My Life. My Love. My yoga.

Notes to the deep wounds of my heart and where my inner strength resides.

I remember being so scared on my first class at a local studio for being the only one who didn't fit in the group. Years into practice have taught me that this ancient discipline and lifestyle goes beyond the physical. This space is dedicated to those searching for inner peace, self-love and the freedom of the soul!

 

By Lorena Saavedra Smith

My path into self acceptance is like yoga. A continuous practice.

What is loss? What do you do when your soul is in pain? What is endurance? How can I alleviate suffering? How can I embrace empathy? How can I be of service to others? How can I embrace ? Ahh... So many questions have popped into my head the last few weeks and after a lot of self-observation and a bit of research I still come up with the same answer.

“We are wounded healers and from the once broken pieces of the self, we have the tremendous capacity to help others from the deep layers of the pain that we overcame in the past”.

 

"I am no different than anyone on the face of the earth.  I breath the same air, feel pain and loss, happiness and love, aggravation and frustration, but years ago I decided to take a responsibility to make a difference in my own individual history to create a positive impact on the life of people that cross my path. This is what helps me heal, and by serving others, I will be cleansed and receive good Karma in return".

Experiencing death, serious illness of a loved one, or loss of any kind is not an easy task to comprehend for anyone but it is part of life and is totally normal to be entangled in a mix of emotions.  The crucial task is to learn how to deal with those emotions and no get stuck in them.  It sucks!  I know.

Years ago I went through a series of dramatic events that left me with deep wounds, lots of guilt, low self-esteem and severe depression. I thought I would never recover from that stage and I would never be able to trust and love anyone anymore. The recovery process was not easy - in many ways, I tried to avoid it because it was so painful to go back to it - living in the unreal truth was much easier. Blaming others for the suffering and playing the victim rule was my escape. Time went by and I knew things needed to change. It was time to move on to gain my life back and face reality! This was when I decided to take my yoga practice beyond Asana (yoga poses).  Getting in contact with my true self, practicing Ahimsa (non-harming), Satya (truthfulness) and Isvara pranidhana (the surrender to God) was quite revealing to me. I discovered how Pranayama (breathing) allowed me to be in stillness and present in the mix of chaos while, Pratyahara (awareness) gave me the opportunity to step back and take a look at myself.

I can truthfully say that is because these ancient and wise disciplines allowed me to discover my real self - nothing close to what I pictured years ago.

It was from this place of sorrow and joy that I allowed myself be empathetic to others.  I know what pain is, I know how it feels not to know what to do and panic when the task to accomplish seems to be so huge and almost impossible to be done, and I also know that accepting the imperative to face the real true with love and self-compassion is the gateway to purification of the soul.

By welcoming without judgment the constant shifts of life, I fine-tuned to the many nuances of a particular event surrendering into Dharana (concentration) where Dhyana (meditation & contemplation) helped me to been quieted, simply observing the unfolding of life. All these self-compassion practices assisted me to hold the space of present and hope for others without being drained for the unexpected life changing events, with certainty the Samadhi (state of ecstasy & fulfillment) is the highest and profound connection to the Divine.

One of the mottos of my practice is that Self-Acceptance is one of the greatest benefits of yoga and I grasp onto it constantly.

This is a long and endless route, so let's keep practicing my fellow yogi - we are in this together.

Much love & light.

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Gratitude will make your life easy & lighter

Years ago when I heard that being grateful could change the perspective I had on my life and assist in recovery from depression, I decided to jump on board and follow the advice of one of my mentors. I have to admit that I thought that giving thanks to things and people with real intention was going to be easy and quick, but as I was beginning the process, I realized that it wasn’t an easy task.  It didn’t make sense to me then to be grateful for people and complicated situations that brought discomfort and bad memories.

Writing and saying those statements of gratefulness out loud was powerful. Day by day I could feel my shoulders lighter, my spirit happier, and the things that used to bother me and put me in fear and a hysteric mood would vanish just by simply recognizing what I was grateful for that day and how lucky I was to be alive.

Now days I am aware and recognize that all those same things that I refused to give thanks to, were the mold of my current life and I would be eternally grateful to each person, and circumstance that showed me the face of Thanksgiving.

We are living a hurried life, full of fear, pain, suffering, hardship, turmoil, disappointment and regrets, always searching for the external and material component that would bring our souls to peace when a simple gesture of appreciation could spur our sense of value and existence in Earth.  We are all miracles and can be the miracle to others.

Gratitude is not a natural inclination and takes time, effort, and discipline to remind us of the many reasons we can be grateful. But it is an exercise well worth the discomfort and challenge.

Here’s my challenge to you: Take a few moments today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, to come up with a 10 gratitude statement list. If it doesn’t come organically, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks. There is still much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see and be present.

This edition of Days of Gratitude are dedicated and inspired to every single person that crossed our path on our recent Seva (service) yoga and meditation retreat in Peru.  Thank you for bringing me back to Earth and showing me that happiness can be found with the simple appreciation of my feet touching the grass.

Here my list!

  1. I am thankful for my health, for being able to breathe without issues after years of being a smoker. For being able to move my body freely to get into some extreme yoga asanas, for being able to hear, see and eat by myself and taste the delicious dishes of my mother.
  2. I am so thankful for my loving husband, my friend, who has become my biggest fan and ally. His promise and vows of being there to support me and my dreams is his mission on our time together in Earth. He is the cornerstone of my yoga teacher and activist endeavors.
  3. I am thankful for my parents, siblings and extended family, for being able to experience the love and sense of belonging, acceptance, and unconditional care. Knowing that distance and time are irrelevant when we communicate through the tribe's love.
  4. I am thankful for the opportunity and responsibility that the Creator gives me every day to experience motherhood from another angle. Raising my teenage boy has opened new layers of compassion and understanding. All my gratitude to my boy, my son, my love, my teacher.
  5. I am thankful for all the lessons and challenges I went through the last 12 months. Inevitably I have learned to be patient and trust the process of life.
  6. I am thankful for the small and free pleasures of life. A guaranteed sunrise, a relaxing walk around my safe neighborhood, a refreshing time close to the water, to the multiple colors and shapes that Mother Nature humbly gives, letting me know that I am a fundamental part of this ecosystem. Grateful for the sun warming my face transforming my gray days into happy and brighter blues.
  7. I am thankful for the kindness of people I have never met before. For your emails, calls, comments and actions of unanimity. When you hold the door for me, when you give me a smile and the "have a good day" made me take a deep breath, when you go out of your way to help me to help others.
  8. I am thankful for having the gift to connect with others from the heart and the strength to share my experience by doing work that matters.
  9. I am thankful to have access to education, health, technology and freedom to express myself, learn and connect from and with others around the world. Making the length of the distances that separates us shorter every day.
  10. I am extremely thankful for my yoga community and Hanaq Prana Yoga Studio members who are making a difference in our county, country, and the world. You guys inspire me to keep moving forward and believe that when you are surrounded with minded souls, everything is possible, no matter the adversity. Each one of you, your bravery, your joys, and sorrows have been engraved in my heart and will honor your presence in my life until the end of my days.

"Life in this frequency is too short... don’t waste your time trying to fix unfixable situations.  Look around, find your path, and move forward. Your prior mistakes don’t define the real soul you are!"

What? Who? When? Are you grateful for today?

With Love, Lorena

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