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  • Writer's pictureLana Sevel

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

Yoga is a practice which includes the mind, body and soul. It evolved back in the Vedic age. The fact is Yoga is not a religion but is a practice that is adopted by many people across the globe to get peace and maintain harmony. It involves meditation which has stayed as a part of the society since ages.

Many people have different believes that Yoga is a part of the great religions- Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam or any other. But the fact here is that great people of all of these religions have obtained spiritual, physical and emotional benefits through the practice of Yoga, Meditation, and Chanting (a.k.a. Singing).

Those who ban yoga are only causing a division when what the world is already so divided. What the worlds need more than ever is less judging, more loving and to be united. And that is the foundation of yoga. I personally teach and my classes are about embracing your true potential, coming from a place of love, non-judging, while increasing one's strength, flexibility, focus and balance. I have never experienced anything more rewarding than teaching, as I get to see students walk away refreshed and renewed, not to mention stronger mentally, physically and emotionally. The Gift of Yoga is just that. It is a beautiful healing exercise that is misunderstood by some.

We want to be accepted unconditionally, but we rarely accept others unconditionally. When we judge, we're giving others permission to judge too. To flip the perspective to a positive one, when we shine, we give others permission to shine too. Judge others and you will be judged. Accept others and you will be accepted. (Maybe not immediately, but in time!) Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the darkness.

Most people understand the beauty and goodness in Yoga. For those who do not, there is nothing in the Bible that says how we are to sing or chant. Singing and chanting (which is the iterative speaking or singing of words or sounds), is a way to release emotions, feel gratitude and purposefulness. The Bible tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Psalm 95:1–2). Chanting a mantra, as a form of expression, is not evil. A chant is a song or a prayer. Its rightness or wrongness depends on the purpose of the song or chant and the motive of the mind, heart, and voice producing the song or chant. We can be much happier and healthier if we learn to Let Go and Let God be the judge. A good practice for anyone, especially those who are religious yet judgmental.

Much of society today is finding a closer connection to their God when combining their belief and services with the healing benefits of yoga and meditation. In addition to all the mental, physical and emotional benefits, it can also be a profound way to deepen one's connection to God. 

We have been given the gift of life. And one day we will die. What we do with it is up to us. Yoga offers an opportunity to enhance the quality of our life, our self, relationships, our mind and body. Religion? Not really. But Yoga is certainly goodness and beauty.

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  • Writer's pictureLana Sevel

By Lana Sevel

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and react reasonably to what’s going on around us. 

We all possess mindfulness, but it comes more naturally if we practice it daily. Growing research shows that when we train our brains to be mindful, we’re actually remodeling the physical structure. One way to train our brains is through mindfulness meditation.

What is meditation? When we meditate, we explore our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a smell in the room), our emotions (love, sadness, craving) and thoughts (I wish I could fly). Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind. We approach our experience with warmth and kindness to ourselves and others.

How do I practice? Your Yoga Practice is a perfect place to practice mindfulness.

Here’s how to tune into mindfulness throughout the day:

  • Set aside some time. You don’t need special equipment to access your mindfulness skills. Set aside some time and space. Start off with as little as five minutes each day.

  • Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not a state of eternal calm. The goal is to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. For example, when practicing yoga and you're in a pose that you don't care for, come to an attitude of gratitude. Focus on your breath and being present on your mat.

  • Let judgments roll by. When we notice judgments throughout the day or as they arise during our practice, acknowledge them but let them pass. Say to yourself "not now" and focus on calmness of each inhale and exhale.

  • Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds get carried away in thought. Mindfulness is the practice of beginning again and again by returning to the present moment.

  • Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts come up. Instead, practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off and gently bring it back.

Mindfulness is coming back to the present moment again and again.

A Simple Meditation Practice

  • Sit comfortably. Find a spot that gives you a stable, solid, comfortable seat.

  • Notice what your legs are doing. If on a cushion, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor. Straighten your upper body, but don’t stiffen. Your spine has natural curvature. Let it be there.

  • Notice what your arms are doing. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Rest the palms of your hands on your legs wherever it feels most natural.

  • Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. You don’t have to close your eyes. You can simply let what appears before your eyes be there without focusing on it.

  • Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving through your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly or chest.

  • Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. Don’t worry. There’s no need to block or eliminate thinking. When you notice your mind wandering, gently return your attention to the breath.

  • Be kind about your wandering mind. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, observe them without reacting or judging. Sit and pay attention. Come back to your breath over and over.

  • When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (open eyes if closed). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels, your thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans, or mindful moment practices like pausing and breathing when the phone beeps instead of rushing to read a text.

That’s the practice. The work is to continue doing it. Results will follow.

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  • Writer's pictureLana Sevel


There is a difference between going on a vacation versus a retreat. Vacations are often around families and can be busy, with little time to relax and recharge. Going on a retreat allows you to take a step back, focus inward, and give yourself a time out so you can rest and rejuvenate.


Most people are often nervous to travel alone or even with people they don’t know, but on a retreat you don’t have to be. You get to hang out with like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you. You spend time together, bond over the yoga, other activities, & shared meals, and perhaps walk away with lifelong friends.


Whether you are new to yoga or an experienced yogi, you can experience all the benefits a retreat offers when taught by a professional. Retreats can help you to further increase your strength, flexibility, and your awareness of your own practice while instilling calmness. The main gift a retreat offers is that it takes you out of your comfort zone. Most of us are creatures of habit. We like routine. When on a retreat, it’s completely new. You get to meet new people, explore and appreciate new surroundings and have the time to practice yoga.


Try new things (activities or food), learn a new skill, ask questions about yoga or try a new yoga pose. Stepping outside your comfort zone and discover just how strong you truly are and what you are capable of. And come back a stronger, more positive you.

Interested in recharging your mind, body and soul? Consider attending an amazing Yoga Retreat in Amalfi Coast, Italy next year: April 27 - May 2, 2019. This tour is managed through Italian Tours and Travel by Diana - they are artisans of travel, crafting fine journeys to Europe since 2001. The classes will be taught by me, Lana Sevel, an experienced yoga teacher with over 1,000 hours of teaching. All levels of yoga students are welcome, from beginners to experienced. Space is limited as we have a Private Villa. If interested message me and I will send you the details!

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