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In January 2013 I had the pleasure of entering Metamorphose Yoga Studio in Kilauea, Kauai, where I was warmly greeted by Carol and Astell.  That day I committed to a month of yoga for my health and well-being and after signing up, I heard these words: “Your body is already thanking you.”  My month-long daily practice with Carol and her dedicated, gifted team of healers/yoga instructors fulfilled that promise in so many ways.  Situated in paradise, her yoga studio offers a feeling of coming home—the sacred atmosphere and warmth starts with a friendly greeting from her dog Oscar.  I am so honored that Carol is sharing her wisdom and soul with us through her Top 10 list here.  Thank you Carol for all you do and are for us!

Carol and mommaAstell and Carol at Metamorphose Yoga, Kilauea, Kauai

1) The love and support of my community

I’ve been teaching yoga on the North Shore of Kauai for ten years. In this decade I’ve had the honor of sharing many life experiences with my students – birth, death, marriage, divorce, health and illness. Through it all, I’ve witnessed the power we gain through yoga. It helps us breathe, move, and face this journey we take part in individually and collectively. It is deeply touching and inspiring to be involved with so many amazing people on their path of growth. The connection we have created at the studio through the practice of yoga has carried me personally through challenging times. It has become my main source of inspiration. And I get to work with my mom, Astell every day!

2) Watching my students transform with yoga

Yoga is incredible. It can be so gentle and subtle, yet powerfully dynamic. I love experiencing how yoga serves people at all stages of life. We have had classes with babies, teens, adults, seniors, disabled students, dogs, chickens, and more all in one room. I never know what to expect. I’m always blown away by how beautifully we can all practice together. Most importantly, I love witnessing how yoga helps us develop self-acceptance and Santosha (contentment) for whatever is unfolding in our lives.

3) Creating a sanctuary for us all

My intention in opening the studio was to provide a space that feels safe & nurturing for our students and visitors. We offer many styles of yoga – Flow, Vinyasa, Therapeutic, Restorative, Gentle, Teen & Kids Yoga. No matter what level of practice you are at, you can enjoy a class with the company of others. It is so special having a place where we can all let down our guard, open our hearts, laugh, cry and feel whatever we are going through in life and our bodies. It’s magic.

4) The motivation to learn and grow

With teaching and running the studio all week long, it is so important for me to stay in my center. I can only teach what I practice and experience, so I am obligated to continually take refuge in my yoga, meditation & pranayama practices daily. Because my job is to be there for others, I know I must devote time each day to be present with myself and my life. It’s what makes everything flow better and easier. I also have to keep expanding in my knowledge of the body, on how yoga can be used as therapy for injury, and how this path of yoga can serve us during all stages of life. My students are my greatest teachers!

5) My freedom as a teacher

Here’s the contradiction: owning your own business means you are never really free. The phone is always on and the doors are open every day of the week. That can be hard. The benefits, though, are immense. I have the luxury to create my life schedule and to teach in alignment with what I truly believe. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone or meet unrealistic standards. I get to do what I love every day because I love doing it. That’s pretty amazing.

6) Retail therapy in the boutique

Oh how I love yoga pants! Leggings, capris, fancy patterns or plain black, cotton, lycra, bamboo or made from plastic water bottles. I adore them all, much to my tiny closet’s dismay.
Buying for the boutique has been a new learning adventure for me. I was never much of a shopper, but thanks to my very gifted and retail-savvy husband we always find fun, comfortable and beautiful things. Our inventory flows in and out – we have apparel, jewelry, books, home & body products, yoga supplies and much more. The added perk for me is I get to buy the things I like and want to share with my community.

7) Supporting companies and projects I believe in

Because we vote with how we spend our money each day, I do my best to support companies that are making an effort to respect and give back to our environment. Local, organic, recycled, natural products are my first pick. I try to support businesses that plant trees, donate to animal wildlife rescue, give clothing to women’s shelters, reuse plastic water bottles, and do their best to create a product that is good for the planet as well as good for ourselves. Each time we purchase something, we fund a bigger picture. I take this responsibility very seriously.
I also regularly fundraise for animal welfare and natural disaster relief. Some of our causes we have supported are:

8) Sharing the philosophy of yoga

Physical yoga is just one branch of the larger tree of Yoga. I think it is important to share and explore the other facets, The Eight Limbs of Yoga. This is an ancient system of knowledge on how to carry ourselves in life. Western yoga tends to only focus on the physical postures, whereas the roots of yoga teach that the body is just the gateway to the more subtle layers of self.
The other Eight Limbs are: Yamas, moral codes; Niyamas, personal conduct; Asana, physical posture; Pranayama, breath; Pratyahara, turning inward; Dharana, focus; Dhyana, meditation; Samadhi, union with consciousness.
All of these fold beautifully into the wholeness of our practice. What we experience and explore on the mat stays with us as we venture into our daily lives.

9) Meditation & Pranayama:

I was given the gift of meditation, Dhyana, from my mom when I was a child. I can honestly say it is the most valuable tool I have ever received. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sitting quietly at the beginning of my day transforms my entire world. Pranayama, breath control, is also incredibly powerful. It helps bring us back to our most vital function,  back to the present moment, as well as recharge the mind/body connection and brain function. Dhyana and Pranayama top my list of practices for health and well-being. They can be utilized during all phases of life.

10) The challenge of running my own business

Owning a yoga studio IS hard. Period. It requires a large space and often has little financial return, so from a business perspective making ends meet can be tough. There are also very colorful and diverse personalities involved in the field of yoga, so it takes strength and wisdom to make decisions that support the overall needs of our community. When you open your doors to the public, you never know what to expect!
Regardless of these challenges, at the end of the day I am always so grateful to be sharing my love of yoga with others. Owning this studio has made me stronger, more compassionate, grateful, and more fulfilled than I have ever been. I am so blessed to be surrounded and supported by such a beautiful community!
Carol Bio
 Carolyn Dumeyer

Carol comes from a background of yoga, meditation, massage and anatomy. Her lifelong exposure to the healing arts has inspired a teaching style that embraces honest acceptance for wherever we are in the present, while expanding into our unlimited potential. She has been teaching yoga & anatomy on Kauai since 2005, is a 300+ RYT and has studied Ashtanga, Anusara, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga with many acclaimed teachers around the globe. Prior to dedicating her life to yoga, she had a career in massage therapy with a focus on anatomy and injury rehabilitation. Her daily inspiration comes from the beauty of nature, a loving family and her animal friends.

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Kathryn and I met in a yoga class on our adjacent mats at Metamorphose Yoga in Kauai.  In that moment, I felt a total kinship with her upon our first Ommmmm that day.  When I learned that Kathryn was a fellow artist and designer, I was lucky enough to be able to visit her Art cottage studio and even pick up some of her By the Sea Company merch!  I love my butterfly dress and aloha pom-pom organic sarong, and of course, a few organic gauze market bags.  I was so inspired by Kathryn’s vision, our conversations about being artists and her highly creative, diverse collection of handmade goods and artworks.  I also was so happy to be able to participate in the Kilauea Art Walk with her!  Kathryn, you are a beacon of beauty, creation and light!  Shine on sister, and mahalo ke akua for sharing your art and gorgeous gratitude list with us!

hello paradise - 11. I am grateful beyond words for the natural beauty that surrounds me. I create in a tiny Art cottage perched in the jungle of Kauai, Hawaii. Tropical fruit trees, a vegetable and herb garden are at hand, plus the majestic rainbow eucalyptus trees standing tall in my yard. I am immersed in nature, with birds singing, roosters crowing and trade winds gently blowing. The shapes and colors inspire me daily.

eucalyptus trees - 1

2. I’m grateful for my conscious awareness, which directs me to create messages of positivity and enlightenment, with uplifting visual cues.

art is medicine - 13. The ability to invent and create freely, without limitation. I left corporate America 10 years ago and my healing journey began. I am successful at running my own business as an Artist because I don’t listen to negativity. Everyone will have an opinion about what you are doing; what others think does not affect me. I am strong yet flexible in my beliefs.

kantha on the rocks - 1By the Sea Company kantha on the rocks

4. Imagination is the BEST nation! My imagination and creative impulses are the driving force in all I do.

artwork assortment - 1

Current projects include:

Just a Thought, daily inspirations for living, set to release in 2016.
The Hawaii Coloring Book, release date, January 2016.
An illustrated book called The Heart Farmer, for all ages, because the world needs more love!
I dreamed of a game for therapists, woke up and created it . . . “the feeling better game.”
Participation in Art Tribe Kauai. (A group of us create beautiful weddings by the sea in the Hawaiian islands, including beautiful decor and amazing handmade flower leis and haiku).

sarongs and jewelery - 1Running my own fair trade company for organic home goods: www.bytheseacompany.com

beautiful - 15. My ability to help make the world a better place by spreading positive messages and teaching people art, especially those who think they are not creative. Everyone is creative! Some people have been told they are not good at art—it may take time and practice to find out what inspires you artistically.

Indigo dye6. Working with indigo and color. Indigo is one of the oldest-known dyes. It is pure magic to work with! The color starts as chartreuse and changes right before your eyes to navy . . . truly wonderful to work with such amazing techniques.

textile love - 17. I am so very grateful for all the support I receive from the community, their participation and encouragement for my sharing of creative projects.

love rocks - 18. Random acts of kindness. I have always been a giver;
giving is the gateway to abundance and it feels so good!

work space - 19. Winsor & Newton paints and Copic markers, Berol Prismacolor, organic dyes and really, really fine papers!!

hawaii - 110. Divine guidance. I am divinely guided in all I do. Source works through me. When I create art, source is with me, guiding my mind. I am grateful for my personal spiritual alignment which allows me access to the universe and brings forth global messages of positivity and higher knowledge.

5 second bunny - 1p.s., Everyone who comes to visit my Art cottage is asked to draw a 5-second bunny. This has been a tradition in my house for many years and always a great laugh!!

life on the edge - 1Living on the Edge

selfie - 1Kathryn Letson was born and raised in Minnesota, where she spent time in the city and the woods. She went to Parsons School of Design in NYC and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design, going on to work at some of the most well-known Design houses in the world. After traveling the globe as a Corporate Trend Director, she become a mentor at Parsons, an illustration instructor and a global speaker in the Fashion industry as an expert in textiles.

Kathryn moved to Hawaii to make her dreams a reality. Now creating Art and textiles from her home office in Kauai, her life is focused on sharing knowledge, creating new concepts to better the world, and serving others through Art. What could be more powerful? Your imagination is the engine that runs your life, and Art is a direct pathway into your imagination. Kathryn lives life with love and gratitude.

www.bytheseacompany.com

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ImagePacific waters filled with the light of the sun…

Summer solstice June 21, 2013 is around the corner.  Are you ready?   What is the significance of the Summer solstice?  To quote,  “Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.  As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky. As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year.”  And, the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”, resulting in the present day belief of a “lucky” wedding in June.  (Source- http://www.chiff.com/a/summer-solstice.htm)

Isn’t that fascinating?  I always feel excited when the solstice is near.  I feel like there is so much to be grateful for, to look forward to and to celebrate in life!  We are lovers of life, yes?  Waking up each day, facing the mystery that each moment and in turn each series of moments making up a day, a week, months, and so on….  it’s a wonder!

I am simply writing today to share my joy, inspiration and love for and of life, the light, the beauty, and the shadows (helps me appreciate and seek out beauty even more!).  On this summer solstice, (in the Northern hemisphere) when the sunlight shines the longest, may it inspire you and light your way.  (Fun fact: Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut in Canada, will see a whopping 20 hours and 49 minutes of daylight on June 21!)

I look forward to your comments and questions … would love to hear from you via this blog, FB, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

Image

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“Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows.”
~Rumi

www.lorieneck.com

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