Intro to Partnerships: Skylar

Intro to Partnerships: Skylar

I’m an evangelist. Always have been, probably always will be. And not necessarily in the religious sense of the word – though I have had my fair share of experience in evangelical ministry; but more so in my inherent enthusiasm for the things I love, and my desire to share that enthusiasm with others.

All that being said — when I find a great podcast, a well-written book, an amazing company, etc. – I can’t help but tell everyone I know about it. And initially when I started this blog, my intention was to stay far, far away from the world of sponsored posts, paid collaborations, and promoting products simply for the sake of growing a quick following. I didn’t want to risk the integrity of authentic writing, for some free fast-fashion pieces or a pyramid-scheme asking me to exchange a discount code for some free publicity. I also didn’t want to promote unnecessary or excessive consumption.

However, as I continue in my own personal journey exploring the intersection of socially conscious living and holistic wellness, I’ve come to find that this journey is less about eliminating consumption altogether, and more about orienting myself to question what I consume, where it comes from, and whether or not it’s beneficial to myself and the world around me.

And so, given my inherently-enthusiastic nature, I should’ve known that the time would eventually come when I’d find companies, products, and content that I’d have the urge to write about. As I’ve begun exploring the realm of ethical fashion, conscious consumerism, and holistic wellness; I’ve been humbled by some of the incredible people, companies, and stories I’ve come across. And though I’m early on in my journey of exploring these topics, I’ve made the decision to start sharing some of these resources for those who are interested in learning about what I’ve personally come to find helpful. Over the next few months, I’ll be incorporating highlights of a few ethical and inspiring brands I’ve come across – some of which I have professional partnerships with, and others that I’m simply just a huge fan of. I hope what I share can be of interest to those of you on a similar journey exploring a lifestyle that pursues wellness, and mindful living.


55F99081-7697-42D7-AA3D-46516F9ED59ERecently I was contacted by Skylar; a natural fragrance company whose mission is to celebrate Body Beauty by creating a new world of fragrance by using clean, conscious ingredients to craft beautiful, innovative and hypoallergenic scents for yourself and your home. Needless to say, I was impressed with the vision of the company. I hadn’t yet considered how the perfumes or scents I used daily might have an impact on my personal health, or the wellbeing of the planet.

As I learned more about Skylar, I was pleasantly surprised by the integrity and transparency of this relatively new fragrance company. Skylar promises clean, conscious, and innovative products as they eliminate the top 6 “dirty ingredients” present in most scent companies. Their products are completely free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, allergens, animal-derived ingredients, and synthetic dyes. Y’all…I’ve been using perfumes, and candles for YEARS; and never thought to consider what ingredients were contributing to these smell-good scents.

The company’s founder, Cat Chen (shout-out to WOC-owned businesses!!), started Skylar when she discovered her 4-year-old daughter was allergic to her traditional perfumes. As someone who’d been working with the Honest Company, she began the hunt for clean fragrance products that lived up to these same clean standards. Unable to find a fragrance brand that was hypo-allergenic and toxin-free, she decided to work towards the creation of clean fragrance and thus, Skylar was created.

Since April of 2017 the company has launched roll-on and spray perfumes, and home fragrance candles inspired by their perfume scents. Their products have received incredible reviews, and multiple magazine features.

Skylar’s innovative approach to scent utilizes nature-powered perfumes and candles that are packaged and produced with well-being of both people, and the planet in mind. Expanding the frontier of “clean beauty” as they pioneer the creation of hypoallergenic perfumes, Skylar’s products dispel the myth of “natural” being equivalent to “healthier,” and instead cultivate just the right formulae of both natural, and lab-made ingredients to produce scents that are safe for even the most sensitive of customers.

14B5114B-3672-4856-B6D6-9FCC60D4FDFEWhat I’m super excited to announce is that I have the honor of partnering with Skylar to launch their newest product, in the form of a program called the Scent Club. Over this next season, I’ll be collaborating with Skylar to share the mantra, back-story, and limited-edition scent that is included in this monthly membership. As a regular perfume-wearer, I’m really looking forward to incorporating cleaner scents into my daily routine. In my own journey toward holistic wellness, replacing my current face and beauty products with healthier alternatives has been a slow but steady part of the process, so I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do so with my good-smelling-scents as well!

The first Scent Club perfume they sent me is Magic Bloom, accompanied by the mantra “nurture your inner magic”. Before getting into the incredible smell, and encouraging mantra of this month’s scent, can I just say how impressed I was with their packaging?! 4FC4CC78-59D5-48FE-98D6-938B045432B9Yes, of course the box was beautiful…but what I really appreciated, was how minimal and eco-friendly it all was.  I’ve always side-eyed Amazon, amongst other brands that ship tiny items in huge boxes, with un-recyclable styrofoam, packing peanuts, etc. Skylar however shipped their Scent Club box in a compact, recyclable box with compostable packing peanuts made of non-toxic, biodegradable organic vegetable starch. After opening, you simply put them in your kitchen sink, and they’ll dissolve upon touching water. How clever is that?!

This new scent was spot on as well. The first time trying it on I asked my husband what he thought, and his immediate response was “oh wow, it really smells like spring!” I couldn’t agree more. With hints of yuzu, magnolia, and pear; this citrus-infused scent gently wakes up my senses, nudging me into a smooth transition from the dreary Seattle winters into a bright and vibrant spring. I’m looking forward to ushering in the warmer weather this month with this light and cheery scent.

The box also came with a bookmark for Scent Club members to write down their own response to the mantra, “I will nurture my inner magic this month by…” I chose to personally nurture my own inner magic this month by stopping to pay attention to my body, my mind, and my soul.

2403959E-CB07-4504-B6D3-DE6425BC7D93

This month brings a lot of transition for me. We just moved into a new neighborhood and have simplified our lifestyle to accommodate for a much smaller living space. I’ve also just begun a new job, volunteering as an Impact Editor for a local non-profit to hone-in on my writing and creativity skillset. And as I continue to invest in my personal blog, I’m beginning the exploration of new partnerships, writing topics, and lifestyle changes that I hope will make a long-term impact in my life and the lives of others for years to come.

In the midst of all this change I’m finding it increasingly important to actively stop, observe and tend to the wellbeing of my body, mind, and soul. These 3 aspects of my being are so interconnected, and influential in what I can give to the people around me; but are also the most easily neglected during times of busyness and change. So, with the mantra of nurturing my inner magic in mind, and my portable roll-on scent in hand as a reminder; I look forward to actively investing in acknowledging and nurturing those 3 areas of my life and being.

This is just the first scent of the monthly fragrance that I’ll be receiving as a Scent Club member, but I look forward to sharing about the scent and mantra of future scents as they come. If you’re interested in following along, you can do so as I share more on Instagram (@marikoashley) Otherwise, you can try it for yourself (along with any other Skylar products) for 10% off with the code MARIKOS10 🙂

My Journey Toward Healthy Body Image

My Journey Toward Healthy Body Image

This past week was NEDA (National Eating Disorder Awareness) Week, where those who have struggled with eating disorders or embracing healthy body image have shared their stories publicly across various social media platforms. This year’s NEDA Week theme has been captioned #ComeAsYouAre , where folks share images with words and captions stating a few things they like about themselves – personality, achievements, community, and of course, body. These stories got me reflecting on my own relationship with my body, and the journey we’ve been on particularly in the more recent years. I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my personal journey with food, body image, self-love as I too, learn what it means to #ComeAsYouAre.

Though I wouldn’t claim to have had any diagnosable form of an eating disorder, I’ve certainly had my fair share of body dysmorphia that’s led to unhealthy self-perception, and lifestyle habits.

I’ve spent most of my life pretty self-conscious about my physical appearance. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has that “part” of themselves, their body, or face that they’d rather cover up or change. Personally there were MANY things I wanted to change about my physical appearance throughout different periods of life – but in particular, I hated how flat-chested I was (and still am…thanks for nothing, puberty). As I waited out the already-awkward teenage years, by age 20 or so I came to realize that no matter what, the chest I was given is the chest I’m going to have in this life.

I was definitely not the type to ever consider surgery, but I certainly tried out more subtle things to seem a little less me-chested, and a little more “normal.” Be it an overly padded bra, or wearing strictly necklines that drew attention away from my chest, it was clear that I was anything but comfortable in my body.

And it wasn’t just the flat-chestedness that made me feel insecure, but I found that in order to look what I considered “balanced” and “proportionate” throughout the rest of my body, I’d need to weigh a very, very, VERY small amount…and so begun a downward spiral of self-loathing that led to food deprivation, which led to more self-loathing and further depriving my body of its basic needs. This was in high school.

Then came college. My perception of beauty began to widen as I was immersed myself in a more diverse atmosphere (or at least, more Asian American atmosphere), much different than the relatively homogenous suburb I’d grown up in. I took Asian American studies classes that challenged Western standards of beauty, attractiveness, and worth; and called out misrepresentations and stereotyping of diverse body types in the media.  By the time I graduated from college, I thought I’d pretty much outgrown any sense of self-loathing, self-consciousness, or self-deprivation. I’d gained a little weight, found a style that I felt suited my body-type, and had decided that I would tolerate my body the way that it is.

But healthy body image is more than simply tolerating my body for being what it is. It’s even more than accepting and displaying my body to others. What I’ve come to find, is that healthy body image requires me to respect and care for my body to the extent that my soul has space to flourish. It means thanking my body for the way it supports me, helps me live life, and empowers me to engage with the world around me.

….

After college I made the decision to start therapy. In therapy, we talked about a lot of things. From ethnic identity, to personal power, to situations of trauma or abuse, to everyday conversations and situations I found myself in. But a moment that I will always remember from those months was during a session about halfway through that round of therapy.

I came in and sat down like I normally would. We began our session with a few rounds of breath, allowing me to observe and scan my body to bring awareness to how I was emotionally feeling that day. As I was observing my body, I noticed that rather than an emotion come to awareness, I just felt hungry. My life was pretty fast-paced at the time which led to me skipping meals here and there to make sure that I got everything I needed to done. Today was one of those days.

So in an attempt to be honest, I sheepishly shared with my therapist that the only thing I really felt, was hunger. And bless her soul — she literally paused the session, ran out into the hallway, and came back with a banana and granola bar from her own lunch. “You need to eat,” she explained.

Feeling terrible that I’d interrupted our session and led her to give me part of a lunch that was meant for her, I tried to politely reject her offer.

“No, your body is trying to tell you something. That’s something to pay attention to,” she insisted.

So I took the banana and granola bar, and we sat in silence as I awkwardly finished them bite by bite. And when we finally began our session, it became clear that even though I had better body image than what I’d had years prior, I still didn’t have healthy body image.

IMG_6922Healthy body image should fuel self-compassion and care that in-turn create space for my soul to flourish and grow. If I’m feeling comfortable in the clothes I’m in, or posting exposing photos of myself on social media; but am not growing in character… there might be room to question how healthy that self-perception really is. It’s easy to promote the concept of body positivity while ignoring the parts of my soul that need tending.

It’s kind of hard for my body to create space for my soul to flourish if it’s too hungry to think or feel anything else. It’s also hard to do that if I’m overly-consumed with being angry at my body for not looking a certain way, having a limited amount of physical ability, or allowing myself or those around me to neglect or disrespect it. And it’s definitely hard to do that if I’m distracted by trying to change or cover up ways that my body might be uniquely different than what Western media deems as attractive, or worthy.

Because can my soul really flourish if I’m throwing harmful thoughts, careless action, or objectifying values at the very body it’s connected to?

So in this season of life, “coming as I am” looks like taking the time to recognize how unique my body is, and nurture it with all that it needs to allow my soul to flourish. It means buying bras that actually FIT, without extra fluff or padding to create the illusion that my body is anything but what it is (shout out to Pepper, for FINALLY making wonderful bras for those of us in the IBTC). It means choosing into movement or exercise that is good for both my body, AND my soul – and refusing to view exercise as “punishment” for the extra glass of wine, or the joyful meals out with loved ones I may consume. And it means working with my body to find the root issue, rather than cover up the symptom of my present-day insecurity: hormonal acne.

Perhaps it means doing the extra work of examining my life holistically, to see how my relationships, my work, and every-day living habits contribute to my hormonal health – rather than spend hundreds of dollars on topical serums, creams, and fancy makeup for a quick, yet temporary fix.

Ultimately, it means acknowledging exactly where I’m at in my journey toward holistic health and celebrating the wins, while having grace on myself in the battles still being fought.  I’ve come so, so far in embracing my body and caring for it; yet clearly still have so far to go. But I’m grateful that my body has graciously been along for the ride, and I’m committed to keep fighting to love it better, for the sake of my body, mind, and soul.

-mariko

Failing at New Year’s Resolutions

I’m gonna be honest, 2018 was a tough year. And I think when I came into 2019, I thought to myself, “Okay, last year was tough, but this year will be better. This will be the year that I finally get my life together and start living a holistically healthy, and overall more impactful life. I’m finally going to do all the things, and do them better than I’ve done them in the past”

And so — the irony of it being only 2 weeks into the year and already being knock39649a84-dcc9-473d-9d51-4fefd1429d04.jpged-out sick in bed after taking care of my husband (and cat) who were knocked-out sick for the 2 weeks prior is nearly comical…it hasn’t been quite the ambitious start to a healthy and productive new year that I’d initially envisioned. It’s not like I had nutritional, exercise-related, professional, interpersonal, and writing benchmarks I’d made for myself to have met at this point in the month or anything…(cue sarcastic tone). Hopefully I’m not alone in this.

And I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been in this place many, many times before. I’ve always loved setting goals for myself. I love the thrill of putting my all into something to see it through to fruition. What I haven’t loved, is the seemingly unavoidable crash-and-burn that comes with going a million miles an hour and not knowing how to stop and rest, let alone learn to start pacing myself.

And this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t set goals. Personal growth and development are so, so important. But I think what I’ve come to realize is that in order for this growth to embody sustainability, it has to have intention behind it. And what I mean by “intention”, is that although there may be tangible and measurable results behind what I work toward; my personal expectation is centered more on the general direction I’m headed in, rather than that which is achieved along the way.

Intention can be defined as “a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought (Bratman, M. from my very, very-credible friend, Wikipedia.)”

Intention speaks to desires formulating into concrete action for the sake of a certain outcome. The formation of this intention happens before any action and resulting success (or even failure) takes place. This means that the existence and persistence of an intention remain, despite a failed attempt or two (or ten, let’s be real).

This is important for me as someone who’s learning to be less failure-adverse, as I’ve come to find that avoiding failure is a sure-fire way to get nowhere fast. My failure in achieving and sustaining “new year’s resolutions” in years past has kept me from making anything close to one for quite some time now — Which is why for at least me personally, learning to set and stick to intentions rather than intended outcomes/achievements is becoming a game-changer in my personal growth. Setting an intention means that although I may be hoping for a specific outcome, I can celebrate incremental progress just as readily as I would a measurable goal being met. It means that picking up and moving forward is independent of the number of times I “fail” in the eyes of myself, or those around me. It means that I learn to expect, and even welcome said failure as a friend for the sake of the self-awareness and character development is has to offer me – because growth is more important than success or achievement.

Let’s look at the flip-side of this – when we succeed or achieve something, without intention behind it.

We’ve all been in situations where we receive or accomplish something that we know we never set our eyes on to begin with – be it a certain job title and/or promotion, an item or valuable possession, a position of leadership or influence, or maybe even an unexpected friendship or relationship. There’s nothing innately wrong with receiving things, but I’ve also noticed that when I step into something that I never intended to pursue, I more-often-than-not have a certain level of passivity in the attitude I receive said thing with. This in turn leads to a pretty quick burn-out or lack of appreciation, as I eventually find myself just going through the motions, not knowing why I am where I am, doing what I’m doing. And I know that not everyone’s like this, but I personally find it difficult to power through something that required little-to-no forethought regarding my personal values or desires for myself and the world around me. There are obviously exceptions to this, but I hope you see generally what I mean.

I should also quickly mention that there’s a common misuse of the concept of intention that should most certainly be avoided – that which excuses problematic or damaging behavior, regardless of what one “intended”. I’ve seen harmful actions or words become permissible due to the fact that the consequence of said words or actions were “unintended.” I understand the temptation to release oneself of blame, particularly when there were likely well-meaning intentions in place to begin with. We’ve ALL been there. But the interpretation of “intention” I’m talking about isn’t that which releases us of responsibility for our well-meaning, yet potentially damaging words or actions. (but this is yet again another post, for another day.)

And so, with all that being said, I’m trying something different this year (and hopefully not just this year, but every year). Rather than set particular “goals” for myself, or things to be achieved or accomplished; I spent much of 2018 honing-in on my personal desires and/or needs. From this place, I’ve crafted a list of intentions that I have going into the next few years or so of life, with full knowledge that I’ll meet failure, discouragement, and insecurity along the way. But the thing that I find really beautiful about these intentions, is that their existence is not dependent on any measurable or attainable achievement, nor failure.

Here are the intentions that David and I talked through as 2019 began:

Wellness: embodying holistic wellness that encompasses my physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational well-being.

 Choosing Growth: making decisions that lead to growth in my career, relationship, and lifestyle.

 Stepping into Integrity: embodying consistency in who I am and what I value, regardless of who I’m with and where I am.

 Unapologetically Evolving: pursuing personal evolution and character growth regardless of the environment I’m in, or how other respond.

Investing with Discernment: recognizing that who I am and what I have to give is valuable, and I should therefore invest accordingly with my time, gifts, and resources.

 Self-Compassion: making decisions fearlessly and extending myself grace when things don’t go as I’d hoped or planned.

1c41d062-7b6f-46eb-bece-2e80a196b39cSo as I sit here, sick in bed after 2 weeks of attempting to power-through and accomplish all that I could within the first few days of January – I’m choosing to embrace self-compassion rather than judgement; in understanding that pursuing holistic wellness is going to be a journey. Rather than beat myself up for ending up in this burn-out cycle once again, I’m choosing to instead notice the ways that I’ve given myself time and space today to mentally and physically rest and find joy in writing, rather than work my butt off trying to get things done despite being sick. It’s not going to happen overnight, and I’ll probably have many more “crash-and-burn” periods in the months and years to come. But I do believe that I’m making progress. And I’m choosing to believe that this progress is more foundational than any achievement I could’ve otherwise made at this point in the new year.

And I hope this can encourage any of you reading — who like me, may have set overly-ambitious and unrealistic goals for this first month of the new year, and may need to revisit the intentions behind those goals. It’s okay to be where you are. It’s okay to have hit your first round of failure so soon into the year. It’s okay that you, as a human, have limitations. It’s okay to celebrate your progress, even if you’ve got nothing to show for it. You’re still moving forward, and that’s good enough for today, and the days ahead.

-mariko

What I’ve Learned at the Halfway Point in Yoga Teacher Training

11C515AE-1BC5-4BF3-8338-9519B3943C25About 3 months ago I started a CYT (Certified Yoga Teacher) 200+ hour training, and am about halfway through the 6-month long program. Throughout this time I’ve been getting lots of questions from friends, fellow yogis, and family about my experience thus far.

Whether you’re considering beginning or deepening your own personal practice, or just curious about what I’m up to; I thought I’d share a bit about what teacher training has shown me up to this halfway point. As a side note, I should emphasize that I am only 3 months into the program, and have been practicing for just a small number of years — I’m in NO way a yoga expert, but am simply sharing my personal learnings at this point in my journey with the practice. This is likely to change and evolve in the months and years to come, but I’m coming to understand that that’s alright. 

With that being said, I’ll share what I’ve learned thus far.

I grew up in a rather Christian environment. This came with wonderful teachings, many virtues that guide one toward a relatively healthy lifestyle, and all around hopeful messaging and ideology. However, I was also told on more than one occasion that yoga was “of the devil,” and should be avoided at all costs. And even if I dared to step foot in a yoga studio, I better be sure it’s one of those “athletically-focused” ones with none of that “spiritual woo-woo” and chanting.

To be completely honest, I had my own reservations coming into the teacher training. I’d been a part of the studio for a few months at that point, and in the years leading up to now I’d spent most of my time in hot yoga classes that seemed to focus on the physical practice, rather than spiritual and personal meditation. Having been heavily conditioned to reject anything that didn’t fit into my evangelical-church-cultured experience, I was nervous that we’d be getting into the aspects of yoga that addressed more than just that of the physical practice.

And well, I was right.

A2BE1460-7703-4923-9379-79585AA51667We’ve spent quite a few hours workshopping and building strength in our “asanas” (physical movement/practice), but we’ve spent even more of our time getting into the nitty gritty of our souls — spirituality included. And I confess that I was really on guard when we first started talking about this. I have my own baggage with evangelical Christianity, but that didn’t mean I was ready to throw that all out there and process it with a group of strangers I’d met only a week prior.

But a couple weeks before the training began, I’d received a word in prayer and sensed God nudging me to just be open. Be open to these strangers that were shockingly more vulnerable than any small group I’d ever been a part of. Be open to learning about a history, a culture, and a philosophy extremely different (yet surprisingly similar) to all that I’d grown up knowing. Be open to the personal transformation that He might have for me in the process of facing my own preconceived judgements of the practice, and other ways of thinking and doing life. And for the first time in years, I felt safe being open to that transformation.

And so I’ve stayed open, and engaged. And I’ve been learning so much.

Did you know that yoga began not as a physical practice, but as a way of life that positioned the individual to be in a constant state of learning?

Amongst the varying definitions of the Sanskrit term, “yoga” simply meant “to yoke,” referencing the union of the mind and body (which in today’s highly cerebral society, we could really use that unification).

Did you know that the meditations, mantras, and practices were meant not to replace ones religion, but to enhance it?

Although there are certainly yoga practitioners that will emphasize specific world religions in their teachings, much of the mantras (or “chanting”) lead in (especially western) studios contain phrases that are simply meant to wish others well-being, or give the student the opportunity to ask God for wisdom, health, or love for the world around them. It’s much like Sunday morning worship, but less specific, and in another location and language. Obviously when practicing, you can make your own meditation or mantra specific to a particular religious figure; but it’s not required.

Did you know that even yoga as a physical practice, actually addresses the whole self?

At the beginning of each class we tend to either set an intention, or spend a few minutes sharing about our week. This is a pretty simple practice, but tends to go pretty deep. Some weeks my intention is to simply “build strength”. This may sound superficial, but what I’ve found is that throughout our 2.5 hour class, I’m regularly reflecting on where I’m building strength emotionally, spiritually, and personally while in the physical postures. In a balance posture for example, I may start to get frustrated that the object or person in front of me is moving, making it difficult for me to keep my own body balanced. As I reflect back on my intention to “build strength,” I’m reminded that learning to stay personally focused and emotionally centered despite external situations or factors is an on-going process. No, I don’t have the strength yet — but it’s worth it to invest time and energy into building it. There’s something about learning from a physical posture that leaves a lasting impression on my heart and mind.

Did you know that yoga is not a means to merely escape the reality of the world, but to be better equipped to engage with it?

This one is interesting, and there may be others that disagree with me…however, one of the “yoga stereotypes” out there that I’d heard prior to practicing was that yoga was a means of escapism. I’d heard that when on the mat — nothing else matters. No one else matters but you, and your body, your safety. It’s all about you — you. you. you.

But what I’ve come to find, is that yoga is actually a discipline. It’s the setting aside of time to be present to yourself. But being present to yourself doesn’t mean escaping the realities of the world around you. It means seeing yourself clearly within that reality, and honoring your effort, your limitations, and your areas of growth yet to come to fruition — both personally, and interpersonally. There’s something to be said about the importance of boundaries and healthy rhythms. We live in such a fast-paced, achievement based society that we need to consciously implement healthy lifestyle practices in our everyday lives. However, if the rhythms that we’re implementing bring us further into isolation and self-preservation — one might question if these rhythms are truly healthy to begin with.

The physical practice of yoga is meant to bring strength, flexibility, and healing to the body, mind, and soul. This should equip one to better engage with the people and world around them. When we’re aware of our limitations, we can humbly ask for help — and we know that we’re not the solution to all the world’s problems. When we’re aware of our strengths, we can utilize them for the good of others. When we’re aware of what we’re currently working through – be it physical, emotional, or interpersonal — we begin to find the ability to control what we once negatively projected onto others. The list goes on and on, but the point is simple – the practice of yoga creates opportunity to even better engage outside of ourselves.

FFFA1C27-7F28-4760-8720-6CD9DF9CCF6DSo I share these findings not to shame anyone for not knowing these things, or misunderstanding aspects the practice — but to humbly confess my own misperceptions, and how I’ve been (and continue to be) transformed through the process of simply being open, and taking a teachable posture. The best part is that I’m only halfway through! I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what further growth will take place as the training continues. But I’m honestly just grateful that in my own achievement-motivated being, I’ve found a practice that simply can’t be achieved. Because yoga is an ever-evolving personal practice and mentality, I’ll never quite “arrive.” And being on a journey to challenge my own discomfort with that is a gift that I’m learning to embrace.

— Mariko