Gratitude and Affirmation Practice

I invite you to do a practice of gratitude and affirmations that I do every morning and one that I share on my retreats.

1.) Have a journal and pen ready. Find a comfortable seat and take a few slow deep breaths.

2.) Write in your journal:

Three things I am grateful for in this moment.

Example: “I am grateful for a good night's sleep. I am grateful for this time to sit and reflect. I am grateful for my breath.”

3.) Now write a daily affirmation. You can use this frame if you’d like: “I am... May I... I am…”
Example: “I am loved. May I be blessed. I am perfect just as I am.”

Come on retreat with me to do this practice daily and reap all the benefits of gratitude and movement.

Letter of Love: The Balance Game

Make your
Growth sustainable
By moving at a pace
That is challenging.
But not overwhelming.

-yung pueblo


Everyday I hear from clients the challenges they go through in order to try to find balance in their lives. 

I too, aim to find the balance point where everything is in perfect order. 

My idea of a balanced day looks something like this: I work out, meditate, journal, make dinner, pack my daughter a perfect lunch, communicate and listen, call mom, call dad, get 8 hours of sleep, call my closet girlfriends and make a date with them, clean the house, shop, and work a full day. It’s overwhelming and honestly, sometimes I just want to cry. But then I hear my mom’s voice, “Lila, it’s just one day. Do your best. That’s all you can do, and try to simplify and prioritize. And do what feels good! Life is to short not to.” Thanks mom!

Balance in the body is not somewhere you finally get to, but an action that is ever evolving and requires many systems of the body to work together. 

It is always moving and changing. 

Closing our eyes, standing on one foot, and walking are all balancing acts. There is a wobble, an unsteady feeling at times. Then for a brief moment you find it - the balance point.  Until you add another challenge and have to navigate all over again.

The reality is that life is a balancing act.

 It’s not somewhere or something we may ever truly arrive at. 

An exercise to decrease anxiety around finding balance:
write down what your expectations for the day or week are. 
Be explicit about your idea of balance so you can get a good look at it. 
Try writing down the things that help you to feel balanced on a daily basis. 
Choose one. 
Do that. 
And as always, acknowledge your efforts. The brain likes rewards. So don’t forget to pause and treat yourself too!

I would love to hear from you, your thoughts, comments, topics you want to hear more about. Reach out. 

I look forward to seeing you at one of my upcoming retreats, classes, and workshops.

In love and movement,

Lila

2018 Brings The Light

“May the long time sun shine upon you.
All love surround you and the pure light within you,
guide your way on.”

 
I am grateful for each and everyone of you. A BIG thank you for coming to my classes, workshops, retreats, seeing me for one-on-one training, sending me your friends, sharing my posts, giving me feedback, writing testimonials, sharing your precious time, your growth, your dedication, your love of learning, your hugs, your ups and  downs, your expertise and your light!  
 
Every time I teach, I learn. I learn from each and everyone of you. I am committed to continuing my growth as a teacher/trainer/ movement coach in order to give you the highest quality training and coaching. YOU inspire me to seek out the top educators in the field of health/fitness and well-being.
 
May 2018 be a year that continues to ask us to be our better selves; may we inspire each other through our actions of self-care, self-love and ultimately service to the greater good of humanity. Below are some upcoming retreats and workshops in 2018. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.
 
With a Grateful Heart,
Lila

Winter Letter of Love: Ways to Practice Gratitude

“Dearly beloved,
 We are gathered here today 2 get through
 This thing called life.”

- Prince 


Breathing in I calm myself. Breathing out I smile.  
In the beginning there is you, in the middle there is you, in the end there is you.

Everyday seems to pass faster than the last. Weeks meld into months with a few breaths. I wake up and go to bed with two predominant thoughts: Let go. Be Grateful.

Letting go of little things, big things, and all things in between. Expectations … serious and silly. Friendships … when people grow apart. Sadness … when a loved one dies.

Practicing gratitude alleviates life’s disappointments. It helps us deal with our challenges — especially the constant process of letting go. Granted, some days it’s hard to feel grateful when faced with unexpected disappointments or news of injustice. 

Gratitude is the ultimate healer; an emotion that is so closely linked to love that they seem like soulmates. In order to stay sane in the chaos I have been taking moments each day to count my blessings. 

Here are a few inquiries for you:
1. Start by paying attention to all the things that you are asked to surrender to on a daily basis. 
2. Are you able to let go, or do you hold on?   
3. Can you refocus on gratitude in these moments? 
4. And, What are you grateful for?

Here is a little snippet from my grateful list:
- Love notes from my daughter and cuddles
- I love you’s
- Laughter
- My work
- Moving my body
- Breathing
- Holding hands
- The warm sun on my face
- My mom; her wisdom, sensitivity and her heart
- My sisters and their deep caring
- My papa and his humor
- A warm cup of tea in the morning
- Meditation
- Learning
- The ability to change my mind
- Music
- Birdsong
- Seeing people be kind to one another
- The farmers' market and the means to buy food that nourishes me and my family
- Eye contact
- Being human
- YOU.

This fall one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer and is in the middle of intensive treatment. I and another good friend of her’s have set up this GoFundMe page to support her. Any amount will help. Thank you.

With a grateful heart,

Lila

Ground. Expand. Connect. Portugal Reflection & Reviews

"We had a wonderful time! There was a nice balance between the pilates and yoga sessions and free time (leaving us time to explore the coastal towns and relax). The retreat center was beautiful and the staff was attentive and helpful. We will absolutely go on future retreats with Lila!" - Copely K.

"My limited vocabulary does not allow me to describe how great this trip was. Accommodations were very comfortable, the food was wonderful but the pilates and yoga sessions were off the charts. The staff of Monte Velho deserves special mention as their courtesy and friendliness is genuine and sincere (shout out to Ariadna). Didn't want to leave." - Paul Z.

WeTravel Interview: Travel Influencers

"Which is Better: Yoga or Pilates? Lila Heller Combines Both!"

By Eva Casey

Which came first, pilates or yoga? For Lila Heller, the philosophy of yoga was her birthright, being raised part Hindu. In fact, her name, Lila, means ‘the play of life,’ a practice she brings to all of her offerings: yoga, pilates, and otherwise. The spirituality of yoga: meditation, mantras, and the values of ‘love all, serve all’ were instilled at a young age. As far as a regular practice, though, it was dance that started it all.

Lila Heller went to school for anthropology, sociology, and dance. A guest teacher from Brazil at the Oakland Dance Company in which she was performing invited her to go to Brazil to study. So she went, falling in love with Salvador, Brazil in the process. This was 12 years ago when pilates was gaining rapid popularity, especially amongst dancers. Lila began a year-long certification program in pilates so that she was able to stay in Brazil.

The idea to lead retreats came to her on a vacation to Sayulita, Mexico. A woman came to the house she was staying at to teach yoga. She informed Lila of her yoga studio in Mexico where she loved to bring people to do retreats. Lila agreed to bring a group of people back the next year for a retreat, having no structure around how to lead a retreat. But the next year, as promised, she returned to Mexico with a group of students in tow. That first retreat was mostly pilates focused with a bit of qi gong. Some of those people on her first retreat still go on retreats led by Lila today. That was seven years ago.

But why Pilates AND Yoga? Certainly practicing one or the other will offer enormous benefits, but what’s to be gained by combining the two disciplines?

Yoga has a spiritual component that Lila loves. The actual physical practice of Yoga (also known as ‘asana’) is only a small part of the practice of Yoga. The awareness that you cultivate doing Yoga can be brought to Pilates. The energetic breath work also feeds the Pilates practice.

And as for what Pilates can bring to your yoga practice? Pilates offers a different way of experiencing your body. By strengthening certain muscles and gaining an awareness of what’s actually going on in your body, your Yoga practice will be undoubtedly improved.

Combining Yoga and Pilates on a retreat then seems a natural choice. In Lila’s words, “when you do something for a week, two times a day, you feel like a different person.” Her retreats teach you how to move WELL in your body, not just achieve something. You will cultivate an ease of movement.

Lila says that often on her retreats, people come who never thought they’d able to practice Yoga again. They feel intimidated, but by the end of the retreat, they feel empowered and at home in their bodies. Or the opposite: Yoga practitioners will come to the retreat with a bias towards Yoga. Then after seeing how their bodies respond to practicing Pilates in combination with Yoga, they are floored.

On an upcoming Lila Heller retreat, at Monte Velho Eco Retreat Center in Portugal, she is teaming up with Lea Udry who owns a Pilates studio in Switzerland. Lea will be teaching Yoga classes, and Lila pilates. In between classes (there is one in the morning and one in the evening), you will explore the natural beauty of Portugal. The retreat center is located in the hilly mountainside, but near the beautiful beaches. You’ll have the option to ride bikes, learn to surf or simply relax in the healing atmosphere. This retreat is 7 days and 6 nights, a bit shorter than her usual retreats. But she wanted to allow retreat-goers the option to extend their trip on either side to experience more of Portugal’s culture.

From now until December 31st, Lila Heller is offering an Early Bird Special on the Portugal Retreat. Claim your discount by clicking this link!

Letter of Love: THANK YOU!

“May the long time sun shine upon you.

All love surround you and the pure light within you,

guide your way on.”

This is a thank you letter. I am grateful for each and everyone of you.  A BIG thank you for coming to my classes, workshops, retreats, seeing me for one on one training, sending me your friends, sharing my posts, giving me feedback, writing testimonials, sharing your precious time, your growth, your dedication, your love of learning, your hugs, your ups and  downs, your expertise and your light!  

Every time I teach I learn.  I learn from each and everyone of you.  I am committed to continuing my growth as a teacher/trainer/ movement coach in order to give you the highest quality training and coaching.  YOU inspire me to seek out the top educators in the field of health/ fitness and well-being.

 May 2017 be a year that continues to ask us to be our better selves, may we inspire each other through our actions of self-care, self- love and ultimately service to the greater good of humanity. Below are some upcoming retreats and workshops in 2017. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.

 With a Grateful Heart,

Lila

Tools to stay Grounded in Ungrounded Times

...After all, it is the root that looks after the survival of an organism. It is the root that has withstood severe changes in climatic conditions. And it is the root that has regrown trunks time and time again. It is in the roots that centuries of experiences are stored, and it is this experience that has allowed the tree’s survival to the present day.
- Excerpt from The Hidden life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
 

How do you regrow? What are your roots? How do you stay grounded in turbulent times, in times of calm and the times in between.  What are the tools that help you to feel connected? Feeling connected, rooted, grounded, belonging… all stem to this idea of having roots. In a conceptual way we are all connected in our human - ness. Yep, we are human. And that is what is. We need water, food, love, touch, air and movement in order to survive and thrive here on planet earth.
 
We are alive now. These are turbulent times in many many ways. Some of the things that unground  us are: self- criticism, trying too hard, taking on more than we can handle, social media, politics, news, un-restful sleep, unhealthy food choices, too much sitting, worry and anxiety to name a few. And guess what, often we are affected by some combination of these things. I find it is important not to beat myself up, but rather have some solid tools I can rely on to pull me back to center. Back to my roots. 
 
Here are my top 10
1. Consciously breathing
Practice Counting breath:

  • Breathe in for 3-6 counts filling up from the belly to the collar bones
  • Hold the breath for 3-6 counts (staying relaxed is key- if you notice you are over tensing as you hold please hold for less counts!)
  • Exhale 3-6 counts
  • Hold the breath out 3-6 counts (again without tension)
  • Work your way up slowly. If you do not have a breath practice already start with 3 counts on each cycle of breath. 
  • Repeat about 5-8 times.

2. Slowing down: it’s the little things… taking the time to chew your food, drinking a cup of tea for 5 minutes, practice active listening, strength train slowly
3. Yoga
4. Standing/ walking on the earth barefoot 
5. Being in nature in silence
6. Hugs for at least 20 seconds
7. Meditation 
8. Taking a social media break
9. Eating whole fresh foods (ideally from your local farm) the nutrients in freshly harvested food will give your body a boost of alive-ness and grounding
10. Saying no when asked to do one more thing that even if sounding good would really just tip us over
 
Try out some of the tools above and see if they help.
 
We must do our practices - root ourselves - ground ourselves so that we can shine our light out into the world. This world needs you and me to be our best kindest, warm hearted humans that we can be. What are the ways in which you stay grounded, that help you to show up as the bad-ass loving human you are?
 
Please stay in touch. 
 
I wish you all a beautiful grounding summer and hope to see you soon! 
 
With utmost gratitude,
Lila

Letter of Love: No one is YOU …and that is your power.

We make our way. Some of us make our way loudly, some softly, some you barely hear. Some of us take the path of least resistance, some leap into the fire. Some grow tired, some grow awake. Some of us prefer a few friends, while others invite the world to know us. Some of us reveal our feelings easily, while others keep them close. Some focus on the world, while others focus on themselves.

We make our way in a thousand different ways. There are differences in how we do this, and also commonalities that bind us together.  

I make my way through movement, connecting with nature and people. I make my way drinking a cup of tea and holding hands. I make my way by bringing people together to share being alive in our bodies. I make my way as a mother, a teacher, a sister, a daughter and a truth seeker.

However you make your way, do it with love.

Love always,

Lila

 

Letter of Love: Kindness is contagious.

Be quick to smile

It will likely be passed on

Kindness spreads like fire.

A Haiku (inspired by my father’s daily Haikus)

I recently, like most days, was caught driving home at rush hour. Rushing to get back to pick up my daughter. I wasn’t alone. Instead of the usual get out of MY way sort of attitude, I tried kindness. It was contagious. I pulled too far into the crosswalk. A woman was crossing; I looked at her, smiled and backed out of the crosswalk; she smiled back the sweetest smile. A biker saw, he smiled and waved too. I pulled forward in hopes that someone would let me in to the long line of cars, in which the drivers were looking straight ahead and trying not to make eye contact. Then a woman in the car directly in front of me, who had witnessed the earlier interaction, leaned forward to look at me waved and smiled and motioned me in front of her.

This winter with the shorter darker days, the stress and cheer of the holidays, try kindness. Kindness to yourself, when you lose your patience. Kindness to loved ones when they fail your expectations. Kindness to strangers who are yet to be known.  I will practice with you. We can together create a world where kindness is the first act.  Remember that it is indeed contagious. Do you have a story where you witnessed one person in a line of angry or stressed people being kind? Was it you? What was the impact? Please share, I would love to hear.

Committed in love,
Lila


In this time we more than ever need to be with each other, hear each other, breathe together and move together. I look forward to being together soon in a retreat, class or workshop.

Letter of Love: Lessons from Retreats & Tips to Connect

How bold one gets, when one is sure of being loved.

-Sigmund Freud

I just recently returned from leading my annual Pilates and Yoga Retreat in Mexico at Mar De Jade Retreat Center.  It is hard to capture, in words, the magic that happens in this week.  As I reflect, I hear the words of one of my guests; “Lila, I woke up today and I am not experiencing any pain in my body and I am so happy and relaxed. Along with the movement practice we are doing, I feel so connected to all the women here, I haven’t felt this way in a long time...”

To be a happy healthy human we need connection, we need the loving caring listening of others, and we absolutely need to feel a connection to community. When we don’t, we can feel pain, unhappiness and  feel that we are alone.

We were designed to move, be a part of a tribe and connected to nature. When we live by how we were designed we feel less pain, we experience happiness; we feel alive again.

In this fast paced life we have created we often go against the design. This disconnection lends itself to dis-ease in the body, mind and spirit.  I was reminded of this on retreat and experienced the importance of connection through seeing it unfold before my eyes.
 

As long as we are alive, we can make daily choices to connect, to feel to fully live. 

Here are a few tips to connect:

  1. Go outside
  2. Open up the windows
  3. Put down or better yet unplug the devices for at least one hour a day - longer on weekends please
  4. Move your body everyday
  5. Take conscious breaths every hour
  6. Go to the farmers market and buy fresh farm grown produce
  7. Hug someone everyday for at least 20seconds
  8. Go on a retreat to reset
  9. Hold hands
  10. And my personal favorite hug a tree for at least 20seconds.. Yep thats right (;

With love Always,

Lila