Welcome to the 2nd Spa Week Daily Challenge! That was fun last time, no? Joy Bauer challenged you to ditch soda for 2 weeks and so many of you succeeded, even extending your fizz-free commitment to a date TBD. Congratulations, we’re so excited to be able to inspire you to make such a healthy lifestyle change! This second challenge is a bit different. To tap into your mind-body wellness, we’ve partnered with one of the most beloved and sought-after Yogis in the country, Elena Brower. Are you ready for CHALLENGE #2? Here’s what to do: Pledge to breathe consciously for 5 MINUTES A DAY, every day for TWO WEEKS. DATES: Friday, August 11th – Thursday, August 25th Why and how? Elena says: Take 5 minutes per day to sit with yourself; no special place, no particular time. Just sit and listen to your inner talk, and bring more breathing to those five minutes, without judgement. This is the most grounding, healing practice any of us can do. Who Says? Elena Brower, Certified Anusara® yoga teacher, founder and co-owner of Virayoga, who’s brought large-scale yoga experiences to the MoMA, Wanderlust and the Great Lawn at Central Park on the 2010 Solstice. Elena’s writing can be found at Art of Attention, Huffington Post, and Crazy Sexy Wellness. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, the Element Yoga for Beginners DVD series, FitYoga, ABC News, NBC News, and on Yogaglo.com. She is the voice of Deepak Chopra’s breakthrough upcoming video game project, LEELA, which blends meditation practice with game play. Known for her ability to weave the technology and heart of Anusara yoga with raw, compassionate honesty, her teaching will light you up and provoke you to bring your practice to your life. What’s in it for me? Besides clearing your head and enjoying all the new things you discover about yourself in just 5 minutes a day… join The Elena Brower Spa Week Daily Challenge Event on Facebook and share your success story or struggle. Once you RSVP and start sharing, you are automatically entered to win one of two $50 SpaWeek Gift Cards. See the results! On Twitter? Share the love! #JUSTBREATHE – I’m taking @SPAWEEK & @ElenaBrower’s Challenge to breathe consciously 5 mins a day for 2 wks. http://ow.ly/604qv Elena’s breathing tips: TIP 1: Oxygenate as much as possible, breathing through your nose as much as you can, as that cleanses the breath most efficiently and leaves you with the gold. TIP 2: Particularly when you’re feeling sad-mad-tense-scared-doubtful, breathe fully into your belly until you feel more settled in your heart and your mind. If this challenge inspires you, you may want to check out The Art of Attention: a Yoga Retreat with Elena Brower, happening November 13-19. What’s included? Six nights accommodation at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, 22 1/2 hours of Yoga practice, daily breakfast, daily lunch and dinner from a specially prepared COMO Shambhala Retreat Menu, Welcome and Farewell dinner, round-trip airport transfers, and service charge/govt tax. Rates begin at $5,176 for single occupancy, $8,158 for double occupancy. For more information call 1.649.946.7788, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit Parrot Cay’s website. Now it’s time to connect with YOU! 5 minutes, good luck, and deep breaths. Tying it all together, here’s one question we asked Elena for the road: Elena, what does the spa and wellness lifestyle mean to you in your life, and how is it present in the yoga community? In the yoga community right now, the spa and wellness lifestyle is becoming a crucial aspect of our lives. No longer a “luxury” to spend time on ourselves, creating an environment for listening and healing is becoming a part of our regular practice. In the past 14 years of teaching yoga, I’ve watched the world become fascinated by the yoga practices, for better or for worse, and the spa and wellness sector has grown significantly as a result, which is wonderful. Rather than pretty places and incessant toxicity masquerading as a “vacation,” we are finding ourselves drawn to our own healing on our downtime. This is a trend I see continuing and spreading into other communities.