, and man, I really need to get that done too!” the more anxious you feel, and the less productive you actually become. Instead, if you approach your “to-do” list with a sense of calm and grounding in the present moment, you can much more easily see and approach each task one at a time, one breath at a time, and ultimately, get more done. Most importantly, you’ll get more done the RIGHT way. When I say the “right” way, I mean, you’ll produce a product that, in the end, you are truly proud of.

I would never come to realize and learn so much, if I didn’t give myself the space to become aware of my thoughts. If I succumbed to self-judgement for having thoughts, and tried to push them to the side, after meditation, my monkey mind and self-deprecating thoughts would only get worse.

One of the coolest things about this meditation practice, is that, the practice is never-ending. As beings of nature, we are constantly in a state of change - whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. There are no two days in life where every layer of the day’s experience occur in exactly the same way as the day before. So, there is always something new to discover, and always something new to learn. There is always some takeaway from your meditation that you can apply to your every day life.

Giving yourself the space to unearth your thoughts and patterns each day allows you the opportunity to move throughout your life with more ease, more calm, more understanding, and more mindfulness. 

Have you ever practiced this form of meditation? If so, what was the experience like for you? What did you learn? What was brought to your attention? If not, would you be interested in trying it.

Photo by: Peter Constantinople

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Valentines Day: What Love Is: By Rhea Mitchell

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Valentines Day: What Love Is: By Rhea Mitchell

What Love Is: By Rhea Mitchell

Love can come in many forms and expressions, but there is certainly something important about extending and expanding that compassion and love upon yourself.  It has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, and I continue to succeed and fail at it each day.  Over time I have learned to value and forgive myself even when its hard. I learned to value my body, my intellect, my emotions, and spirit.  I learned to value my life.  This didn’t happen overnight but by time spent easing away from critical thoughts and instead creating space to enact a behavioral or cognitive change.  It began on the mat, falling out of tree pose repeatedly during class, and eventually learning to laugh about it. Each time after practicing yoga I feel more love and compassion for myself and my life.  From the mat it has expanded into my everyday where I am now learning to expand my compassion to internal peace.  

Go into nature and you will find love.  Not the kind of love I spoke of before, not a love of compassion and value.  A love of internal peace.  Where trees teach us how to be, as they are ground and content in their purpose of life simply because that’s what is. Where animals go about their lives with purpose, simply because that’s what IS.  The greatest expression of love is peace, which can be found in the great workings of nature and our universe.  To come to a place of deep acceptance and awareness with ourselves and everything there is too experience.  Where one realizes the magic of chaos and beautiful in unison to create our lives. Time in nature is the easiest way to cultivate this awareness, and experience…

This Valentines Day week on the mat, I am encouraging my students to open their hearts, to love themselves through challenges, and to create space for change and awareness.  Poses such as upward facing dog, cobra, wild thing, camel, bridge, and wheel coupled with balance challenging poses like tree or half moon can create a foundation in your movement to physically lift and open your heart, and allow you to go inside, to focus and extend a bit of compassion to yourself... if you happen to fall of out half moon a few times... Buddha once said something along the phrase of, “ If your practice of compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”  This, is how I practice yoga every damn day.

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Rhea Mitchell

Rhea’s hometown is the quiet town of Danville, Pa which sits on the banks of the Susquehanna River nestled in the valley of the Appalachian foothills.  Still in the Appalachian Mountain range Fayetteville, West Virginia is the place she now calls home. Her cool small town is surrounded by beautiful sandstone walls, deciduous forests with endless trails, and amazing rivers, creeks, and lakes.  It’s truly a place where peace and adventure meet. 
Being outside helps her to connect with the bigger picture of life. To feel grounded and grateful, and also open and inspired to living more mindfully and soulfully.  
The power of yoga and mindful living has shaped her life in so many enriching ways, and she felt called to share and teach this practice with others.  She has been teaching yoga for four years. 
Rhea holds a 200 hour yoga teacher certification through the Kripalu School of Yoga, and is also certified as an AMGA climbing guide and Wilderness First Responder.

http:// instagram.com/sol_adventure

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Red Rocks Trail: By Caitlin Lassy

Red Rocks Trail: By Caitlin Lassy

    There is certainly not a lack of jaw-dropping, soul-moving, nature eye candy out here in Boulder, Colorado. While it’s totally impossible to pick one FAVORITE trail that I’ve hiked so far while living out here, I will admit, one hike has made a particular impact in my mind. The Red Rocks Trail right in downtown Boulder.

    This trail quickly inclines by scrambling your way up a small section of the red rocks that give this trail its name. The scramble isn’t incredibly lengthy, but still, super invigorating. Once you complete the short scramble, panoramic views open before your eyes. There’s a great view of precious Anemone Mountain to your left, and, towering pillars and slabs of red rock, breaking free into the sky from the earth, directly in front of you. From here, you can choose to either walk around these magnificent red rocks, or, hike to them, and scramble up them. The inner child in me obviously chose the latter.

    Scrambling up and over and all around the beautiful red rocks is absolutely one of the most fun and joyous outdoor activities I have done since I moved here. In fact, a friend introduced me to this trail one day, and it impacted me so greatly, the very next day I absolutely HAD to bring my fiancé, Pete, there to experience the wonder, too.

    There was just something so incredibly nourishing for my inner child to climb up and on and all over these great big boulders and slabs of rock. I felt like a little monkey. I got so giddy. My smile was grinning from ear to ear. I just wanted to jump around and throw my hands in the air. My heart felt so full. I was totally overflowing with happiness, love, and gratitude. To put the cherry on the sundae, once reaching the highest peak of the red rocks, not only can you see Anemone Mountain (now behind you), but there is a perfect view of Mount Sanitas to your left, the Boulder Flatirons to your right, and the city of Boulder down below in front of you. What. A. View!

    Getting outside in nature has this incredible, immediate natural ability to strip down any layers, blocks or barriers that you may be armoring yourself with. You feel immediately open, supported, encouraged and comfortable. Most importantly, you feel, at home.


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Caitlin Lassy is our very first Backcountry Yoga Ambassador. She's a Connecticut native that has brought her practice to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We are so excited to have caitlin as part of our team! Lean more about Caitlin below:

Website Links:

https://caitlinlassyyoga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

https://www.instagram.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

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Winter Hiking Tips & Tricks: By Rhea Mitchell

Winter Hiking: By Rhea Mitchell

As someone who is no longer an avid skier or snowboarder, winter stands to be challenging for outdoor activities. Maybe you feel the same, or maybe its costly and a hassle to drive the few hours to your nearest mountain.  I have found though that winter away from the mountains has grounded and humbled me.  Instead of opting for high adventure activities I find myself deep in the woods, or seeing my favorite trails in a new light.  

When temps drop I have found the peaceful approach of hiking has been my outlet to connect with nature and my internal landscape this winter.  The silence of the forest allows for silence within.  The outward peace comes inward.  The crisp winter air energizes mind and body.  The steady movement becomes a meditation in motion.  There is an energetic presence that cannot be felt at any other time of year.  It’s refreshing, it’s freeing.  

    Layering is very important.  While being active will increase your heart rate, it’s important not to sweat much.  Excessive sweating can lead to illness or possibly hypothermia.  Wearing non-cotton based clothing such as wool or sythetic wicking material is best.  Bring several layers but always start out cold, your body will heat up faster than you think!  Be sure to wear a hat and gloves to keep heat trapped in areas it easily escapes. Water-resistant gloves and insulated boots will help to keep the dreaded “screaming barfies” at bay.  Frequent snacking is even more important during winter hikes.  I suggest mixed nuts, as they release more even and long term energy.  Having a thermas with warm tea will help you stay hydrated, but if tea is not for your cup slip a wool sock over your water bottle to prevent it from freezing through out the day.

Find a vista or some space in the forest that speaks to you.  Take a few deep breaths, invigorate your body with the winter air and allow this energy to pulse through you.  Ground your feet to the earth.  Allow your breath to guide you through a standing sequence.  I suggest to avoid touching the ground as it may transfer the precious heat in your hands to the earth. When you feel your practice is complete, close your eyes, go within, and observe how bringing yoga into nature has affected you.

I strongly encourage you to take the opportunity to get humbled, grounded, and rejuvenated by regular hikes this winter!


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Rhea Mitchell

Rhea’s hometown is the quiet town of Danville, Pa which sits on the banks of the Susquehanna River nestled in the valley of the Appalachian foothills.  Still in the Appalachian Mountain range Fayetteville, West Virginia is the place she now calls home. Her cool small town is surrounded by beautiful sandstone walls, deciduous forests with endless trails, and amazing rivers, creeks, and lakes.  It’s truly a place where peace and adventure meet. 
Being outside helps her to connect with the bigger picture of life. To feel grounded and grateful, and also open and inspired to living more mindfully and soulfully.  
The power of yoga and mindful living has shaped her life in so many enriching ways, and she felt called to share and teach this practice with others.  She has been teaching yoga for four years. 
Rhea holds a 200 hour yoga teacher certification through the Kripalu School of Yoga, and is also certified as an AMGA climbing guide and Wilderness First Responder.

http:// instagram.com/sol_adventure

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Expectations, Attachment, and Surrender: By Caitlin Lassy

Expectations, Attachment, and Surrender: By Caitlin Lassy

I recently wrote this poem about the process of manifesting, and letting go of our attachments and expectations to what that process will look like, and, what the final product of our hard work and intention looks like:

Something that I am learning

about the path to manifesting is this -

Not only do often unexpected

incidences arise, but,

more than likely

the path will be rocky.

This is because,

before our desires can come

to fruition,

we must learn,

and discover,

and process,

and digest,

into a new level of being,

in order to properly use,

or give service to,

or be grateful for,

the product of our hard work.

And,

the product doesn’t always look

exactly as we had expected it to.

Then,

there’s always that sneaky ego.

We must also go through

the trials and road bumps

to be certain

that we are not working for our ego.

    The first section of the poem, “Not only do often unexpected incidences arise, but, more than likely the path will be rocky. This is because, before our desires can come to fruition, we must learn, and discover, and process, and digest, into a new level of being, in order to properly use, or give service to, or be grateful for, the product of our hard work.” speaks to the fact that often times, we are actually not quite fully ready for our dreams to physically manifest before our eyes. We think that we’re ready, we even deeply FEEL that we are ready, because, well of course, we WANT what we’re focusing on to manifest. The truth is, though, that great wanting and longing for our work to come to fruition, does not necessarily mean that we are ready to receive our desires. This is because that intense emotion of wanting, secretly has its roots in attachment. Having an attachment to what the journey will look like and any one particular outcome is not usually the best idea. This is because, we may actually not truly be aware of what’s best for us, because the ego may be misleading us (more on that in a bit). This is also because, we can’t possibly know every little thing that life has in store for us in the future. If we spent all of our time trying to figure out and control the future, we would completely miss out on the opportunities of the present moment. 

    So, we must dive deeply into a (sometimes messy and unpredictable) transformative process, in order to release our attachment to the outcome of our work, learn more about ourselves, grow mentally and spiritually, remain present, and truly be ready for our dreams to come to fruition. When we surrender, and ride the waves of this process, not only does it ensure that we can be more fully prepared to see our dreams become reality, but, it also instills a much greater emotion of gratitude for the fruits of all of our labor. It also instills a much greater understanding of how to more positively put the outcome of our work to use for ourselves, or maybe even, for our world.

    The next section of the poem, “And, the product doesn’t always look exactly as we had expected it to.” expands upon the dire need to let go of any attachments we may have to the outcome of our work. I mentioned how having attachments can lead to pain or unease because we don’t always know what’s best for us, and, because we can’t predict the future. Regardless of these facts, why would you want to be attached to one particular outcome, when, “putting all of your eggs in one basket”, closes you off from maybe a much more magical, inspiring outcome, an outcome, that you could never have imagined before?

    Don’t limit yourself or your life with your attachments. You literally never can know what possibilities or opportunities may arise.

    Finally, the the final section of the poem, “Then, there’s always that sneaky ego. We must also go through the trials and road bumps to be certain that we are not working for our ego.” skims the surface on acknowledging our ego. I love using the term “sneaky ego” for that very human part of us, because the ego is SO. SNEAKY. I can speak personally from experience, that there have been many times I thought, at first, that my hopes were pure and true, but then, some “road bumps” occurred that caused me to realize, the energy behind my hopes, was energy driven by the ego. 

    Just as all life does, over the course of time, and over the course of our lives, the ego has and continues to evolve. The ego is constantly learning new avenues of showing up, without our realizing, in our behavior. This is something that we must learn to accept. The ego is human, and we are human, so therefore, it is unrealistic to think that we can ever fully be without the ego. The trick is, to become self aware enough to recognize the evolution of the ego in ourselves, so that we may see it, and all the sneaky games it tries to play, and learn how to work with it. 

    Practicing awareness and mindfulness meditations are HUGELY helpful for this process.

    I’m curious, what has your personal experience with having expectations and attachments been like? How have you let them go? How have you learned to work with your ego, and not allow your ego to work you?


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Caitlin Lassy is our very first Backcountry Yoga Ambassador. She's a Connecticut native that has brought her practice to the Rocky Mountains. We are so excited to have caitlin as part of our team! Lean more about Caitlin below:

Website Links:

https://caitlinlassyyoga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

https://www.instagram.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

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Super Blood Blue Moon Eclipse: By Caitlin Lassy ( BCY Ambassador)

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Super Blood Blue Moon Eclipse

Happy Super Blood Blue Moon Eclipse week, beautiful creatures!! (Woo, what a name!) Before I give you an overview of how you can best utilize the energy of this moon to catalyze change in your life, and why, let’s chat about what that crazy long name means!

Super: A moon is a “Super” Moon when the moon is Full, and it is physically the closest it will ever be to the earth. This makes the visibility of the moon spectacular, and it increases the energetic effects of the moon. (Maybe try to go someplace remote, away from light pollution, to really see this beauty in all of her glory.)

Blood: A moon is a “Blood” Moon when it is part of a series of three or more Total Lunar Eclipses. The word “Blood” comes from the fact that these Total Lunar Eclipses give the moon a reddish hue. The other two Total Lunar Eclipses that are a part of the same series as this blood moon, occur later in 2018, and in 2019.

Blue: A moon is a “Blue” Moon when it is the second Full Moon to occur in one month. The first Full Moon that occurred this month was on January 1st. How crazy is that, that we had a Full Moon on the very first day of this first month of 2018, and, we will be riding the waves of a Full Moon on the very last day of this first month of 2018?! Blue Moon’s are quite the rare occurrence, so, how also interesting that we will have TWO Blue Moon’s in 2018?! (I think there’s something happening here!)

Needless to say, there is A LOT of powerful energy going on here. It’s so potent, you may have already been feeling the effects of this energy for the past few days. Maybe you have noticed that you felt a bit anxious, emotional, introspective, reflective, or maybe even just a little bit off. Let’s dive a little deeper into the specifics of this moon, now, to understand why.

Full Moon’s always bring with them a supportive energy for releasing. This moon being a Blood Moon, though, and having its ties to future astrological events - as much of a focus this moon brings on releasing the old, the past, the no longer needed - it brings with it much supportive energy, too, for looking forward, for setting your sights on the future.

This Full Moon occurs in the astrological sign of Leo. Leo the fiery lion. Lion’s represent courage, personal strength, personal power, self-confidence, nobility, wisdom, loyalty, honor, generosity and independence.

I would encourage you to take a moment to repeat those words to yourself (or, at least, just the words that resonate with you the most - the words that you immediately notice evoke some sort of response from you), either silently, or out loud, eyes closed, with your hands over your heart. Notice what comes up for you. As you meditate on these words, what thoughts come into your mind? How does your physical body feel? What emotions do you notice, if any, begin to arise? Continue this for 10-20 breaths (or longer, if it calls to you), and then journal about your experience.

Take a moment to read what you what you wrote. Look at what came up for you and ask yourself, “What can I let go of here? What is no longer serving me? What is preventing me from living my life as the lion/lioness that I am? How am I blocking myself from my own light? How am I blocking the world from experiencing my light? How am I holding myself back?”

Again, go back through your journal and read what you wrote. As you read, allow yourself to really process the words, and ask yourself, “What is the energy that lies beneath these words? How can I use that energy to expand into the future? How can I transmute what’s here to better serve me going forward? How can I use this to take back what’s mine? How does this help me learn? How does this help me grow?”

Now, set an intention. Based on your answers to these questions, write down an intention that you can go back to each time you need a bit of inspiration. (Example - I release this old, heavy habit I have carried of comparing myself to others. I recognize that this habit brings me anxiety, weighs me down and only dulls my shine. I know that I am a brilliantly unique being, there is no other exactly like me - and how magnificent is THAT?! I release this habit, so that I may OWN my unique qualities and talents, bringing more shine, and more sparkle into this world. I release this habit, so that I may not just follow along the path of another, but so that my particular existence may be innovative and mine.)

This Super Blood Blue Moon Eclipse wants to be of assistance in letting go of the many ways we keep ourselves, and our lives, small, fragile, and easy. It wants to assist us in developing a new way of existence as we look to the future. The question is, will you let it?

Photo By: Peter Constantinople

 

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Toad Hill Winter Yurt Adventure

I made a short 5 minute video about Joel and I's recent Winter Yurt adventure to Toad Hill. If you're trying to get away to a place with no service and very little people, I highly recommend checking it out. There were just enough amenities to call it "glamping", but also not soooo many to make you feel like you've gone soft. Artistic vintage feel with thoughtful furnishings. The yurt is all seasons, but the rest of the property is huge and in full operation during the summer! Thanks to the bad ass creations of the owner Justin Fisher !!

Book it here (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/19256658)

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I See You: By Caitlin Lassy

“I see you. Really, I see you. I see your joy. I see your sorrow. I see your struggles. I see your successes. I see your determination. I see your defeat. I see your heartache. I see your love. I see your passion. I see your loss. I see your effort. I see your ease. I see the life that exists behind your eyes; the soul that you are beyond the skin that first meets the eyes. I SEE you; for you are you, and I am I, but we are more alike that what first meets the eye.”

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Yoga Journal Live event in New York City that Seane Corn was headlining. That weekend, I took a class with her where she spoke about forgiveness. I will never forget these words that she spoke (though I am paraphrasing a bit), she said, “Every day, each one of us is doing the best we can, based on the information we have learned from what our past experiences have taught us.” That sentence has forever changed the way I have seen and approached difficult people in my life.

When a person in your life brings you grief, struggles, or pain, how do you initially react? It can be understandably difficult to not allow their negativity to negatively effect ourselves. Wanting to retaliate, or allowing the negativity to fester are easy, possible responses, but, what if you paused for a moment to consider what that person has previously experienced in their life? What have they been through? Where have they been that has led to this behavior? I’m not saying that the answers to these questions makes their behavior OKAY, but what I am saying, is that it will give you a better understanding and insight as to why they are the way they are.

Festering negativity and planning a retaliation are actions of someone playing the victim role. The victim is a very low vibrational role, a role that, quite frankly, gets you nowhere and nothing but more negativity, more hurt, and more aggravation. When you decide to put that behavior on pause for a moment, and experiment with approaching the person from a place of understanding, you then, instead, act from a much more empowered place. When you act from a place of empowerment, a much higher vibrational place, peace, joy and awareness become yours. 

When you take the time to understand another (particularly those that are the most difficult), their past, and what they have experienced, not only do you have the opportunity to change your behavior, but you are presented with the opportunity to realize, that none of us are really all that different, after all. We have certain qualities that make us unique, for sure, but beneath that layer, we all experience pain, sorrow, loss and heartache at some point in our lives. We all experience joy, achievement and bliss at some point in our lives. The journey there may be different, but the emotion is the same.

The more we can step back and connect over our sameness, the better chance we have of bringing healing to ourselves, and to our world. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s an important one. 

Photo by: Peter Constantinople


Caitlin Lassy is our very first Backcountry Yoga Ambassador. She's a Connecticut native that has brought her practice to the Rocky Mountains. We are so excited to have caitlin as part of our team! Lean more about Caitlin below:

Website Links:

https://caitlinlassyyoga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

https://www.instagram.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

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I Love You. I Am Worthy: By Caitlin Lassy

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How often have you looked yourself in the eyes and uttered the words, “I love you. I am worthy.”? Have you ever? I will totally admit - I used to be one of those people that thought looking at yourself in the mirror and whispering, “I love you.” was completely weird, lame, and awkward. Until, something sparked inside my soul, and one day, I just decided to give it a try. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all moonbeams and rainbows the first time I ever tried it. It definitely still felt a little weird, a little lame, and a little awkward at first, but, just at first, and, just a little bit. My overall feeling was that of overwhelming inner peace and joy. I felt quite empowered, and, my heart felt inspired. It was almost like, by simply speaking these words, I had breathed a whole new way of being into the tissues of my body and the depths of my soul. The more and more time I’ve dedicated to this practice, the way less awkward and lame it has felt, and the lighter, more open, and more confident I have become.

    There are many different ways to practice this ritual, but today, I’d like to share my personal favorite with you. You will need:

Sage/Other smudging tool of your intuitive choosing
Mirror


    Directions:

Light your sage and begin smudging your aura. (Smudging is a Native American Shamanic practice intended to cleanse and purify a person, space, or thing.) To smudge, simply waft the smoke, created by lighting the sage, around your entire body, being mindful to include the crown of your head, back body, and bottoms of your feet.
Sit in a comfortable place in a comfortable position, lightly close your eyes, and take 10 slow, deep, rhythmic breaths. As you sit and breathe, make note of any physical sensations and/or emotions that you experience. Tune into the beat of your heart, and the physical space that surrounds your heart center.
Once you are feeling grounded and calm, grab or walk over to your mirror, and look yourself deeply in the eyes. Repeat this affirmation out loud 3 times, “I love you. I forgive you. I am worthy. I am courageous. I am confident.”
After speaking the affirmation for the third time, close your eyes and wrap your arms around your shoulders in a big, loving, warm embrace. Remain in your own embrace for 3 deep breaths, allowing the intention and vibration of the words to be absorbed.
Option: If it calls to you, take the time to journal about your experience.


    May this ritual inspire, empower, cleanse and uplift your spirit. 

Photo by: Peter Constantinople


Caitlin Lassy is our very first Backcountry Yoga Ambassador. She's a Connecticut native that has brought her practice to the Rocky Mountains. We are so excited to have caitlin as part of our team! Lean more about Caitlin below:

Website Links:

https://caitlinlassyyoga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

https://www.instagram.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

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Stop Dreaming Start Doing: By Laura Loewy

 Photography By: Nash Pitla https://www.instagram.com/iamnashnyc/

Photography By: Nash Pitla https://www.instagram.com/iamnashnyc/

I discovered my passion for the outdoors from a very young age. As a child I was wildly excited by nature. From building fots to climbing the tallest trees I could find, It was always deep inside my soul to be one with the earth.

I look back and laugh at how obvious it always was that my life’s work would be within the wilderness, but if you had asked me 5 years ago what I thought I’d be doing today, I would have had a very different answer.

People always talk about how children are the purest form of themselves, and how the world we live in teaches us to push away that truth of who we are. So as I was molded by my world and the people around me, for every year older I got the further away from myself I became.

It wasn’t until I started yearning for a different life as I sat in my office cubicle that the inkling that the universe had something else in store for me started to set in. At first all I thought was that I just wanted a higher paying job with a more prestigious title. So I set my mind to work and achieved that goal. But it only took 6 months for the allure of that to wear off, leaving me feeling desperate, anxious and constantly confused about my future.

For a long time I suffered from insomnia, nightmares, and lucid dreams that made me too afraid to even turn off the lights. My mind always spinning and ruminating on the things I wished I had or places I could go, or a person I could be. Being present in the moment impossible for my mind.

And then one night I was startled awake. I sat straight up and said out loud to myself as though the words were not my own, “Stop wishing for things you can do yourself. Take action.”

6 months later I left my office job, enrolled in an outdoor leadership program and started an outdoor yoga company from the ground up.

So here I am now working my butt off to keep this thing I’ve created alive. Some like to say I’m following my dreams, but to be honest I’m not really a huge fan of the word dream... because dreams aren’t real, and wishing they were will never make them become reality. It takes hard, consistent, passionate, joy focused action to bring a wild ambitious idea to life. You must verify that your vision is rooted in a reality that you believe in to your core, this takes deep and often painful reflection forcing you to stomp out your inner demons right then and there. But once you rise from this place of introspection you will be ready to face the world, hand in hand with your big crazy wild idea.

So today I challenge you to stop dreaming… and start doing! It should scare you ;) That’s half the fun.

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My Spiritual Influences: By Laura Loewy

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Today has me thinking about all the spiritual influences in my life, and how they all come from different paths, philosophies, and religions, but the one main thing they have in common is a vision of love and kindness towards oneself, neighbor, and the earth. I have never been able to choose one path as so many different ideas excite me. I think it's important to allow yourself to be curious and open to more than one way of thinking. I must admit I often reject the purist ideologies of yoga in the same way I reject the rigid interpretations of the catholic church. For me, yoga is a way to learn about my body, understand how it moves, understand how it functions. There are many days where my yoga practice consists of finding a private wooded place in a forest where I can dance amongst the trees... flowing with the energy of the wind... (but no bullshit... there is a chance that one day you were walking in the woods and passed me secretly dancing my ass off... ) Some days it's about bringing my practice to my mind where I'll read passages from my favorite teachers... and some days it's about enjoying an incredible meal made with love from a friend with a wonderful talent for creating art with food. For me yoga is life, and living it the best way that you can. Whether that means you wake up and practice your physical asana every day or you just muster up the courage to think kind thoughts. Remember you experience a miracle when you open your mind to a new perspective. Know that you are always accepted in my book. Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Atheist... Alcohol, or Non- Alcohol. Even if you are just a pro at watching TV there is space for you in my heart, and there is space for you with Backcountry Yoga. #backcountryyoga

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When I Let Others Shine, I Shine Too: By Caitlin Lassy

 Photo by: Peter Constantinople

Photo by: Peter Constantinople

When I Let Others Shine, I Shine Too: By Caitlin Lassy

    It’s no secret that the world at large, as well as our internal worlds, have gone through massive shifts in recent times. In fact, we are still experiencing these shifts on some level. So much has been learned, so much has been discarded, and so much growth has been ignited. Still, so much is being learned. Still, so much is being discarded. There is still so much growth in progress, and, still so much more room for future growth. The transition from 2017 to 2018 not only involved the physical turning of the calendar page, but the opening of fresh eyes on our situations, and a sense of being grounded and empowered amidst the chaos. 2017 shook us up, prepared us for this next chapter, and laid down the foundation for chapters to come. Now, the path appears clear, and our hearts and eyes are set on the prize.

    With a renewed commitment to our purpose now in our hearts and on our minds, it’s important to remember that we do not walk this road alone. If we were to attempt to totally dive into this journey alone, we would be easily worn down and quickly tattered. We would soon crumble under the immense spirit of our own determination. With all this cultivated personal power and self-inspiration in the air, we must remember the important role that our friends, family, supporters, and community play. We must remember the importance of discovering, having, and most importantly, nurturing our tribe.

    Even when we’re feeling grounded, inspired, and connected, our sneaky egos can find a way to separate and distance us from one another. The ego would like to see us wear ourselves down and crumble under the light of our own determination, because, if instead, we were to tap into the collective power and capabilities of our tribe, well, that would make the ego quite uncomfortable. The ego does not like to feel uncomfortable. The ego will develop any behaviors it can think of to extinguish our light, and strengthen its darkness. The judgement of another, and the comparison of yourself to another are external expressions of this internal process taking place. The acts of judgement and comparison are acts that vibrate at a toxic level. Acts that create a toxic world. Acts that nourish the ego. However, if we can learn to recognize this toxic behavior, consciously drop it to the wayside, and instead, learn to celebrate our differences while seeing and strengthening our inherent sameness, we can create the world of our dreams that our fresh eyes now allow us to see as a possibility.

    Now, as the common expression says, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” So, be mindful to regularly maintain the practices that provide you the opportunity to self-nourish and self-empower your own soul, your own heart, and your own light. Then, from that clear space, uplift your neighbor. Support your brothers and sisters. Encourage the members of your tribe. Give these gifts with meaning and intention. Give, especially during these inspired times. Crack open your heart for these words to emanate loudly from your soul, “When I uplift and support others, and allow others to shine, I feel more uplifted, more grounded and supported, and I shine more brightly, too.”
 Only together, we can. And together, we will.
 


Caitlin Lassy is our very first Backcountry Yoga Ambassador. She's a Connecticut native that has brought her practice to the Rocky Mountains. We are so excited to have caitlin as part of our team! Lean more about Caitlin below:

Website Links:

https://caitlinlassyyoga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

https://www.instagram.com/caitlinlassyyoga/

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The Power of Presence


Lately, I've been really focused on staying present, as I've realized that no matter what reflections I have on my past, it doesn't change what has happened. No matter how much I hope for certain things in my future, life doesn’t always go according to plan. So, when I step back and realize that the only parts of life that I can "control" are how I live in this precise moment – even as I write this post – it creates a profound shift in how I want to move throughout my day.

I think there is a lot of hype around living in the now – often mistaken as a call to action to quit your job, move into a van, follow your wanderlust across the world and show it off through vibrant social posts. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are incredible people who follow that path of presence by flowing with uncertainty every minute of the day and truly allowing themselves to be open to endless possibilities. But that's not the type of presence that I'm talking about right now. 

I'm more interested in the idea of blooming where you're planted, making choices that build upon one another to bring you to the next incredible place in your life that is only minutes, maybe hours, ahead of you. I think, subconsciously, I've loved this concept for a long time and only recently put a label on the feeling.

I believe this living in the moment is why I'm called to get outside and participate in outdoor recreation. I love how hiking on a rocky open trail makes my mind go blank with soft fascination, or how I experience that immediate gratification of staying in the moment and making tricky choices to complete a hard climb when I'm rock climbing. When I'm backcountry skiing, all I can do is focus on my body rhythm in anticipation of the incredible ride down. Even with that anticipation, I'm forced to stay in the moment, step by step, as without the concentration on my physical journey, I'll never make it to the top. I even notice my need to stay present while packing for a backpacking trip! It’s times when I'm on my phone and only giving my packing 50 percent of my attention that I usually forget something crucial. 

(Written for Navitas Organics Blog)

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KNEEOTECH Gear Review:

A couple months ago I stumbled upon the company  Evolution Activewear who has created the first ever yoga pant with built in knee protection. So I thought to myself... what more could an outdoor yoga instructor ask for!? I reached out to see if I could test them out and their founder Joan Kottler gractiously sent me a pair of these bad ass yoga pants! Here are my thoughts!


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The first day I wore these was while teaching a yoga class at Brooklyn Boulders Rock Gym. When I first put them on I noticed the knee pads right away, but once I pulled the pants up and got them to a comfortable place I was able to totally forget they were there.

During class the kneepads were a welcome relief while demoing certain poses. Class is usually busy enough that I can't fit my own mat, so I'll end up with some pretty bruised knees.

After teaching class I told my students about the product and they all reported that they wouldn't have known there were kneepads in my pants at all!


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After class that day I climbed for a couple hours. The knee pads were great for protecting my knees from some of the bumps and scrapes I'll get from the rough rock wall.

I'll admit my knees got pretty sweaty after a while, so I don't think I'd recommend them for a long work out or day of outdoor climbing/hiking. However they were fantastic for the couple hours of teaching and climbing that I did that day.


The next day I took my KNEEOTECH pants outdoors. I did everything from yoga without a mat on the hard rocky ground to rolling around in the grass to climbing a tree!

These pants held up quite well! My only complaint was that the material got wet pretty fast from the damp ground. (Would love to see them in a more outdoor focused material in the future!) Also one of my big problems with boutique yoga brands is that they tend to create products for the "dancer" body type... and I have short little stubby legs, so I believe that's the main reason the knee pads bunched up from time to time (like in the photo to the left). 

Ultimately I would highly recommend these yoga pants to anyone who is interested in using them for outdoor yoga classes on hard surfaces, who are looking for extra knee support in the studio, or for teachers that tend to demo classes without a mat. These pants were soft, comfortable, and I got some compliments on their aesthetic as well. Even with my short figure I thought they complimented my body quite well.

Very happy I had the chance to test these yoga pants out! Learn more about Evolution Activewear in their FOX13 interview below or check out their website http://evolutionactivewear.com/

Evolution Activewear's Kneeotech Yoga Pants with Knee Pads Evolution Activewear founder Joan Kottler is featured on Fox 13's "The Place". Joan is the inventor and patent-holder (US PATENT D732,277S) for Kneeotech, revolutionary yoga pants that will save your knees. Yoga pants with built in knee pads, perfect for yoga, dance, gardening, and more!

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Insect Shield Gear Review

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A couple weeks ago I had the honor of receiving a package of sample gear from Insect Shield! Over the past month I have put their gear to the test, from camping, hiking, and outdoor festivals I've used it all!  Watch this quick video to learn more about who they are and how their products are made.

What is Insect Shield ?  
The Insect Shield process binds a proprietary permethrin formula tightly to fabric fibers—resulting in effective, odorless insect protection that lasts the expected lifetime of apparel (70 washes). Permethrin has been successfully used in the United States as an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered product since 1977, with an excellent safety record. It is used in lice shampoos for children, flea dips for dogs, and various other products, some of which are regulated by the FDA.

Insect Shield® Repellent Apparel has been proven and registered to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges
 

Does it really work? 

YES!!

I put it to the test in multiple environments and this is what I have to say:

Camping: Featured in picture #2 you can see me decked out from head to toe. Leggings, T-Shirt, Scarf, and Socks! This was mid June, our first camping trip of the season. As many of you know April through early June in New England is mud season, which creates fertile breeding grounds for pesky may flies and mosquitos. 

When we got to our campground it was dusk... a mosquito's favorite time of day, so while my boyfriend got eaten alive as we pitched our tent... much to my surprise I finished the evening with a whopping 1 mosquito bite on my ankle where my skin had been exposed.

I'll admit the leggings are cotton and a little itchy, but they, along with everything else did a fantastic job of keeping me happy in the midst of swarming bugs.

Backcountry Hiking: I tend to be one of those lucky people that doesn't get bothered by bugs... so, knowing I wasn't exactly the best person to determine the success of the product...I decided to test this gear out with some of my clients on our first overnight retreat of the season. While practicing yoga outside our cabin in the Carter Notch I noticed two individuals battling with the bugs more than others. So I gave one person an insect shield blanket, and one person an insect shield scarf to lay on their mats.

It was incredible. From the moment I laid down the materials... the two girls stopped swatting at the air... and were actually able to enjoy the remaining moments of our yoga practice. 

Photo shoot with Athena Elizabeth Photography: ( photo #3) Athena and I had been trying to get a natural photoshoot in for a while to display some new tank tops I had just got designed. So we decided to meet at a local reservation that neither one of had been to before, but that looked beautiful. As we started to venture into the woods, we realized due to the rain this gorgeous forest had become pretty swampy... and the deeper we walked the more our bodies were flocked with mosquitos. And I mean bug net status flocked... For the first time in my life I had probably 20 mosquitos on each extremity. 

So I took out both insect shield scarfs... and we tied them around our hips like sarongs... and just like that the mosquitoes stopped bothering us! We got out of the woods and chose a different location with a more productive atmosphere ;) But we got out mostly bug bite free!


From there on I've continued to bring my Insect Shield gear with me to festivals and outdoor yoga classes and am amazed over and over by the effectiveness of their technology

My favorite piece of apparel is definitely the versatile wrap/scarf! It's not only cute, but functional, super lightweight and easy to pack. 

Interested in buying your own Insect repellent gear!? Use our special promo code "TESTDRIVE" to receive 15% off any of their "lifestyle" brand apparel.  Click Here to Shop!

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