1. Who are you and how did you get to where you are with helping humans?
Big first question! The answer to who I am is constantly evolving moment-to-moment.
I could share with you my story. Detailing the countless acts of bulling I experienced, the physically abusive relationship, physical and mental health battles, or even childhood traumas… but you as well as I know that we know our stories all too well. I’m here to share with you where I am now and who I am evolving into.
What I used to label as ’unfortunate’ experiences, I have conditioned and continue to condition my mind to counteract every negative with a positive. This is where I counteract by sharing with you: fortunately, those experiences shaped and influenced the me I am today. And with those thoughts, I then take a moment to recognize when they arise using the practice of non-judgmental self-awareness.
I believe this is the secret to loving yourself fully. Self-awareness is similar to a mirror that allows you to see your actions, feelings, and thoughts objectively. This capacity is vital if you are to grow, be willing to take risks, and to love yourself. With this remarkable skill, you will be able to acknowledge your errors, make amends, and get on with your life, allowing you to feel confident and be in a state of inner peace.
When we can learn to greet all parts of ourselves (joy, grief, sadness, love, anger) with simple non-judgmental self-observation, we have taken the first step in self-care…. shifting our perspective, altering our inner landscape… In simple terms, entering a state of mental happy. It’s courageous and hella scary to change your patterns and habitual ways of doing and being. And when you become the witness, and react from a place of zero judgments, what becomes as a fight-or-flight response, turns into a moment of clarity.
Being a witness to my own transformation and that of others, is why I am a cheerleader on the path of Yoga.
2. How do individuals ‘Self Care’? what are preventive things they can do on a day to day, even right after reading this article?
Self-care is a divine responsibility that everyone should be prescribing themselves on a daily basis. Self-care looks different for each person. For one, it may be replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, and for another, it may be being proactive with their physical health.
I practice many forms of self-care. The most important is my morning Sadhana (daily practice). It’s been from my experience that the purpose of Sadhana is to arrive at the moment when we go beyond our ego and our limitations. For me, morning Sadhana, is a special time when I can sit before the alter of my own consciousness and have the opportunity to clean up my inner world.
We are surrounded by many stress factors, including: friends, family, work, people at work, etc… these things drain our energy. Especially if you are a giver, who likes to go above and beyond, thats a lot of energy output. If you are not taking previous care of yourself, anything that you offer to someone else will carry your lack of self-care with it. This holds especially true for anyone in the service energy, it’s felt when teaching from your reserves.
Something magical happens though, when we step into the deepest level of care for ourselves. We claim our power, letting go of everyone and everything else around us who drain our energy. AND know that you have the power to change your perspective on those who drain your energy. But thats entirely different talk on the power of our perception.
Know this, you have the power to change your current reality. You get this one precious body, with it’s own unique purpose on this earth. You should be surrounding yourself with the best life has to offer — from people to places to passions. If I could give a few preventative tips on self-care, they would be to take a nice seat and consciously breathe into all that is showing up in the moment. Too often we move around the day or even sit at a desk all day with shallow restricted breathing. A gift in each moment is to take another breath, and another.
Sit before the alter of your mind, and breathe into the entire trunk of your body. Allow the body to hit the refresh button from the inside out with long inhales filling up with new oxygen, and exaggerated exhales releasing stale reserved air. Exhale out the to-do list, the gig, the call, the email, and inhale to return back to the present moment. Repeat. Finish off with a few long audible sighs for a deeper release.
3. What is your secret to staying so slim? Is it just Yoga? Any makeup free beauty tips? Tell us your secret!! :)
I’ve always been small built, and I’ve always been proactive in my health… spending 12 years of my life as a gymnast. These days Yoga and nutritious meals are all I do to maintain my shape.
Makeup is a stretch for me, I hardly wear anything mainly because I don’t like the feel on my skin. I think the most important tip I could give is to simply smile. The day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn, and you radiate at a much higher frequency when you do. That energy is felt, and is more beautiful and genuine than any mask.
4. You said if item in the MentalHappy Cheerbox is intentional how have you incorporated the items in your daily life and which was the most meaningful to you and why?
The Cheerbox was so much fun! Anyone who knows me, knows that I love intentional gifting. I’ve played with each item in the Cheerbox, but the one that I use the most is the gratitude jar. It’s a classic and an intentional tool to shift your current attitude into a state of gratitude. At the end of the month I intend to hold a small sacred fire ritual of going through the jar, releasing and reflecting on each one.
5. What do you say to the people who say, "I don't really get yoga" or "I don't really like it". Is there anything they can do off the mat?
Yoga is less about doing a pose the right way, and more about feeling the pose. Don’t try to think about what Yoga is and why your doing it. It is another form of self-care. The practice of dropping out of the monkey mind and dropping-into the body for a movement meditation is sacred time and space to be with yourself. To drop into the address of here and now. Conscious and fully alert.
Off the mat, I would suggest shifting that mindset. I say often in classes, “The pose begins the moment you want to come out of it.” This holds true to starting Yoga. Yoga begins the moment you want to quit. Usually the mind comes in and gives you reasons to bail. I hear all that negative talk still to this day, and I usually respond with a “thank you for sharing”... and then I continue doing the hard necessary work on my mat. Wipe the residue of judgement off your lens, and always have this beginners mind.
But hey, then again, Yoga may just not be for you and thats okay just keep searching for your self-care outlet. Though, if your a beginner, I encourage you try out different studios, teachers and styles. You can’t expect to fall in love with your first teacher, and if you do thats great but give yourself time to taste each flavour of Yoga teachers and their unique style. Find a studio that feels like a right fit for you, with the support of a community of yogi-enthusiasts. You all are sharing your practice space, cheerleading each other on the path toward health and healing.
6. How can other humans connect with you?
I currently have been on a Facebook hiatus, which will return Summer of this year with the announcement of a big game changer in my business. To get an insider look follow me onInstagram or Twitter @cass_amaral for news, updates and all things Yoga. Also I’m not a huge social networker but I do share juicy news via my newsletter. By heading over to www.cassamaral.com you can subscribe to receive exclusive news and blog postings first hand.
7. Best advice you would like to give?
Begin Again. If meditation is too difficult for you to sit still, or you can’t quite seem to understand the purpose of downward dog, release judgements and begin again. If you wake up in the morning grumpy and cursing the day, change your perspective and begin again with a new mindset. If you fall, fail or even frown… get back up, try again and smile. Another heartbreak, another loss to a championship game? Begin Again.
Why? For the sake of your evolution, for the sake of choosing a better outcome. A better mindset. A better, happier and more efficient you. Because in any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. Which will you c