nurture yourself

'people often say that this or that person has not found himself.  but the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.' 
-thomas s. szasz

today has got me thinking about health, and how important it is to create the best version of yourself you possibly can!  and why not?!  why not look and feel your best?  it might require a bit of effort at first, but within weeks it will be second nature.  enjoy your body, love it for what it is; and at the same time prepare it for the future you.

i am somewhat young, but i won't be for long.  the 40 year old version of me already exists and is being determined by the 27 year old present me.  the habits i form, the stress i endure, the ingredients i pour into my body- they each leave a footprint.  every breath i take counts, and if i'm not present in it, my youth is just passing me by.  

i mentioned in my last post that the hayley of the future is often more important than the hayley of the now.  as the new year approaches, i am dwelling more and more on this concept.  i have such big plans for my future, but if i allow my mind and body to remain unchecked, my future may not turn out the way i plan.

each little seedling of thought, the stories i tell myself about myself, the foods i feed me, they all count for something.  yes, i can try to clean them up when mistakes are made, but the best cure is prevention.

constant monitoring of what we digest is HUGE.  actually, i think it's everything.  it's the goal of my life, to be aware of all that goes into my body, mind, and spirit. 

2011, i got my eye on you!  won't you join me in the new year with the resolution of awareness- staying in the moment while planning for the future and letting go of the past?

today, i inhale and exhale.  little goals float amongst the breath, but the main goal is the witnessing of my beautiful give and take with the air of the universe.


happy winter solstice

'in the depth of winter, i finally learned that within my there lay an invincible summer.' -albert camus

this is definitely one of my favorite quotes of all time, and something i think of often in the wintertime.

my mind and body are in such a different place in winter, much more internal and introspective than in the bubbly and energetic summer.  winter, to me, is like getting up really early, confronting something or someone that scares you, cleaning the entire house, drinking mustard greens juice, or going for a very long run (in the winter may i add).  all very difficult, but also extremely healthy and natural.  it is so true that the things that scare you and cause you to really search deep in yourself for a little strength, are the things that end up bringing the most joy and satisfaction in the long run.

winter is special because there is no external place to draw your warmth and energy.  the sun is low, the days are short.  the body wants more rest, more warming foods, more love, and  more light.  we must pay attention to our spirits, and listen more closely to what our bodies are telling us.

summer can be just so incredibly easy.  extra layers of clothing aren't needed, doors and windows are open,  the long days of sunlight  flood you with energy and take you out of your head.  the extra effort is often not needed, and there's much to do outside of yourself- swimming, playing outside, sunbathing, biking, etc etc etc... so much fun to be had!  winter, on the other hand, requires your energy and strength, and forces you to create your own fire.

when it's 24 degrees out and dark by 4:30, here lies the perfect opportunity to go within and find all the abundance of summer within your body and mind.  taking time to practice yoga, to meditate on your inner light, to hug yourself, drink tea, snuggle with someone you love, is crucial in these dark times.  to cultivate warming disciplines in the winter is such a huge accomplishment in itself, because it's definitely easier to just be lazy and give in to the dullness of winter.  taking shortcuts though, and simply doing what's easier is not going to bring out those much needed endorphins!  we must practice bravery and take the uphill road!

getting outside, running/hiking/snowshoeing, are great ways to beat the blues, though again not the easiest route.  you gotta be tough to bundle up and be out there braving the elements!  but, like i said earlier, the more difficult the task the greater the reward.  the trees and many animals bare the cold all winter long, so we must look to them for inspiration!  plus, you will feel SO good about yourself once you get out there and start heating up, even shedding some layers as your heat builds during a winter workout.  added bonus- you get the reward of coming home after, to return to the warmth and light you've created indoors.  i like to burn lots of candles in the winter, really keeping my home bright and alive.

the solstice is also a great reminder to plan for the YOU of the future.  i've been finding recently that often i have to sacrifice the present hayley for the future hayley, perhaps pushing myself to work harder and plan better for the hayley of tomorrow.  winter is just like that, preparing yourself and getting the work done while facing the wind and the low setting sun.  spring is in the near future, and always returns.  we must see the big picture, and where this entirely brief moment of adversity fits in the grand scheme of the universe.  we are alive for the blink of an eye in the universe's body.  why not at least live and work for the person you envision becoming in the spring?!  accomplishing much while you can on these winter days may not be what you want to do right now, but i can guarantee the you of the future is going to thank you for it!

winter reminds us of how much love surrounds us and is within us, totally independent of what the weather is doing outside.  it's cold and dark and grey... who cares?!  we are so blessed to have heat, to take a hot shower, to be surrounded by people that love and support us, to have the privilege and the time to take care of our bodies and hearts.  and finally to top it all off, we find the satisfaction in doing what scares us and in braving the elements!  winter has it's own source of internal abundance, and this spring garden is blooming within YOU!  you can grow it yourself from the light of your love and the rain of your courage!  what a blessing!

and the icing on this delicious winter cake is the days are now getting longer again!  so much to look forward to, yet so much to enjoy and absorb in this naked and exposed solstice moment.  let's all be as present as we can, and find the joy and light  we each have burning so brightly within us all!  namaste to my friends this holiday season!  wishing you so much love and abundance!



what i've been up to recently, in photos...

running with my buddy guy in my five fingers :)

finishing and wrapping up orders for this busy holiday season!

practicing yoga

creating new holiday designs!  vintage evergreen wallpaper yoga pants above.

carpenteria lotus chemise

midnight lotus yoga pants

om shanti yoga pants

fight back with love tank top

love is free t-shirt in white

say yes to life t-shirt in poinsettia red

look for all these new items on facebook and on my etsy shop within the next week!


busy me

today's featured item: the 'it was all a dream' t-shirt on etsy!

i am learning how to be very busy, and trying not to let it stress me out!

it's a good challenge!  i've honestly never really worked this hard on anything in my life.  it's totally rewarding- like raising a child.  i can't wait for purusha to grow up and blow up!!!

me cutting rags for my utensils when i mix paint for screen printing.  did you know i mix all my own colors from only the primary colors?! thanks mom for showing me how to paint :) :)

see my mother's artwork here: catherinemelliott.com

screen printing.... immediate results are fun!

and my down time includes yoga with my new yoga mirror!  it's awesome to check out my alignment! 
 i love it. 

working on making my back more flexible and my heart more open. :)

headstands are a pleasure!

now i am going on a run, then screen printing and dying into the night....


my practice

i am falling in love with my practice- it truly is a luxury to be able to take the time to take care of myself.  i am so thankful for my life.

i recently found i can do full pigeon- aka pada rajakapotasana!  thanks to the help from this amazing class by the incredible elena brower:  http://www.yogaglo.com/online-class-687-Anusara-Flow-Class-Open-to-Grace.html
it is so much fun to watch your body grow and change with yoga.  i used to have such a stiff back, and slowly but surely it is beginning to bend just slightly :).  awwww yeah.
(me in purusha sweatpants! hehe)

down dog- adho mukha savanasana- deepens at the end of the day <3


t-shirts for your yoga studio

recently i designed some t-shirts for strala yoga in nyc. strala yoga is an incredible space, owned by the lovely and innovative yogini tara stiles. it is an honor to create t-shirts for strala!

women's tunic t-shirt

men's t-shirt

if you own a yoga studio and are looking for t-shirts- i just may be your gal!  contact me at info@purushapeople.com !  


winter solstice allure

aw the enchantment of winter... there is nothing as bittersweet, captivating, and haunting as a still white snowfall on the frozen ground.

this winter purusha hopes to bring out the warmth within you, remembering that all we need is within us. rich hues as well as classic black and white will help you stand out in these shorter days of greys and neutral colors.

'in the depth of winter, i finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.' ~albert camus


i am me?

do you ever wonder who you really are- like what things are inherently 'you' and what traits are just false opinions of yourself? or are all your characteristics mere opinions, with no real evidence of truth? what can i blame on genetics, and what must i take responsibility for?

sometimes i wish for traits that i'm not sure i'll ever have. i would like to be more of an extrovert, that enjoys being the center of attention. currently, i have been afraid of public speaking since about 8th grade, feel overwhelmed when i don't have enough alone time, and i'd usually rather stay in with a few friends and do art than go out and party (though from time to time i crave to let loose, and eh hem... get tanked and dance!). i'm pretty sure psychology would say 'you're an introvert', and 'you have such and such abilities because you are reflective and analytical', etc.

ok, so i'm an introvert. i'd rather spend time with just a few people, i enjoy solitary activities like screen printing and writing, and i do tend to feel drained when i must keep up social interaction for extended periods of time. but then i think to myself...

if one has the capability to change 'negative' qualities about oneself, can one become more of an extrovert? sometimes i feel very envious of my that friends that can party all night, are genuinely interested in talking to a stranger, and will just try something before standing back and observing it.

perhaps i should just stop viewing my lack of 'socialability' as negative, and begin embracing all of me. i think one of the main problems for me is my jealousy towards extroverts! why can't i be that outgoing?? why must i stand back here and and plan and process the situation before joining it??

science says that introverts have more blood flow in the frontal lobes of the brain- where internal processing and problem solving take place. but science also recognizes that human beings are very complex; and can act like an introvert in one case, then act like an extrovert in another. i don't want to stereotype myself, and think i always have to act in a certain way- especially when i know if i act more extroverted that i may have more to gain in some situations.

i just read a bit about personality types, and was reminded that extroverts are definitely more favored in western society. i totally agree, and think a lot of my negative feelings towards introversion may stem from my experiences at school. the american education system most definitely needs an upgrade (this is a whole other blog or book in itself), but i definitely remember feelings of being an outcast or a dork because i wasn't as 'popular'; because i was quiet and would rather read a book or draw than lead tag at recess or give a report in front of the class. teachers would write on my report card 'very intelligent, BUT very quiet'. like being quiet is a bad thing.

i actually had to see the school "psychologist" (im putting that in quotation marks because she was terrible) because i was too shy and scared to go to a sleepaway camp field trip in 5th grade. she told me i would regret this for the rest of my life, and would always feel left out when fellow students talked about it. guess what? i felt left out for about a week, and then no one even remembered i didn't go to camp jewell. fuck, i still wouldn't want to go to camp jewell, and would resent anyone that told me i was strange for not wanting to be surrounded by people for 120 hours straight.

i've also lost a few friends because of my introverted personality. of course with time, now i realize those people most likely weren't the best friends for me if they wouldn't let me simply be me; but it most surely is a tricky balance if one friend is more introverted and the other is more extroverted. learning to give one another the space to be alone or social is highly important in relationships like this, and is a great learning experience for both personality types. hehe so extroverts, i admire and welcome you, but please give me some space!

so back to my first question- should i attempt to change aspects of my introversion that i find not very useful? well, i guess first i need to consider if i think they are harmful, or if i am responding to conditioning to view these traits as negative? man, if only i had grown up in japan i might be a real gem haha ;) introversion is very much favored there...

well i know there isn't an answer for me right now, but i do enjoy asking myself these questions. i love to learn about myself and how i relate to the world. please, if anyone has any suggestions for me, please let me know! thank you <3 xoxo


watch yo'self!

so sunday i gave myself a little challenge- to only think positive thoughts for the entire day.  it was actually easier than i was expecting, and even more fun than i'd hoped!

the secret is, really to just watch yourself like you would your newborn child.  except your child is your mind, and you are the observer, the mother or father, of your mind's thoughts.  i know this is in no way a new concept, and meditation is thousands of years old; but once it is applied to your life, it really becomes a novel concept and a form of rebirth.

saturday night i gave myself a counseling session.  i wrote out my thoughts and fears in my journal, with my higher mind watching and questioning.  i questioned every little worry, each thought that frequents my head, writing down every question and answer.  i broke it down to see what thoughts really patronize me, and bring me into negativity.  and like most truths, it was painfully simple.  i'd allowed my brain to wire itself into habitual modes of thinking, without questioning if the thoughts were helping or hurting.

monitoring my thoughts is a new habit in itself that i need to cultivate.  habits don't have to be bad things.  i can use my habits, and addictions in a way, to be used for good.  i can become addicted to thinking positive, to dwelling on thoughts of promise and optimism.

on sunday  i caught myself at least 25X with a sinking feeling.  there were definitely more times than that i was negative, but those were the ones my observing brain witnessed.  it was quite easy to change the thought pattern once i recognized my feelings of discomfort.

for example, i'd be screen printing, doing yoga, or making breakfast, and suddenly feel sad and anxious.  stopping myself in my tracks right when the gloom came in, i saw that it stemmed from a single negative thought.  the thought would be typically this: worry about the future.  i don't have enough $ to make it, my business is not where i want it to be yet, i am afraid of the complications that may arise if i am successful, how will i act when such and such happens, what if someone i love dies again, i'm dreading cleaning the kitchen, i'm dreading this confrontation with whomever, etc, etc, etc.  why so much worry about something that hasn't happened??

'WHY NOT THINK POSITIVE?'  i wrote in large letters in my journal.  i've let the fear, the nothing, get the best of me.  like a virus, negativity thrives and replicates in an environment that supports it.  i don't buy junk food, why would i buy junk thoughts?????  i work so hard in my daily life to watch what i eat, how i exercise; all the while the gates to my mind were left completely open for any thoughts to enter.  i'm sad to see that these gates have been left open for most years of my life.  i've lived in fear because my brain has allowed itself to become wired to certain negative thoughts.

the amazing and heart breakingly beautiful truth is, we are all capable of changing these thoughts at any point in our lives.  once we decide to be diligent and discipline our brains, we can become whoever we want.  replace 'i am dreading dealing with talking to so and so', with 'i will figure it out when the time comes, and breathe and be calm for now' or 'the confrontation with him will go well and will be very constructive for my growth'.  life all of a sudden becomes easy and effortless.  no, not "good" and "happy" at all times of course, but without struggle and resistance.

during my therapy session with myself, i wondered why would i not want to be joyful, the result of thinking positive?  i found deep within myself, that i had built up a fear of enjoying my life to have my joy taken from me when something bad happens.  i told myself i would rather be melancholy, so that when the bad comes around again it won't hurt as much.  i'd hardwired this concept into my brain subconsciously since my older sister lucy died in 1997, i've been living with this fear for half of my life.  much of this fear also resulted from religion- from the guilt and shame i interpreted from it.

i am still uncovering this truth, and i know i will always be on the journey.  there is no final peak, only little look outs along the way amidst the valleys and the hills.  i'd much rather live with much joy and a little pain here and there than little pieces of joy overshadowed by large storm clouds of fear.

i knew when i challenged myself to only think positive for one day, that i would be hooked and want to think positive for a lifetime.  change is tough though, and you have to be ready for it, deciding for yourself that the time is now.  of course the simplest things sometimes are so difficult, but sometimes they are very easy.   i am going to keep moving with that ease, and never stop fighting for my mind.  i will never stop growing, i can feel the circuits in my mind changing as i write these words.

i don't want to return to the negative thoughts again, and the beautiful news is that i don't have to!  i can close the door in my mind to the fears, and instead open all the windows to the sunlight and fresh air that resides in my positive resolve.

i am taking back my mind!  won't you join me?!

'damn right i love the life i live, cause i went from negative to positive.'- notorious big


flying pigeon!

i just realized i can do a low flying pigeon pose today! kathryn budig explains how to do it with such ease and playfulness in this video: movement and mandala vinyasa .

i've been working on this asana for a while, it feels AMAZING to do it! like flying!!!!


the berkshires

last week i hiked around the mount washington state forest in sheffield and mount washington, massachusetts with my sister kate, my mom, liam, and hoochie. it's so beautiful and really quite close to my house!

all photos are compliments of my cute lil sis!

bash bish falls


me posing on the taconic trail :)

new perspective 

finding peace and satisfaction here

the walk back

the destination is sure nice, but the excitement is mostly in the journey.  i am trying to always keep this in mind throughout my struggle and setbacks.  always keep at it, and there will be many peaks on the way!


building screens

staple gun queen!

here i am at work in my kitchen, building 10 screens to burn today!


my tribe

some fall photos, taken by my lovely and talented sister kate, of me and my humble gang:

i love the life i have chosen. so blessed here!


listen to your body

balance- in my opinion is the key to happiness in my life. moderation, finding that middle ground where there isn't too much or too little, sounds simple but it can be quite elusive sometimes.

yesterday i had a dull headache, and this feeling like something was missing, like i wasn't at home in my body. this feeling happens to me from time to time, but i haven't felt it in a while so i guess i thought i wouldn't feel it again!

this feeling of unease and dissatisfaction is unsettling, and it's hard for me not to judge it. i wonder, what's wrong with me? what did i do wrong, why am i feeling so unbalanced? how can i get back to the way i felt yesterday when i had energy to spare and sunshine in my heart?!

i stayed up late last night biting my nails, eating mint chip gelato, trying to ignore what my body was trying to cry out to me. the moment i feel dissatisfied with something in my life, i overindulge in lazy and scared activities. suddenly i don't want to be good to myself, i feel paralyzed to help myself in the usual ways i find peace and happiness.

the fact that i forget when i am feeling down for apparently no reason at all, is dissatisfaction and unhappiness don't have to be negative!!! i am learning how to be happy with my life by doing what i love, but i still have much to learn about finding peace in unhappiness. just because it doesn't come up that often doesn't mean it won't. it actually will always come up i think, throughout my entire life.

it's all how i view my current imbalance really, the feeling i actually don't like about discomfort is my response to it. i judge it, try to ignore it, and go on business as usual. this is not the way i should handle these feelings. this is the time to respect my mind body awareness, and use it to my benefit. i can pick up on these moments of fear, aversion, and imbalance by just paying attention to the cues my body is giving me. i feel tired, bored, lazy, and almost a bit ill; like i'm living in someone else's body.

what i'm coming to see is, this is a fine feeling to have. this means i need a change! my body and mind are intelligent and worth listening to. there's nothing wrong with feeling less than ok, but i must do something about it!

this is the time when hayley needs a little extra TLC. unhappiness can actually be a good thing, as my body is asking me to care for it above and beyond what i'm currently doing. my body wants to be healed, it wants me to realize that changes are in need. today i am listening to my body and taking things very slowly. i slept in later than usual and i don't feel guilty for it. i'm going to massage myself today, do some restorative yoga, drink lots of juices and tea, run somewhere i've never been before, take a bath, and do something creative that has nothing to do with purusha.

i need more time for myself to do more than my day to day activities. a routine is a good thing, but when my body is asking for more, i will listen. i feel peace in knowing i can trust my body to tell me when something's wrong. change is here with me now; and the sooner the change comes, the sooner i can move into an even higher level of joy and peace.

we are always evolving and changing, and really the sky is the limit. perhaps in a few weeks after some changes have been made in my life, i'll have moved on up to a whole new level of bliss and calm. i'll find more rooms in my heart i didn't even know were there, all because my body cried out and i listened.


rainy days are the best yoga and crafting days!

in a yoga class on saturday i tried a pose i didn't think i could do. this, to me, is when yoga gets really fun and truly makes me feel like a kid again! trying something that seems a bit daring, and then realizing you have built up the strength and flexibility for it, well that's just one of the many surprises i have found in my practice.

here's me in my purusha pants in birds of paradise pose! so fun!

it's still raining pretty much everyday; and it appears a bit dreary until i decide to work with the rain, rather than against it. i tend to forget in the summer time that autumn and winter runs are some of my absolute favorite and most memorable outings. my dog liam keeps me very active, i call him my coach! he makes me go on runs with him most days of the week, all year round. so we run in the rain and in the snow, and i have to say it feels incredible to brave the elements.

though it is definitely hard getting out there. my runs start out cold and a bit sad, but i find solace in knowing they finish up strong, warm, and very joyous. that is the challenge of winter for me, to make the choice to stick with it, to stick by nature's side and bare the cold for just a little while. it's always a good decision, i've found, to just throw myself in it, and let the earth hold me in it's frigid, yet nurturing arms.

the real reward is after my run, when i can come inside, practice yoga and work on purusha! i don't know how much i would appreciate the coziness of my warm home if i didn't force myself out into the rain. coming indoors and continuing the endorphinfest i just created from my run, this is how i find happiness in dark cold days. i practice much more yoga in the winter, as i have this longing to go within myself and create more compassion and space.

i also really let my creative juices flow when i have all this time inside. i look forward to knitting, sewing, screen printing, home fixing upping, painting, etc. i feel very lucky that i have these crafts and hobbies to turn to, i am never bored. and they bring me so much pleasure and satisfaction. to imagine an idea in my mind and then manifest it physically is one of the greatest perks of being a human being. it's almost like i am the god of myself!

i will be running outside today in the drizzle, building up heat inside of myself like a small star shedding a little light on a cloudy night sky.

i'll be heading to my mom's house later, where we will be sewing my first pair of yoga pants from scratch!!!! this is very very exciting, as i have been using only ready made pants from american wholesalers for purusha. recently i've been yearning for higher quality, and for products that are fully created within purusha. i also treasure the mentality of quality over quantity, and i'm thinking purusha customers will feel the same. one pair of beautiful, high quality, organic cotton, handmade yoga pants is better than a few mid-quality, sprayed cotton, factory made yoga pants.

i will be sure to take many photos of the process and share them with you this week! happy rainy day!


going within

this morning i took to one of my new favorite activities- classes on yogaglo.com. i am so thankful for the internet that i am able to practice with some incredible teachers!

the classes are truly amazing. today i had the honor to practice with elena brower. the lesson is a nice steady heat building anusara vinyasa flow focusing on consistency in daily practice, shining through your lower back and kidneys, and becoming that which you wish to attract with patience and healing. elena's approach to yoga is very compassionate to yourself, really about building a beautiful relationship with your body and your mind.

i tend to be very active, sometimes overwhelming myself with how much i want to get done. i zip all over the place, thinking this is the best way for myself to accomplish my goals on my daily lists.

elena mentioned in her class that when we are busy, patience is usually the last thing on the menu, but ultimately it is what we need. to give yourself space, the time to nurture and take care of yourself, is a gift that you can continuously receive every time you step on the mat.

today it is raining buckets and i feel a little more introverted than usual. it is so wonderful to know that i can go inside, take some time out, recharge and reground. it really is a blessing to stop, listen to my body, and give it what it's asking for- to slow down.

not all activities need to be so thoroughly active. i can get the same things done, perhaps even with more efficiency and grace, when i take my time and allow patience to come to the surface once more.

elena asks in the class 'what do you want to attract?' i want to attract kindness, humor, confidence, patience, open mindedness, and peace. this basically sums up my daily mantra. i want to remain these qualities through every bump in the road, through whatever change life brings me.

my daily practice; devoted to me, and ultimately to all the relationships i have in my life, is becoming the rock i can always come lay on and bask in the sunshine. even on a rainy day like today i can find a little brightness in my body, draw it out from within and share it with the world.

thank you elena for sharing your beautiful yoga on yogaglo! check out her lesson here: 'anusara flow for consistency and space' at yogaglo.com


utthita trikonasana

*worn: purusha dali straight leg yoga pants

triangle asana may be my favorite yoga posture. it leaves me feeling open, exhilarated, and refreshed. and it's so simple to do, it's accessible to all levels of yoga. try it to give space for your kidneys, to strengthen and tone your legs, and to wake up your spine!

instructions from yoga journal:

(oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna)
utthita = extended
trikona = three angle or triangle

Step by Step

1. Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

2. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

3. Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.

4. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.

5. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

my right side can be very tight. liam watches me do yoga :)

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