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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
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    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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