Why buy recycled, eco, sustainable products?

I have always been passionate about the environment. At 12 years-old, I began my subscription to E-Magazine, I started writing my representatives, senators, and state and local authorities about laws that were on the table concerning the environment, I strongly urged, perhaps argued with(LOL?!!?), my parents as to why we should buy organic food, clothing, cleaning supplies, and beauty products, and I even I bought my friends’ recycling containers for Christmas one year in high school. Some call me a hippie and a tree-hugger, abut regardless of ridicule, name calling, shaming, and derogatory comments, I will continue to not only stand for a purpose that is beyond me, and for one that effects us all, I will do something about it. Maybe after these few reason’s why, you’ll join me:

3 reasons why charing about the environment isn’t a fad:

  1. The earth is our home and, it’s all we’ve got. Just like a brick, wood, or stucco home we live, eat, sleep, and play in, if we don’t take care for our home, then, we don’t take care of our home! I have seen countless studies and quotes about keeping one’s home clean and orderly, and even how feng shui or the gift of hospitality/decorating influences the people inside that home; the earth is simply an extension of that. We are a product of our environment. That’s true not only in a small, micro-causim sense, but also in a larger scale. Think about it: people from India have a particular flavor, way of doing things, language even, so do American’s, so do the French. We can talk micro in the sense of how someone who lives in an alcoholic family will have certain traits and tendencies, as will someone who lives in the Middle East. We are affected by those and that which is around us. If we pollute, if we cut down all the trees, or if we continue to buy from companies that do these things without a thought to the bigger picture, we not only will be, but are affected by it. It’s an obvious correlation. We cannot separate ourselves from the earth. We ARE the earth. Which leads me to the #2.
  2. We are made of the same substances as the earth, so what we do to her, we do to ourselves. We need clean water to drink. We need fresh air to breathe. We need sunlight to thrive (hello Vitamin D!). We need nutritious foods to eat. We need shelter and warmth and ways to cool ourselves down. And, we need play. Forest Bathing has become all the rage in Japan with numerous scientific studies confirming it’s necessity to our health and well-being as a way to de-stress. If we do not keep our waters clean, our foods (both plants and animals) free of toxins, then we will not be clean/healthy either. We are what we eat, not only in tangible junk food over healthily foods, but also in the chemical body system. If a cow is stressed out, it will have high levels of cortisol, then when we eat the steak or hamburger of that cow, we will be eating all those high levels of hormones and be susceptible to adrenal fatigue, weight gain, osteoporosis, anxiety, weakness, depression, irritability, etc.
  3. Some say that recycling and buying recycled products is still part of the problem because it takes a lot of energy to recycle and particularly with synthetic clothing, we are still creating something that is toxic. Well, here’s what I say: we have to start somewhere. There’s a saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Or what about this one: “We have to crawl before we can walk.” Exactly my point. For me, as a professional athlete and one who works with clients of varying ability levels and in various conditions (indoors, outside, wind, rain, sun, heat, cold, etc.) I need clothing that performs. I need to be able to focus on the person and task at hand, and not be pulling up my yoga pants, readjusting my bathing suit, or suffocating from the heat of the Redding sun in clothing that doesn’t hold up to my activity, needs for safety and well-being, and leave me sweating and over-heated. So, I will continually be on the look out for new ways and products that recycle, reduce waste, look long-term, AND live up to my demanding work and life needs.

One such company I am proud to be a part of is Wolven Threads. Not only are they using recycled materials for their high quality clothing that stands up to my rigorous, athletic demands, they are also using carbon-neutral wood-pulp fibers that have been sustainably harvested, and natural dyes. Plus, an added value is that their designs are sacred geometric patterns and prints designed by local L.A. artists.

As a gift to you, I am happy to be able to offer 20% off men’s and women’s yoga, day wear, swimsuits, and clothing with the code: AudreyDlong20 at WolvenThreads.com

If you know of other companies that are making important earth/environmental/home impacts, share below! I would love to know about them!!!

xoxo

Why all the talk about Goddesses?

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I’ve often categorized women as on my team or not. Those on my team I have taken with me to explore and adventure and love, but, admittedly, it has been a long practice of learning to celebrate with them for their successes and gifts. For a long time, I felt jealous or sad, even angry if they got something or had something I wanted. Now, I can honestly say that has changed and I am truly happy, proud, and grateful when my girl friend’s dreams and desires come to life. I now stand and celebrate with them, whole heartedly. But, for those not on my team, I am still working on being aware of the judgement and comparison and then, choosing how I respond, deciding if love, empathy, compassion, and celebration, is truly what I want to extend. Now, once I notice I’m judging or comparing, I am choosing to stand with them, even from afar.

For such a long time, life has been a competition and I tried to win at the XYZ game (smarts, physical ability, guys, yoga, etc.). But wow, it’s exhausting! I know I am not alone. We women learn these things from books, magazines, TV (hello: advertising is all about making us women feel less than; we then cure this feeling by buying the sh*t being touted as the miracle answer to us being fat, having cellulite, wrinkles, being tired, sick, etc.), the movies we watch (when was the last time you noticed more than one woman in a movie or a woman who didn’t talk to another woman only about guys, in a movie that wasn’t titled a “chick flick”). We women are programmed to compete and feel less than.

Now, I’m finding more and more I’m celebrating women, their dreams, their truths, their desires and like a drug addiction, it’s so much more fun. I’ve begun to call this the “Goddess Rising” phenomenon. It’s a throw back to the worship of the female entity, to a time when women were revered and celebrated, instead of crushed, held down, and told to be subservient. The word goddess evokes a stirring that something isn’t right, it pokes, it shakes, it rattles, and that is exactly the intention. The word goddess reminds us women that we too have the Divine in us.

All this started with awareness, with meditation, with yoga. From there, it moved into celebrating my own achievements and gifts and then, with this new found confidence, I began to share and talk about it/them. This practice has continued and deepened, moving into desire and longing, getting in touch with my sacred female qualities (which men have also: collaboration, joy, pleasure, sensuality, vulnerability, surrender, patience, intuition, creativity, community, etc.). All this is counter-cultural. This is risky. This is new. This isn’t easy, but it’s what the world has been missing for a few thousand years as we have swung to the worshipping of masculine traits (profit, bigger, better, faster, harder, being practical, an individual, logical, non-expressive, competitive, war).

Yoga and meditation, have been the vehicles, the tools through which this has blossomed. And now, I’m all in. It is now be my life’s mission to follow my deepest yearnings and desires, no matter how scary or hard or weird, and be here to champion the same in others.

So, here’s to desires realized and the tree of life growing from their actualization. (Proverbs 13:12)

“The greatest threat to a woman’s happiness and success is her own negative judgment of herself, and other women.

Every flower/woman has her very own unique way of blooming.

I have mine.

You have yours.

She has hers.

The point is to damn the torpedoes and bloom.

Full speed ahead, and bloom.

Bloom in this lifetime.

Bloom now.

Really. Right now.

Don’t let the cultural prejudices against blooming stop you from stepping up to your own plate.

Don’t wait, just in case we don’t get another round.

Bloom, even if the sun generated from another woman’s light hurts your eyes.”

Regena Thomashauer

This pic is from one of my many adventures with the goddesses Heather Phillips and Tara Huff. 💞 So thankful for these and the other women in my life! And, now, I’m truly thankful for those women not in my life, I’m celebrating you too.

xoxo

Sacred Pleasure: holy exploration

Babies flirt and we find it adorable and good. Flirting = being turned on in the presence of others. And as it is for babies, it is natural, pure, and holy. Sexuality is power and as we own our own, we can embrace our God-given divinity as a sensual creature, light up the world, and live in abundance and success.

You can only give (to your children, husband/boyfriend, work, etc.), what you yourself possess. Come rejuvenate and heal your whole self, with care, with a community of like-minded women in this sacred act of pleasure. Full details and registration can be found at https://audreydelongyoga.com/special-events-2/

This pic is from my El Camino trip in September, taken during a time I felt bold enough to show myself as a woman. I even still feel fear as I post this pic, but that’s the point: I choose to not let fear hold me back and my work then inspires you to do the same. You can feel this difference. I’m not trying to manipulate you or make you feel small, I’m empowering you. This. This will be us together: empowerment to own your womanly-ness and then showcase it with holy reverence for all to admire and get turned on by.

It’s been a journey for me to embrace my womanly beauty and feel comfortable in it enough to show it off, but I’ve been embracing the discomfort and found incredible healing: my own and yours. Come with me as we go deep, deep into the divine art of woman.

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It’s winter time and for me, this is the slower season in my work. I teach yoga classes on land/indoors, so those still continue, but my On Water Yoga classes and my hiking and Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease classes take a break because of the weather. This gives me some much needed time to reorganize, reflect, dream, and set goals for the new year. It also gives me the time to work on self development more intentionally and today, I’ve been re-doing my La Salud website, which, strangely, is self development.

Today, my mom emailed me some pictures of myself from 2002 and 2003 when I just started and then was ending cancer treatments. I was extremely adamant, at the time, about NOT taking pictures of me because, honestly, I wasn’t sure I would make it through and I didn’t want to be remembered looking like death. On this side of cancer, it would be nice to have those pictures, but what I do have is still very telling. You can view one from this time at www.LaSaludOrganics.com under the Meet Audrey tab.

One of the many great aspects in re-designing my La Salud website is that it brings me face to face with my intentions of why I opened it. I’ve had to look hard inside myself and ask is it just to “make money” or is it to use the pain and difficulty that I experienced to help others? Honestly, at times, what I want to accomplish feels so daunting that I think, IT’S JUST TO MAKE MONEY!, but that’s not sustainable, nor is it the truth, and I know it and can feel it. I HAVE to better myself! I HAVE to push forward and study, learn, grow, and put in the time to learn why it is that I am doing this, how to best communicate that, and thus set goals and time lines for how to accomplish such tasks while really gripping the truth that this stuff doesn’t happen overnight, I will probably continue living in my friend’s pool house for awhile, walking through the cold garage to go to the bathroom and use the kitchen, shopping at Goodwill, and driving a 14 year old car. Strangely, as I continue to learn about myself and other successful people I’m not only settling into these truths nicely, I’m harnessing this temporary discomfort to better myself and, thus, others.

Having had cancer and facing death so intimately was difficult and it’s something I want to use to show people that this doesn’t have to happen. We are not helpless victims to commercial agriculture farms or large pharmaceutical companies. Nutrion-less conventional (typical supermarket) food is not our only option. Regular medical doctors and prescription drugs are not the only answer. We do not have to accept things as they have been dealt us or diagnosed. We do not have to buy into the marketing that we are so overwhelmingly inundated with on a daily basis. There are options that can give us the strength we need, show us the direction to take, and provide comfort when we need it most. It may not always be easy to decipher which direction to take, what option is best, and who is really comforting us, but this is all the more reason to practice these skills now while “the going is good” so that when the “going gets tough” we know how to navigate the path.

May my difficulty be your ceiling on which to reach ever greater heights and truths. May the cancer I experienced end with me and never happen to anyone else again. May life and hope and courage and strength be ignited in you as it is being cultivated and fanned in me. Really, we are all in this together. I’m happy to still be here to share and inspire. Let me know how I’m doing.

Namaste (all of me blesses all of you)!

The importance of goals

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Summer has ended and rain and cooler temperatures have come to Redding sooner than expected. Although I absolutely love the sunshine, the heat, and the busy-ness of summer, the slower pace that fall and winter provide help me to reflect, reevaluate, and take a step back to see how things have gone and how I want to move forward.

I haven’t always been so focused. I haven’t always set goals. In fact, I used to purposely not set them because I wanted to live “free” and take things as they came, but really, it’s only through setting goals that have I gained freedom! So counter-intuitive.

With the plethora of injuries and health problems I’ve had, because of financial hardships, because I am passionate about helping others, and because of my faith, I have begun to set goals, cast vision, and take time to stop and reflect. I used to be scared of slowing down because I didn’t like who I was, although I didn’t realize that. Hind-sight is 20-20 and I’m now using it to move forward, and get bigger, better, stronger. Like with a yoga practice or any other exercise, muscles only get stronger from momentary “pain” or discomfort and the level of sacrifice that a vision requires determines the size of the person or people who follow. I want to be great and inspire greatness in others, so goals need to be cast, revised, and celebrated!

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (KJV). Perish means to die; to pass away or disappear; to suffer destruction or ruin; to suffer spiritual death. This signifies the importance of vision: stated aims and objectives; the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be; a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation (Dictionary.com). Speaking for myself and comparing where I am now with where I was even just 2 years ago, I am so much more alive because I practice en-vision-ing, goal setting, vision casting, and because I stop to reevaluate, and celebrate how far I have come.

If we have no vision or goals for our life then what shapes or defines how we makes choices? Looking at my own life, I can see that a lot of decisions have been made based on what was easiest, what was least likely to cause pain or discomfort, I have flittered about like the wind, directionless, and I have been searching.

I know a lot of others are searching too, maybe even you. I want to encourage you to start right where you are. Set a goal. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to be debt free? Do you want to get married? How might you get there? Set some goals for the month, 6 months, the year, etc. and then set some tactics, or smaller more manageable steps to take in order to accomplish the bigger goals. The good news is that if you don’t accomplish something, you can try again. To be successful, one must fail. I pray that you know the 1John 4:18 love that casts out fear (of failure, etc.) and step forward, get back up if you fall down, and try again.

I have some large goals with yoga and I took some time today to practice and watch my “Yoga Journal Advance Your Practice” DVD. What was really cool is that I haven’t been practicing these exact poses but maybe once in the past year and I was shocked at the amount of flexibility and strength I had to get as far as I did. An amazing fact about goal setting is that sometimes, the goals get accomplished without even trying! It’s because we took the time to put them to thought, or en-vision them, that they manifest. I haven’t found all goals to be this way, but it sure is encouraging when some are! I think it’s God way of giving us fuel for the harder or more challenging ones.

May you dream big, cast your nets wide, and see your children’s children prosper because of what you did today and do tomorrow. It’s not really not even about us and when we stop and take time to set goals and make steps towards them, the world is better for it.

Namaste!