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Stressed? Try Breathing.

There’s been an odd trend among my friends lately: many of them are passing through some challenging times. Break ups. Change of career. Investigation of purpose. Grief. Physical pain.

When we go through the trying times, sure they are character forming, but they are also painful! I made this video because these three practices were helpful for me after I lost my dad. Sometimes the sadness was so profound, my chest and stomach would feel compressed. I wasn’t able to breathe properly, which made my grief worse. Sure, these exercises might be a bit strangzies, but give yourself permission to experiment with different tools that might help you feel good again. I have a friend who recites his problems out loud in a Kermit the Frog voice when things go South. So really, making crab claws and swaying your arms to regain circulation can’t be that intimidating, can it?

Five Off-The-Beaten-Path Adventures in America

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Since it’s Independence Day, I thought I’d write a post about my home country.

I hear it all the time, “We’re going to the Grand Canyon, Vegas, and then Los Angeles.” Many first-time travelers to the United States follow the same circuits on the Western and Eastern sides of the country, trying to fit as many landmark stops into their itinerary as possible in a short time. But what if you’ve already been to these places?

On a trip to America, I always advise travelers to grant themselves plenty of time. This place is bigger than you think. When you return to visit, skip the landmarks and go where the locals like to explore.

If you’re a return visitor, pause a moment to take this quiz and find out how well you know the United States.

When you’re done, here some of my favorite places in America that need to be on you itinerary:

1. Swap Manhattan for Brooklyn

You may have already seen the Empire State Building, visited Times Square, and taken the train to Grand Central Station. What’s next? Venture to one of my favorite New York City boroughs: Brooklyn. In fact, Brooklyn covers far more land mass than Manhattan and covers some incredibly diverse neighborhoods for you to explore. Dive into Russian culture around Brighton Beach; find out what hipsters are actually like in Williamsburg; cafe hop in Park Slope to try your hand at spotting celebrities who live in the neighborhood.

2. Trade the Grand Canyon for Antelope Valley

While yes the famous

Miracles Now: A Weekend with Gabby Bernstein

It began in Bali, in the white-walled office of a Cherokee mystic named White Star. Eyes closed, she thumped a leather drum painted with a wolf’s face and reported to me messages about my life from the beyond.

Spotting a raven in my future, she said it’s time for me to start focusing on my talent to heal others and thusly seek out teachers. “Omega Institute in New York would be a great place for you,” she said. Chills. I had heard of Omega just weeks before while researching the organization’s co-founder Elizabeth Lesser who wrote a book on post-traumatic growth. Hidden in the trees, I knew the location would be the ideal place for me to retreat to when New York City dwelling became as overwhelming as it often does. (more…)

Thailand – Beat the Heat!

The air inside Thailand’s Surat Thani airport had its own gravity, weighed down by an imminent rainstorm, a smoldering humidity, a tropical feeling I’ve learned to embrace. Even still, those sodden temperatures drive me wild on occasion. Luckily, the southeastern islands offer more ways than I can count to beat the heat, other than just the usual lounging under a palm tree drinking fresh coconut water.

Here’s some thoughts on how to keep it cool:

Koh Tao, the smallest of the three islands, is a haven for would-be scuba divers. Competition between dive shops is actually so fierce that the island is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your certification. Not ready to take the plunge? Snorkeling gear is easy to come across and also cheap. I loved Tanote Bay, which is where that giant rock featured in the video is located for daring jumpers.

Believe it or not, Koh Phangan has a more mild side than its Full Moon Party reputation conveys. At the center of the action, Hat Rin beach exudes an air of confidence in its stunning sands, for good reason. The water couldn’t be more clear and the atmosphere more laid back during the day. Many vendors here rent jet skis by the hour if you’re keen to splash around. Along the shore, a row of pubs and restaurants beckon you to pop in for a cold drink. Looking for a quieter, family and couples-orientated atmosphere? Wander to the island’s northeastern beaches like Haad Salad and Cholok Lam.

Finally on to Koh Samui, this large island

India: Reason to Believe in Beauty

Hi friends, how are you today? Thought I would send some visual inspiration your way at a time you might need it. While India is a tough place to travel, the beauty makes every struggled step worth the effort. Not everything you see is beautiful, though. There’s a tremendous amount of heartbreaking sights. I felt inspired here to see through the strife and look for the laughter, the smiles, the colors, the light. Just by changing your perspective, how could you light up your life to highlight the beauty? Remember that in photography, one develops negatives in positives, and any shadow only accentuates the light.

Blissful Bali: There’s a Reason You Belong Here, Plus Ten Must-Dos

Temples punctuate the incense-wafted streets; hot, humid air induces a natural body cleanse; a reverence resounds among the local people. By many regards Bali is a divine island. If you’re looking to escape your sterile cubicle for a private zencation, I know where you should go …

Ubud: Bali’s hub for culture and healing. Your daily schedule here could start with a full body massage and end with a chanting fire dance performance with time in between to ride a bike through the rice paddies and consume a plentitude of green smoothies. That’s, of course, only the beginning to this great adventure. I recently spent one month in Ubud alone, and the time flew! To make sure your time there is well-spent, here’s ten things I loved to do in the area:

1. Go to the Sunday sauna party at Dragonfly Village. This set of bungalows in the middle of the rice fields boasts a salt water pool and hot sauna as well as delicious healthy food served alongside free ginger tea.

2. Eat healthy and delicious food at Clear Cafe, Kafe, Senimans Coffee Studio, and Melting Wok Warung.

3. Get a relaxing massage for a ridiculously cheap price. I like Lilly’s, but there are so many places in town I can’t even begin to name them all.

4. Go to the Monkey Forest, but leave all belongings and food at home — the monkeys get quite aggressive and can smell peanuts from afar. Your purse will likely be safe, as long as you’re not stashing any goodies in there hoping to get away with it.

5. Climb Mount Batur at